CC&V addresses future of American Eagles Overlook

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Mother Nature may keep popular attraction closed this winter

More than 20 community members from Victor braved a winter storm on Nov. 16 to attend an open house hosted by the Newmont Mining Corporation’s Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company (CC&V) to discuss the future of the American Eagles Overlook and its historic mine.

This site, which opened in 1995, has been regarded as one of the prime tourist attractions in Victor. The company originally had planned to close this site, but opted to take a look at other options, following much community outcry.

At this meeting, representatives of CC&V explained the company’s on-going internal review (including the notification of local governments) of the safety concerns caused by the access to the American Eagles Overlook, located above Victor, which requires the public crossing of an active mining haul road.

While the American Eagles access has operated without injury, company officials have cited a number of disturbing incidents. For example, guards representing CC&V at the site have been confronted by belligerent visitors, resulting in vehicles driving on the mining haul road and attempting to evade required blasting evacuations, and individuals trespassing across protective fencing enclosures. These incidents demonstrate the risk involved with access to the site. CC&V officials note that an accident between a private vehicle and heavy mining equipment would severely impact CC&V’s ability to continue operations and would pose serious adverse effects on the local community.

Due to upcoming mine operational changes that will increase mining traffic, and the ending of a road access agreement with Teller County, CC&V is required to address this safety risk. Temporarily, until CC&V can obtain additional community input and complete its internal review of safety options, CC&V officials have decided that the American Eagles access will be opened and closed based on operational and weather conditions with additional safety measures. When weather conditions prohibit safe access, the road will be closed and CC&V will announce the closure, and re-opening as conditions improve, through its communications channels. When mine operations allow the access to be open, the mining haul road will be closed temporarily with earthen berms.

Due to last week’s snow storm that bombarded the region, the American Eagle Overlook has been temporarily closed

Future meeting announced
Civic leaders and residents in southern Teller have expressed concerns over the possible permanent closure of the American Eagles site, citing its strong historic and educational value and its importance as a key tourist draw.

As CC&V’s review the American Eagles Overlook continues, company officials say that closure of the site remains an alternative that would clearly eliminate the public safety issue. But if this scenario occurs, CC&V plans to relocate salvageable historic structures at an alternative site, with the help of community leaders. Open house attendees were informed of several potential relocation sites; how these sites might meet the needs of the community; and were invited to suggest other potential relocation areas.

Other possibilities previously discussed by company representatives included improving the current access to the site.

As this process continues, CC&V will remain open to additional input from the community, and has scheduled a second open house regarding the American Eagles site for December 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, located off Hwy. 67, just outside the entrance to Cripple Creek.

Those who are unable to attend the meeting, but would like an update, or to provide comment regarding this matter, can contact CC&V representatives: Jane Mannon at 719-689-4044, or on email at Jane.Mannon@Newmont.com; or Brad Poulson at 719-689-4052, on email at Brad.Poulson@Newmont.com.