cart entering mineIt was once the richest silver producing region in the world. More than one billion ounces of silver, 8 million tons of lead and 3 million tons of zinc came from the mines of the Silver Valley, east of Coeur d'Alene.

But in 1981 the price of silver forced the closure of the mines, throwing thousands of miners out of work.

Then, in 1983, the Environmental Protection Agency declared a 21 square mile area of the Silver Valley a Superfund site, signaling to the rest of the world that this was poisoned ground.

But the Silver Valley is starting to rebound from this one-two punch, even as the EPA has expanded its Superfund efforts to include the entire Coeur d'Alene basin.

The work in the original 21 square mile Superfund site, called the "Box," is almost completed. In Kellogg, once a Superfund town, property values are skyrocketing; and condos built by Eagle Crest, Inc., are selling out in record time.

OUTDOOR IDAHO explores the challenges and the opportunities facing Idaho's remarkable Silver Valley.