A gold exploration project in the Black Hills worries some environmental activists

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - A gold exploration proposal in Rockerville worries some people about the environment in the Black Hills.

A map of where the Golden Meadow gold exploration project will be in Rockerville.

A group of environmental activists are questioning the gold exploration claim in Rockerville, filed in early May, called Golden Meadow.

A member of the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance took a trip to the site to discover some past mining activity and once Dr. Lilias Jarding saw the photos "I initially thought what a mess and why haven't they cleaned this up," she said.

Jarding with the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance wants the US Forest Service to reclaim the land before the exploration project proceeds.

"Mining leaves scars on the land and reclamation is important for returning the land to it's original condition," Jarding said.

Jarding is concerned about how many trees will be cut and how many holes will be dug.

According to the proposal documents with the US Forest Service, the agency will dig about 75 test holes in a grid pattern about 50 to 100 feet apart.

In the public scoping letter, the agency says each hole will have a diameter of 10 feet and will continue down until bedrock is found.

In addition, the forest service says no more than five holes will be allowed at any time.

There are some concerns about disrupting the natural water source that also bothers Jarding.

She said it's in the Spring Creek Watershed region and if workers are not careful they could contaminate the creek.

Overall, Jarding said the US Forest Service needs to be more transparent about the project.

"It's something that they owe us under law to give us information about what's going on and detailed information of what's going on and at this point we don't feel that they are being transparent," she said.

KEVN reached out to the US Forest Service for comment but they respectfully declined to talk about the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance as a lawsuit is still pending with the organization.

See related story Black Hills Clean Water Alliance files lawsuit against US Forest Service