BLM-Colorado Restores and Celebrates Historic San Juan Mountain Mining Town
Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Animas Forks ghost town has been painstakingly restored thanks to BLM-Colorado and a host of partners. Visitors can see remnants of the once thriving town of 30 cabins and a hotel, general store, saloon and post office from the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway
The ghost town at Animas Forks, Colorado is just below treeline at 11,800 feet in the Rocky Mountains.
BLM-Colorado Gunnison and Tres Rios field offices joined partners for the Animas Forks dedication and the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway 25th anniversary commemoration. The event celebrated the completion of the stabilization and rehabilitation of Animas Forks ghost town and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. Both attractions are on BLM-managed lands.
"Completing the stabilization and restoration of these buildings is the highest honor we could bestow on those first hardscrabble fellows who braved the journey to find the elusive treasures of gold and silver hidden in these rugged mountains," said David Singer, restoration project manager.
More than 50 people enjoyed the touring the Duncan House during the celebration event. In the 1870s, William Duncan, a hardrock miner, built this house and endured living about 11,000 feet in elevation for a few years.
BLM staff played key roles in several preservation projects that have recently been completed on the Alpine Loop. Over the past few years, five structures within the this alpine tundra landscape have been stabilized, including the Placer Gulch Boarding House, The Tobasco Cabin, The Golconda Boarding House and Compressor Shop, and the Mayflower Mill. The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway provides a unique opportunity for exploring the history of the San Juan Mountains mining era, with a focus on the area in the vicinity of Ouray, Silverton and Lake City, Colorado.
Restored buildings at Animas Forks give the public an opportunity to explore the past while enjoying the incredible views of the alpine tundra.
The project partners include the Colorado State Historical Fund, Mountain Studies Institute, Klinke & Lew Construction, the BLM, Silverton Restoration Consulting, Hinsdale County Historical Society, HistoriCorps, Silverton Restoration Consulting and Colorado Scenic Byways.
This panoramic view shows several of the restored building at Animas Forks, a ghost town east of Silverton, Colorado. More than 400,000 visitors enjoy walking tours of the area each year.