Hinsdale County in southwest Colorado is now the proud owners of the historic Ute-Ulay silver mine and mining camp, which has been inactive for decades. The mine's owners signed over the title to the mine last month, as county officials have worked with government agencies to arrange cleanup of the contaminated mine. Mining practices in the 1800s were not as safe as modern mine production, and the mine also produced large amounts of lead ore as well as silver. Once environmental remediation is done, the county plans to open a mining museum and tourist attraction.
In the meantime, they are working to preserve the crumbling 19th century buildings of the "ghost town" on site. Silver was found in present-day Hinsdale County in the 1870s, when it was still the tribal land of the Ute Indians. County commissioner Stan Whinnery told Associated Press that the old mine is already a popular photography site for tourists passing through the sparsely-populated area in the San Juan mountains. "If we had a nickel for every photo taken from there, we'd be millionaires already," said Whinnery, whose family was one of the first to settle in Hinsdale County in the 1800s.
Read the entire story and see a five-photo slideshow at SFgate.com.
Many more photos at http://uteulay.wordpress.com