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Zinke reverses gold mining go-ahead near Yellowstone National Park

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Secretary Ryan Zinke signs the order preventing gold mining near Yellowstone National Park, watched by opponents of the plan, including Simms Fishing CEO, K.C. Walsh (far right).

US Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, has reversed a decision to allow mining for gold on the doorstep of the world famous Yellowstone National Park, following a campaign backed by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFTTA).

He signed an order to remove the mineral rights from two proposed mines, protecting the environment and economic health of the Paradise Valley and its local communities.

“We could not be happier with Secretary Zinke’s decision to protect the true source of economic value to the communities of the Yellowstone Gateway,” said AFFTA President, Ben Bulis. “Both he and our elected Montana representatives listened to the hundreds of local businesses and thousands of people who rely on this region’s clean water and unspoiled land – both public and private – to make their living and chose to ensure the viability of their livelihood.”

Two industrial-scale gold mines were proposed near Emigrant Gulch and Crevice Mountain along the Upper Yellowstone River. Opponents of the scheme, including AFFTA, maintained that mining would result in the introduction of toxic pollutants, such as arsenic and lead, into the water which would seriously affect the health of fisheries,  local tourism-based communities and businesses that rely on Yellowstone River.

Tourism brought $196m into Park County in 2014, with fishing in the Upper Yellowstone River alone worth $70m of that total. “The importance of Secretary Zinke’s decision to respect and preserve the outdoor heritage and way of life for thousands in Southwest Montana cannot be understated,” added Bulis. “It reinforces that the consistently growing value of the outdoor-related economies is deserving of significant consideration.”

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