New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, AUGUST 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 8

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

This group mining project was off to a perfect start about a week before it began. It started when Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman waved me over to the picnic area outside our headquarters and showed me some beautiful gold they had panned from a brand new gold discovery they had made down near the lower end of our K-23AA property. This is located around nine miles down along the Klamath River from the small, friendly town of Happy Camp in northern California.  It was a lot of gold when compared to the volume of pay-dirt they processed. There were some nice, large flakes of gold. Those add up quickly on a scale!

Group working Alice's gold

Laura & Scott

Laura and Scott offering up their new gold discovery

Scott and Laura made my whole month by offering up their new gold discovery to our weekend group mining projects. Normally, most people would be inclined to keep a rich new gold discovery secret for a while in order to recover as much gold as possible. But we have quite a few members of The New 49’ers who are willing to share rich discoveries of gold with other members.  This is one of the things that makes our program so enjoyable for everyone. I caught this particular moment on video:

You guys might recall that we released the news about our new floating sluice in last month’s newsletter.  Scott and Laura, along with several other members, had just finished some improvements to the unit in our fabrication shop. So we made plans to test it out in this new gold discovery. By the way, we are not the only members out on the river developing river-flow gold recovery solutions. Laura captured this member using his own setup:

Klamath River Scene

The gold-rich Klamath River is one of the most beautiful places on the planet!

The really cool thing about this new gold discovery is that it is located directly across the river from the Wingate River Access.  This is a U.S. Forest Service improved site where there is plenty of room for camping and parking; there are toilet facilities; and there is a boat launch.  Getting group participants across to the mining site was going to be fast and easy.  We set up one of our larger river rubber rafts on the far side of the river to serve as a boat dock. This made the transition very smooth. Even our more disabled members were going to be able to participate in this outing!

The project began with around 97 members on Saturday morning inside the nice, cool Happy Camp Grange Hall. We always begin with introductions. People attend from all around the world.  Some have never prospected for gold before. Others are experienced. And we are blessed with a dozen or so very experienced members who come out and help us manage these projects.  We could not do these events without plenty of help. All our loyal helpers are volunteers, some who travel great distances just to be part of the adventure and comradery. This is one more thing which contributes to making our program great for everyone.

After introductions, I normally entertain the participants with some true gold mining adventure stories, each which carry important lessons. I also provide some basic theory on how to follow a sampling plan to discover high-grade gold deposits. We do this because a grasp of the basics is important. We also want to limit the time we will spend out in the field on Saturday afternoon.  From long experience, we have learned that if we expose the group to too much heat on Saturday afternoon, some will not show up for our group project on Sunday morning – which is when most of the fun and excitement takes place.

Over the many years, I have come to realize that every group is different. Each individual contributes identity and emotion which all gels together into a group culture.  This begins with introductions, evolves through morning discussions, gets tested in the heat of Saturday afternoon and softens through the comradery and fun during Saturday evening potluck. Then the culture develops further during the action and drama which plays out on Sunday morning and especially as we split up the gold on Sunday afternoon.  Each of these events creates a new and interesting group culture.  I look forward to each one of them with anticipation; and I consider myself to be very lucky for the type of work that I do.

How good the experience is going to be depends more upon the participants than it does on me and my loyal helpers. It was clear on this Saturday morning that we were going to have a great time during our 2-day adventure.

Dad & kids Lilly
We have been doing this so long, we have watched children grow up and then return later with children of their own!

 

Raft transfer across riverAfter lunch on Saturday, we all met up back at our office in Happy Camp, and everyone followed me down to Wingate.  Locals in Happy Camp and along the river have become familiar with our weekend projects, so they are not surprised to see such a long procession of vehicles going down Highway 96. Otherwise, since nothing else creates this much traffic in our small community, people might start wondering if some rock group, like The Rolling Stones, were coming to put on a concert – or perhaps The Donald Trump was arriving for a political rally.

Boats have been my personal passion since I was just old enough to climb into one. I have devoted my entire life to being on or under the water.  We used my river jet boat to transfer participants across the river. We have been doing these projects for so long that the river transfers go like clockwork; on with the life jackets, a helping hand into the boat, across the river in just a few seconds, a helping hand off the boat, off with the life jacket, and people find themselves standing on top of a pay-streak of high-grade gold. We had everyone on the mining site in very short order. Here it is on video:

2 boys 2 girls
Gold prospecting is for people of all ages!

 

Really, the primary goal for Saturday on these projects is to teach beginners how to manage a gold pan with confidence.  Gold panning is the beginning step of the prospecting learning curve! It all comes back to the key fundamental that gold is extremely heavy.  Because it is heavy, gold follows predictable patterns. The very same physical reasons why gold can be trapped in a gold pan are why gold follows a narrow path down the river and concentrates into high-grade pay-streaks along the path. Once a person gains a personal understanding of these basics, he or she is well on the way towards being able to follow a very unique and distinct trail into high-grade gold – the stuff that fills up jars. The stuff that changes your life forever… So we take the panning instruction very seriously:

This is not only about gold. It is also about group and family fun searching for Mother Nature’s most valuable hidden treasure in the great outdoors. We are particularly happy when people bring their children along. These will be the future leaders of our industry. Check it out:

Dave with light Alice's discovery
Dave and Alice showing off the gold from a half-bucket of sand they panned.

 

Because it is hot on Saturday afternoon, we only stay out there until everyone is comfortable with a gold pan.  Everyone gets to keep the gold they find on Saturday, so it doesn’t take long. I was seeing some really good panning results; perhaps the best in several years. This meant that the group dig on Sunday morning was going to be very productive. Very cool! Thank you Scott and Laura! Check out these sample results:

Guy smiling Good sample

Three people smilingWe had everyone back across the river by about 4:30 in the afternoon. That allowed plenty of time to freshen up and pull something together for our Saturday evening potluck back at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp.

We had a packed house on Saturday night. There was enough food to feed a small country.  The excitement and chatter in the hall was so loud that it was all I could do to quiet everyone down for a short meeting – which mainly was a pep talk about showing up at 6:30 the following morning and all working as hard as we could to recover at least one full ounce of gold.

I arrived on the river at 6 AM the following morning to launch the boat. About half the group was already present.  This was one jacked up bunch of gold prospectors! It was cool enough that even I had to wear a full shirt to keep the morning chill off. Everyone arrived in time for the final boat trip across the river.

By the time I tied off the boat on the far side of the river, at least half of the (hundreds) 5-gallon buckets were already filled. Nearly everyone knew where to dig from the time we spent out there on Saturday afternoon.  Mostly, people were digging pay-dirt out of exposed cracks in the bedrock.

Floating sluice2 Floating sluice close

It didn’t take long for our experienced crew to pull our floating sluice up around the side of the rubber raft into the faster flow of the river and dial in the gold recovery system. The modifications we had made since the previous project were working just as we had planned. We began processing pay-dirt as fast as the sluice could keep up – which was pretty fast. Here are some explanations of what was going on:

But we were not processing nearly as fast as our digging crew was producing gold-bearing pay-dirt. After just a short while, nearly all of our buckets were full. Several participants and some of our experienced helpers were panning material from the buckets. The results were fantastic! I was seeing large golden flakes and even some nice gold nuggets. Here is some video that captured the action:

Nuggets & coin 100 buckets

It is not unusual on these events for everyone to start fast and hard and then peter out after a while. That allows the processing crew a chance to catch up. But not this time.  When I called it quits at about 10:30 AM, every bucket was sitting on the streambank ready to be processed. There was at least an hour of processing left to do. Check this out!

Dickey Diane
Dickey Melton and Diane Helgesen provide valuable assistance in most of our group projects.

Rather than have everyone stand out there in the sun that had just came up over the mountain, we reclaimed most of the area back to its original contour and put all the tools away. I say, “most of the area;” because some of the excavations were producing so much gold, it would be silly to bury the holes.  Members would be back the following day to continue the work.

Final goldShortly thereafter, my helpers and I delivered most of the participants across the river with plans to meet at the Grange Hall at 2:30 PM for final processing and the gold split.
There was so much pay-dirt remaining, it took us until 1:00 PM to process it all through the floating sluice. We spotted one very large, beautiful gold nugget when we removed the gold concentrates from the floating recovery system.

Final clean-up and gold split at the Grange took a few more hours. In all, we recovered 17 pennyweights, including 10 beautiful gold nuggets, the largest weighing 11 grains. The excitement and noise in the hall as we spilt the gold thundered as if we were truly at a rock concert. This makes it a little more difficult to keep things organized, but my helpers and I have come to realize that this is actually the grateful applause of a very happy ending to yet one more wonderful experience.

In all, 407 grains of pure wealth were split amongst 69 people.  It has been a long while since we recovered this much gold during an outing. We didn’t quite make our ounce (480 grains). So that will give us a challenging target to shoot for on the next project.  After putting away the tables and chairs, everyone went off at about 5 PM on Sunday afternoon.  We were all tired.  But it was that good kind of tired that goes along with the feeling of accomplishing something wonderful.

We Have Developed Non-motorized Underwater Suction Mining!
Gravity dredge with no motors

Look; no motors!

This all began with our first Weekend Group Mining Project of the 2016 season. The idea was to capture water from a higher elevation and use it to operate two high-bankers near a known gold bearing area along our K-23AA property. The volume and pressure we captured was enough, we thought, to perhaps power my 5-inch dredge (4-inch intake at the nozzle).  You can find the full video-enhanced story about that project right here:

As it turned out, the gold deposit in that particular location was not as rewarding as other gold deposits we have located further downstream. So we developed a floating sluice box to support our second weekend project of the season. This new idea allows us to capture the flow-power of the river to process our pay-streak material – as in the story just above.

Rather than dismantle our original water capture system up the mountain, we decided to double down and see if we could make it work to power up an underwater suction device.  By this, I mean remove the motors from what used to be defined as a suction dredge (but not anymore), and direct gravity water and pressure into a power jet to create underwater suction. The following video captured the earlier stages and ongoing development of this program:

Boat transferWe were able to move the unit on the river using a jet boat.

Packing hose

We made dozens upon dozens of packing trips up the mountain before we finally got this system working!

First; let me admit that when we began this, I had no idea how challenging it would be to duplicate the amount of pressure and volume from a gravity flow that is produced by a simple motor and pump. In short, we underestimated the drop in elevation required to produce the required PSI. Since we had volume, but not enough pressure, we fabricated numerous different venturi jets to try and compensate. In the end, none of them produced enough suction. At least a dozen members were actively involved with the project. After so many losses, I turned to two of our members who are extremely capable engineers, John Wells and Cliff Leidecker.

The main drawback was that we were attempting to do the project using gear and materials which we already had. The distance we had to travel to reach the necessary elevation for our water feed made the project economically impracticable. This is because we were not 100% certain there would be a high-grade paystreak in the river in the first place. Prospecting for gold requires a fair measure of hope and enthusiasm.

The problem with this sort of project is that you have to keep adding more and more, day after day, week after week, ultimately struggling with the decision of when you are going to finally give up.  This is similar to digging or dredging a sample hole that just keeps going deeper and deeper. At what point do you give up? We reached that point on the final test several days ago, when we actually succeeded –much to everyone’s surprise! Here is the moment when we finally got it right:

Gary in fabrication shop

Gary Wright and about a dozen other active members worked hard to make this project a success.

 

As it was late in the day, Cliff and I did one short dive to get a look at the streambed material to determine if it had been dredged or mined by earlier generations of miners.  It is quite easy to tell the difference between tailings from earlier mining, and natural streambed which has never been disturbed by man. Cliff and I were overjoyed to discover that the rapids at Oak Flat are made up of original Klamath River streambed! This was one of those magical “Eureka” moments!

This location is directly in line with where Derek Eimer recovered two pounds of incredible gold nuggets several years ago. Derek’s discovery has had me hopeful ever since to see if we can pick up an extension of the very same rich gold deposit in the rapids. Seems very likely.

Since we only had a little time, Cliff and I decided to follow bedrock that was sloping out into the river. We spotted the first two nuggets in a small crack, both of us seeing them at the same time. I’m the first to admit that I have always been uncomfortable hugging other men.  But we were so excited, Cliff and I were hugging, slapping-five, doing cartwheels and experiencing full exhilaration down there on the bottom of the river. After all that time and effort, we finally made it all come together!

