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Calif. Ditches Empire Mine Tunnel Attraction Project

The California State Department of Parks and Recreation is pulling the plug on the Empire Mine tunnel project.  It was 23 years in the planning and was designed so that  visitors wearing headlamps in ore-style carts could travel 850 feet into the mine.  Deputy Director of Public Affairs Vicky Waters says two inspections found the tunnel unsafe which led to their decision to cancel the project.
click here to listen to Vicky Waters
State parks officials froze the project in 2012 after the inspection reports. At that point  $3.5 million dollars had already been spent to build part of the tunnel , and it was expected to  cost $1.4 million or more to make repairs. Waters says it didn’t help that the project came to fruition as the state faced serious budget problems.
click here to listen to Vicky Waters
The portion of the tunnel that has been constructed  remains closed to the public  and three battery operated locomotives that were purchased to take visitors into the mine remain in storage.


February 14, 2014


Maybe now they can afford a couple of trash cans and
an outhouse some where along the trails the locals use daily.

February 15, 2014


Whats 1.4 million for an attraction that shows the history of our community. We watch our leaders waste this type of money everyday. What about the revenue that will be generated by this attraction. Once again an inspector, whether county, state, or federal, is holding something up that could be beneficial. As far as Trash cans and bathrooms, they take money, time and energy also. Maybe not the 1.4 tune but someone will still have to deal with them.
How bad can the tunnel be? Look at what they did in the 1800's, a bad or insufficient tunnel did not stop their quest for work.
Our community needs this influx of income that the tunnel would generate. Tourism may not be liked by some in the community but it is necessary for our continued survival.

February 16, 2014

Ruth Ann

What a waste of our money. I can't really believe it took them this long to figure it out.

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