Keeping Roads Open During Winter

Keeping Roads Open During Winter

During the winter, the snow stacks up at Stibnite. In fact, it has buried cars and covered roofs several times these last few weeks. Snowy winters are a big  part of the Stibnite Mining District’s rich history.

Snowy roads are not new at the Stibnite Gold Project site. Look at this historic photo from our archives!

We have photos of the area from the 1940’s that show the snow when it was more than 20 feet deep. In 1949, the roads were so bad supplies couldn’t be driven into site, so food had to be dropped out of planes for the miners. And in the earliest years of the site, Stibnite was totally inaccessible during the winter season unless you were traveling by dog sled.

While a lot has changed over the years, access to this part of the backcountry during winter was still limited just 10 years ago. Before Midas Gold started to explore the area for gold and antimony, Stibnite Road was piled too high with snow to drive a car or truck all the way up to the site. Today, we work hard to make it easy for recreationalists and snowmobilers to get up to their favorite spots during snow season.

As soon as the snow falls each year, we plow Stibnite Road starting right outside of Yellow Pine and going all the way up to site – that’s 14 miles of road. We travel the road up to the site the most in the winter but we do see several visitors make the trip each season. And while not everyone wants to come all the way up to site, we know the road up to Profile Creek Bridge gets a lot of traffic. For this section, we try to leave just enough snow so it is safe for snowmobilers and cars alike. We know our friends from Yellow Pine like to be able to ride their snowmobiles right from their homes. And for folks who would rather travel by car, we’ve made sure to plow turnouts big enough for people to park and turn around when they want to head home.

 

In the winter, our work on the roads isn’t limited to routine plowing. We see a lot of avalanches along Stibnite Road during the winter. The area on both sides of the road is steep and when there is rain or wet snow it can all come toppling down. When this happens, we send out the heavy equipment we use at site to clear the debris and safely get the road back open. In 2014, an avalanche was so bad it caused the river to reroute onto the road. Our team jumped into action and worked to clear the road quickly so the river didn’t wash it out.

This year, we’ve been plowing the road since October and we are ready if an avalanche strikes (although, so far, we’ve been lucky). We are proud to keep the Stibnite Road open and help maintain safe access to the backcountry throughout the year.