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Minerals & Geology Management

Maroon Lake at peak fall color in late September 2011 on the White River National Forest in Colorado. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the 2.3 million-acre White River National Forest is the top recreation forest in the nation. Home to world-renowned ski resorts and the birthplace of Wilderness, the White River has something to offer every outdoor enthusiast. USDA Photo by Scott Mecum.
Minerals & Geology Management

The Forest Service Minerals and Geology Management (MGM) program promotes the sustainable use and enjoyment of mineral and geologic resources on USDA National Forests and Grasslands.

The Minerals and Geology Management (MGM) program administers mineral and geologic resources. Minerals and Geology program staff oversee mineral exploration, development and reclamation activities related to federal (government owned) and non-federal (privately-owned) mineral estates according to specific authorities, legislation, rules, and regulations. The Forest Service minerals and geology staff interact with the Bureau of Land Management and state agencies to manage minerals on NFS lands. Mineral commodities produced from National Forests and Grasslands include gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium, lead and zinc, sand, gravel, decorative and building stone, along with coal, oil and gas, phosphates and geothermal resources. The MGM program also investigates and remediates abandoned mine lands from historic mining. The Geologic Resources program area provides expertise in the geosciences such as geology, geologic hazards, and groundwater. It administers caves and karst features, paleontological (fossil) resources, and other geologic special interest areas that occur on National Forest System lands and which serve as the landscape foundations that support diverse ecosystems.



Geologic Resources include features such as Groundwater and related resources, Cave and Karst resources, Paleontological Resources (fossils), geologic interest areas, and geologic hazards (geohazards) such as landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, sinkholes, and naturally-occurring hazardous minerals and gases such as asbestos, erionite, and radon.


Leasable minerals include Energy Minerals such as oil, natural gas, coal, and geothermal resources; non-energy solid Minerals such as phosphates and hardrock minerals on acquired federal lands; and Reserved and Outstanding Minerals (privately owned mineral estate beneath federal surface estate).


Locatable Minerals are subject to the Mining Law of 1872 and include precious metals, platinum group metals, uranium, and rare earth elements. Salable Minerals (mineral materials) are often sold under contract and include common variety crushed stone, dimension/landscape stone, and sand/gravel. Mining of locatable or salable minerals requires Reclamation and restoration of NFS lands.


Explore the geologic resources of our National Forests and Grasslands in this interactive map.