The newly designated North Bitterroot mining district is located west of Florence and Stevensville on the east slope of the rugged Bitterroot Mountains. Much of the district is within the Bitterroot Wilderness area. The district has one known lode mine, as well as some placer operations.

Presumably the geology of the district is similar to that of the neighboring Curlew district to the south. Sedimentary rocks of the Belt series underlie the area, broken by a major intrusion of quartz monzonite of the Idaho batholith. Metamorphism altered the granite to mylonite zone a few miles in width all along the eastern front of the Bitterroot Mountains. Mineral deposits occur in fissure veins in the metamorphosed Beltian sediments that form the roof over the intrusive batholith (Sahinen 1935, 1957; Lindgren 1903).

Mining literature reported small quantities of gold recovered from placers near Stevensville amounting to $98 in 1932, $39 in 1933, and $40 in 1935. The exact location of these claims is unknown, and they may fall in the Three Mile, Burnt Fork, or North Bitterroot districts (Sahinen 1957; Lyden 1948).

The only lode prospect, the Cliff, was located by Mr. Trucler at an unknown date. The lead-silver mine last operated during the 1930s (Sahinen 1957).


The boundaries of this newly formed district are not described in current mining literature. It encompasses the drainages of One Horse, Sweeney, Bass, and Kootenai creeks, all of which flow easterly out of the Bitterroot Mountains. Figure 1 shows the district as defined by the AMRB (1994).



The Cliff mine is located in the Bass Creek drainage southwest of Florence, in section 28, T10N, R21W. Mr. Trucler discovered the deposit at an unknown date. Operators worked on the mine over the years, sinking a shaft and driving an adit 550 feet. The lead-silver ore reportedly is similar to that found in the Curlew district. The mine has been idle since the late 1930s. There have been no shipments of ore (Sahinen 1957).


Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)

1994 Mining districts of Montana. Maps 1:100,000 and Map #94-NRIS-129. Compiled and edited by Joel Chavez. Prepared by Montana State Library Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) for Montana Department of State Lands. Helena

Lindgren, Waldemar

1903 Mineral Deposits of the Bitterroot Range and Clearwater Mountains, Montana. U.S.G.S. Bulletin N. 213. Contributions to Economic Geology, 1902. Government Printing Office, Washington.

Lyden, Charles J.

1948 "The Gold Placers of Montana", Memoir No. 26. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana.

Sahinen, Uuno Mathias

1935 "Mining Districts of Montana", Unpublished Master's thesis, Department of Geology, Montana School of Mines, Butte.

1957 "Mines and Mineral Deposits, Missoula and Ravalli Counties, Montana", Bulletin No. 8. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Montana School of Mines, Butte.