The Facts About Road Closures

The Facts About Road Closures

Published on November 27, 2018


At Midas Gold, we believe in being good neighbors, working with the communities closest to our project and communicating transparently with Idahoans. This is why we feel compelled to address some misconceptions we’ve been hearing about road closures outside of Yellow Pine.

Recently, we have heard some confusion about three distinct points of access. The first is Sugar Creek Road, which the U.S. Forest Service administratively closed in 2008. The second is Stibnite Road, which Midas Gold maintains as a part of our permit to access the Stibnite Gold Project site. The last access point is Stibnite Road as it runs through our site.

In 2008, the U.S. Forest Service made the decision to close Sugar Creek Road as a part of its McCall and Krassel Ranger Districts Snow-free Season Travel Management Plan. Midas Gold was not involved in this decision. In fact, our company didn’t even exist yet.

We understand Sugar Creek Road is important to many people who live in Yellow Pine and know people are upset with its recent physical closure. Lately, we’ve seen comments come into Midas Gold criticizing us for closing the road and that is why we want to clear up the confusion and give you all of the information we have on the roads.

The decision to close Sugar Creek Road was not made by our company. We were not involved in the process regulators undertook to make the decision and our company does not have an opinion about the merits of the closure. As we mentioned above, the road closure was a Forest Service decision made as part of the 2008 McCall and Krassel Ranger Districts Snow-free Season Travel Management Plan. For those wondering if the road will one day reopen, we’ve been advised it will remain closed unless the Plan is modified through a collaborative process with the U.S. Forest Service.

Whether Sugar Creek Road is open or closed will have no impact on our current or future activities. And to be clear, we have no intention to purchase the Cinnabar property (which can be accessed from Sugar Creek Road) and would not do so given the environmental liabilities associated with that site.

As part of our commitment to be fully transparent we want you to know it is true that, at their request, we did provide a number of boulders to the U.S. Forest Service. Some of those boulders were placed across Sugar Creek Road before the Forest Service installed a gate, while others were used to repair parts of Thunder Mountain Road.

We know you may still have questions about the Sugar Creek Road closure and, if you do, we encourage you to reach out to Payette National Forest. Since they are in charge of this road, they can provide you with the very latest information.

Another road we know Idahoans are concerned about is Stibnite Road. Every spring since 2016, there has been a temporary road closure for full-size vehicles. Access is limited on Stibnite Road for a short period of time during spring runoff to minimize damage to the road and protect the environment. Before we began year-round operations at Stibnite, limiting traffic wasn’t a concern because the road remained snowed shut until after the spring melt. We have helped increase public access on this road. Now that we maintain Stibnite Road, the community can access it through all of the seasons.

Temporary closures of Stibnite Road are a regulatory condition around access on Midas Gold’s three-year exploration plan, imposed by the Forest Service on the Valley County Road Department and it only applies to full-size vehicles. ATV and UTV users and, through an agreement with regulatory agencies, private land owners upstream, are permitted to use the road during this brief period. The temporary gate, installed in the spring, is removed as soon as the road dries out.

We also have worked very hard to address access concerns surrounding the portion of Stibnite Road that runs through our site. At one point, we proposed closing the road through site during construction and operations in the interest of public safety. However, many Idahoans reached out when they heard our initial plans and asked us to find a way to safely maintain recreational access. We worked closely with representatives from Yellow Pine and, together, we were able to identify a safe and feasible solution. We submitted this proposal for the U.S. Forest Service to consider in the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

If you still have questions about roads or recreational access, please reach out to us! We are always happy to speak with anyone who has questions surrounding our project. We are also happy to listen to feedback from the community because we know it will lead to a better project. Just look at what happened when we all worked together to address concerns over Stibnite Road. If you want to sit down with someone from our company, please send an email to [email protected] and we will find a time that works for you or join us in our Donnelly office the second Friday of the month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for our regular office hours.

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