New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, DECEMBER 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 12

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

We sponsor weekend Group Mining Projects every third weekend during the summer season.  These events nearly always take place along the Klamath River in the proximity of Happy Camp in northern California.  The service is free to all of our active members. We encourage people to attend. This is because there is a lot to be gained by participating in prospecting activity with others who are on the cutting edge of more effective ways to recover gold.  Everybody who attends is entitled to an equal split of the gold that we recover on these projects.

Having fun Mid day clean-up

The events are a lot of fun.  In fact, they are one of the primary benefits of membership in The New 49’ers that sets us apart from other mining associations.  These weekend projects are one of our most successful activities.  This is largely because so many people get introduced to the activity of successful gold prospecting and become passionate about it.
Father & son

Fortunately, we have a number of experienced members who volunteer their time to help organize these projects.  Otherwise, there is no way we could manage the number of people who come.  Our largest event drew in 137 people.  That was so many that I had to use a megaphone to talk loud enough out in the field that everyone could hear me.  That was too many people.  I don’t ever want to do that again!  It is more normal for the projects to involve around 40 to 50 people. That’s just about right.

We take these projects seriously enough that some of our most dedicated helpers, like Rich Krimm, John Rose, Ray Derrick, Diane Helgesen and Derek Eimer devote several days in advance of a weekend project searching the river for just the right place.  By this, I mean that there must be a high-grade gold deposit that is within reach of our methods of hand-mining.  We need to be able to set up recovery systems in a location where natural contours on the bank will direct the dirty water from our high-bankers away from the river.  There needs to be good enough access that we can get people safely down to the river, and sometimes across the river.  Since we now have access to around 100 miles of mining property in the vicinity of Happy Camp, there are plenty of places to pick and choose from.

Early this past season, we discovered just the right place around 9 miles downstream of Happy Camp.  The site is located on the far side of the river on one of our newer mining properties, K-23AA.  There is plenty of parking and overnight camping there in a large pull-off along Highway 96.  Since it was going to be necessary to ferry participants across the river, we launched one of our large, commercial Colorado River rafts and powered it back and forth across the river with a small outboard engine.

The interesting thing about these weekend projects is that they generate a lot of new ideas and innovation.  There is always someone coming up with a new way of doing things. Our project helpers do a lot of prospecting on their own; so they are always coming up with a more efficient method of recovering gold.  And, step-by-step, that’s how we developed this entirely new method of surface mining (high-banking) this past season.  We call it “gravity mining.” This is a new method in the modern age.  My guess is that the old-timers probably had this method of mining worked out at the turn of the century. 

Tony digging Rake

Group actionThe video and images in this story are from our final weekend event of last season. There were 53 enthusiastic participants, including our normal helpers, along with longtime members, Diane Phillips, Jim Yerby, Bob Sonnenburg and Gary & Sheri Standefer. Both Jim and Bob have been big supporters of our program for many years. Gary and I have a long history dating back to our time together in the Navy SEALs.

We had already worked out the gravity mining method on the previous project, so setting up the project was pretty routine.  Rich Krimm and John Rose always supervise the excavation activities on these projects.  We had already devoted enough time in this gold deposit to know where the line of pay-dirt was located and what the pay-dirt looks like. It is an orange-colored compacted gravel on top of decomposed bedrock.  Derek, Ray and both Diane’s, for the most part, manage the gold recovery systems. Gary & Sheri jumped into the excavation process.  It actually takes some practice and experience to keep a steady flow of material moving through a syphon nozzle.  My main job is to capture the project on camera.  But I do like to take a hand in the excavation activity.  I was able to get some work in on this project.

Gravity mining is accomplished by pumping water up into a small hole that is elevated above the recovery system.  The pumped water can be used to help excavate pay-dirt material inside the hole.  Once the hole fills up, the excess water will overflow unless you set up a way to drain the excess.  It is the drain which we incorporated into the “gravity mining” concept.  As long as the excavation where the water is being pumped is elevated some distance above the recovery system(s), a hose can be used to syphon the excess water from the hole and direct it down into the recovery system.  We were using two 3-inch hoses on this project.  We attached the hoses to nozzles to make it easier to control the syphons.  The cool thing is that the water flow will also carry along excavated pay-dirt down the hose and into the recovery systems.  Here it is on video:

One exciting thing about this method is that we can use extended lengths of hose or PVC plastic pipe and a series of booster pumps to process rich ancient channel deposits that exist further away from the active river, and even some distance up the hillsides.  I have already seen one member using a second pump in line to boost the water further away from the river.  Inline booster pumps are what firefighters use to direct pressurized water great distances away from the source, maybe even miles away!

