SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The area around an old coal mine is being brought back to life. The Tin Pan Canyon, near Raton, clean up is an old coal waste pile near a stream and fortified a nearby drainage channel.

Crews used straw bales to slow down runoff and allow vegetation to grow. More than 5,000 seedlings were also planted. The work was done by the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department and San Isidro Permaculture.

“Bringing lands impacted by mining back to beneficial use is one of the core missions of our Division and this project is a unique example of our work,” said MMD Director Jerry Schoeppner in a news release. “Partnering with Forestry to plant trees, enhance carbon sequestration on this site, and employ a local business exemplifies the collaborative approach we always strive for when working on reclamation projects.”

According to the same news release, the Tin Pan coal mine operated in the early 1900’s, before any environmental regulations were in place and got its name when an early prospector nailed a tin plate to a tree, high in the canyon, as a sign to find his place.

The department says the work was funded by a federal grant, the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, financed by a collection of fees on coal production throughout the United States.