That’s all we had time for; because it was important we attend the Saturday evening potluck.  Derek Eimer was present at the potluck and confirmed that our nuggets appeared to be the very same type of gold that he recovered further downstream. Wow; that is a very good sign! Here is the rather lengthy explanation I provided to members at potluck:

Derek's gold New Nuggets
Gold that Derek recovered just downriver! Here are the first 2 gold nuggets from the Oak Flat underwater deposit!

Now that we have a non-motorized method of effectively prospecting the bottom of the river, as long as the rich deposit proves itself out through more sampling, and as long as it is safe, we will schedule at least one, perhaps two, two-day group underwater mining events before the end of this season – free to any and all members who want to attend. All the gold recovered during the events will be split evenly amongst the participants as well as we can.  I say that, because some of the gold nuggets Derek recovered were far too large to become an even split, and there is no way we will cut something like that into pieces.  If we encounter that kind of gold, we will have to vote on the best way to deal with it.  Sounds like a good problem to work out!

Is this cool or what?

If group underwater projects turn out well this season, and the State does not come up with yet another way to materially interfere with our mining program, we are likely to schedule more underwater prospecting group events for next season. There are several reasons we are doing this. One is to share good will and the great adventure of underwater gold recovery into The New 49’er experience. The other is that setting up a gravity-powered underwater suction system is a very substantial endeavor that most people are not likely to do.

The State conducted an extensive environmental impact study several years ago and concluded that 1,500 four-inch dredges operating in California’s waterways will not harm fish. As difficult as it was to put this system together, I would not be surprised to discover that we have the only one in all of California.

Stay tuned if you are interested in joining us for some underwater prospecting. We should have it all worked out before the next newsletter. Montine in our office will be up to date on how this is coming together: 530 493-2012.

Three More Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

klamath-river-gold-nuggetsThe New 49’ers Legal Fund is giving away another three ounces of beautiful Klamath River gold nuggets, split into 25 prizes. Check it out right here. The drawing will take place on Friday afternoon, 21 October.

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

 

Other Announcements:

Legal Update:  My own understanding is that the California Supreme Court should issue a Decision in the Rinehart case sometime in August. As I have explained in earlier newsletters, the Rinehart case is perhaps the most important litigation concerning mining that has happened during our lifetimes.  The question in front of the Court is to what extent the State has the authority to materially interfere with or prohibit different methods of mining on the public lands because of real or imagined environmental or social concerns.  In this case, the controversy is over California’s refusal to issue any suction dredge permits without even providing a process to consider if any impacts exist in the first place.

After not having seen any State officials around all season, a small team of wardens arrived last Sunday and seized two suction dredges that were operating in plain sight along our Wingate property.  No citations were issued, we assume, for motorized dredging in California without a permit (which is not being made available).  The wardens were abundantly apologetic, explaining that they signed up to catch poachers and real criminals, and they were only following orders from officials who are superior to them in the chain of command.

In my own view, that a State law officer can come out to your property (the Supreme Court has ruled that federal mining claims are real property in every sense of the meaning), and just take away your belongings, without charging you with any crime, is a gross violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S., Constitution.  America cannot be truly free, nor can “we make our country great again,” as long as this practice is allowed to continue.

We will take on these important challenges a step at a time. For the moment, after eight years of continuous litigation to push back on the unreasonable overregulation by State agencies, we are waiting to see if the California Supreme Court is going to provide us with some relief.  By “us,” I mean the working men and woman who create the foundation that made America Great in the first place.

The best way to stay informed of recent developments is to sign up for our free Internet message forum. Important industry news shows up there so fast, sometimes I wonder if the news is reported even before the events take place!

Annual Dues:  We bill all Full Members $50 for annual dues in August.  September through the end of the year is when we must shoulder the load of substantial property tax and filing fees to the County and Bureau of Land Management. These are legal requirements which allow us to continue making a very substantial number of federal mining claims (60 miles of gold-rich river and creek properties) available to our members.

In real terms, the true value of the gold along these extensive properties is probably more valuable than the net assets of any financial institution on the planet. We should be calling our properties the “Klamath First National Bank.” Ours is the only bank in the world where you can go out and make a draw anytime you wish. There are no interest or bank fees to pay.  And you never have to pay the gold back!  This is as close as it comes to an opportunity to maintain some degree of personal freedom during these ever-more difficult and troubling times.  As far as I know, we are the only organization in the world that makes a very large bank of pure wealth freely available to our members.

But it all comes back to the foundation of all these gold-rich properties.  It would be an incredible mistake to lose them!  Thank you very much to those of you who will respond immediately to help us maintain the backbone of our Association!

Winter hours:  As of the 1st of September, we will switch to winter hours at our headquarters in Happy Camp.  This means the office and store will remain open between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except for normal national holidays.  Our final evening potluck of 2016 will take place on Saturday evening, 27 August.  They will resume next season on the 3rd of June.

2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members!

This season, at least until the legal question about using motors is resolved; we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! With all the people who participate in our weekend projects, my guess is that the gold production will not change by much. All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, JULY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 7

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

We demonstrated in last month’s newsletter how water can be gravity-fed off the mountain to operate gold recovery systems without the use of motorized pumps. The single drawback to that method is that you have to locate a rich deposit of gold near to where there is a source of water flowing from the hillside – or perhaps a pond of standing water from which water can be transferred through a syphon.

Moving sluice dowsing still

We have access to miles and miles of gold-rich property along the Klamath River where side streams do not exist. Therefore, over the past month we developed a non-motorized, portable gold recovery system that can be set up anywhere along a waterway where there is at least a moderate flow of water.

Normally, a sluice box is set up along the bottom of a shallow portion of river or stream where the water is moving fast enough to carry your sample material or pay-dirt through the sluice. Riffles (gold-catching obstructions) are placed along the bottom of the sluice. Because gold is about five times heavier than the average sand and gravel in a streambed, even the smallest particles of gold will fall down between the riffles and become trapped, while the lighter material washes through with the flowing water. Sluice boxes have been used by prospectors since the earliest days of gold mining.

But the normal limitation with a gold sluice is that it can only be done where the water is moving along rather swiftly over top of a shallow place in the waterway.  Shallow, faster portions of waterway are common along the side tributaries of the river. But there are long distances along the Klamath where the gold deposits alongside the river are very productive, but the water is too deep to set up a sluice in the normal way.  We overcame this during past years by using a motorized pump to supply water from the river to our sluices up on the streambank.

Guy smilingMost of you are aware that California recently passed a law which prohibits the use of a motorized pump to support gold prospecting activities unless you first obtain several permits – which are not being made available.  The New 49’er Legal Fund and several other prospecting associations are actively challenging the State’s authority to impose such laws upon our American freedoms (“You must have a permit, but we are going to make it next to impossible for you to get one…”). We are hoping that the California Supreme Court will reel in these overbearing, unreasonable State agencies in the landmark Rinehart case which will be decided in the coming weeks or months (more on this below).

Since we have already won these arguments conclusively at the District Court level, and through a unanimous Decision by California’s Third Appellate Court, The District Court in Siskiyou County has ruled that it will not entertain any State prosecutions of gold prospectors until the California Supreme Court provides guidance.
Because we have won at each level of State Court, and the Siskiyou County Superior Court is not accepting State prosecutions, many prospectors are using motors to support their gold mining activities this season.  In fact, we have not heard from or seen a game warden along the river in two months.

River sceneWhat we do in our individual mining programs is our own business. The New 49’ers have a set of reasonable operational guidelines which we enforce along the extensive properties which we make available to our members.  But there is nothing in our guidelines which prohibit the use of motorized systems or suction dredges.

Having said that, we do not want to take any chance of having a bunch of our members hassled by State authorities during the Weekend Group Mining Projects which we sponsor. So until the California Supreme Court provides some helpful direction, we have been developing different ways to continue our mining projects effectively without the use of motorized pumps.

It is inconvenient for us to overcome the nonsense being forced upon us by State officials who don’t have a clue that efficient economic systems are the foundation of a free and prosperous society. I believe Donald Trump would use the word “Stupid” to describe public officials that are doing their absolute best to undermine the American economy. We can expect more and louder objections from hard-working Americans as they wake up to the realization that government has grown too big and is strangling the life out of America.
Since it was freedom of spirit and application of our intelligence in overcoming hardship that made our country great in the first place; for the moment, we choose to look at overcoming unreasonable laws and regulations as doing our part to make America great again – for everyone! We hire the best attorneys to fight the legal battles in court. And we put our thinking caps on to make the best out of the freedoms that are still allowed to us.

Kids smilingOne of the many very proven gold-bearing areas along our extensive properties can be found nine miles downstream of Happy Camp alongside the Klamath River on a property which we have identified as K-23AA.  This is just one of dozens upon dozens of very extensive properties which we make available to our members.  Because the gold deposits are plentiful and very shallow, we have been doing our weekend group projects on K-23AA for several years.  There are several large parking and camping areas in the immediate vicinity, toilets, and even a river access where we can launch our boats.

There are some places where members are sluicing in shallower water. But the river is too deep along most of K-23AA to support conventional sluicing. So we decided to develop something entirely new; a sluice box which is suspended just below water level by a set of floating pontoons. By “we,” I mean we have a dozen or more active members who volunteer to participate in all or most of our New 49’er events and projects. It would be fair to describe this group as The New 49’er “insiders.”  They are insiders because they don’t hesitate to walk in the door whenever it is open. The door is open to all members. Some people like to be more involved with management and sponsored events.  Others like to do their own thing.  Our program provides the freedom to enjoy the opportunities any way our members wish to.

We had perhaps eight people working on this floating sluice idea. Making the system work had us out on the river doing trial and error on three different occasions.  There were also some late nights in our fabrication shop. This is not only about work.  We have a lot of fun developing these systems. Sometimes there is disappointment when they don’t work as planned. But we take a lot of pride once we get a new system dialed in.

sluice The good thing in all of this is that R&D on the river nearly always involves the use of my jet boat. Boats have been my personal passion for my entire life. Sometimes I even let the others drive! Check this out:

Our first try at the floating sluice worked well enough to keep us encouraged. But we realized almost immediately that the sluice box was nearly impossible to keep stable on the water by using floatation alone.  Once we added some adjustable legs, we were able to support the platform off the bottom of the river.  Then all we needed was some fine tuning adjustments to dial the sluice in to work perfectly. This is very cool; because it now provides us with a non-motorized gold recovery system that can keep up with the digging activity during our weekend group mining projects. Here is some video of the moments when we finally had the system dialed in:

Panning for goldSixty-three members were signed up to participate in our most recent weekend project. Some were not able to show up.  But we had quite a willing team.  We always begin these projects on Saturday morning in the coolness of the Happy Camp Grange Hall with introductions.  People join us from all over the world. This was a very lively bunch with plenty of enthusiasm.

While my project helpers were down getting things set up on K-23AA, I entertained the participants with some stories about our 31-year history as an association of miners along the Klamath River. It’s helpful to know how things got where they are. I also provide some helpful theory on how to carry out a sampling plan in search of rich gold deposits.

We like to take it kind of easy on Saturday during these projects. This is because most of the physical effort is needed on Sunday morning when we all work together to recover as much gold as we can. We use boats to transfer members across the river where we have discovered extensive, rich gold deposits.

The main objective on Saturday afternoon is to help beginners perfect their gold panning skills.  Gold panning is the first thing a prospector needs to learn.  Once a person can pan gold without losing any, he or she can begin a sampling program. Then, step by step, the person can walk him or herself into a rich deposit of gold. It all begins with a gold pan. I captured just one of the many ongoing panning lessons in the following video:

Big smile gold sample in pan

This Saturday afternoon was particularly exciting because nearly everyone was turning up plenty of gold in their sample pans. John Rose confided in me that the pans were producing more gold than he has seen in five or more years. Everyone was having fun out there. Participants get to keep all the gold they find on Saturday afternoon. Here is some video that will give you an idea of what good sampling pan results look like:

We started shuttling people back across the river at about 4 PM. This was so they could have time to freshen up and prepare for our Saturday evening potluck. We filled the Grange Hall that evening. There was enough food to feed an army!

