Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said that "Gold Rush," a popular reality TV series on the Discovery Channel, is planning to film segments at a placer mining operation in southern Baker County this year.

A sneak peek video posted Feb. 19 on the series' Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/GoldRush/ -- referenced the mine, which is near Bridgeport.

"I think this is exciting in several ways," said Bennett, who has had discussions with officials from a production company for "Gold Rush."

"Any time we can showcase Baker County in a positive light it's exciting," Bennett said. "We're also focusing on mining, which is basically what the county was founded on, so we're getting back to our historical roots."

The TV production should also be an economic boon, Bennett said, with opportunities for miners as well as support staff and businesses, such as caterers, that potentially could work with the production crew.

"I think this is a real opportunity," Bennett said.

He said the Wirth family, which owns the mining operation, "put in a lot of effort" on the project.

Later this month the Baker County Planning Commission will consider an application from Philip Wirth for a conditional use permit to build a bunkhouse on the property to house up to 30 miners, according to the application.

"Gold Rush" won't be the first reality TV series to produce episodes in Baker County.

SyFy channel's "Ghost Mine" series had two seasons made in and around Sumpter in 2013.