Former Mining Site Becomes Regional Park in Utah

SOURCE: | September 18, 2023

Butterfield Canyon, which once hosted a Rio Tinto Kennecott mine that was part of the Bingham Canyon complex, has turned into the Butterfield Trailhead Regional Park following land reclamation efforts.

unknown.gifLocated in the Oquirrh Mountains in southwest Salt Lake County, Utah, Butterfield Canyon rises 2,800 metres above sea level and contains the Butterfield Canyon Road, a paved road owned by Kennecott Utah Copper. The miner’s operations are famous for being the first to apply large-scale open-pit mining and economical mechanical processing to low-grade copper ores in the area.

Bingham Canyon is also considered to be one of the deepest open-pit mines in the world and a top producer with more than 17 million tonnes of copper extracted from its pits since 1906.

“We’re so proud to see what’s possible through our environmentally focused reclamation efforts on what was once a mining site,” Rio Tinto Copper COO, Clayton Walker, said in a media statement. “The community has long asked for access to this beautiful area, and this collaboration with Salt Lake County is our way of finding better ways to offer a safe and fun way for the public to enjoy Butterfield Canyon.”

The 17-acre Butterfield Trailhead Regional Park is the result of a 2022 lease agreement between Salt Lake County and Rio Tinto Kennecott and is part of the Southwest Canyon Trails Network, which is composed of 2,500 acres including Rose and Yellow Fork canyons.

Use of Butterfield Trailhead Regional Park is specific to trails only and can accommodate adaptive bikes. Two dedicated full-time open space technicians will be onsite to manage the trails and will work closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Rio Tinto, Herriman City, and first responders.

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