To stay ahead of the summer heat, we all agreed to meet out at K-23AA at 6:30 AM on Sunday morning. Several of us arrived early to get the boats ready; and it was not long before we had a small army of gold prospectors digging out exposed bedrock cracks and filling buckets with pay-dirt from the more productive areas we had discovered the day before.

Bedrock Big smile

While most everyone was busy filling buckets, the experienced project helpers and I moved the floating sluice out onto the river, tied it off where there was a nice steady flow of water, lowered the legs down to the river bottom, and adjusted the sluice so it would work perfectly. It was just like clockwork! Here is some video that captured the action:

sluice  Sluice closeup

We dialed in the water to flow perfectly over the floating sluice.

The buckets of pay-dirt were packed over to our rubber raft which was positioned next to the floating sluice. Then one-by-one, material from the buckets was fed into the recovery system.

Kid smilingIt only took a few buckets before we started seeing gold glimmering in the front of the sluice box. Then a nice golden nugget showed itself.  Then a few more.  This was very cool! Normally, we don’t see the gold we are recovering until we clean out the recovery system. Here is some video which we captured on Sunday morning:

We encouraged all of the participants to take some time during the day to go over and watch our floating sluice.  I saw several people go over and look.  But most just wanted to dig the pay-dirt out of those cracks!

The pan samples on Saturday afternoon turned up a lot of gold flakes; more and larger than we normally see.  These were showing up in the sluice box as the pay-dirt was processed.

Dickey pouringMy job on this particular project was to capture images and video of the action. So I got around to see what most people were doing. Everybody out there was having a great time!  Here is some video that captured the fun:

The highlight of the day was when Dennis Kim from Hawaii pulled out his dowsing tool and began asking the guardian of the river to reveal where the richest gold deposit was located in the area of our dig. He made quite an interesting presentation out of it.

I personally have seen dowsing work for locating water. But in 40+ years of gold mining, I have never seen dowsing successfully locate a rich gold deposit.  Even so, as I have gotten older and maybe a little more wise, I have become more reluctant to pass judgment on things that I am not certain about – which I suppose covers just about everything. The battery on my own camera ran out of steam, so one of the participants captured this on a mobile phone:

Dennis Kim from Hawaii  Dowsing gold

Once the river guardian directed Dennis to a place that looked like a good gold trap, a bunch of us started pulling rocks out of the way, and I grabbed a single handful of material to get a quick pan sample.  And I swear it was one of the best grab samples I have ever panned!

RaftersThis all created quite a lot of excitement, and everyone redoubled their efforts at digging pay-dirt from the exposed bedrock cracks out there on the streambank.

But it is not all just about the gold. We have many members who come back time after time to enjoy the whole experience:

There are plenty of rafting groups that float by when we are out on the river.  We go out of our way to make friends with them.  If we have gold to show, we call them over to see it. This always creates a nice bit of excitement. Sometimes we ambush rafters into a water fight.  It’s a good thing to have harmony out along the river on one of the most beautiful places on earth. Here is just one interaction we had with some rafters who were floating by:

We started winding things down at about 10 AM, just as the heat of the day was bearing down on our project.  After pulling the gold out of the sluice box and putting the gear away, we ferried everyone across the river with plans to meet back at the Happy Camp Grange Hall at 2 PM.

Final gold Big thumbs up

Final cleanup of the goldnon-motorized dredge, and the gold split. took a few more hours to complete in the coolness of the air conditioned Grange Hall. The excited chatter of all the participants was almost deafening as we passed out equal shares to everyone.  In all, we recovered 12.5 Pennyweights that were split amongst 44 participants.  We recovered 11 nice gold nuggets.  In some very magical way that I don’t fully understand, Dennis Kim ended up with the very special gold nugget that the river guardian wanted him to have.  He was so excited that he was beyond words. Everyone else shared in that magical moment.  And that’s the way we ended off on another great weekend project.

As a side note on this, we have perhaps 10 members collaborating on a non-motorized underwater mining system that does not meet the definition of a “suction dredge” under California’s most recent laws. Our prototype is already being tested on the river. The following video shows our first test of the device. Further modifications have created enough suction-power to pull gravel from the bottom of the river, but we still need a little more. I hope to have some exciting news for you in our August newsletter. Stay tuned:

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

The New 49’ers Legal Defense Fund gave away three ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets, which were split into 25separate prizes, at our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 25 June 2016.  Here are the winners:

One ounce of Klamath River gold Nuggets:  William Hinkle of San Diego, CA.

Quarter-ounce of Klamath River Gold Nuggets (4 prizes):  Richard Kelly of Moxee City, WA; Joseph Sawyer of Dayton, NV; Dane Petersen of Aloha, OR and Uwe Martin Mueller of Miami FL.

One pennyweight bags of Klamath River Gold Nuggets (20 prizes): Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA; Frank Collier of Yreka, CA; Kenneth Mulholland of La Habra, CA; Vicki Byrd of Wenatchee, WA; Irene Standley of Troutdale, OR; Paul Gokey of Maricopa, AZ; Bruce Morton of Prosser, WA; Joe Martin of Willits, CA; George Shorter of Mobile, AL (George was the only winner present at the drawing); Dan Christenson of Sidney, MT; Daniel Court Sr of La Pine, OR; Dennis O’Shea of La Haina, HI; Richard Kelly of Beaver Creek, OR; Scott McGrosso of Escondido, CA; Scott Hagen of Livingston, MT; Scott Langston of N FT Myers, FL; Richard Smith of West Jordan, UT; Dennis Taylor of Sherwood, OR; Robert Gauf of Clear Lake, CA; and Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA.

Congratulations to all the winners and a great big thank you to all the contributors!

Since this was one of the more productive legal fund-raisers we have had in quite a while, The Legal Fund has decided to do it again with three more ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets, once again split into 25 prizes. The drawing will take place on Friday afternoon, 21 October.

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
Unfinished Business

Legal Update:  The California Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in the Rinehart case on the first of June. As I have explained in earlier newsletters, the Rinehart case is perhaps the most important litigation concerning mining that has happened during our lifetimes.  The question in front of the Court is to what extent the State has the authority to materially interfere with or prohibit different methods of mining on the public lands because of real or imagined environmental or social concerns.  In this case, the controversy is over California’s refusal to issue any suction dredge permits without even providing a process to consider if any impacts exist in the first place.

Nobody knows how long it will take for a written answer.  Though it would seem reasonable that they would try to finish it up while the material remains fresh on their minds. The Court has a heavy case load.  I’m hopeful that they would prefer to finish each case as soon as possible.

All or most of the ongoing litigation over suction dredging in California State court is on hold until the California Supreme Court issues a decision on the Rinehart case.

The True Value of Gold:  Someone sent me a link to the U.S. Debt Clock last week, and I was shocked at how fast the millions upon millions of Dollars are stacking up on the U.S. national debt. You can find the link right here:

One of the most interesting pieces of information on the page can be found in the bottom-right hand corner of the chart which shows what the actual value of gold should be, based upon the number of U.S. Dollars that have been created since gold was unpegged from the fixed Dollar value of $35 in 1971. According to the chart, gold should be trading right now at $7,642 Dollars per ounce. That is $382 Dollars per pennyweight. It is $16 Dollars per grain.

What this means is that if gold were trading at its true value, nearly anyone could sustain a living along our mining claims with just a gold pan.

One day, maybe soon, all the nonsense is going to settle out and gold will return to its rightful place as the world’s only true currency.

Once gold is trading at its true value, the extensive properties we make available to our members could be considered one of the most ideal banks in the world.  You will be able to go down to the river or creek and make a draw anytime you want to do a little exercise.  The gold you recover will be free; yours to keep or trade for the things you need or want.  You won’t even have to pay it back. How’s that for the right kind of bank?

The Debt Clock is a clear demonstration of how badly America is being managed. Sooner or later (probably sooner), this ticking time bomb is going to affect everyone on the planet in one way or another.  But especially everyone in America. We should begin adjusting ourselves to the reality that the future is not going to be the same as the American dream we have experienced for several generations.

My advice would be to put some gold away in safe keeping if and while you can.  And don’t retire your gold pan. One day it may keep you and your family from standing in a government food line.

I’m sorry to voice this reality.  Go to the Debt Clock and look for yourself.  This cannot go on for much longer.

“Gold Warriors” is a book everyone should read:   Someone very kind sent me a copy of this book a few months ago. Even though I seldom have time to read books, I made the time for this one.  Drawing on a vast range of original documents and thousands of hours of interviews, this book exposes one of the greatest state secrets of the 20th century. The book provides an incredible history lesson that is not taught in any school or university. The book provides important insights into many things; but here are the two most important revelations to me:

  • Despite how well we have been misled to believe that gold is not important to world financial affairs, the truth is that the health of all financial systems on the planet revolve around gold. Paper is nothing, even if it is a gold certificate. Even if it is a receipt from the bank or storage facility that is “keeping your gold safe.” Read the book and you will realize that the entire 20th century has revolved around gold. This reality has been completely hidden from us. Read the book and see for yourself.

Just today, someone forwarded me a link to an article about Japanese investors rushing to turn the last remaining value out of the failing Japanese Yen into gold and store it in Swiss banks. Sounds like a good idea, right? But “Gold Warriors” carefully documents how all of the world’s largest banks, especially those in Switzerland and America, with the full support of the U.S. government, have refused to honor the gold certificates they have issued, or return deposited gold to its rightful owners – and even have gone so far as to completely destroy prominent legal firms that have attempted to gain satisfaction in court.  Like I said, the book is a real wakeup call!

  • The government is not here to help us. We cannot believe anything the government says. Nothing is truly as it seems on the surface or in the news. If there were no other lessons from Bengasi, it is clear that the government will not even be there for its own best people when the chips are down.

You have to look to your own available resources to secure your future. Stay out of the government’s way or it will run you over like a freight train. The Debt Clock I linked to above is just one of the freight trains coming at all of us full steam ahead, and increasing its momentum every second of the day.

While the book makes this entirely clear, anyone following the ongoing election cycle and other events happening in the news just this week should have already come to the conclusion the something is very wrong with government in America. Dark times ahead. We should prepare. If you cannot afford to buy gold, allow us to teach you how to mine it.

We must fight to hold onto the extensive gold properties available to us and for the freedom to extract the gold from them. Once they succeed in taking that away from us, our program in Happy Camp will no longer be the lifeboat that it is today for freedom seekers who hope to retain some personal control over our destinies.

I’m sorry for this sobering discussion.  You guys that have followed my writings know that I always try and find the positive and hopeful side.

Between the history lesson in “Gold Warriors,” the ever-accelerating debt being piled upon us by our “leaders,” the realization in recent days that top officials in government are above the law, widespread increasing disrespect for government due to multiple reasons, including the State’s ongoing unlawful scheme to undermine our industry, and the political rhetoric in the ongoing election cycle, it seems perfectly reasonable to be very concerned.  I remain hopeful about a lot of things.  But it still feels like the right time to ring the alarm bell.

2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members!

This season, at least until the legal question about using motors is resolved; we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! With all the people who participate in our weekend projects, my guess is that the gold production will not change by much. All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, JUNE 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 6

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

Summer weather has definitely arrived in northern California.  We are having nice sunny days, mostly mild, but sometimes with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees.  Lots of enthusiastic members have arrived and are prospecting along the very extensive mining properties which we manage on the Klamath River and its tributaries in northern California.  Our first potluck at the Happy Camp Grange several nights ago was a full house with so much enthusiasm that I’m surprised we did not blow the roof off the building! There were plenty of enjoyable moments and incredible food.  John Mc Hugh from Louisiana went so far as to air-freight in enough fresh crawfish to fill a very large steamer. That’s something I believe we have only enjoyed one other time during the past 31 years! Many members are prospecting without the use of motors this season to avoid being hassled by State officials. As discussed in previous newsletters, and the next section of this newsletter below, California passed a new law which went into effect this year. Changing the definition of a “suction dredge,” the new law forbids the use of any mechanical device to support gold prospecting within 100 yards of a waterway unless you first obtain a water quality and a suction dredging permit – neither which they are making available.  In our view, the law violates basic American rights on multiple levels and will be overturned in the courts — perhaps even in the Rinehart decision (see more below).


High-banking Gold in box
We also do not believe prospectors will be successfully prosecuted for using the very same types of mechanical devices that are being allowed to anyone else who is not prospecting for gold.  In this light, some members are just moving ahead with traditional motorized prospecting systems; and with our support, fully prepared to mount a legal challenge with the State of California if they are hassled.

