Monday, August 14, 2017

Headframe Dedicated at the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine Site

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) visited the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine tourism site to dedicate a new addition that represents a big piece of regional history: a 35-foot headframe from a local coal mine.
“This project enhances the educational experience at Pioneer Tunnel and adds an asset to the local tourism economy, while providing a lasting reminder of the integral role anthracite mining plays in northeast Pennsylvania,” said John Stefanko, DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations.

The headframe once stood at Bowman’s shaft at North Mahanoy Colliery, where hundreds of local workers passed under it to enter the mine during operations from the mid-1850s to 1931.

The work on the abandoned mine land near the Pioneer Tunnel, completed in 2015, included salvaging the headframe; backfilling a 165-foot-deep mine shaft near several homes; and removing an old pump house, a deteriorated reinforced concrete electrical house and various concrete foundations. The site was regraded and revegetated.

Also speaking at Monday's dedication were Dave Hamilton (Office of Surfrace Mining and Enforcement), Conrad Falvello (Representative for Congressman Barletta), Schuylkill County Commission Frank Staudenmeier, Pennsylvania State Representative Neal Goodman, Ed Wytovich (Pioneer Tunnel), Duane Feagley (Executive Director of PA Anthracite Council), Dave A Lucas (Retired Miner).

DEP awarded funding through the 2016 Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program to Pioneer Tunnel to refurbish and erect the headframe at the tourism site.

Project partners include the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) at the U.S. Department of Interior; Ashland Borough; Ashland Community Enterprises; Keystone Anthracite; Pagnotti Enterprises; Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum; Pioneer Tunnel Group; and Schuylkill County.

The OSMRE-funded Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program includes 14 projects statewide targeted to areas where mine reclamation has strong potential for community and economic gain as well as environmental benefits.

Photos by Lexi Harner

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