In the months prior to leaving, I happened to watch a House Natural Resource’s Comittee Hearing on the Endangered Species Act. Amoung those testifying was a representative from Heckla Mining Company. He testified on the protracted delays the ESA has caused for the company. Two proposed mines were located in prime grizzly bear habitat, and grizzly bears are protected under the ESA. The company representative extolled the extensive mitigation measures the company had committed to, but despite best efforts he lamented that ESA litigation was unfairly stifling development. I made a mental note to try to visit the area.
Fast forward to our trip, I realized we were within striking distance of one of the proposed mines, Rock Creek, and so we drove out to see it. The proposed mine would extract 10,000 tons of ore per day for 30 years. Along with negative impacts from the mine, construction and road use would degrad the nearby Rock Creek which provides some of the best bull trout habitat in Idaho.
We attempted to reach Rock Creek Lake but were stymied by a creek that had jumped its banks and the late hour.
Thanks to Rock Creek Alliance’s informative website for the helpful info!