The newly designated Burnt Fork district is located east of Victor and includes the Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River which flows from the Sapphire Mountains. Mining in the area has been insignificant.
According to the geological map of Ravalli County, sedimentary rocks of the Ravalli group of the Belt series underlie the eastern portion of the district in the Sapphire Mountains, while rocks of the Newland formation of the Belt series are found in the upper reaches of the Birch Creek drainage. In the western half of th e district, Tertiary lake beds, Pleistocene silts from glacial Lake Missoula, and Recent alluvium cover the Bitterroot River valley and the lower reaches of its tributaries (Sahinen 1957).
There may have been a small amount of placering in the Burnt Fork district, but it is impossible to determine exact locations. Miners recovered some gold from placers in Schooner Gulch in 1916. While the literature placed this drainage in the Pleasant View district, Lyden (1948) could find no creek by this name and concluded that it must refer to Spooner Gulch east of Victor, now part of the Burnt Fork district. In addition, Mineral Resources and Minerals Yearbook reported small amounts of gold recovered from placers near Stevensville in 1929, 1932-1933, and 1935. The amounts were small: $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 (Lyden 1948; Sahinen 1957).
The only lode mine in the district is the Claremont, a minor copper prospect. There is no history written about this mine, and apparently it reported no production (Sahinen 1957).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
The boundaries of the newly formed district are not described in current mining literature. It encompasses the drainage of Birch Creek and the upper drainage of Burnt Fork Creek, with many smaller creeks included as well. It is bordered by Three Mile district on the north, Curlew and Pleasant View on the west, Sapphire on the south, and Rock Creek on the east. Figure 1 shows the AMRB (1994) defined district.
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
The Claremont copper mine is located on Claremont Creek, in the NW 1/4 of section 1, T8N, R19W, about 12 miles southeast of Stevensville. The adit, now caved, was probably several hundred feet long. Vein material from the dump contains copper pitch (copper and iron oxides), while the country rock is brown-black argillite. Selected samples of the ore contained 2.5 percent copper, but most is not that rich. There are no records of production from the mine (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
Fredlund, Lynn and Brian Shovers
1988 "Cultural Resource Inventory and Assessment Bagdad Mine Project, Granite County, Montana", prepared for Mark V Mines by GCM Services, Butte.
Lyden, Charles J.
1948 "The Gold Placers of Montana",
Memoir No. 26
. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana.
Sahinen, Uuno Mathias
1957 "Mines and Mineral Deposits, Missoula and Ravalli Counties, Montana",
Bulletin No. 8
. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Montana School of Mines, Butte.