Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Pathfinder Mines Corp. v. Hodel

Citation: 17 ELR 20535
No. No. 85-2834, 811 F.2d 698/(9th Cir., 03/03/1987) Aff'd

The court holds that 22 mining claims within the Grand Canyon National Game Preserve held pursuant to the Mining Law of 1872 were void ab initio and withdrawn from mineral entry when the game preserve was created. The court holds that because the law creating the preserve does not directly address the question of mineral entry pursuant to the 1872 mining law, the Bureau of Land Management's interpretation that the claims are void is a permissible construction of the statute. The preserve was created to set aside land for the protection of game animals, and the Organic Act of 1897, which created forest reserves, does not automatically exclude mineral lands. Lands may be withdrawn from mineral entry either expressly or by inference. The court holds that the general purposes of the preserve are incompatible with entry under the 1872 law, thereby voiding the mining claims by inference. The piecemeal titling of mining lands in the preserve would interfere with the protection and propagation of game animals, and even though Congress did not expressly withdraw the lands from mineral entry, the two activities are fundamentally incompatible. The court holds that a small number of mining patents issued early in the history of the preserve, all since reacquired by the government, do not, without more, indicate that the Department of the Interior considered the preserve open to mineral entry.

[The district court's decision appears at 16 ELR 20091.]

Counsel for Appellant
John C. Lacy
DeConcini, McDonald, Brammer, Yetwin & Lacy
240 N. Stone Ave., Tucson AZ 85701
(602) 623-3411

Counsel for Appellee
Robert L. Klarquist
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2731

Before Norris & Brunetti, JJ.