Since our weekend Group Mining Projects are the very first gold mining experience for many who attend, often with their children, we naturally want to avoid any hassles with the authorities during these projects.  Said another way, let’s allow our attorneys and more aggressive members to challenge unreasonable rules and regulations while the rest of us continue to enjoy the freedoms that remain available to us.

It is with this in mind that we began a while back experimenting with ideas on how to generate a water flow through a gold recovery system without the use of a motorized pump.  Historical American miners worked this all out during the early days before motors were readily available.  But to a large degree, those technologies have been lost or forgotten by the modern world.  So we are in the process of working it all out again.  And not just us; we have a bunch of members working out non-motorized systems, using gravity and water in combination to create both pressure and suction systems. This is easier to accomplish on the side streams where the water drops more dramatically than most places along the Klamath River.

Since we do our weekend projects along proven high-grade portions of the Klamath River, our options, as we know them, are not as easy.  The first idea we came up with was to capture water some distance upstream of a substantial set of rapids in the river, and then direct that captured water through a hose down to our recovery system.  After looking this over more closely, we calculated that it was going to require quite a long section of hose or pipe to provide the volume and pressure needed to operate a recovery system some distance away from the river.  We know this will work.  But we decided to try a few other options first.

Boat scene Hose scene
Our second idea was to capture water in a section of river where the water is moving more swiftly, hoping that the increased pressure of the higher-velocity flow of the river would provide an adequate feed to our recovery system.  We did accomplish some success with this using an initial prototype; but with the first outing fast-approaching, we ultimately tabled this idea and switched gears to another idea that we were certain would work.

The main lesson we learned in our first attempt is that water force against a capture device does not necessarily produce volume and pressure through a hose.  From our first try, we decided that a more gradual size reduction of the capture device would likely produce the result we are looking for.  The river is hugely powerful.  Certainly there is a way to capture a portion of that energy and convert it into the water flow we need to operate a small recovery system. Our next attempt will be with a sea anchor as the capture device. Here follows a video segment that captured several of us on our first attempt to force water flow through a hose.

We do have members making use of sudden drops in both the river rapids and side tributaries to create underwater suction systems both upstream and downstream of the drops.  This is rather easy to do.  It’s more challenging to use the force of the river to supply water to a recovery system up above the river.

Ultimately, to make sure we had something in place for the first weekend project of the season; we captured water some distance above the river and ran it through several reducing hose sizes to produce plenty of pressure and volume on our very popular K-23AA property. This is located around nine miles downstream of Happy Camp.  Several guys on our crew said they have encountered good sampling results in that location.  This was a good place to do the project, because there is a very large road-side pull-off that allows plenty of room to park cars, and for members to camp if they choose to.  The office arranged to have an outhouse delivered there.  So we were all set for the weekend.

There were 84 people signed up for our first project. By our count, 70 members arrived on Saturday, and 60 were out there with us on Sunday.  Sometimes the heat on Saturday afternoon persuades a few to not come back out on Sunday.  This is unfortunate, because we start early on Sunday morning and are usually off the river before the heat of the day sets in. Sunday is when most of the exciting action takes place.

Saturday on these events is split between some theory in the morning on how to find gold, along with some entertaining gold stories which I tell in the coolness of the Happy Camp Grange Hall. Then we do a few hours of gold pan-sampling out along the river during the afternoon.  This was a very enthusiastic bunch of members. We used one of our large rubber rafts to ferry them across the Klamath River to the project site.  The object on Saturday afternoon is to teach beginners how to pan for gold, and to confirm the existence of the gold deposit that we will work on the following day.  Each person is allowed to keep any gold he or she finds on Saturday afternoon.

We all work together as a team on Sunday to produce as much gold as we can.  Then everyone gets an equal split of the gold later in the day.  For many, it is the first gold they have ever found.  Longtime member and loyal supporter, Alan Mash was present to capture the following video sequences:

The problem on this Saturday afternoon was that the pan samples, more or less, were not producing the results we are accustomed to seeing on these projects.  Oh my! This particular problem falls squarely on my shoulders since I am the one who measures out the splits on Sunday afternoon.  It is the nature of prospecting that sometimes you don’t find much gold. Most participants insist that the learning and outdoor adventure is what’s most important to them. But I know deep in my gut that a good gold split is the way to send everyone off with a deep smile in their hearts.


Laura Best sample

Laura excited about a good sample they found just downstream

WorksiteFortunately, we had several veteran prospectors helping on this project. Craig Colt turned up some good samples in one place. Don Drimel found a good spot to dig and even found a small nugget.  Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman found perhaps the best-producing area a short walk downstream of where we had set up the recovery systems.

The water system for our recovery systems was already set up for this project. So we needed to just work harder to produce an acceptable amount of gold in that location. My project helpers and I made a plan to direct most of the digging on Sunday in those places where several good samples were produced on Saturday.

One of the important lessons participants learn on these projects is that hard work by itself is not enough to produce gold.  The hard work must be directed to the exact place where the gold has been hidden by Mother Nature.

The whole group was across the river and filling buckets with pay-dirt shortly after 6:30 AM on Sunday morning. That was long before the sun would come up over the mountain.  There was still a mild chill in the air. I was very impressed with how hard everyone was working.  Those that were digging and filling buckets stayed ahead of our capacity to process the material through two high-bankers for four nonstop hours.  I can only remember one other time in more than 30 years that this has ever happened.  Alan was there capturing all of the action with his video camera:

Gravity miningNozzle man smiling

Using the water discharge from our first high-banker, we were able to suction mine pay-dirt into the second high-banker!

Using gravity to our best advantage, we positioned one high-banker further up the hillside.  The tailings water from there flowed down into a pool. We used a nozzle to suction pay-dirt out of the pool, which was then gravity-fed into a second, larger high-banker.  Natural contours on the river bar trapped all of our tailings water – which seeped into the ground and eventually returned back to the river entirely filtered clean.  This is called “environmentally-friendly mining” and it is largely applauded by the environmental community.  Very cool!

A sample of just one part of the lower recovery system after two hours of digging demonstrated that we were recovering more gold than I was hoping for.  Showing the gold around to everyone prompted them to work even harder.  This wasn’t necessary, because they were already digging more pay-dirt than we had the capability to process.

Nice smile Water blowing

It turned out she was sitting right on top of virgin streambed!

About an hour before we were going to close things down, LeeAnn Martin, who was using a spray of extra water to wash down some bedrock, forwarded her excavation right into a patch of original Klamath River streambed; hard-packed material that had never been processed before.  This changed everything! Original Klamath riverbed, wherever we find it, is usually very rich.  Most often, it is located at the bottom of the river where it was more difficult for earlier generations of miners to reach. So we redoubled our efforts in the newly-discovered material for the remainder of our time out there on the river.

We could see that fatigue was beginning to set in on some of our digging crew at 10:30 AM. So we asked everyone to stop digging pay-dirt and devote their remaining energy into filling holes and reclaiming the area.  All our gear was disassembled and stored away while the two gold recovery teams redoubled their efforts to process a bunch of pay-dirt that had been piled up. When we finally ran out of time, the remaining pay-dirt was shoveled into the excavation where we discovered virgin streambed. Somebody was certainly going to go back there and process that material – perhaps as soon as on Sunday afternoon!

Everything was going so well out there that Alan and I made time to have a little fun with the camera:

final goldWe left the gravity water system in place on K-23AA and will likely leave it there all season for members to use as you like. That is, unless we succeed in court this summer and get back the use of our motors…

After ferrying everyone to the road-side of the river, we met early on Sunday afternoon at the Grange Hall in town and finished our final clean-up and gold separation.  We ended up with eleven pennyweights; about $700 in gold, which we split 60 ways.  There were 10 nuggets.  My experienced helpers and I were very pleased with the result, given that the samples from the day before were not producing the results we normally see. The project was finished at 3:30 PM – the earliest ever.

Happy chatter and enthusiastic discussions in the Grange hall were almost deafening as we were passing out the gold splits.  This makes it difficult to get the group’s attention when I am trying to demonstrate the final steps of gold separation.  But through three full decades of doing these projects, this “happy noise” has become wonderful music to my ears.

It always amazes me how each of these group projects is entirely different. The mix together of all the different personalities creates a culture that develops over the weekend into a group entity, special each time in its own individual way that will never be duplicated again.  Some of this social chemistry has to do with larger events in the world that are guiding the way we are feeling.  Experiencing this so many times over the years is one of the positive benefits that comes out of my job.  The main theme that came out of this group was that through our activity, “We are doing our part to help make America great again!”

Is that cool or what?

Between now and our next weekend project, we will be experimenting with a Plan C idea on how to flow water through a gold recovery system that can be moved nearly anywhere on the river or  side tributaries without having to gravity feed water from higher elevations.  Stay tuned!

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Rinehart

The California Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in the Rinehart case on the first of June, just a few weeks ago. As I have explained in earlier newsletters, the Rinehart case is perhaps the most important litigation concerning mining that has happened during our lifetimes.  The question in front of the Court is to what extent the State has the authority to materially interfere with or prohibit different methods of mining on the public lands because of real or imagined environmental or social concerns.  In this case, the controversy is over California’s refusal to issue any suction dredge permits, without even providing a process to consider if any impacts exist in the first place.

We discovered at the last minute that the hearing was accessible over an Internet live audio stream.  In case you want to listen to it, someone posted the hearing on youtube right here:

Just as I was expecting, the justices appeared to be very familiar with the case.  They played devil’s advocate with both attorneys, each who was allowed 30 minutes of time.

Our attorney, James Buchal, who is representing Rinehart in this case, made a very passionate presentation on behalf of small-scale miners.  More quietly, the State attorney argued that the federal mining law has nothing to do with commercial viability; and that as long as we are allowed to pan for gold on our mining claims, the State is not “prohibiting” mining.

Having listened closely to the State’s position, here are just a few thoughts of my own:

Unless someone is awfully lucky, it takes a lot of time, effort and risk of personal resources to locate a commercial mineral deposit.  The U.S. Congress encourages us to pursue the activity by rewarding a property right and priority use of the surface resources when someone actually succeeds.

According to my understanding of the federal mining law, the only thing that turned Rinehart’s mining claim into a property right in the first place was his discovery of a commercial deposit at the bottom of a waterway — which can only be effectively recovered with a suction dredge.

Taking away Rinehart’s use of a suction dredge to remove the minerals which he discovered has eliminated his property right altogether.  It also undermined the contract between the U.S. Congress and Rinehart: “If you invest yourself into finding a valuable mineral deposit, we are going to allow you to recover it.”

Mineral recovery, by the way, is the primary building block of any economy.

Starting a whole new prospecting activity with a gold pan is apples and oranges.  Because his deposit at the bottom of the waterway is no longer accessible, Rinehart doesn’t have a valid mining claim anymore. It places Rinehart back at the starting point as if he never located a commercial deposit in the first place.  It is a whole new contract: “If you can find a viable mineral deposit with a gold pan, we are going to allow you to profit from it with a gold pan.” Give me a break; what about the commercial deposit he already found? Does the State have the authority to void a preexisting contract between Rinehart and the U.S. Congress?  Not if we live in a free country!

Having devoted the past 40 years to the mining industry, there is one thing I know to be true:   Commercial viability is the only thing the federal government considers when it is attempting to validate or invalidate a prospector’s claim to a mineral deposit on the public lands.  If there is not a commercial discovery, which must also include a viable means to recover the minerals, the “mining claim” is void from the beginning.

As a different example, if someone located a commercially-viable underground mineral deposit, and then the State passes a law that forbids miners from going underground, (1) the guy would not have a valid claim anymore, and (2) the State will have undermined Congress’ promise that the prospector would be able to profit from the underground mineral deposit that he worked so hard to discover.

It’s one thing to have concerns about the environmental impacts of a project.  It is another thing to ban a mining practice altogether, providing no process to see if there are any important impacts, or if there are none at all.  Suction dredging has been studied so extensively, the documents would fill a warehouse. There is no evidence that a single fish has ever been harmed in any way as a result of the dredging regulations that California adopted in 1994.

It is unnecessary to look beyond our situation to understand why America has lost its competitive edge in the world as every great nation in history has done.

