Say the names of these Colorado towns out loud: Silverton. Leadville. Silver Plume. Rico. Bonanza. Ironton. The last two are ghost towns, but the names of each allude to a history that - most of the time - is nearly invisible to most of the state's residents.

That mineral-rich past burst into the public consciousness after Environmental Protection Agency workers mistakenly triggered a release of contaminated water from the Gold King mine just above Silverton. The rust-colored water, laden with iron and several heavy metals, including very high concentrations of arsenic and lead, oozed its way down the Animas River, through the town of Durango and into New Mexico and beyond.

In the spill's wake, many questions have been raised. One is, just how big is the scale of mining wastewater problems in Colorado? Another is, what is being done to clean them up?

Pulling Colorado's State Fish Back From The Brink

Jul 15, 2015
Mariah Lundgren / Platte Basin Timelapse, used w/ permission

Colorado's mountain streams are premier trout fishing destinations, but anglers aren't likely to reel in a greenback cutthroat trout. That's because until a few years ago, Colorado's state fish was on the brink of extinction.

"Last time we pretty much just focused on the pools, there wasn't much sitting in these faster areas," said biologist Josh Nehring as he wades up Bear Creek, a few miles outside Colorado Springs. "But it's just running so high this year."

Nehring is electrofishing: sending a current through the water to attract and stun the fish, making them easier to catch. Nehring hopes to find a few trout here to help establish many more elsewhere.

Robert Leja / KUNC

The Courage Classic is a three-day bicycle tour that’s fueled by individual and team fundraising efforts that benefit Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Leadville Sinkhole Reveals Town’s Mining Heritage

Jul 18, 2012
CDOT Facebook Page / CDOT

The town of Leadville has a growing problem. A 100-foot deep sinkhole has shut down traffic between the city and the Vail valley where many residents commute to work every day. But this is more than your average sinkhole.

CDOT Facebook Page / CDOT

Right in the middle of the summer 2012 travel season, US24 north of Leadville was closed by a little bit of history. A long forgotten and collapsed railroad tunnel finally revealed itself with a sinkhole.

CDOT Facebook Page / CDOT

The Colorado Department of Transportation is reporting a giant sinkhole that opened up near Leadville on US24. Traffic is now diverting to Highway 91 near the gaping hole in the ground due to concerns it may grow.