What Do Mining Claims and National Parks Have in Common?

America Enacted Two Environmental Laws 10 Weeks Apart in 1872. One Encouraged Drilling Into Public Lands—The Other Tried to Conserve Them

If you know where to go in Death Valley National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve, Glacier Peak Wilderness, or Bears Ears National Monument, you might come across the remnants of a tramway or a pile of mine tailings or a rusted tank. The artifacts of industrial activity can be startling in the otherwise tranquil natural scene. But there is no mistake. Despite being miles inside a national park, a designated wilderness, or some other conservation area, you can encounter mining claims—they are everywhere. With resource development on public lands …

How a 16th-Century Bolivian Silver Mine Invented Modern Capitalism

Potosí’s Coins Ruled the Globe But Their Costs Included Violence and Environmental Destruction

Gold has always attracted special attention for its color, malleability, and resistance to oxidation, but silver has long held a close second place. Its relative abundance in relation to gold …