Working hard

This particular group was very enthusiastic and not afraid of hard work.  One of the guys insisted on staying out on the dig site, and swimming back across the river after dark. Others said they could see him over there after dark using a head lamp.  That’s a level of enthusiasm I have not seen before!  Check it out:

Jim YerbyFree Video:

Throughout the day, our more experienced guys operated the syphon nozzles while most others were digging pay-dirt, screening it into buckets and pouring the pay-dirt into the water-filled excavations.

Of course, the more pay-dirt we process, the more gold we will recover.  The beauty of this gravity mining is that we don’t have to devote time and effort packing pay-dirt very far.

There are two secrets to feeding as much pay-dirt into a syphon nozzle as possible.  The first is to not overload the hose with so much material at once that it packs up.  This is a bit challenging when dozens of others are pouring buckets of screened pay-dirt into the excavation!  The second secret is to move the larger rocks out of the way as fast as you can; rocks which are too large to go into the nozzle. Otherwise, they block the end of the nozzle and slow down the volume. Here is a demonstration:

It is normal for us on a mining project to continuously pan-sample the material we are processing to make sure we are still on the pay-dirt.  Here is a look at some of the action on video:

Carrying bucketsAt mid-day, Ray Derrek and Rich Krimm processed a sample of material out of just one of the recovery systems so we could see how we were doing.  It is a long tradition of ours to perform a mid-day clean-up so we can show everyone the fruits of their labor.  This bunch was already so jacked up, they didn’t need any motivation.  There were lots of expressions of delight as Rich took the pan of gold around for everyone to see.  Most everyone out there just paused for a quick look and then went back to work filling buckets with the orange pay-dirt and the decomposing bedrock. Here is a firsthand look at what they were doing:

Just a little while later, I noticed a man & woman showing off some gold in a pan.  I cannot tell you how important it is to pay attention to this sort of thing!  Especially to me, because I am always looking for the next and better place to put on these weekend projects.  I refer to this as staying on the right wavelength. When people are showing gold around, they get my full attention! This couple turned out to be New 49’er members, David MacKenzie and Alice Leverenz.

Happy couple "One bucket" sample

Showing off the gold from a single bucket of pay-dirt this couple recovered from an exciting new gold deposit they just located downstream.

When I first saw David and Alice showing off their gold, I figured they recovered a good sample from the area where we were actively mining.  But it turned out they were showing off the gold they had recovered out of a single bucket of streambed material a few days before in a completely different area some distance downriver.  It was quite a good showing!  They also had some very nice nuggets from digging down there in another place closer to the river.

Commercial mining is normally associated with dredging underwater gold deposits.  This is one of the few couples we have in The New 49’ers that support themselves from the gold they recover digging up on the surface (high-banking). It can be done if you find a high-grade gold deposit. They were saying the pay-dirt is so rich where they were digging that they were getting gold in every pan, and even out of the leaves on the ground! Check it out here:

This is typically the way new discoveries are made along our extensive properties in The New 49’ers.  Some member makes a good discovery and then shows it around.  Other members migrate to the new discovery.  Sometimes we have full-on gold rushes!  There are rules in place which allow members to claim areas where they want to work.  First come, first served. It’s a good system to allow members to spread the wealth around without worry over losing their own part of it.

The place where David and Alice made their discovery is along an extensive exposure of surface streambed further downstream on K-23AA – which is quite a long claim.  They were inviting and encouraging other members to join them down there in their good fortune.  This is very common in The New 49’ers where we have plenty of room for everyone.

Rich, John, Diane and I took them up on their offer a few days later, using my jet boat to gain access to the new discoveries.  It’s all very exciting.  I captured more images and video, and we are considering how we might move the weekend projects down that way this next season.  Watch for more about this in a coming newsletter.

Happy Camp Fire Smoke
Catastrophic wildfires burned throughout Siskiyou County for a large part of the 2014 season

Final goldNormally, the heat kills us off by mid-day during our projects in August.  But the wild fires near Happy Camp were creating a light smoke haze in the air that was filtering the hot sun.  I’m certain the whole group was willing to go all day if we wanted to, some of them even until after dark!  But our project helpers already knew we had recovered enough gold by around noon. So we broke down the gear, filled in all our excavations and ferried nearly everyone back across the river. Once again, I believe the night-miner remained behind.