The State has decided that because of just the possibility of negative impacts, they will not allow the use of any suction dredges until every imaginable impact is fully resolved. This is a requirement that is entirely impossible.  In my own view, and in that of a unanimous decision by the Third Appellate Court, this amounts to an unreasonable prohibition upon mining and should be preempted by federal law.

So now we will wait and see how the California Supreme Court will weigh in.  Nobody knows how long it will take for a written answer.  Though it would seem reasonable that they would try to finish it up while the material remains fresh on their minds. The Court has a heavy case load.  I’m hopeful that they would prefer to finish each case as soon as possible.

All or most of the ongoing litigation over suction dredging in California State court is on hold until the California Supreme Court issues a decision on the Rinehart case.

The New 49’er Legal Fund  retained a specialty law firm in Sacramento a few months ago to evaluate the prospect of a federal challenge to California’s new water quality law (SB 637) which has redefined “suction dredging” to include any mechanized device used to excavate or process material for gold within one hundred yards of any waterway.  These attorneys have now carefully studied all of the litigation we have been through during the past 7 years, along with the litigation concerning motorized mining in Oregon. Their best advice is for us to wait until the California Supreme Court weighs in on Rinehart before deciding what to do next.  They believe it is likely the Court will issue guidance in their decision that will set a clear direction for the future. If the direction is in our favor, I can see how things will roll back in our direction rather quickly.  If the direction is against us, our next and final stop will be with the U.S. Supreme Court.  Our attorneys believe the Supreme Court will take up this case because of the national implications. Win or lose, we are likely headed towards the U.S. Supreme Court!

Here is an explanation which I provided to members at our potluck several days ago.

Which way the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to lean will be strongly influenced by who wins the White House this November. We do live in interesting times!

Once again, I want to acknowledge and thank all of you for supporting our efforts to preserve small-scale mining in America.  If it were not for you guys, we would have been swept away a long time ago.

Let’s not give up. The battle for freedom is not over!

Three Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

Gold nuggets on blackTo encourage your support in replenishing The New 49’ers Legal Defense Fund, The New 49’ers are allowing three ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets to be split into 25 prizes in this fund-raiser!  The drawing will take place during our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 25 June 2016.  That’s just 2 weeks away!

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs 

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members!

This season, at least until the legal question about using motors is resolved; we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! With all the people who participate in our weekend projects, my guess is that the gold production will not change by much. All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, MAY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Though there is still some rain here and there, some very nice spring weather has set in along the Klamath River.  The days are getting longer.  The river is running clear and gradually dropping to summertime lows. More and more members are showing up. There is plenty of excited chatter going on amongst members over coffee most mornings at our headquarters in Happy Camp.

Scenic Klamath River Vigorous
Since the legality of operating motors to support prospecting devices remains uncertain, some members have switched gears and are using gravity to supply water to their recovery systems. This was how the Old-timers did it before motors were readily available.  Here is a video segment which Dickey Melton captured showing just one of a number of easy methods available to direct water into your recovery system without using a mechanical device:

We are contemplating other ways to make use of gravity to supply our recovery systems with water this coming season. You can expect to see much more gravity innovation happening along our extensive properties until our legal challenges are finally concluded and we can use motors again without worry over being hassled by State officials.

I am aware of one member who has been using gravity to direct water flow through a suction hose and nozzle in the river.

Shaking pan Gold
Others are experimenting with several kinds of newer-model gold pans which they say will process material about as fast as a motorized high-banker. John Rose captured the following video:

It’s difficult to predict how busy this season will be. Several members have called in to let us know they will wait for us to win motors back before they return.  Others have called in with excitement about the approaching season. Initial signups for our weekend group mining projects are pretty strong. We have booked the local Grange Hall for our Saturday evening potlucks all summer, beginning on the 4th of June, and we hope to see you there.

Legal Updates

All or most of the ongoing litigation over suction dredging in California State court is on hold until the California Supreme Court issues a decision on the Rinehart case.  There is no telling when that is going to happen.

The New 49’er Legal Fund has retained a specialty law firm in Sacramento to evaluate the prospect of a federal challenge to California’s new water quality law (SB 637) which redefined “suction dredging” to include any mechanized device used to excavate or process material for gold within one hundred yards of any waterway.  We expect a report and recommendation from the firm within the next few weeks.  Based upon their recommendations, The Legal Fund will likely move ahead without delay.  It seems wise to keep all further details confidential until the lawsuit is actually filed.  Please stay tuned.

The federal challenge to Oregon’s moratorium on motorized mining failed at the district level.  Here is the terribly flawed Decision.

A Notice of Appeal has already been filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Naturally, the State of California has attempted to submit the terribly flawed, unpublished Oregon Decision (from a magistrate; not even a judge) into the California Supreme Court proceedings. You can find our strenuous objections right here.  This will give you a taste of what the Oregon Appeal will address.

Once again, it is difficult to predict how long these legal proceedings will take. I suggest it is unlikely there is much chance of a legal 2016 mining season with the use of motors along most of the gold-bearing waterways in the State of Oregon.

Let’s not give up. The battle is not over in California or Oregon!

Three Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

Gold nuggets on blackTo encourage your support in replenishing The New 49’ers Legal Defense Fund, The New 49’ers are allowing three ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets to be split into 25 prizes in this fund-raiser!  The drawing will take place during our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 25 June 2016.

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs 

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members!

This season, at least until the legal question about using motors is resolved, we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! With all the people who participate in our weekend projects, my guess is that the gold production will not change by much. All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 4

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Story by Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman

Laura & Scott Laura's gold
 

Its spring, its spring! Finally, winter is over. Signs of warming weather are everywhere. One of my favorites are the butterflies; they are out in droves, especially the cute little periwinkle ones.  Trees and shrubs are budding and showing the first signs of leaves.  Temperatures have been in the 70’s this week. We are seeing all the birds returning. Osprey and bald eagles are soaring overhead on the river.  It is truly beautiful along the Klamath River during this special time of the year.

The river remains a bit swollen, but it’s dropping a little bit every day.  A murky plume of chilly water still stretches the entire length of the river from bank to bank. Having been here during the winter months gives me a new meaning to the wild side of the Klamath. I am all too ready for the gentler, scenic side. The Klamath remains a bit too swift to cross for the likes of me. Although it won’t be long until I’ll be paddling our boat to the far side of the river.

Even though we have been at it all winter, there remain quite a few New 49’er mining properties we have yet to explore. We are particularly interested in seeing what flood waters uncovered or left behind as the river drops.

Scott and I set a goal for ourselves back in December to fill a two-ounce vial with gold by summer. As of today, we have reached the halfway mark. One ounce of gold; cool! Now that we have spring weather, we’ll be on the river daily. Our goal was a challenge to ourselves as winter storms raged through Happy Camp. I admit the bad weather did slow us down a bit. We got 52 inches of rain; no kidding!

Mining gearWhile money is always important, our main purpose has been to enjoy every minute of this absolutely incredible outdoor wilderness adventure. We feel so lucky just to be here! So, rather than resist the new non-motorized rule imposed upon our rights to mine by the State of California, we have simply switched gears into hand mining with a sense of adventure. We know the legal battle for our side is in good hands. So, for now, we have trimmed down our active prospecting gear to two lightly-loaded backpacks with everything we need to find gold. Our production hasn’t slowed its pace by much. It’s even possible we may have even improved our gold recovery.

Here’s how we are doing it:  Sample, sample, sample, everywhere! You never know what you’ll dig up in the unlikeliest of places. We recovered a half-pennyweight out of a platter-sized depression in the bedrock with only an inch of river-flow material on top. It was quite the thrill seeing all that gold light up like bright stars on a dark night when I took a close look at the first of three scoops of material; it didn’t even fill my pan! There were tiny flakes of gold all over the bedrock!  I had to snuffer most of the gold up to get it into my gold pan. We kept it in its own snuffer bottle just to see how much gold was in the little depression. It was very exciting and rewarding for just a few minutes of effort. I mean we went out and searched; and we found pure treasure. It doesn’t get much better than that! I hope the State hasn’t made any new rules about making noise in the forest, because Scott and I probably scared off wildlife for miles up and down the canyon with our whooping excitement.

Sample everywhere; that’s the key!  Back when we were using a motor, recovering acceptable amounts of gold was more about moving the volume. But the larger, heavier gear limited the places we could get to. The gold deposits had to be larger to justify setting up all that gear in a single location. And we had to find richer areas that were more distant from the active waterway so our tailings water could be settled up on the bank.

Don’t get me wrong; we were doing really well with a high-banker. Non-motorized prospecting just requires a different approach.  It is less about volume and more about having the flexibility to move around and sample everywhere; even right next to the running water. Once the river drops more, I’m sure we will be sampling the shallow areas that have been underwater all winter, and even inside the river. You can really get around when you are using gear that can be picked up and taken with you sample after sample. Hint: Stick to the areas where the streambed material is shallow to the bedrock or to a change of layers.

Filling goldhog Filling Fossicker
Gold pan
Back to our new production method: We just sample around until we find some good gold. Then we fill a single bucket with the pay-dirt and run it through a Gold Hog pan – which quickly reduces the full bucket of material down to fit into a Fossicker Pyramid pan. This further reduces the remainder down to where it can be worked with a regular gold pan. In this way, it only takes us a few minutes to run a bucket of pay-dirt. That’s a pretty sizable sample when we are still in the looking stage. Once we find something good, we get moving through buckets nearly as fast as we could with our motorized high-banker – but without having to pack it in and set it up. Here is a video demonstration I captured out on the river:


Portable Gold in pan

I’m really liking this method; because we are able to see how much gold we are recovering bucket by bucket. Setting up a motorized high-banker requires at least ten buckets of material to break it down and see what you recovered. Otherwise it is just too much work. Sometimes it was only the first bucket that paid, and all the rest of the effort was for little or nothing. Yeah, I’m liking this method! Once we see the amount of gold dwindling, we immediately switch gears back into sampling around until we find more river-run material that is worth digging.  You would be amazed how many small deposits of gold can be found that produce good results for a portable, more flexible program!

Crevice goldScott and I are not the only New 49’er members who have devoted the winter adapting to non-motorized opportunities.  Here is some video that Dickey Melton captured of a member who asked to remain anonymous; because, I think, he doesn’t want anyone following him into the hotspot he located.  Can you blame him?

There are a bunch of us really looking forward to the summer weather settling in. More members are starting to arrive in Happy Camp every week. I am especially waiting for the days we can get in the water to snipe with the new sucker gun we got here at prospecting store in Happy Camp. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to operate the Gold Hog pan underwater, as well. This should make for a very profitable summer, filled with all sorts of New 49’er adventures!

See you guys on the river!

Miners Lose Motion for Summary Judgment in Oregon

We will need to appeal this Decision in one fashion or another (please see next section below):

Order re: Summary Judgement

I believe this undermines any chance of a legal 2016 mining season along most of the gold bearing waterways in the State of Oregon.

Let’s not give up. The battle is not over in Oregon!

There is Reason for Hope!

Here is an expanded version of a reply that I recently made on our Internet forum where a member was voicing frustration about the new water quality law in California:

Clearly established federal law says that the State cannot impose a material interference upon your mining or prospecting activity on the public lands.

It is a sign of the times, and how much difficulty our country is in, when State employees intentionally ignore clearly established law by concocting and enforcing “schemes” to deliberately impose material interferences upon the rest of us. This is not only happening in mining; it is everywhere! Anyone paying attention to national politics right now can recognize that the American people are fed up with the direction our government is leading the country. Nearly every conversation I have with people these days evolves into how disappointed people are.

My own understanding of the new water law is that it says no mechanized device can be used within 100 yards of an active waterway to support any kind of gold prospecting activity. This does not mean the new law is legal! Having said that, my best guess is that State officials will be out enforcing the new law because that is what they are being directed to do. Please be respectful to them. Local game wardens are not the ones who make the rules. Rather, they are charged with the duty to carry out very unreasonable actions against the backbone of America, while they signed on to go after real lawbreakers. These poor guys joined public service at the wrong time in American history!

The Siskiyou County Superior Court has put a Stay on all mining-related criminal prosecutions until the Rinehart case is decided by the California Supreme Court. Rinehart goes to the same question of how much authority the State has, if any, to impose laws or regulations so restrictive that they add up to a prohibition upon mining on the public lands.

