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Bodie Ghost Town Supporters Say “No” to Gold in Them Thar Hills!

August 1, 2011

BODIE, Calif. - A new Gold Rush may soon take place in the Bodie Mountains, home of California's authentic Wild West ghost town. The Mono County Board of Supervisors tomorrow is to consider a resolution to open up Bodie Hills to gold mining and other development. However, environmentalists are quick to point out that it was the gold rush bust that eventually turned Bodie into a ghost town.

Sally Miller, senior conservation representative with The Wilderness Society, says that if the supervisors support the resolution they'll be handing mining companies a "gift on a golden platter."

"Industrial mining and nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation just don't mix. Mining threatens wildlife, it pollutes our waterways and it would create an ugly industrial scar on our beautiful undeveloped public lands."

Stacy Corless, executive director of Friends of the Inyo, says hundreds of thousands of tourists come every year to see Bodie's ghost town and other recreational areas such as Mono Lake.

"We don't think that boom and bust gold mining is the right type of activity on this region's public lands, and we believe that tourism and industrial land use just don't mix."

Corless says Bodie Mountains is a wildlife haven, with large populations of antelope and sage grouse, as well as offering sweeping views of Mono Lake and the Sierra crest.

"Not only does it serve as this Wild West backdrop, as you're driving to the ghost town you get a sense of what it was like to come here in the 1870s."

Sally Miller of The Wilderness Society says Bodie Hills is also being threatened by the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act that would "release" 4.4 million acres of California's protected federal land for development. California Congressman Kevin McCarthy says his bill would create jobs. Opponents are calling it the "Great Outdoors Giveaway," because they say it gives developers, who already have access to 76 percent of all national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands, access to even more of America's vanishing wilderness.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA