Group working to permanently close off abandoned mine shafts after CU student falls down one


BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Construction crews are closing off an abandoned mine shaft in Boulder County, two days after student fell nearly 50 feet down into it.

Jeff Graves is the program director for the Inactive Mine Reclamation Program with the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety. He says they planned to close off the mine shaft even before the accident over the weekend.

Seven different agencies responded to help pull the University of Colorado Boulder student from the abandoned mine off a rocky off-roading trail. Officials say he was camping in the area with a group of friends and wandered into the mine shaft.

Emu hit by truck in Fort Collins, other driver takes bird to CSU vet hospital 

“Our strong encouragement to the public is to stay out, stay alive. Avoid these kind of features. It may look exciting and interesting to explore but generally, there’s significant hazards associated with these sites,” said Graves.

Graves says they’re working to safeguard 26 different sites in the area under a current project. Boulder County and other areas across the Front Range are of particular concern due to easy access.

“Our biggest concern is just that the public is generally not aware of the hazards associated with these type of sites. You have unstable ground, the potential for falling, rotten timber. There’s a lot of hazards that aren’t apparent,” said Graves.

Here are the national parks with the most searches and rescues 

Since 1980, the Inactive Mine Reclamation Program has closed of more than 16,000 abandoned mine sites in the state. Graves says they estimate at least 7,000 still need their attention across Colorado.

The site of the latest rescue will be sealed off with a steel grate. Eventually, a fence will go up around the entire area.

“That will prevent any accidental access and warn people of the hazard here,” said Graves.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local