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In first for Montana, mine-damaged creek flowing into Yellowstone NP declared cleaned up

The 1988 fires that scorched Yellowstone National Park also re-ignited fears of a different kind of environmental disaster, one involving water.

Within the boundary of the 1988 Storm Creek fire is an old mining district, just outside the town of Cooke City. More than 80 years of copper, gold and silver extraction in the area left a legacy of toxic runoff into the upper Stillwater River, Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River and Soda Butte Creek. In addition to the mines, a 10-acre tailings impoundment filled with heavy metals was held behind an earthen dam atop the Soda Butte Creek drainage at the old McLaren Mill site.

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