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Reclaim Mayflower Mine Tailings Area

Wasatch County, Utah

Featured image for the project, Reclaim Mayflower Mine Tailings Area

Our goal is to repurpose a previously mined and degraded area into an open space outdoor recreation area.  We need to find and acquire funding for development of the proposed recreational amenity. A previous project identified the area as being appropriately remediated in regards to the tailings ponds, and recreational development in the form of pickleball courts, soccer fields, and bike trails is proposed. This type of development, including parking lots, will increase the physical distance between the public and the tailings and reduce groundwater infiltration into the tailings while providing a highly anticipated amenity to the community.


About the Community

The land being developed is adjacent to the Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA) mountain resort, which will be a recreational facility specifically for current or former military.  The community that will benefit from this project consists of military personnel that are staying at the resort, Wasatch County residents, as well as the state of Utah due to economic development.  The community members will range from international visitors to rural mountain residents. Community members have interests in mountain outdoor recreation and ecologically sustainable development options.  The central priority is to turn a contaminated property into a beneficial outdoor recreation asset.

About the Project

Environmental testing has been done on the site and the area has been determined to be suitable for recreational development including public ball fields (pickleball, soccer) hiking/biking trails, bird/wildlife viewing areas, etc.  Ideally, the determined land use will be sustainable and have minimal environmental impact. When completed, both the local community as well as resort visitors will have an outdoor amenity.  The anticipated impact of this project will be a dramatic improvement of the aesthetic and usefulness of the land being developed, that will improve the quality of life of everyone in the community, either visitors or residents.

Timeline and Milestones

The approximate timeline for this project is 12 months (6-18 months being the maximum extent), approximately ending in May 2025.


-Part I: Determine what sources of funding are available for developing the area

-Part II: Secure funding through grants/subsidization/other means

Project Team

Community Leads

Derek Herndon

MIDA JMARA Project Manager Derek Herndon loves solving problems, empowering others, and anything outdoors.

MIDA MRF Deputy Project Manager Ashley Burr is a chaos container and non-discriminator of outdoor fun.


Community Science Fellow

Community Science Fellow and Project Manager Michael Barthelmes is a geologist and science communicator at Colorado State University. Through a partnership with the National Park Service, he produces reports that summarize the geologic history, features and processes, and potential management issues for individual park units. He holds a bachelors in geology from Cornell College and a masters of communication and media management from Colorado State University. He lives in Denver, Colorado and hopes to bring some of his familiarity with similar recreation communities in Colorado to bear on this project.

Scientist Wanted

Fundraiser specialist

We are seeking someone with experience identifying funding opportunities for this type of project. This person will ideally have experience working with superfund sites, brownfields, or other environmental reclamation projects. They will also ideally be familiar with the state of Utah and/or national sources of funding (i.e. grants or subsidies that the project is eligible for). The right person will be able to take the planned development project and its benefits to the community—both the remediation of the mine tailings and the desired recreational opportunities—and identify potential sources of funding. The person will also have the skills and experience to initiate and complete securing some or all of the funding.

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • experience with development of remediated areas
  • experience with priorities/interests of small mountain communities
  • knowledge of regional politics and funding
  • familiarity with the expected costs of this type of project
  • familiarity with potential county/state requirements for using land for any of the potential project options (additional remediation, environmental testing requirements, etc.)
  • We expect some communication in remote meetings, both initially and throughout the process (monthly at a minimum)
  • If we are unable to meet biweekly via Zoom, a written summary of project status and any progress would be sufficient


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!

Collaborating Organization(s)

The National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility operated by Battelle and designed to collect long-term open access ecological data to better understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing

Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA): MIDA is the land use authority for this project area. MIDA is a state entity with municipal authority to build infrastructure that creates economic benefit for military installations and personnel in the state of Utah.

Extell: Extell is the private development group that is leading the Mayflower Mountain Resort build.

Wasatch County: Wasatch County is the local governing entity wherein the land is located. MIDA, Extell and the County work closely together on planning, permitting, environmental and regulatory issues.

Stantec: Stantec is an environmental testing group that has conducted a variety of soils testing both on this specific property and throughout the project area.