Several hours later, after processing what we recovered back in Happy Camp, we split off 11.2 pennyweights of beautiful gold amongst 51 people.  That’s a bit more than half an ounce.  I believe it was a seasonal record.  There were a bunch of small nuggets, two that weighed 7 grains!  I was pleased to see so many happy faces.  This is the part I like the most!

I want to express a big thank you to all of our experienced volunteer helpers on these projects.  You guys play a big part in making our organization great!

Join us for our Weekend Group Mining Projects Next Season!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.

Schedule of 2015 Events: June 6 & 7; June 27 & 28; July 18 & 19; August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events 

Rinehart Decision will now go to California Supreme Court! 

We recently announced that the California Third Appellate Court refused the State’s request to reconsider their landmark Decision which confirmed the rights of prospectors to be free of unreasonable regulation when mining on the public lands.  The Third Appellate also consented to our requests to publish their Decision so we could rely upon it in other ongoing and future litigation.

In my own opinion, the published Rinehart Decision is the most important legal development in support of mining in America during the modern age.  It is the turning point which should be the foundation of future mining in America.

Since being denied by the Third Appellate for reconsideration, the State of California has submitted a Petition to the California Supreme Court to review the Rinehart Decision. They have also asked to have the Rinehart Decision be de-published.

You guys can make your own evaluations, but I am seeing some deliberate misrepresentation in the State’s brief. They make it sound as though, once the outstanding issues are mitigated, we will be allowed to continue suction dredging — when the nature of the issues they have identified are such that they can never be resolved.  Not to mention that the State’s moratorium on suction dredging is permanent!

Here is James Buchal’s spot on answer to the State’s Petition for Review.

Keep in mind that these briefs are not actually the review. They are arguments about why the California Supreme Court should, or should not, review the Third Appellates’ Decision on Rinehart.  Just so you know, the California Supreme Court only takes up 5% of the Petitions it receives.

Now, here is the State’s request to have the Rinehart Decision de-published.  I suggest you read this brief if you can find the time.  It will provide you with a perception of how desperate the State is to hold onto its totalitarian control and prevention of mining in California.  In addition to relying upon extensive hearsay from an unnamed retired mineral examiner who was not present in any of the earlier Rinehart proceedings, the State, more or less, mirrors the views that I expressed in last month’s newsletter that the published Rinehart Decision will prevent them from imposing any unreasonable restrictions upon miners.  Heaven forbid!  Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court has already made this determination.

Here is James Buchal’s brief which argues against de-publication. Read it and feel proud.

James Buchal is now basically representing most of the mining community, in multiple states. Because so many different individuals and mining associations are sending him money on behalf of Brandon Rinehart, and on other legal matters, it is inaccurate to call him only The New 49’er attorney, anymore — even though he does also represent us. The New 49’ers Legal Fund has committed to, and is actively, picking up the cost of any financial shortfalls in all or most of the mining cases that James is representing.

The industry is very lucky to have James. Just as one example, He Skyped me from his office at 8 PM to discuss some technical matters several Saturday nights ago. He was working on his opposition brief to the State’s Petition to the California State Supreme Court. He was also in his office on Sunday evening, sending out update information to the industry on the correct address where we should be sending our letters opposing de-publication.  James sent me his final Opposition brief to the State’s Petition for de-publication on Thanksgiving Day. I venture to say that none of the other attorneys in all the litigation we are involved with are as committed as the champion who is working on our behalf.

I remember a time, and it was not that long ago, that our industry could not come up with the money to hire any lawyer. Now we have one of the best freedom fighters in the country on our side!

We also have an army of fellow supporters working for our side!  We only had 10 days from when the State’s request to de-publish was filed to deliver our own letters of opposition to the California Supreme Court. That was very little time to make something happen!

Our attorney believed it would be beneficial for the California Supreme Court to hear from an army of gold prospectors who have an interest in how this matter is going to be resolved in California. So we put out an emergency email to our entire Internet Action List asking for letters of opposition (to de-listing) be sent to the California Supreme Court by overnight express, along with copies to long list of the other attorneys involved with the case.