At this point, I believe all mining-related litigation in California is on hold until the California Supreme Court weighs in on Rinehart.

Last season, even after the San Bernardino Superior Court found for our side, the State used its police powers to impound suction dredging equipment being used by miners. Some of the gear has since been returned. We are working on the remainder. The New 49’ers Legal Fund has stepped in to assist any and all miners who the State attempted to prosecute. There were only a few. Those attempted prosecutions are now on hold until Rinehart is decided.

The same new law which prohibits the use of mechanized equipment to prospect or mine for gold also includes language that requires the State to coordinate with the mining industry before they can begin enforcing the new law. So far, all of our requests for meetings have been turned away. The Department of Fish & Wildlife has also refused our request to put something in writing about which prospecting activities they believe will be against the new law. Their verbal response has been something to the effect, “What part of ‘mechanized’ do you stupid miners not understand?” The truth is they don’t want to disclose anything in writing that will certainly be used against them in court. Their position is that they have been too busy to organize public meetings, so they will begin enforcing the law until they get around to meeting with us.  So here we have the State only enforcing the portion of the new law which applies to us and ignoring the part that applies to them.

My guess is that Donald Trump’s response, or that of any of the other republican presidential contenders, would be something like this: “The really stupid people are the ones who have dedicated themselves to shutting down the American economy!”

A small placer operation in Siskiyou County This image is described by the California Department of Mines & Minerals as “A small placer operation in Siskiyou County.”. Not only did salmon survive mining activity on this (small) scale, historical records acknowledge that they thrived in it! Submission by longtime, supportive member, Jesse Love. 

I’m not a licensed attorney. Therefore I cannot provide legal advice to anyone. But having devoted my entire adult life to the industry, and having directed a fair share of the litigation in defense of small-scale mining, I can voice my own opinion that a State law which prohibits the use of a mechanized system to support a mining program, with no consideration given to the impacts, or absence of impacts, is entirely unlawful and unenforceable. The San Bernardino Superior Court and the California Third Appellate Court have each weighed in favor of this opinion during the past few years — even though the State has refused to stop enforcing laws which are clearly not legal.

Before this is all over, I believe we will get all this nonsense turned around with such finality that the next generation of miners will be blessed with a level playing field; perhaps even one in which the State encourages and rewards productive economic activity — rather than attempt to turn producers into criminals.

Maybe that time is not so far away.

In the meantime, I predict if you set your motor up to pump water from the river to your recovery system, if they find out about it, the State enforcement guys are likely to come down and ask you to stop. If you refuse, my best guess, since they cannot prosecute you, is that they will impound your pump as evidence against some possible future prosecution. They have up to a year to hold onto your gear and bring charges, even if they have not written you a criminal citation. Even if they have no intention to prosecute you at all!

Just because a law is illegal from the beginning does not mean that law enforcement authority will not be enforcing it upon you. Welcome to America as it is today!

If Donald Trump is going to truly make America great again, he will need to reach well beyond the federal agencies, declare a state of national economic emergency, and do away with all or most of the State and local departments of government where misguided officials are using unreasonable rules and regulations to prevent Americans from being productive. A lot of officials need to be told, “You’re Fired!”

Until that time happens, mainly because of your support, we are fortunate to have The New 49’ers Legal Fund in place to assist miners and prospectors that are being victimized by a system that is turned so upside down that departments of government, which are supposed to be providing service, are instead using their authority to make the average Joe into a criminal.

It’s not as bad as it could be. There are plenty of places in the world where you could be shot, tortured, thrown in jail and lose all your assets for the serious crime of possessing a motorized pump!  Or are there?  America is now ranked as one of the worst places in the world to start up a mining program of any size.  With management like this, it’s no wonder the country is 19 Trillion dollars in debt. It’s just a matter of time before America will wake up and reform these insane policies!  Right?  Or what then?

As I pointed out in our March newsletter, the Legal Fund will be helping to defend prospectors (using “mechanized systems”) that are being harassed by State officials. My own opinion is that the chances of getting prosecuted over a motor are about zero. The chances of having the motor taken away by the authorities are probably pretty likely if you refuse to stop using it. The chances of getting it back in the end are also very likely.

I suggested in the March newsletter that if you want to avoid hassles, you might consider non-mechanized prospecting during the coming season. As Laura suggests in the story above, a lot of members are adjusting their prospecting methods to go along with the new reality while our legal team is working on turning things around.

As bad as things are (We can’t even operate a small electric motor; you have to be joking!), and as long as we have been fighting, and as much as we have lost (even while we have been winning the legal battles), I would encourage everyone to reach way down inside and rekindle some hope. Truly; the richest pay-streaks I found in my career, the really rich ones that changed my life forever, were when I kept going even though things never looked so hopeless!

While I understand and am also experiencing frustration about the State having passed a law that prohibits me from even possessing even the smallest of a battery-operated bilge pump on my own mining claim, while any non-prospector is allowed to have one, there has never been a time that we have been so close to winning the most important legal battles that will turn it all around.

Hang with us for a while longer. As Dickey Melton has explained so well in the past several newsletters, while our very capable attorneys fight the larger battles for us in the courts, it is perhaps better during the meanwhile to enjoy and make the best out of the freedoms which we still do have which bring us some joy to our lives.

All would be lost if we did not have the very best legal team trying to get things set right on our behalf. And here is some breaking news: We are about to bring in reinforcements! Thanks to your generous contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, The Legal Fund will now retain a law firm in Sacramento which specializes in federal challenges, and winning against State agencies that are exceeding their legal authority.

We will need to coordinate with the mining associations in Oregon on the question of appealing their recent loss in federal court to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. An appeal to the Ninth Circuit might scuttle our hope of overcoming (in federal court) the State of California’s deliberate “schemes” to prohibit mining.  The fundamental case law is about the same in both cases, though circumstances are slightly different in California because we already have State court decisions in our favor. In fact, we want to prove that it was our wins in State court that prompted the State to enact the new water law.  Said another way, State officials in California have doubled down on their “scheme” to prohibit mining. A federal win or loss in California will also most certainly be appealed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Once our new law firm is up to speed on existing circumstances, we will arrange for our primary attorney, James Buchal, to meet with them and discuss the options. James is also representing the Oregon Miners.

Please note that this is about as far as we want to go with legal discussions without the risk of undermining legal strategies. Stay tuned; and I will provide more details as we move forward.

Three Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

Gold nuggets on black

To encourage your support in replenishing The New 49’ers Legal Defense Fund, The New 49’ers are allowing three ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets to be split into 25 prizes in this fund-raiser!  The drawing will take place during our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 25 June 2016.

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking here:

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs

               

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members

This season, we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, MARCH 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 3

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Dicky Melton

Cleaning bedrock Gold from Mossing

Winter is still in full swing here in Happy Camp but you couldn’t tell it today. I’m sitting here drinking a can of soda on the porch of my cabin looking at a seventy degree reading on the thermometer. The daffodils are budding out and some are in full bloom.  There are little blue and white flowers popping up, and even the plum tree in my yard is budding.

I hope for the flowers’ sake, we don’t have a late freeze. Be that as it may, even a deep freeze won’t affect my motivation to be out prospecting for gold on the Klamath River. There is something very magical about the pure beauty of gold that triggers internal feelings of exhilaration the moment I see it in my gold pan or trapped in a crack along the bedrock. A good find can even take my breath away and make me speechless for a while.  The discovery of raw gold affects most people this way.  I suppose that’s why so many of us are out searching for it.

Sometimes I just can hardly believe we still have the freedom to go out on the public lands and keep all the pure wealth we can find! As hard as we are fighting to get some of our freedoms back, I suggest we should take advantage of the blessings we still have.

Leo smiling Klamath River

On the subject of looking for gold during the winter months, just yesterday, I was downriver at the camp of New49er members, Leo and his mom Maria. They have been tent-camping all winter and doing pretty well. Leo was showing me some gold he recovered while scraping shallow material off of bedrock near the water’s edge.  Sometimes this practice is called “mossing,” because the rich minerals associated with gold prompt moss to also grow along the edge of the river during the winter and spring months. The moss dies off later as dry weather sets in.  But it’s really not about the moss.  It is about fine particles of gold, and even some larger golden flakes, that get washed up during the winter storms and become trapped along rough and irregular bedrock surfaces.

Material in pan Gold

There are places along New 49’er properties where we can go back to the very same spots every year and find the same amount of gold has redeposited on the very same bedrock. I know of one place on our Salmon River properties where a single big winter storm can redeposit gold in more abundance than the previous year!

Even in the worst of circumstances, there is always an opportunity to be found if we just look for it. Not using motors to pump water further from the river this year has prompted us to sample closer to the river’s edge. And by golly, we have found good gold deposits that we have, more or less, been overlooking for many years!

I was very encouraged by the amount of gold Leo had in is gold pan, so I captured some video of his workings. Check it out right here:

Leo had been operating a motorized high-banker earlier this winter; but in consideration of the ongoing legal uncertainties, he decided to switch over to processing material with a gold pan and hand sluice. After all, a motor just makes the processing a little easier.  Most of the effort and time in prospecting is invested into digging up the pay-dirt. At least in Leo’s situation, switching over to a hand sluice did not make much difference in his gold production.  Leo and his mom are clearly having the time of their lives living free out on the Klamath River.

More prospectors Mining along the edge

Leo and his mom are not the only ones who have been recovering gold along the edge of the Klamath River.  Myself and others have been at it all winter.  These pictures just above were provided by New 49’er members Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman. They are enjoying similar results along another part of the river. Laura told me just the other day that they are waiting for the river to drop just a little more before using their boat to cross the river. I gather they have located something very special over there…

Not to give away any secrets, but we do have several New 49’ers out here right now that are hand mining and doing amazingly well. I check in with them regularly and really love to share in their enthusiasm.

The thing is; these types of exposed bedrock gold trapping scenarios exist all up and down the Klamath River, on both sides of the river, above and below water. When you count both sides of the waterways, The New 49’ers make more than 120 miles of waterside gold mining potential available to members.  Do you know how long it takes to walk 120 miles?  We won’t prospect this much ground in our entire lifetimes!

The key to success is just a matter of sticking to your sample plan until you find something exciting enough to get your emotional juices flowing.  As long as you keep on looking, you will find gold and you will also generate some wonderful stories to share around the campfire.

I look forward to seeing you out on the river. Stop by and say hello! 

Legal Fund Drawing Results

Legal Fund Drawing 1 Legal Drawing 2

Here is the Winner List for The New 49’ers Legal Fund drawing held on late Friday afternoon, February 26 2016

1-ounce American Gold Eagle: Elvin Watkins of Walnut Creek, CA

Quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles: Ray Giroux of Montgomery, VT; Jeff Bucher of Lakeside, CA; Gary Fox of San Leandro, CA; Cathy Paap of Oroville, CA

Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Ricky Fuselier of Houston, TX; Justin Nash of Kansas City, KS; The Klamath Falls Prospectors club; Jason Perry of Antioch, CA; Richard Todd of Phoenix, AZ; David Sweet of Henderson, NV; Ted Campbell of Rogue River, OR; Ulas Kirby of Yuba City, CA; John Robbins of Anoka, MN; and Walter Crum of Janul, CA

One-ounce American Silver Eagles: Bruce Greenan of Auburn, CA; Michael Jarrett of Warden, WA; Arthur Smith of Clovis, CA; Paul McCrone of Salinas, CA; Ralph Wiser of Reno, NV; Bruce Greenan of Auburn, CA; Billy Brown of Arch Cape, OR; William Hinkle of San Diego, CA; Gary Nichols of Dallas, TX; and William Ransom of Klamath Falls, OR

John Rose captured the drawing on video:

Gold prizes
Congratulations to all our winners and thank you for all of your support. We can consider this another very successful legal fund-raiser. Any contributions received after we closed out Friday’s drawing will generate tickets for the next drawing that will take place on 25 June. As promised, our next drawing will be for the three ounces of beautiful gold nuggets in the image just above, divided into 25 prizes.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

We also want to thank our drawing assistant Meranda Rasmussen who works at the Marble Mountain Gift Store in Happy Camp.

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes.

