Local Mines hidden Treasures
Writer and photographer Ed Winbourne
Over 1,400 named mines along with many abandoned adits and trenches litter Arizona’s landscape. Local mines beckon rockhounds to explore overlooked and hidden treasures. Daisy Mountain Rock and Mineral Club visits mine sites on monthly field trips. The club field trip committee completes the necessary research about the mines it visits: scouting out access roads, knowing the type of collectible material available and recommending special gear members may need. But with a bit of common sense and a little research, individuals can make any mine visit a pleasurable and rewarding experience.
Rockhounds need to know a few things before they start mining. First, it’s important to know the status of mine sites you plan to visit; is the site is on federal, state or privately owned land. Miners also need to understand and follow the rules for each site. State land prohibits collecting and requires anyone on its property to have a state permit. The Bureau of Land Management does not require a permit but restricts collecting natural resources to 35 pounds of material at a time or up to 350 pounds per year. Sites on private lands require permission from the owner, adherence to on-site rules and often charge a fee to explore. Where can you find information about collecting? You can search mindat.com, or Google Arizona Geological Survey. Also, several gem trail books are available and provide details about collecting sites. Author Neil Bearce has some of the best books that are field guides for Arizona collectors.
Due to the increase of rockhound enthusiasts, some mine sites have been picked clean of collectible materials. And some sites are off-limits and are claimed for mining or housing development. During the housing boom, some mines were closed to make areas safe for builders to develop. The state of Arizona has worked hard to ensure abandoned mines stay safe, but hundreds of mines remain too dangerous to visit. The Daisy Mountain Rock Mine, on the north slope of Daisy Mountain, is one of those abandoned mines, but it has an open tunnel entrance with guarded shafts, rendering it safe. The best way to find out about the safety and conditions of mine sites is to join a rockhound club.
Over the past year, our club has collected amethyst at the Contact Mine in Aguila, copper minerals at the Red Rover Mine in Carefree, and fluorescent calcite and fluorite at the Purple Passion Mine in Wickenburg. We are planning an April trip to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, south of Globe, to collect peridot at a private site. We will also visit the DoBell Ranch in Holbrook where we can purchase some of Arizona’s world famous petrified wood at prices impossible to beat. Whether you’re a rockhound or not, you are welcome to join us as we hunt for geological treasures.
The Daisy Mountain Rock and Mineral Club invites you to attend the Anthem Gem and Mineral Show, March 25-26. Proceeds from the show help fund a scholarship — to a graduating student from Boulder Creek High School pursuing studies in science — as well as establishing a future lapidary facility in Anthem.
Anthem Gem and Mineral Show
Boulder Creek High School
40404 N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy, Anthem
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Adults: $3; seniors/students: $2; Children under 12: free