Verlot Ranger Station - Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Location: 33515 Mtn. Loop Highway
Granite Falls, WA 98252

Phone: (360) 691-7791

Please note there is NO CELL phone reception/availability in that area.

Itinerary for Field Trip to Verlot
8:00 AM Leave GHHS via PSD bus/van
~10:15 AM Arrive Verlot Ranger Station
10:15 - 10:30 Settle in/look around/review exhibits
10:30 - 12:00 Presentation by Park Rangers on Monte Cristo mine cleanup operations
12:00 - 12:20 Transport to Big Four Picnic Area
12:20 - 1:00 Lunch/Environment measurements at Big Four Picnic area
1:00 - 3:00 Transport back to GHHS via PSD Van

Please Note: Seattle-area traffic is VERY unpredictable so arrival times at Verlot and back home at GHHS are approximate.

What to Bring:

  • Sturdy boots or shoes that you don't mind getting wet and muddy (DO NOT WEAR Flip Flops or Sandals or any other open toed shoes-- if you do you'll have to stay on the bus when we go tromping through the woods)
  • Sturdy long pants/jeans... we will be tromping around in the woods where it is muddy and wet
  • A shirt that you don't mind getting muddy or grabbed by tree branches and/or vines
  • Rain gear -- we can always leave it on the van if we don't need it
  • Bug Repellant -- the skeeters weren't present when I was there yesterday (7/3/2013) but that doesn't meant hey won't be when we get there
  • A camera only if you have a case for it
  • Curiosity!!!! My colleague Dena Berkey will be joining us and she is an ACE geologist!


The Monte Cristo mining district experienced a 'boom' of sorts in the 1890's. Original prospectors to the area initially thought they had discovered one of the richest mining deposits for gold and silver in the Western Hemisphere.

During the 1890's the area population grew to 1000 or so miners and families. A 'concentrator' was built to crush ore-bearing rock and 'concentrate' out the ore for shipment via railroad to a smelter in Everett.

John D. Rockefellor was the major investor in the region at this time.

However, the ore was both difficult to retrieve and not nearly as rich as first thought and many of the miners left especially during the Klondike gold rush of 1898.

Major floods destroyed the railroad contributing to the decline in the area forcing many of the last miners to sell their claims at pennies on the dollar.

Interestingly enough, many of those miners sold their claims to a company controlled by Rockefellor. He then rebuilt the railroad, resold those mines (at a handsome profit) and then quit the area.

The concentrator and other mining operations left tremendous amounts of 'tailings' -- essentially worthless piles of waste rock-- behind.

Those piles of rock contained high amounts of arsenic and other toxic materials that have eroded over time and have been released into the environment over the last 100 years or so.

The National Park Service is starting a substantial clean-up later this summer. For the next couple of years they will work to remove those 'tailings' and return the Monte Cristo area to a more natural state.


I will grade you on

1) Background on Monte Cristo area (4 pts)

2) Description of Mining (4 pts)

3) Description of Cleanup (4 pts)

4) Personal Reflection (4 pts)