Iowa County Lead Mining

Early lead miners dug caves in hillsides as temporary shelters and were derogatorily referred to as badgers, hence the Badger State nickname.   I read about early lead mining in Wisconsin, but I didn’t fully grasp what the landscape looked like until I visited a property that was mined.  I am writing a forest management plan for this property in Iowa County.
lead mine pits

 

The image is a hillshade developed from lidar imagery.  The smooth areas are pasture or field, and the very rough area is forest that grew up around the mine pits.  The landowner at the time of the mining allowed miners to dig for a daily fee. The dotted lines are forty lines, to give a sense of scale.  There are literally hundreds of hand dug pits in this forest.  The land is truly covered in pits or what was dug out of them.  It’s really quite amazing.