In the past decade, there has been a boom in the industrial mining of frack sand in Wisconsin driven by the rise of domestic oil and gas extraction. Wisconsin’s white gold is blasted from ridges, dredged from plains, and shipped by rail to hydraulic fracturing wells. The number of mines in the state has increased from 10 to over 100 and as these gashes on the earth’s surface are appearing, the productivity of the rural landscape is shifting from yielding crops to the permanent extraction of the land itself — a cash crop of finite quantity. Post-extraction, what will become of Wisconsin’s unique landscape?
After Mining is a proposal for re-thinking reclamation — stitching together the wounds of Wisconsin’s frack sand mining industry to create a network of productive landscapes that encourage new forms of economy, ecology, education, and entertainment. Using existing rail/trail infrastructure, After Mining unites these productive surfaces, linking Wisconsin’s geological past to its geological present.