DESCRIBED AREA Including Idaho Panhandle National Forest System Lands administered by the Priest Lake Ranger District, on the west side of the Idaho-Washington state boundary, Section 1 of Township 34 N., Range 45 E. of the Willamette Meridien, in the Upper West Branch Priest River watershed, encompassing approximately 5 acres of land (see map). This area is found on the south side of NFSR-659, and begins approximately 0.7 miles SW of the intersection of NFSR-659 and NFSR-312 and ends 0.85 miles from the same road junction. The area is commonly referred to as the Solo Creek quartz dig site and extends approximately 500 feet south of NFSR-659.
The purpose of this order is to close the area for public health and safety, to protect the public from the adverse effects caused by many years of unauthorized quartz crystal mining, until the site hazards can be managed, and the site rehabilitated/reclaimed. The lands described in the closure area have been subjected to years of unauthorized excavation and removal of quartz crystals with poor stewardship and without any reclamation. As a result, the area has become unsafe due to steep slopes and undercut areas that could collapse, and many hazard trees that are present, one of which came down between June & July 2023 in the middle of the diggings.
This order shall be in effect from October 23, 2023, at 12:00 am, through October 23, 2024, at 12:00 am, unless rescinded.