MONTE CRISTO, Wash. -

The Forest Service plans to clean up tailings from old gold mines at Monte Cristo, a ghost town in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

But first the agency has to build an access road.

Officials had planned to start work this summer. Now, work has been delayed until next year.

The Daily Herald reports the Forest Service is building a road to move heavy equipment up the valley of the South Fork Sauk River and that includes bridges over three creeks.

The gold mines closed more than a century ago. The last businesses in Monte Cristo closed in the 1970s.

The town remains a popular destination for hikers but it's littered with mine tailing contaminated with toxic metals. They'll be buried in a lined pit and capped.