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Protect Pactola

Prevent mining in the Upper Rapid Creek Watershed.

Protect the woods and waters.  Protect outdoor recreation.  Protect our economy.

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Our Mission

We are a grassroots organization committed to protecting our environment, our water supply, our recreation areas, and one of the crown jewels of the Black Hills.  

Mining exploration in the Upper Rapid Creek watershed of the Black Hills is not acceptable.  

Rapid Creek and Castle Creek are the source for Pactola Reservoir and large scale mining in this watershed will not be tolerated. 

History has proven that any large scale hard rock mining in this watershed will  jeopardize and contaminate the creeks, the reservoir, and the aquifers that supply water to our communities downstream.  We the residents of Rapid City, Ellsworth Air Force Base, reservations, smaller communities, and agriculture producers as it flows to the Cheyenne and Missouri Rivers depend upon this water.

Our mission is to protect OUR watershed.

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The Issues and Details

Minneapolis Based F3 Gold, LLC seeks to drill test holes in Jenny Gulch - they are looking for gold and will then sell the mining rights.

Mineral Mountain Resources is exploring for gold in the Rochford area.

American Rivers declared Rapid Creek one of America's most endangered rivers in 2020

Our goal is to prevent any exploration or mining in this beautiful, ecologically sensitive, and valuable area.

Glasses of Water

Key Facts

  • There are no examples of a metallic sulfide mine that has been operated and closed in the Black Hills without substantial negative impacts to water quality and the surrounding environment.

  • 24% of the land in the Upper Rapid Creek Watershed has active mining claims on it.

  • The last major gold mine to close in the Black Hills – the Gilt Edge Mine — went bankrupt, and taxpayers are paying for the cleanup. The estimated cost is $200 million, and the government is not sure if that will solve the problem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the former mine is now a Superfund site, one of the nation’s most polluted sites

  • Rapid City’s water would become worthless if contaminated by mining in the upper Rapid Creek watershed. The current water treatment process is not designed to remove mining contaminants, and upgrading it to that level would cost millions of dollars

F3 Map Edited.png

F3's Exploration Project 
Jenny Gulch above Silver City, SD


Rapid Creek & Pactola Reservoir

  • 80% of Pactola is designated for drinking water usage by the City of Rapid City, Boxelder, and Ellsworth AFB  for drinking water. 

  • 20% of Pactola is designated for irrigation purposes.

  • Inflow to Rapid Creek

  • Prime trout fishery with brown and brook trout spawning beds

  • Largest lake in the Black Hills

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How to help!

Support the Rapid Creek Watershed Action

We have partnered with the Rapid Creek Watershed Action and are working towards having the federally-controlled surface and subsurface lands within the Rapid Creek/Castle Creek watershed upstream from Rapid City designated as a national recreation area and subject to a mineral claim withdrawal.

Donate to the Rapid Creek Watershed Action

Help us spread the word or invite us to speak to your organization today!

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What is the economic value of Rapid City, Box Elder, and EAFB's drinking water supply?  - Dr. Jerry Wright calculates it at $2.9 Billion per year.

Should mining occur in one of the prime recreational areas of the Black Hills?

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Stakeholder Objections

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Hiking Boots

Trail Users

  • Trail 40 and the Centennial Trail are heavily used for hiking, trail running, XC skiing, snow shoeing, and mountain biking.

  • The exploratory drilling will interrupt the enjoyment of these activities due to the increase in traffic and noise for this project.  The drilling crews will transit the roads at least 4 times a day for shift change and water transport purposes.

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