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Custer Gallatin National Forest buys mining claims outside Cooke City

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Several mining claims outside Cooke City are now part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

The forest’s Gardiner District partnered with the Bozeman nonprofit Greater Yellowstone Coalition to make a conservation-based purchase of 137 acres—called the Daisy Creek property—about 3 miles northwest of Cooke City that became final in mid-May, according to a Thursday afternoon press release. Money for the project included Land and Water Conservation Inholding funds.

The claims were the final remaining privately held mining claims within the New World Mining District, an area of historic patented and unpatented mining claims, the release states.

“With steep rugged terrain and unique road access to high elevation lands, this area offers stunning vistas, excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and the chance for remote recreation,” stated Mike Thorn, district ranger for the Gardiner Ranger District.

The Daisy Creek property is adjacent to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. It allows for multiple-use recreation around the historic mining and county roads and is a renowned winter destination for snowmobiling and backcountry skiing.

“It’s a win-win for everyone and for this remarkable corner of the Beartooths,” stated Joe Josephson, senior Montana conservation associate with the GYC.

The nonprofit is also raising money to purchase more than 1,000 acres of mineral rights and mining claims north of Yellowstone National Park near Gardiner. According to a press release on the group’s plan, the mineral rights and land acquisition would “extinguish the last real and significant mining threat on the border of Yellowstone National Park, forever.”

As of mid-May, the GYC had raised $3.9 million toward the effort, which carries a total cost of $6.25 million. GYC said it has until Oct. 1, to raise the remaining $2.35 million to execute the deal.

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