Friends Stops Illegal Mining in the Gorge

Friends’ legal efforts to stop the illegal mining on the Zimmerly property in Clark County came to a head over the past year. In just 2023 alone, Friends won 12 separate legal victories against the mining violators!

These included victories at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court, the Washington Court of Appeals, the Clark County Superior Court, and the Clark County Land Use Hearing Examiner. Each of these courts and decision-makers has now formally agreed with Friends that the unpermitted mining activity that occurred on the Zimmerly property from 2017 to 2020 was illegal. And this past summer, after presiding over seventeen hours of hearings, the Clark County Hearing Examiner denied a land use application for resuming mining on the property because it was incomplete under the National Scenic Area rules. That decision has been appealed, so the litigation continues into 2024. 

Friends was assisted by a team of lawyers in the litigation, and the Clark County land use hearing benefitted from the substantial involvement of many concerned individuals, organizations, and public agencies. It takes a village to stop an illegal mine!


Additional Reading: The illegal mine was nearly adjacent to Columbia River Gorge Elementary School and Jemtegaard Middle School (top of photo). © Friends Archives