Recon Report-Back: Locals Welcome Earth First! to La Plata Canyon

Posted: August 19, 2011 by earthfirstdurango in direct action, environmental justice, mining, resistance, water
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Welcoming sign posted by locals over Forest Service signs, La Plata Canyon entrance

First off, we’d just like to give a big shout-out and thanks to those of you who came out to La Plata Canyon this past weekend to help us scout Wildcat Mining Corporation’s May Day & Idaho Mine Complex site. About ten wild Earth warriors from across the state gathered in an amazingly beautiful location for two nights and three days of good food, good times, and public oversight of a very destructive corporation.

Though legally limited by private property boundaries (of course it goes without saying that we would never trespass), we were able to document the current, mostly inactive state of the operation, which is strewn with toxic mining equipment and chemicals. Vehicular traffic was observed on the roads and tire track marks recorded (this is of significance because the cease and desist order they’re currently under prohibits them from utilizing the roads for mining purposes). We also captured images of yellow-orange discharge issuing from one of the mine portals (which Wildcat Mining Corporation officials have denied, on record). The discharge was covered in dead butterflies who had apparently landed in hopes of something to drink, and instead found their deaths.

Sign from locals welcoming EF! at the entrance to La Plata Canyon

We had expected the possible presence of local media during our recon excursion, and had invited them to join us at our base camp for lunch before heading off on the scouting hike. Alas, they didn’t show up at base camp, so we headed out anyways (which is probably a good thing, as their presence would likely have interfered with our work). Upon returning to our vehicles on the road, we were met by locals who have been resisting the mine for years, just as the local newspaper reporter was walking away, getting in his car, and leaving. The locals knew who we were just by looking at us, but apparently the reporter didn’t. Anyways, much thanks to the Durango Herald for at least giving it a try! Maybe next time!

Sign thanking EF! posted by locals over Forest Service sign at La Plata Canyon entrance

The locals we met with have been resisting this mining operation for more than four years now, more or less by themselves. They created the StopWildcatMine.com website, and due to the lack of response to our attempts at establishing contact with them via the contact form provided on their website (no email or phone number is listed), we were concerned that the locals weren’t comfortable with or open to our presence and involvement in fighting this mine. Upon meeting them and speaking with them, however, our worries were thoroughly assuaged. They are wonderful, welcoming people and expressed no opposition to potential direct actions in the future, should the need arise.

Earth First! eco-warriors will continue to monitor the on-goings at the May Day and Idaho Mine Complex in La Plata Canyon (stay tuned for future recon camp-outs!), and will—if need be—engage in direct action to halt the desecration of our land base and the poisoning of our water supply. Respect existence, or expect resistance!

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