Trespassing at 'extremely unsafe' historic Utah County mill on the rise, again

The historic Tintic Standard Reduction Mill near Goshen pictured in March 2018. Utah wildlife managers said Tuesday they are dealing with another surge in trespassing cases at the "unsafe" property in Utah County.

The historic Tintic Standard Reduction Mill near Goshen pictured in March 2018. Utah wildlife managers said Tuesday they are dealing with another surge in trespassing cases at the "unsafe" property in Utah County. (Devon Dewey, KSL.com)


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GOSHEN, Utah County — Utah wildlife managers are reminding people the historic Tintic Standard Reduction Mill is unsafe and closed off to the public amid a surge in trespassing cases over the past year.

Nearly 300 different trespassing citations have been issued at the southern Utah County property by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officers, Utah County Sheriff's deputies and Santaquin police over the past year, according to the agencies.

"Some of the old landmarks may look interesting, but it is an extremely unsafe area," said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officer Tod Morgan, in a statement Tuesday. "We need people to stay out of this area so that someone doesn't get hurt."

The historic mill has existed for over a century, but it has been officially closed more than two decades for multiple reasons.

The Tintic Standard Mining Company completed the historic mill in 1920 to help process silver mined in the region. It was one of the last mills in the nation to use the Augustin process, reducing high amounts of sulfide in raw ore. Because of advancements in silver processing that emerged in that year, the mill only operated for about five years before it became obsolete in 1925.

It remained in the company's hands until the 1970s, when it started to change hands. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources eventually assumed ownership in 1986 as part of the 280-acre Goshen Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area surrounding the property. By then, the mill had been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Augustin process that made the property so unique is also why the property is considered unsafe. While the mill hadn't operated since the 1920s, high levels of arsenic and lead were still found in soil samples taken from the site in 2002. There haven't been any efforts to remediate the site largely because of the cost.

State wildlife officials closed the mill to the public after this discovery. The mill's old buildings are "crumbling," with "frequent chunks of concrete falling in the area," Morgan adds.

A no-trespassing sign at the gate into  Goshen Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area is pictured on Aug. 26, 2019.
A no-trespassing sign at the gate into Goshen Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area is pictured on Aug. 26, 2019. (Photo: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Yet, the recent surge in trespassing isn't the first time the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other agencies have dealt with trespassing issues at the old mill.

In 2019, the agency began issuing citations amid a spike in people coming to take photos or tag the mill with graffiti. A citation is a class B misdemeanor, which can lead to a $1,000 fine.

Multiple no-trespassing signs exist surrounding the wildlife management area today and the site is also monitored by video surveillance. Despite these efforts, wildlife managers say trespassing, drug use, graffiti vandalization and littering remain a challenge — sparking the reminder on Tuesday.

"This entire area is currently closed to the public, including for hunting and fishing," Morgan said. "We want everyone to stay safe, and that means staying out of this area."

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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