Stay out and Stay Alive

AML Magazine

The AML Magazine highlights various projects the division works on yearly. 

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Rules and Regulations

All official Wyoming State Rules and Regulations are kept at the Wyoming Secretary of State's Office. Click here to view all current Rules and Regulations. 


Stay out and Stay alive

On average, 20 to 30 people die each year in abandoned mines in the United States. This is an alarming and unfortunate statistic because many of these incidents are preventable.


Hunters, hikers, cave explorers and other recreationists who use public and private lands are at risk of death or serious injury. The Abandoned Mine Land Division has cataloged many abandoned mine sites in Wyoming, but many more exist in remote areas and on private land.

Anyone who observes an abandoned mine should report the site to us at 307-777-6145. Exact location and access routes will be especially helpful.

The mine opening (known as a portal or adit) may seem stable, but rotting timbers and unstable rock formations make cave-ins a real danger. The darkness and debris in old mines make it difficult to identify the hazards.

These can be hundreds of feet deep. At the surface, openings can be hidden by vegetation, or covered by rotting boards or timbers. Inside old mines, shafts can be camouflaged by debris or hidden by darkness in the mine.

Blasting caps, dynamite and chemicals were often left behind when the workings were abandoned. Explosives become unstable with age and can be detonated by the vibration of footsteps. Abandoned chemicals such as cyanide, arsenic, mercury and other deadly toxins may be present in leaking and deteriorating containers.

Lethal concentrations of methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide may accumulate in underground passages. Oxygen deficient air may cause suffocation. People have died within a few feet of mine openings.

Impounded water may be highly alkaline or acidic (resulting in skin burns), as well as deep and cold (contributing to hypothermia).

These loose piles can collapse or slide, burying an unsuspecting victim.

Abandoned surface structures and old mine equipment may collapse on bystanders.

These are the excavated vertical cliffs in surface pits and quarries. They can be unstable and prone to collapse. Highwalls may not be visible from the top, presenting a danger to off-road drivers.

Radon is a natural radioactive decay product and is known to be a factor in some lung cancers. Radon can accumulate in high concentrations in poorly ventilated mines.

Rattlesnakes, bears, mountain lions and other wildlife frequent old mine sites.

There is no natural light inside mine workings. Many workings meander randomly because the miners who dug them followed an ore vein. It is easy to become lost and disoriented in a maze of mine workings, especially if lighting equipment fails.

Mine fires create surface hazards in abandoned coal mine areas. As fires burn within the seam, fissures can open to the surface delivering deadly gases into the atmosphere. The area around the fissure may not be capable of supporting the weight of a human or vehicle, and may collapse into the burning coal or the mine void.