More recently, the Court has requested further briefing as to how California’s new Water Quality law (SB 637) might affect the Rinehart outcome. There is some degree of hope that we can perhaps bring to the high court’s attention that the new Water Quality law is an expanded attempt by the State to materially interfere with mining on the public lands.  I’ll talk about this more down below.  Here follow links to both ours and the State’s briefings concerning the new Water Quality Law:

Initial Response from Brandon Rinehart

Initial Response from State

Rinehart Rebuttal of State Response

We are involved in several other ongoing legal contests in California (both civil challenges and criminal defense of prospectors).  All or most of these have been placed on hold pending the outcome of Rinehart in the California Supreme Court. So it would appear that the rights of small-scale gold miners in California will continue to hang in the balance for a while longer.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here. 

How California’s New Water Quality Law will Affect our 2016 Season

Basically, California’s new Water Quality Law redefines “suction dredging” as “the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals,” which does not include nonnotarized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold.”  

While we have yet to see it in writing, local DFW wardens are saying that they have been directed to interpret this to mean that no motorized systems whatsoever will be allowed to assist in the excavation or processing of gold-bearing material within 100 yards of a waterway unless the prospector possesses a suction dredging permit – which is not available. The wardens are saying that gold panning and non-motorized sluicing will be allowed.

Without going into our legal strategy, I will say that we believe this new law far exceeds the State’s authority over mining on the public lands. We will certainly challenge it.  Imagine the State deciding you are in violation of water quality laws just because you, as a prospector, possess a mechanical device within 100 yards of a waterway – even if there is no impact on water quality?  A device, by the way, that any non-prospector could bring to the very same location with no legal repercussions?  If this is not a clear intention by the State to impose a material interference upon mining, I don’t know what is!

The way the water quality laws are enforced upon everyone else in California is based upon actual impacts to water quality.  Federal mining laws clearly allow prospectors priority use of our mining claims.  Now the State is telling us we cannot possess any mechanical devices on our mining claims even if we are not creating any water quality impact?  I don’t think so!

Having said that, the only place I believe this is going to be resolved is in the courts. I get occasional emails from supporters who believe we should organize a huge motorized gold mining rally as a show of civil disobedience.  That’s not a far cry from the stand that a bunch of ranchers took in Burns Oregon this winter.  In the end, one of the organizers was shot dead by police, and most of the others are being criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. All or most of their lives are ruined because they made a stand for what they believe in.  I don’t want to lead supporters in that direction.

While we are not going to organize a protest, we are also not going to accept or enforce what we believe to be totally illegal laws the State has enacted in violation of Congress. The Siskiyou Superior Court has already Ruled that it will not entertain any further criminal prosecutions of suction dredgers until Rinehart is Ruled upon by the California Supreme Court. Therefore, I would not be surprised if some members decide to use motors in their prospecting programs this coming season.  It is likely that the Legal Fund would be prepared to help defend any prospector who is being prosecuted over laws which we do not believe are legal.

I have been in this business nearly my whole adult life. One thing I am sure of is that most people are hoping to enjoy hassle-free prospecting and leave the legal battles in the courtrooms far away from the quiet, peaceful, wondrous, almost religious moments Mother Nature is willing to share with us.  Therefore, our operating strategy for the coming season will be in harmony with Dicky’s story above.  We will make the best out of the freedoms available to us today while continuing to challenge unlawful State actions in court. We are not going to make it personal or uncomfortable with local wardens who are only doing what they are directed to do. Based upon past experience, my best guess is that they will be polite and respectful if you encounter them on the river.

Because of the earlier Rulings in our favor, I believe we have a reasonable chance of winning our battles in court.  And it may not take much longer since the California Supreme Court has requested additional briefing.

At the same time, we continue to make an effort to obtain water quality permits from the State of California. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the State is going to make the process difficult and expensive. Ultimately, I believe this is going to come out in our favor.

Since wardens are informing prospectors using non-motorized methods are not going to be hassled, it is non-motorized methods that we will be doing in our group mining projects this coming season.  I suggest you do not underestimate what can be accomplished without a motor. If you are not familiar with these methods, I encourage you to attend our weekend events.

2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs               

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a certain number of participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific weekend project: 530 493-2012.

Updating the Billing System in our Offices

We have hired a specialist to resolve problems with our monthly and annual billing system.  The first round of changes was made before we printed the February billing. The only way to know if we have everything the way it belongs is to get feedback from members.  If your billing seems incorrect, please don’t hesitate to call Bonnie or Music in our office: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, FEBRUARY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 2

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Dicky Melton

Sucker GunMother Nature sure has given us a variety of weather so far this winter mining season in Happy Camp. There has been plenty of rain, some freezing weather in the mid-twenties, snow, and sometimes temperatures up in the mid-fifties. But even the worst weather hasn’t stopped some ambitious miners from seeking their fortunes; they just modify their prospecting methods accordingly.

We had snow about two weeks ago. That was followed by lots of rain which melted the snow pretty fast. The banks of rivers and creeks were overflowing. Every now and again you could hear boulders crashing against other boulders underwater. It sounded a bit like a bowling alley.  This made me grin as I thought of new gold being deposited in my mining spot. Cool!

There is a big culvert at the top of the trail that goes down to the area where I have been mining during the past few summers. The culvert was so full of water in this past storm that it was overflowing its banks and my trail turned into a river. Mainly for the adventure, I inched my way down there, set up my hand sluice on the edge of the torrent, and started shoveling in the material.  When I cleaned up the box a little while later, I recovered about a quarter-pennyweight of nice gold.  This is confirmation that these winter storms are replenishing New 49’er properties – especially along the banks where we can get to easily with our hand tools.

Sucker Gun goldI was telling some other members about it over coffee at the office one morning. That’s when Jon Martin spoke up and said he was mining in the creek close to his camp using a sucker gun and sluice box. I asked if I could video the system he was using. “Sure” he said.

Jon is one of eight people that I can think of who are camping up and down the Klamath River this winter.  Yes, even in all the cold wet weather we are experiencing in northern California. The rest of us who are actively mining are living in nice warm houses or RV’s.

Jon’s prospecting area is deep in a steep canyon. It’s only about twenty feet wide at the bottom. I had never been to this place before. Standing down in that canyon I was amazed at the beauty of the place. I got one of those “lucky feeling” twinges when I flashed on the sixty-plus miles of gold properties available to all New 49’er members.  That’s more than I will check out in my remaining years.

sucker gun EMy wife Cheri and I joined the New 49’ers in 1998. We just hand mined, sluiced, gold panned and metal detected for gold nuggets during the first few years. Talking about great adventure! We always brought our kids, grand kids, and as many other kids that wanted to come.  We would go rafting, or over to the Oregon caves, or just have picnics on the beach and swim. I would always do some gold prospecting, sometimes crevassing with mask and snorkel — or just prospecting on the creeks. We always found some gold. My granddaughter Lily prospected alongside me for a month last summer. Those are more memories that neither of us will ever forget. I’m looking forward to her being here during the 2016 season, also.  You spend some quiet time on the river with your grandkids, and the memories are more valuable than the gold you are hunting for!

Even though the creek was running high and fast, using his sucker gun to recover gravel from the bottom, Jon was doing very well on gold recovery. Check it out right here in the video sequences I captured:

I bought one of those sucker guns from the mining store in Happy Camp a few years ago.  Like a lot of my toys, it has been sitting in my garage ever since.   But after watching Jon’s demonstration, I’ll be putting my sucker gun to work right away.  There are some deeper underwater areas at my site that I would like to visit…

I hope to see all of you out on the river. Stop by and say hello!

Legal Updates

In last month’s newsletter, I encouraged everyone to make contact with the California State Water Resources Control Board asking what must be done to obtain a water quality permit or waiver in order to qualify for a suction dredge permit during the 2016 season.  I gather that the Water Resources Control Board was overwhelmed by the number of enquiries.  Thanks very much to all of you who joined in this effort.  Now I am asking you to please, as soon as possible, send us copies of the written responses that you received: Dave Mack C/O The New 49’ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.  Anyone who has taken the enquiry beyond the initial communication; if you have anything interesting to report, please immediately contact steve@goldgold.com.

We have very qualified people pushing forward on the water quality permitting process.  While there are no guarantees of success, our people continue to express hope for a positive outcome.  We will keep you informed of any meaningful progress.

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes. More recently, the Court has requested further briefing as to how California’s new Water Quality law (SB 637) might affect the Rinehart outcome. Briefing is due in mid-February. There is some degree of hope that we can perhaps bring to the high court’s attention that the new Water Quality law is an expanded attempt by the State to materially interfere with mining on the public lands.

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has ruled and ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional. As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).  Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here. The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she will sign an Order for a return of all equipment that was seized from Derek and Dyton by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens as long as the dredges are not used in Siskiyou County until the case against them has been resolved.

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney.

Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino was supposed to decide on January 20th upon the arguments by suction dredgers that the State of California did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when they developed the 2012 suction dredging regulations.  We are also motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional, that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.  But rather than decide the issues, Judge Ochoa deferred judgment until Rinehart is ruled upon by the California Supreme Court.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here.

Reviews of Modern Hand-prospecting Gear

Non-motorized prospecting activity is specifically provided a waiver in California’s new Water Quality law.  As far as I am aware, non-motorized prospecting activity along New 49’er properties does not require any permit and is not subject to any season.  Since many members are looking for a totally hassle free way to prospect for gold along our extensive properties this coming season, Montine in our office (530 493-2062) suggested that it would be a good idea to provide some demonstrations of modern hand mining gear that can almost keep up with motorized prospecting.  Here is her first review:

Legal Fund Drawing in February

Gold and Silver Eagles

Our ongoing Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles – will come to a close on Friday, 26 February.  This will be the last newsletter you will receive before the drawing takes place.

As most of you know, these Legal Fund drawings are how we generate most of the funds necessary to defend the rights of small-scale gold miners.  To date, there has not been very much participation in this latest fundraiser. I have my fingers crossed that we will get a bunch of support from you guys during these last three weeks before the drawing.

The drawing will take place after lunch at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us!

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
Updating the Billing System in our Offices

We have hired a specialist to resolve problems with our monthly and annual billing system.  The first round of changes was made before we printed the February billing. The only way to know if we have everything the way it belongs is to get feedback from members.  If your billing seems incorrect, please don’t hesitate to call Bonnie or Music in our office: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, JANUARY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

As many of you are aware, California passed a new Water Quality law last year which went into effect at the beginning of 2016. Senate Bill 637 has modified California’s suction dredging law under Section 5653 of the Fish & Wildlife Code to require a Water Quality Permit or Waiver before a dredging permit will be granted.  You can find the language of SB 637 right here.

The language of SB 637 allows several ways to obtain the Water Quality Permit or Waiver.  Because some federal Waivers are already in place for suction dredging, it is confusing at this point which, if any, additional steps are necessary to obtain a suction dredging permit.  Several of our most qualified members have devoted the past two months trying to figure it all out.  We have consulted extensively with the leaders of the other industry associations in California, and with our attorney, and even with local law enforcement personnel inside of the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW).  All I can say is that no two people have the same view of how SB 637 will affect California suction dredgers – and/or those of us that are doing small-scale motorized prospecting activity outside of the active waterways. Here follows some of the key language in SB 637 that everyone is struggling with:

It is unlawful to possess a vacuum or suction dredge in areas, or in or within 100 yards of waters that are closed to the use of vacuum or suction dredges.

For purposes of this section and Section 5653.1, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, also known as suction dredging, is the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals. This section and Section 5653.1 does not apply to, prohibit, or otherwise restrict nonmotorized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold. 

The reason we struggle is that there are a lot of prospecting and other activities that have nothing to do with suction dredging, but which use the same or similar gear that we use in dredging, and in particular use motorized equipment. If so, that would put an end to a big part of California’s sand gravel mining industry. Since the language is somewhat ambiguous in its meaning, we are supposing that “intent to operate a suction dredge” is required.

For example, a suction dredge is not allowed within 100 yards of an active waterway if it is closed to dredging.  We get that.  But what about the same kind of motorized pumps or gold recovery systems if there is clearly no purpose to operate a suction dredge?  How about a motorized hookah system that does not have a pump attached to it?  That gear, without the rest of the essential gear to make up a dredge, does not amount to “suction dredging”.  How about a motor on a boat, ATV, electric generator, motor vehicle and many other devices that we may use to support dredging, or many other activities which have nothing to do with suction dredging?

