Prospecting near Donner Party trail in UT nixed

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Updated: 6/16/2014 6:42 am

WENDOVER, Utah (AP) — For a second time, federal land managers have rejected a mineral exploration company's proposal to prospect for potash on a section of the western Utah desert crossed by the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846.

The Bureau of Land Management nixed an effort by Mesa Exploration Corp., which seeks to create a potash mine on a dry lakebed near the Nevada line about 20 miles north of Wendover.

The BLM denied a prospecting permit to Mesa Exploration last year, and the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company appealed that decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

The Deseret News reports Mesa Exploration submitted a new proposal aimed at settling the controversy four weeks ago, and the appeal is still pending after the BLM's rejection of the plan.

Historians praise the BLM's decision, saying unspoiled sections of historic trail traversed by covered-wagon pioneers are rare and must be preserved.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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