The Story of GRE – How We Got Our Start
The bug to explore history bit Corey Shuman in 1988. A book called “Some Dreams Die” by George Thompson set up grand images of mining days gone by and treasures buried by miners, Indians and other outlaws. In 1989, Drivers license in hand, Corey set out for find these lost treasures. Days and days were spent in Utah’s remote and unforgiving west Desert. Tracking down every old road, searching out the old mining sites. Eventually Corey understood that there was no treasure to be located except for the history and the remaining artifacts of the old west.
Everything it seemed was centered around mining. Miners came in and made a strike. Farmers followed, feeding the miners and bringing in textiles. Next were the ranchers, because Miners could eat. If the strike was still rolling, there would be tents, then buildings and for the really large mines, there would be rails. Railways that were built not for the tourism of the Nation, but to transport massive loads of gold and silver ores to mills and plants. The towns would flourish from there. Schools, hospitals and more would pop up in support of the mining operations. In many cases, when the mines died out for whatever reasons, the towns would fade as well. It was extremely interesting to Corey that most every town in Utah could be traced back to mining. Even Brigham Young and his band of Mormons were only able to survive by selling wares to the people who passed along on their way to the gold fields of Nevada, or the Gold Rush lands of California.
It was through these trips that he began to notice more and more historic mining sites being viciously destroyed by Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Abandoned Mine Reclamation Programs. There was no concern for history or the heritage of a mine camp that had been tucked away in a long forgotten canyon. Their mission was the eradication of mining from face of the land. Entire historic mine camps from the 1800s through the great depression were being burned and bulldozed. This destruction included mills, ore bins, trusses, cabins.The historic mines where people had built a life, would be completely erased from the landscape, never to be seen again. As Division of Oil Gas and Mining Director John Baza stated, “Its time to erase the scar of mining from this land”.
One week these abandoned mining camps would be there, the next week there would be an empty bulldozed piece of land. No history, no remembrance of the men and women who worked, slept and may have died there. The concept of wiping out all of the history of mining was completely unacceptable and Corey was determined to do something about it.
We are dedicated to preserving mining history throughout the West, and providing opportunities for many to own their own mining claims, and make a living like thousands of miners have done for the last 150 plus years. “We find ’em you mine ’em”, that pretty much sums it up. Over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at finding the best available mines in the West, and then documenting and presenting those mines to the public. We take care of all of the paperwork with the BLM and simplify the process. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to browse mining claims throughout the West, find one you like and buy it.
Yet our vision goes a lot deeper than finding and selling the best mines in the West. We want to educate people about our mining heritage, remind ourselves that we come from tough stock, from people who were dreamers and doers and to highlight the incredible feats they accomplished. Being able to go out and visit these old mining sites is inspiring, and we want these mining sites to be around for future generations. We fight to stop our Government from destroying so many of the historic places. We also work hard to fight and protect a miner’s rights to mine.
Gold Rush Expeditions (GRE) got it’s start back in 2004 and over the past decade has evolved into a powerful force, bringing new life to small scale mining. GRE is led by Corey Shuman, the founder and visionary behind the company, and Jessica Shuman, his wife, who keeps the daily operations of the company running smoothly.
Today the opportunity is as greater than it has ever been. Old mines that were abandoned when gold was made illegal, or when the War Act kicked them out are still out there. We find mines throughout the West with rich veins visible throughout the workings. While regulations have increased, the tools and ability to process the ore from these historic mines are more effective than ever.
While each year more and more mines are erased from our landscape, we are out documenting the back roads of the West. Surveying and filing claim on the old mines. These Mines were America’s past success and with a little work, they can be America’s future success. An entire army of miners working underground, digging out gold and gems. Not working behind a desk or pushing papers. It’s our attempt to restore some of America’s mining heritage.
And we are not alone, as quickly as we locate these rich, old mines, there is someone ready to purchase the claim and start working it. We see it like this, we are playing a small part in helping Americans to remember and appreciate their past. All the while offering an opportunity to work the mines and provide a good living for themselves. It’s a 21st century Gold Rush, if our kids and their kids have something to look back on, then we are accomplishing what we have set out to do.
Quick Background on Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Back in the 1970’s the nation’s mining heritage dotted, if not covered, the landscape of the Western States. An estimated 115 to 120 thousand of these old abandoned mines were found scattered throughout the West. Their head frames and waste piles provided a glimpse into the Nation’s past. Today there are still some surviving mines on federal lands, but most of those will be gone in a few decades. The loss of Western mining heritage will accelerate in the coming years, rather than diminish. Not because of the gradual effects of wind, weather, and vandals, but primarily due to government reclamation programs. In 1977, Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act which taxes active coal mines. The funds were meant to fix safety hazards and environmental problems from two centuries of coal mining, but increasingly the funds are applied towards eliminating historic hard rock mines in the West. Since the passage of the Act in 1977, $7.2 billion has been spent by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to reclaim old mines that have been deemed “hazardous”. The history of these historic landmarks is gone forever. Never to be seen again.
