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Mining Heritage Interpretive Center proposed for Butte

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 24 2013 03:39:57 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 24 2013 03:42:55 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Community activists are urging Butte's local government to take the first steps in getting Butte's mining heritage recognized by the National Parks Service.

NBC Montana dug through the proposal and spoke to one of the people spearheading the project to get the facts on how this would affect Southwest Montana.

"Butte has a national and international significance as a mining center and also southwest Montana is known throughout the world for its mining history," said R. Ed Banderob.

He's been working hard to get the government to recognize Butte's mining heritage.

"Heritage is the past, present, and future," he explained.

Banderob took NBC Montana to an area in Butte to show us what he's talking about.

"We have the past on the hill, we have the present with the concentrator instead of the smelters with the open pit mine and the continental, and we have the future where they're talking about another 25 to 50 years of active mining operation here on the hill," Banderob said.

The ultimate goal of this project would be to create a Mining Heritage Interpretive Center that would celebrate Butte's rich past, present, and future.

"The Congregational Delegation, when I contacted them, indicated that we needed support of the local government to proceed," Banderob said, "therefore that is what this issue before the Council Commissioners this Wednesday night is, to decide: does the local government and local community want to have the Congregational Delegation invite the Parks Service in to do a special resource study?"

We dug through the documents. The first step is to get the local government to request the National Park Service to begin a study of the mining heritage in Southwest Montana.

We learned there are three possible outcomes that could come out of this study:

First, the Mining Heritage Interpretive Center Banderob is working to create, a Greenway Park, and a Southwest Montana Heritage area, which would include areas like Virginia City and Bannack State Park.

"This would be a great opportunity to use the Parks Service system to make that heritage recognized throughout the nation and throughout internationally and use their systems to promote so there's an economic benefit," Banderob said. "This would be synergistic with what's already here, with the museum and the Archives, it would bring more people and transition into a tourism economy."

This issue will be brought up before the Butte-Silver Bow Council Commissioners on Wednesday evening.

Banderob said anyone interested in the Mining Heritage Project should attend the meeting.