Arden Mine was a popular spot for hikers and desert explorers

It's been a popular spot for hikers and desert explorers for decades but now, the Arden Mine is off limits.

Tuesday morning, workers began filling the mine near Fort Apache and Warm Springs, calling the site a hazard.

Hiker Jared Reyes has made the climb before.

He and his dog Alfred have often trekked up the hills in the far southwest part of the valley. But today, they're not alone.

“There's a lot of graffiti up there, people taking advantage of it,” said Reyes. “I think it's kind of sad.”

Bulldozers and heavy machinery are working at the entrance of a well-known cave. The Arden Mine is now being backfilled once and for all.

RELATED | County, state prepare to close down Arden Mines in southwest valley

“I mostly hike around the area, but it's cool to go in there every now and then,” said Reyes.

For years the mine has been tempting desert explorers with hidden portals and amazing city views. But Garrett Wake with Southern Nevada Division of Minerals says, there's a problem.

“They don't realize the danger,” said Wake. “If you do go into those sites and look in the portals you can see areas where blocks from the ceiling have fallen off.”

While the Arden Mine is unique in its proximity to the city, Nevada is covered in hidden hazards.

And for the past 30 years, the state has been closing one abandoned mine after another -- a requirement from the Nevada legislature.

Some are filled in, others boarded up. So far, close to 18,000 abandoned mines have been secured.

“There are people who go hiking or dirt biking, and may not see a mine shaft in the middle of the desert, and accidentally fall in,” said Wake.

And that is no exaggeration. Since the early 1960's, the state has counted dozens of accidents. For instance, a 62-year old man exploring the desert near Sandy Valley fells 20 feet into an old mine.

“If you see an orange sign that says ‘danger,’ it's there for a reason,” said Wake. “Stay out, stay alive.”

Preventing accidents is exactly why the Arden Mine is now permanently off limits -- another relic from Nevada's rich mining past, now buried in time.

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