The California gold rush of 1849 sent would-be miners rushing to the hills and streams of the Sierra Nevada. But some of them never made it that far, stopping instead to mine gold from Death Valley. Now, a proposal by the Colorado-based Canyon Resources to expand its operations by opening a second open-pit gold mine on 3,000 acres just outside of Death Valley National Park has got environmentalists and Native Americans up in arms. They say the open-pit mine would harm bighorn sheep habitat, contaminate the region’s groundwater, and disfigure a landscape sacred to the Timbisha Shoshone tribe. The feds have given the project the green light, but the state is getting ready to adopt new environmental protections that could spell the end of the second mine.