Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

Lincoln Ranger District welcomes new Minerals Administrator


Roger Dey

Beach Hastings

The new minerals administrator for the Lincoln and Helena Ranger Districts began work at the Lincoln Ranger Station last Monday to help the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest to better manage their mining program and be more responsive to people interested in mining on public land.

On the Lincoln Ranger District, Beach Hastings takes over the minerals administration duties from Luke Shimer, who will now focus on the range management and weed control programs.

"Minerals administration can be kind of a ...time consuming occupation," said Hastings, who is filling a new, permanent position on the district. "I'll be solely minerals and that will be on the Lincoln and Helena districts."

His duties include the inspection of current mining sites and abandoned mine lands, processing miner's plans of operations and notices of intent and helping them through the environmental analysis and bonding process as well as final reclamation work.

Since he's only recently arrived, Hastings hasn't met the local miners just yet, but has been spending time getting his bearings.

"I spent all day yesterday just driving around the forest trying to get to know my way around, see where things are," he said Friday. "I looked at a few things yesterday and tried to learn the roads and where everything is."

Hastings comes to Lincoln from Idaho City, Idaho, where he spent the last four years working in a temporary seasonal physical sciences position on the Boise National Forest. Prior to that he worked in the oilfields of Texas and Williston ND before realizing that wasn't for him.

Before finding his way into the world of geology, Hastings spent 15 years working in the auto parts industry. When he decided to do something else with his life, he returned to school in 2007.

He traces his interest in geology to a class he took in 2007 after returning to college.

"I went to community college and took a geology course and loved it," he said. "(I) got my associates degree at Glendale Community College and at a whim - my wife and I were in Phoenix and didn't really care for it - I applied to Boise State University and got accepted."

He graduated from Boise State with a degree in geosciences, with an emphasis in geology

For Shimer, who estimated well over 70 percent of his time was spent dealing with minerals related work, Hastings' presence means he can get back to concentrating on Range Management, which is where his background lies.

Roger Dey

I think it will be a good stroke of business for all parties - local miners on the Helena District and the Lincoln District, as well as us as an agency - to have somebody just center-focused on that," he said.

While Shimer is pleased to get back to his main area of interests, Hastings is looking forward to getting to know the nature of the two ranger districts.

"I like the area so far and I'm really interested in the geology. I haven't seen stuff like this since Arizona," he said.

For the time being Hastings' wife and his dog are remaining in Idaho City, unt'il things settle out here and he can find a place to rent. "As soon as we find a place she's gonna come over."


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