Framework

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Jim Blomquist, treasurer of the Wilderness Land Trust, takes a scenic photo from under the roof of the abandoned ore mill at the Big Horn Mine, which is being transferred to the U.S. Forest Service.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Reid Haughey, president of the Wilderness Land Trust, views the old wooden bridge that once supported gold ore carts during the mine's heyday in the 1930s.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Jim Blomquist climbs up an old wooden ladder to gain access to the long-abandoned gold ore mill. The 277-acre parcel on which the mine sits is a refuge for bears, mountain lions and endangered Nelson's bighorn sheep.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Haughey, right, and Blomquist hike the two-mile trail leading from Highway 2 to the Big Horn Mine, which still contains an estimated 262,000 ounces of gold.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Haughey inspects a special steel gate guarding the entrance to a tunnel at the Big Horn Mine. The gate is designed to restrict entry by humans and allow access by bats.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

A view of the entrance of the Big Horn Mine shows a track used by ore carts during the operation's heyday in the 1930s.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Blomquist and Haughey stand at the mine's entrance. It was first prospected in 1859.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Haughey views the abandoned old wooden bridge overlooking the headwaters of the San Gabriel River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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The Wilderness Land Trust plans to transfer ownership of the 277-acre Big Horn Mine property to the U.S. Forest Service. The mine, first prospected in 1859, sits on the flanks of Mt. Baden-Powell. It still contains an estimated 262,000 ounces of gold — but it’s also a wildlife refuge, and preservation is taking precedence.
See Louis Sahagun’s story, “Preservation, Not Profit, Takes Precedence.”

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