Owner of ‘Glitter Mountain’ mine asks visitors to respect his claim

ST. GEORGE – Not all that glitters is free for the taking.

Thanks to the internet, there’s a prevailing belief that “Glitter Mountain,” a pit on public land in the Arizona Strip and about 10 miles south of St. George, is an old, abandoned mine where the selenite crystals found therein can be freely mined and taken.

The Bureau of Land Management and Russ Feller, the owner of the selenite mine claim, would like the public to know the mine is not abandoned, but active, and is a source of revenue for Feller Stone, a family business in based in Veyo.

People mining for selenite crystals in the pit of the “Glitter Mine.” Russ Feller, owner of the mining rights to the site, and the BLM ask people not to be there for safety reasons, as they worry rocks from the cliff side above could fall onto visitors below, Mohave County, Arizona, date unknown | Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, St. George News

“We would love to ask the public’s help in honoring the claimant’s mine and not mine his claim,” said Rachel Carnahan, public affairs officer for the BLM’s Arizona Strip District.

While Feller said he doesn’t mind people visiting the mine and taking tiny pieces of crystal left on the ground (2 inches or smaller), he does take issue with people extracting large chunks from his claim.

“Mr. Feller, of Veyo, has the exclusive mining rights to this claim,” Carnahan said.

The mine site, which has come to be known as “Glitter Mountain,” “Sparkle Mountain,” the “Glitter Pit” and other names, has become an increasingly popular spot for locals and tourists to visit over the last couple of years thanks to blogs and travel sites.

These sites do not mention the mine is active or the restrictions that go with it though, possibly because they just don’t know, Carnahan said.

Feller Stone mines the claim a couple of times a year and then covers up where they dug, Feller said. That’s likely the reason people think the mine is abandoned, he said.

Regardless, this has led to increasing concerns over theft and safety for Feller, and he’s been working with the BLM for over a year to remedy the situation.

Russ Feller, president of Feller Stone, says he doesn’t mind people taking tiny crystals shards from the “Glitter Mine” site, yet asks the public to respect his claim to the site by not mining it themselves and taking large fragments of selenite he holds an exclusive mining claim to. Otherwise, continued theft from the site may ultimately result in it being fenced off in the future, Veyo, Utah, Oct. 20, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Originally, Feller told the BLM he wanted to put a fence around the claim.

“They didn’t want me to put up a fence because people love going there,” he said, and he understands why. “It’s fun to go into the hills and look for shiny rocks.”

While the theft issue is self-evident, Feller said, he doesn’t want people going up to the ledge around the pit or into the pit proper. Someone could fall in or have rocks from above fall on them and get hurt. That presents a liability problem, he said.

“Because of the issues of losing revenue on the rock they take and being unsafe about it, those are the issues that concerned us,” Feller said, adding that plans are already in the works to wall-off the steeper cliffs.

As a way to get the correct word out about the mine, the BLM recently set up a signs asking visitors to respect the active mine claim.

Guidelines listed for visiting the mine include not going in or near the mine’s pit, as well as a prohibiting digging and mining implements and machinery – so leave the picks and shovels at home.

“It’s nice to have the signs out there,” Feller said, adding that some of the people who actually pay attention to it have called the BLM or Feller Stone for information.

Signs set up by the Bureau of Land Management at the mine site advising visitors to respect the active mining claim on the area and not to “mine the claimant’s mine,” Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 3, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s starting to help, so the education process is starting to work,” he said.

Feller Stone has four active mining claims in the general area, Feller said, and advises that people who go onto the public lands do their due diligence and learn who may have a claim here or there and respect those claims accordingly.

“It’s like I told other people, ‘If there’s a pretty unique rock out there in the hills, it’s probably claimed by someone,’” he said.

The selenite, also called “Utah Ice,” tends to be sold off as a decorative rock for inside and outside of homes as well as in aquariums.

Feller again emphasized that people taking “a few pounds of the little stuff” at the Glitter Pit isn’t a problem, and remains open to people visiting it as long as they respect his claim,

However, if people continue to go in with picks and hammers to fill buckets and boxes with selenite, he said, it will likely lead to the site being closed off.

“If people aren’t respecting the claim and respecting what we’re trying to do, then we’ll have to apply to the BLM to get a fence put up,” Feller said.

Ed. Note: The Glitter Mountain site was the subject of a “No Filter Show” episode featured on St. George News in February 2015 that was also rerun as a “No Filter Flashback” in August 2017. The information presented in the episode was based on the mistaken belief the mine was abandoned with the selenite open to the public for extraction. Both the 2015 and 2017 posts featuring Glitter Mountain have been updated to reflect the information presented in the article above.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • comments October 20, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    respect the claimants mine and not mine the claim

    • .... October 21, 2017 at 8:32 am

      those claim jumpers are related to you no doubt

      • BradGreen October 23, 2017 at 11:48 am

        Property rights matter! What we earn, what we build, and what we own are the resources we have with which we can sustain, prolong, and enjoy our lives. When someone takes even a small portion of your property from you without them voluntarily exchanging, you are putting their life at risk! We all expect others to respect us, this includes allowing us to continue to live our lives in meaningful ways. No one has a right to make you live less of a life. Stealing is wrong, you get nothing for something while the thief gets something for nothing. Violence, fraud and theft are wrong and force is justified to stop them.

  • youcandoit October 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Not to mention if someone gets injured you don’t want to get sued. Stay safe people. Go with God

    • comments October 21, 2017 at 1:08 am

      funny thing is you can own a mining claim without actually owning any of the land it’s on. I bid on a house once, it went into contract, and within the contract was a disclosure that all the mineral rights of the land belonged to so-and-so. I’m not sure of the technicalities of how they can set up a mining operation that is on land owned by another party. I’m sure these are old old laws dating back to the 1800s when silver and gold were the big thing.

      • BradGreen October 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

        A mining claim is just a contract with the owner of the property. It allows the claimant to have access to a certain portion of the property’s resources, without having rights to others. Think of it like renting a home. You don’t own it, but you have a contract that allows you to use it in certain ways. You probably can’t take the water heater when you move out, but you are welcome to use it while you’re renting.

  • cv_t-bird October 21, 2017 at 8:59 am

    This is why we can’t have nice things! People seem to think that they are entitled to all sorts of things and have no respect for anything. If you visit somewhere, leave it better than you found it and don’t take anything that you don’t have a legal right or permission from its rightful owner. If you don’t know who or what that is, then leave it be…it’s as simple as that.

    • BradGreen October 23, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Such simple concepts, so foreign to so many. Thank you for pointing this out.

    • mctrialsguy October 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Well said. So true!

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