San Juan Ridge Mine: From mining gold to farming cannabis?

This is a letter from the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association regarding the latest actions of San Juan Mining Corp.:

Dear SJRTA members and neighbors,

The San Juan Ridge Mine property in the North Columbia Diggings continues to be a major focal point for our organization, and there are some developments with the property that are worth sharing at this point. Recently the San Juan Mining Corporation (SJMC) CEO hired a sustainable development and landscape architecture firm called Phronesis.

Together SJMC and Phronesis have hosted two meetings on the Ridge and plan to host several more. The apparent goal and process thus far has been to engage a number of active community members (approximately eleven in the first meeting and twenty in the second) in a facilitated discussion on how to develop the mine property with alternatives to mining. Under the banners of “live, work, play, learn”, a proposed development plan is in the works by Phronesis that may include uses such as camping and recreational, workshop/entertainment, residential (clustered, single unit and/or cohousing), cannabis and/or other agricultural operations, business/studio space and light industrial.

Other possibilities include green waste composting or other biomass projects and environmental education. Many of the brainstorming ideas for alternative uses mirror those suggested through the SJRTA community surveys and workshops. And of course any proposals will be subject to scrutiny both by the community and the county planning department.

While these recent developments are encouraging and give hope to our community there is still much to carefully consider moving forward. We are grateful to the San Juan Mining Corp. and particularly to its CEO Tim Farley for engaging the community and exploring these concepts in a positive and productive manner.

We are committed to steadfastly opposing gold mining efforts on the property but now must balance that goal with the benefits and potential impacts of future development endeavors on the property. We continue to search for “win-win” opportunities that support sustainable efforts on the property that meet our mission and shared community values.

We will continue to work with SJMC ownership and our local community leadership to find solutions to this complex issue. Additionally we remain committed to representing our community’s best interests and keeping you informed.


Sol Henson
President, SJRTA

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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