Why the BLM and FS are Bent on Closing Abandoned Mines
The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service claim that they are bulldozing old mining sites for public safety, which is a believable story, until you look at the numbers. From 2013 to 2014, there were 4 deaths across the United States attributed to abandoned mines. In 2012 there were 15 deaths attributed to abandoned mines. In 2011, there were 5 deaths attributed to abandoned mines. In relation, there are approximately 10 people PER DAY that die while swimming in lakes and rivers across the US. That is over 3,500 people per year. So why isn’t there more of a focus on lake and river safety? Follow the money. They have the money to spend and it’s use it or risk losing it. There also seems to be an underlying current among the BLM and Forest Service to reclaim much of the land in the West to its primitive state. It appears that the BLM and Forest service use the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to reclaim mines and the Endangered Species Act to close big swaths of land with the same goal, to keep the public from using the land. You can postulate the reasons why later. For now lets return to the story. Corey knew that unchecked, systematic destruction of our mining heritage needed to stop, and it wasn’t going to stop if he sat idly by. Corey originally tried working with state organizations here in Utah. He helped local governments pass amendments to let the Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) know that they did not want their historical mines destroyed. However, under the guise of public safety, the DOGM and BLM ignored these requests, continuing to bulldoze and seal mines, in many cases destroying the history that was inside the mines and on the ground around them. Corey quickly saw that this was an uphill battle that he wasn’t going to win. These government agencies were well funded and were bent on bulldozing old, historic mining sites.
New Strategies to Preserve Old Mines and GRE is Born
It was time to try a different strategy. Corey realized that abandoned mines were a lot easier targets for the BLM to bulldoze than were mines that were claimed. In 2008 He began claiming mines that were threatened with reclamation. Soon friends were asking him what he was going to do with these old mines. A few were offering to buy some of these claims and were asking how much he would be willing to sell them for. Corey had no idea what a fair price would be, so he thought why not put them up on Ebay and let bidders determine how much they are worth. The mines sold quickly on Ebay and that’s when Corey knew he was onto something. For the next few years he continued to document and sell historic mines in his spare time. By 2011, after a few years of continual success, Corey decided it was time to take a leap of faith and quit his job and start selling mining claims full time. In Corey’s own words, “It’s been a wild ride. I never expected to see so many mining enthusiasts. We’ve had our fair share of tough times, but I have no regrets. This is what I love doing, and the more mines I can document and sell, the bigger the chance that these mines and their history will be preserved. The best part is seeing the number of people who are able to make a good living, working mines that would have otherwise been reclaimed.”
Why it is Important to Preserve our Mining Heritage
The destruction of these historic landmarks is alarming. We are actively destroying our heritage. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and at the same time our government organizations are determined to erase all evidence that these giants ever existed. When we remember the struggles that our predecessors went through and the obstacles they overcame, when begin to see that we are part of a larger narrative. It gives us added strength. We become more resilient and better able to deal with the challenges in our own lives. The ingenuity, resourcefulness and the stick to it mentality of these old mines is absolutely amazing. Here they were far from civilization, making their living cutting tunnels and bringing out gold. They built small towns with whatever resources they could find. They crossed the plains and built every mining town from Leadville, Colorado, and Virginia City, Nevada, to Butte Montana. They were dreamers, independent and hardworking dreamers, who in very essence built the West. Thomas Paine wrote, over 200 years ago, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly”. In a bigger sense when we forget the price that was paid for the rise of this nation and the struggles that we overcame to get where we are; we esteem our current position too lightly and we risk losing what our ancestors worked so hard to gain. That’s one of the main reasons we work so hard to preserve these old mines, is so that we have the physical reminders of the contributions of those who went before us.
The Very Best Mines, Reserved for You
Our business is to connect people from all reaches of life with a 20 acre section of land that speaks to them. We target historical sites with established ore values. The more remote, the more untouched, the better. We educate the public on what they can and can’t do with their mineral rights. Think of it as taking back a little bit of your “public lands” from the federal government. It gives the opportunity to build your own wealth and stimulate the economy of the nation at the same time, but more than that, its preserving the heritage of mining. Bringing back the days when a guy with a shovel could go out on a Monday, break ground and return on Friday with enough money to make himself and his family comfortable. It’s taking prosperity into your own hands.
GRE, Inc. is the premier place to find the best available claims in the West, be it for weekend prospecting, casual mining, or full scale mining operations. GRE has more knowledge and experience in locating and staking mines than anyone. Our trained and seasoned explorers traverse the western states, documenting, mapping and exploring abandoned mining claims. We then take the “cream of the crop”, The best of the best mines based off of mineral content, potential, location and historical value, and offer them up to the public.
These claims are shovel ready, all documents in place, ready for transfer. We do all the work so that there are no errors or omissions and you are free to enjoy your claim with no hassles.
GRE, Inc. has a wide variety of mining claims for sale
Click HERE to see our current inventory.