Leadville Community Park & Mineral Belt Trail

  • Historic image of the Leadville Mining District. (credit U.S. EPA)
  • Acid mine drainage (seen at the right) from the California Gulch contaminated the waters of the Arkansas River. (credit U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Paved trails serve to cap and contain contaminants onsite. (credit Jeffrey Beall)
  • Cyclists pass by preserved mining structures along the Mineral Belt Trail. (credit U.S. EPA)
  • Mining structures are visible through the snow. (credit U.S. EPA)
  • The former Leadville mining district area. (credit U.S. EPA)

Case Study

Leadville Community Park & Mineral Belt Trail | Leadville, CO

Year

1993-2000

Partners

ASARCO Mining Company
Lake County Officials
Leadville Coalition
City of Leadville
Colorado Mountain College
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Major Reclamation Issues

Acid Mine Drainage
Surface Water Contamination
Soil Contamination

References

EPA Superfund Case Study
Leadville Lake County Community Park

For over 140 years, Leadville, Colorado was home to silver, gold, copper, zinc, manganese, and lead mining and smelting. When operations ceased in the late 1980s, the area was left with significant amounts of mine waste, contaminated soil, and acid mine drainage.
Eventually declared a Superfund Site, the area was redeveloped into a community park and the 11.6-mile Mineral Belt Trail featuring preserved historic mining structures. The paved trail also serves to cap and contain onsite the contaminated soil from the former mining activities. The containment process left the contaminated soil in place, shaped it into a platform for the future trail, covered it with six inches of gravel, and then capped it with three inches of asphalt. The park includes a synthetic turf field, restrooms, and a playground.