Dry Gulch LLC, an offshoot of Appleatchee Riders, partnered with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to develop a conservation easement on 685 acres comprised of shrub-steppe and native bunchgrass, reclaimed mining lands, winter wheat fields, and retired grazing pastures. The easement will permanently preserve and protect wildlife habitat and plant communities, restrict future development, and allow pedestrian and equestrian recreational use for the benefit of the public.
In 2007, Dry Gulch Preserve, LLC purchased the property from Asamera Minerals Inc. after Asamera donated a conservation easement to CDLT in order to restrict development and ensure protection of the property as recreational open space. One stipulation that Asamera had in the sale agreement was complete restriction of bicycle use, because of the potential for increased erosion on the trails.
The Dry Gulch Preserve is a unique property due to the history of its use. In the 1980s, Asamera Minerals extracted nearly 1.25 million ounces of gold and 2 million ounces of silver from Dry Gulch, the earth beneath the present day impoundment facility. Following the removal of precious minerals, the mine was closed in 1994 and was plugged, regraded and replanted. As part of the effort to close the facility, a tailings’ impoundment was constructed; it is the largest earthen structure built in the State of Washington. Restoration was completed in 2000.
In 2003, Asamera Minerals received the “Recognition for Reclamation Award” from the Department of Natural Resources. Citing the fact that reclamation was built into the original plan for mining design, Doug Southerland, then Commissioner of Public Lands, applauded Asamera Minerals for their commitment to reclamation, their enhancement of wildlife habitat, the reintroduction of native species and noxious weed management and the protection of the community of Wenatchee, all key components of the reclamation strategy.
This former mine site, protected by the Dry Gulch Preserve conservation easement, can now serve the community of Wenatchee and those surrounding it as an excellent field laboratory for ecological and reclamation study and educational purposes.