Most telling about what the legislature’s intent can be found in Section 5653.5 of Fish & Wildlife Code:

5653.5. For purposes of Section 5653, “river, stream, or lake” means the body of water at the current water level at the time of the dredging.

We think this means that the focus of enforcement efforts will be use of motorized equipment to recover minerals in the water.  We have looked into what it takes for an individual to obtain water quality certification for “waste discharges” into the active waterway.  These processes were designed for meaningful discharges far in excess of what we do in small-scale mining.  The processes are time consuming, lengthy and expensive; something few, if any, casual users are likely to do.

In looking over the language of SB 637, we also noted the following language:

Section 13172.5 is added to the Water Code, to read:

13172.5. (c) (1) Before determining what action to take pursuant to subdivision (b), the state board shall solicit stakeholder input by conducting public workshops in the vicinity of the cities of San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento, and Redding. A regional board considering independent action pursuant to subdivision (b) shall solicit stakeholder input by conducting at least one public workshop in that board’s region. To promote participation in the public workshops, the state board or regional board shall proactively reach out to mining groups, environmental organizations, and California Native American tribes, as defined in Section 21073 of the Public Resources Code.

(2) Before taking a proposed action pursuant to subdivision (b), the state board or regional board shall conduct at least one public hearing regarding that proposed action pursuant to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(3) To avoid duplication of efforts between the state board and a regional board of a public workshop or public hearing that covers the same regional area, the state board and a regional board may work in collaboration to share information obtained through the public workshops or public hearing.

It seems reasonable to assume that nothing really changes until the California Water Board conducts some public meetings and consults with the small-scale mining community.  As far as I know, the State has not scheduled anything on this, yet. Therefore, in view of the uncertainty over how the State believes it should enforce SB 637, until we get written clarification from the State, we are making the following assumptions:

1)     We do not believe that the legislature intended to prevent all motorized mining-related activity within 100 yards of waterways (that are closed to dredging) just because many, many activities can be identified that have nothing to do with suction dredging, but which use some of the same or similar gear that dredgers use.  Existing 5653.5 defines suction dredging as something which takes place within an active waterway.  This is true.  I am not aware of any reasonable person who would suggest that something is really suction dredging if it is happening outside of an active waterway.

In my view, if the law is not going to be applied to sand and gravel plants that are doing large scale mechanized excavation of minerals, how can it be applied to recreational-scale miners that are using a small motor; but have no intention of suction dredging?  How about using a vacuum cleaner to suck the gold from dry cracks in exposed bedrock up out of the water?  There is no way a dry-vack can be used in the active waterway, right?

So for the time being, we will move forward on New 49’er properties with the assumption that SB 637 does not apply to any other type of the traditional prospecting activities we do that do not require a complete suction dredge.

2)    The new Water Code Section 13172.5. (c) (1) directs that they cannot move forward with any of the proposed actions pursuant to subdivision (b) until there is some coordination with the mining industry. Therefore, we are actively working on setting up an initial stakeholder meeting with staff from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

If the outcome from this makes it clear that New 49’ers should apply for a permit or waiver that will provide a water quality certification covering all the properties we manage, that’s what we will do.  We will keep you guys informed of the progress.

3)    Since SB 637 does seem to apply only to suction dredging, if you want to operate a suction dredge in California during 2016, I suggest it may be a good time to begin asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the California Water Board exactly what will be required of you to qualify for an individual water quality certification so that you can obtain a suction dredge permit.

It may be that there is little you can do, especially since both the Corps and the State have authority to grant state-wide or regional certification that applies to the times and places when suction dredging is allowed under California’s adopted suction dredging regulations.  My guess is that this will happen faster if everyone who wants to dredge in California sends a written query to:  State Water Resources Control Board, P.O. Box 100, Sacramento, CA 95812-0100.  “Dear Sirs, I understand SB 637 may affect my hopeful application to obtain a suction dredge permit in 2016.  Can you please provide me with details on how to proceed?”

Some New 49’ers and others within our dredging industry are already moving forward on obtaining individual water quality certifications or waivers in support of their suction dredging plans for the coming season.  As I mentioned above, different approaches are being used. Long time very supportive member, Steve Kleszyk, is very informed on this effort and is actively pursuing individual authorization (if required at all) to suction dredge on the Klamath river this season.  He has offered to provide opinions and assistance to anyone also wanting to get moving on this.  Steve can be reached at steve@goldgold.com. It may be a week or two after this mailing for him to have something worth passing on but he is working diligently to get the best possible answers according to his understanding.

The good news is that SB 637 may be the door to get hassle-free suction dredging going again in California.  Some more time and effort will bring us the answer to this.

Other Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes.

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has ruled and ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional. As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).  Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here. The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she will sign an Order for a return of all equipment that was seized from Derek and Dyton by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens as long as the dredges are not used in Siskiyou County until the case against them has been resolved.

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney.

Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino will decide in a hearing on January 20th on the arguments by suction dredgers that the State of California did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when they developed the 2012 suction dredging regulations.  Western Mining Association (WMA) deserves most of the credit for providing a really well done effort on this.  The outcome could affect the new water quality law in California (which is largely based upon the very same results which we are challenging). We are also motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional, that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here.

It will be interesting to see how the federal court in Oregon deals with the federal preemption argument.  Because, after 7+ years of getting the runaround by the State of California, I believe the time is about right to ask for some intervention by the federal court.

New Legal Fund Drawing

Gold and Silver EaglesThis is to announce the newest Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.  As most of you know, these Legal Fund drawings are how we generate most of the funds necessary to defend the rights of small-scale gold miners.

The drawing will take place at the close of business at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us! 

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
Updating The Billing System in our Offices

We have hired a specialist to resolve problems with our monthly and annual billing system.  The only way to know we have everything the way it belongs is to get feedback from members.  If your billing seems incorrect, please don’t hesitate to call Bonnie or Music in our office: 530 493-2012.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, DECEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 11

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Story by Dickey Melton

 

Dickey MeltonWell, the hot summer days and warm summer nights with fifteen hours of daylight have ended for this year. Most of the miners who summer in Happy Camp have gone to warmer places. The trees have lost most of their leaves; the sun doesn’t get very high; and the rivers are COLD.

I got up this past Saturday morning to an outside temperature of twenty degrees. This prompted me to make coffee and sip it nice and slow in front of the wood stove in my cabin.

Being a New 49’er member, I have free access to miles upon miles of gold-rich mining property; more than I could prospect in ten lifetimes.  But I have taken a liking to this spot several miles downstream from Happy Camp and have spent quite a lot of time down there. My granddaughter spent a few months with us two summers ago, and she mined with me every day. Those are fond memories that she will never forget and neither will I.

Sipping a second cup of coffee, I got to thinking about the area I’m mining. There’s a creek that has water most of the year.  But during the dry season, the water runs underground and comes out about a hundred feet above the river into a little muddy area covered in horse tail, swamp grass, blackberries and poison oak. I have been walking by that area all year and I swear I can hear beautiful gold calling out to me from under all that mud. I’ve almost gone in there a couple times but was turned back by the brush.

Now that the leaves are gone it doesn’t look so intimidating. So I loaded up my prospecting tools and trusty dog, Loki. Loki a sixty-five pound, ten month old Kareelian Bear Dog with all the energy of three Jack Russell Terriers.  He is quite a handful.  But his heart is always in the right place. Loki knows what it means to be a man’s best friend. All I have to do is look like I am ready to go somewhere and he is already one step ahead of me!

We got down to the mining site and it was cold down there, very cold!  After getting organized a bit, I started the work of clearing away some brush. Once I got into it, I started making some real progress.

Funny thing about some dogs; if you throw something, anything, they think you really want it back. It took a while to get Loki to realize that just because I was throwing brush it didn’t mean I wanted it back. He would drop the brush behind me sit down and look at me with his tongue hanging out, panting with that very same happy, “look what I just did,” look he gets when he has just dug ten holes in the new planted lawn. Sometimes it takes some patience to have a best friend around.  In Loki’s world, he is always doing his best to help me out.

After a while, Loki and I finally reached the area where I swear I heard the gold during this past summer. Loki took one look at the mud hole—which was about the size of two bathtubs–and looked at me with that, ”I think I’m in heavenlook. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Loki!! No!!”  I’m sure he heard, Loki!! Go!! This is because he went over me like he had wings, landed in the middle of the mud, buried his head to his eyeballs and blew bubbles. Then came the explosion of mud and dog. Mind you, it was still below freezing down there. I was trying to get out of the danger zone and tripped on a wait a minute vine (commonly known as BlackBerry vine.)

A few seconds later, Loki was standing over me covered in foul smelling swamp mud with that famous, “look what I just did” look. If you could have seen his face you would understand why I didn’t get too mad. After all, he’s only ten months old—which I knew when I invited him.

Loki In the mudWell, after I got things squared away with Loki, he realized we were there to work, not play. And I have to admit that he did try to help me with the shoveling. I’m sure he thought he was helping.

We got through the mud and ran a sample through the Fossicker Pyramid Pan.  First I had to bust the ice off the top of the panning tub.  And by gosh, there was some gold in the pan!  I got the sniffer bottle out and the water inside was frozen. Now that’s what I call hard core!

I love prospecting and am able to do it year round. I’m finding ways to mine in any weather. Now that I know Loki likes bad weather, I have someone to go and keep me company.

I was asked if I got a lot of gold last year. Now some miners think a lot of gold is paying for your house. And other miners think a lot of gold is being able to see gold in a quarter ounce vile without holding it up in the light where you can see it better. I got somewhere in between that.

But the better answer to the question is that even if I had all the wealth a man needed, what would I do with my time?  I’d be out prospecting for gold, of course!  So on that count, I guess I’m getting plenty.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to stop prospecting or mining. So grab your trusty dog if you have one and go create some memories.

I hope to see you out here!

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes.

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional.

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).

Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here.

The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she would entertain a Motion for a return of all equipment that was seized by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens.

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney.

There is a new Water Quality law which will go into effect next year in California that will require a water quality permit for most or all motorized mining activities that take place within 100 yards of any active waterway.  We are in the process of submitting applications that will cover the extensive properties we make available to our members, and also work out what other prospectors should do to obtain the permit or waiver.  The initial feedback we are receiving is encouraging, at least for the moment.  I’ll keep you informed of the progress as we go into the winter months.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here.

Hats off to James Buchal for a great job on this. I am told that James received a lot of very helpful input from some of our brothers and sisters in Oregon who are also well versed in mining law.  Cool!

The arguments, more or less, are based upon the very same legal theories that have been winning our cases in California.

The difference is that even though we keep winning landmark cases in California, State officials, who are in bed with radical environmentalists, continue their ongoing scheme of preventing us from mining.  I figure we will have exhausted our California State remedies once the California Supreme Court issues a Decision on the Rinehart case — or as soon as we come to the conclusion that the process of obtaining a dredging permit under California’s new water law is so burdensome or expensive that the process is just another unlawful scheme to materially interfere with mining on the public lands.  We are working on that now.

It will be interesting to see how the federal court in Oregon deals with the federal preemption argument.  Because, after 6+ years of getting the runaround by the State of California, I believe the time is about right to ask for some intervention by the federal court.

New Legal Fund Drawing

Gold and Silver EaglesThis is to announce the newest Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.  As most of you know, these Legal Fund drawings are how we generate most of the funds necessary to defend the rights of small-scale gold miners.

The drawing will take place at the close of business at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us!

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

 

On a Personal Note

Suzuki Outboards?  Do we have anyone out there who is a distributor or dealer for Suzuki outboard engines, or who has a connection that will provide us with an exceptional deal?  If so, please contact me through the office at 530 493-2012, or you can find my personal email address on our contact page.

Holiday Wishes:  Me and all our staff in the office want to express our sincere gratitude for all of your continued support and encouragement during these uncertain times for small-scale gold mining.  We would not still be fighting if we didn’t believe we will ultimately win.  We also would not still be in the game if it were not for you guys standing behind us. From all of us serving you in The New 49’ers, we wish you a Merry Christmas holiday and hope that wonderful things happen for you in the coming year.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012  www.goldgold.com

Print This Post Print This Post

 
Dave Mack

“We are now motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional and that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

 

Tags