I know it is fashionable to bash the greenies, but as much as I love mining, you have to admit that mining has irreversibly damaged big chunks of real estate. Having said that, the potassium cyanide used in gold and silver mining breaks down relatively quickly into harmless chemicals on exposure to air. Most small gold and silver mines are pretty harmless as well, I know several people that get their drinking water from old gold mines. The ones that are beginning to cause problems are the massive sulphide copper mines.
Not in a long time. When I was younger we use to go to Sunnyside, at that time the last resident of the town, Fred MacIntyre (or something close), use to welcome visitors and give a tour of the town he was born in and lived in since 1900 (or so). He was a great guy and since he lived in the town his whole life, he was part of its history. If I recall correctly, the town had about a dozen original structures, although no buildings remained at the mine itself.
Years later I was on a hotshot fire crew, and we were on a nasty wildfire in the area-winds were whipping at 50 miles an hour and it only took a day or so for the fire to go 25 miles from Harshaw to Whetstone. After pulling a 30+ hour shift I remember walking through a wall of smoke and flames into a cemetary near Elgin that we were trying to keep from burning over-As the smoke cleared, the first gravestone I saw was Mr Fred MacIntyre. Rest in peace Fred, you were a good man.