Letters To Supreme CourtFrankly, I didn’t have much hope that a letter writing campaign on such short notice, requiring overnight express mailing, was going to have much of an impact.  But that was a gross underestimation on my part.  Here is an image of a stack of copied letters that James Buchal proudly sent me even before the deadline was reached!  And here is a portion of an email I received a few days ago from one of our very supportive members. This says it all:

“I called the CA Supreme Court clerk yesterday to see if they were going to docket my letter. The kid was nice enough and said they had over 500 letters, too many to docket. But he assured me they were being forwarded “upstairs” to the Supreme Court. I reminded him that each of those 500 people paid $20 to overnight their letter, which did not seem to impress him. Then I informed him that the Appellate Court was docketing their service copies, which seemed to surprise him.   

I then asked him “HOW MANY LETTERS HAVE YOU RECEIVED IN SUPPORT OF DEPUBLICATION?” He replied that, as far as he knew, they had received NO letters in support of de-publication. ZERO. I was very nice the entire time and when he started with the “I only work here” routine, I thanked him and hung up. 

I got no sense that there was any ire toward miners; I think there are just too many letters and not enough time in the day to docket 500+ letters. Who knows, maybe it’s a record?

Thought you might want to know. 

David Prather”

We Have Purchased More New Mining Properties! 

Our first sampling team has rafted through the 3-mile stretch of new claims I made the announcement about in last month’s newsletter.   Unfortunately, we just don’t have room in this month’s newsletter to reprint the initial report.  In short, they say the stretch is mostly a remote canyon that does not have any dangerous rapids.  They described the area as so remote; it reminded them of something out of the movie, Jurassic Park.  My initial impression is that the stretch is going to be ideal for crevice mining and suction dredging.  The remoteness of the area nearly guarantees there have been few or no modern prospectors in there ahead of us. The following video will give you a first impression.  Keep in mind it only shows a small portion of the overall stretch:

On that note, we have recently purchased several more good properties on the Klamath River.  Watch for more about this in coming newsletters. 

Proline Donated a 4-inch Dredge to Our Next Legal Fund Drawing! 

4" Proline dredge

Gold EaglesThere will be 21 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 4-inch Proline dredge

Twenty tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles.

The New 49’ers Legal Fund drawing will take place just before the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday evening, 27 February 2015. 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, etc.). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Look for more information here:

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 I 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, in a matter of hours, we generated a big portion of the recent letters to the California Supreme Court by contacting our supporters this way. 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!

 

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, NOVEMBER 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 11

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Another win for our side:  We have come into written correspondence from the District Attorney of Siskiyou County which is rejecting to prosecute suction dredgers for not having a permit as a result of the recent Third Appellate published Decision.

In last month’s newsletter, I outlined the reasons why the recently published Decision, which is now binding on all Superior Courts in California, would likely discourage further attempts to prosecute suction dredgers.  It looks like my prediction was accurate, at least in Siskiyou County.  Here are links to the letters. Note that we have deleted personal identification information in the letters for security reasons:

Owen Jurgensen

Dennis Kim

Just as a cautionary note on this before you go out and start suction dredging in California without a permit, there is nothing preventing the California Attorney General’s office from attempting to prosecute.  Having said that, I’ll make another prediction that if any prosecution of suction dredgers is attempted by the State, we would throw our money at the defense. Based upon the extensive language about our mining rights in the Rinehart Decision, I personally believe such a case would not proceed beyond a preliminary hearing.

These developments should go a long way towards prompting California to establish a reasonable set of regulations and permitting system in time for our 2015 season.:

Third Appellate Rejects Karuk Motion for Reconsideration! 

Here is another bit of good news for our side:  The Karuks and their allies recently filed a motion with the Third Appellate Court to reconsider its landmark Decision on behalf of Brandon Rinehart. They are suggesting that Brandon never had a federal mining claim in the first place, because the State owns the bottom of waterways! These guys just never give up!

Never mind that the State withdrew from this argument during the initial trial, and continue to charge Brandon property taxes on his federal mining claim!

We immediately replied with a brief of our own, asking the Third Appellate to reject the Karuk’s motion – which they ultimately did.  Here is an update Memo from our attorney. 

Almost Three Miles of New Mining Properties! 

River view

 I am very pleased to announce that we have recently purchased nearly 3 miles along one of the historically-richest portions of the Klamath River. This is a very substantial addition to our extensive existing properties.  We are not ready to disclose the new location, but I will say that it is reasonably close to Happy Camp.  While I have not personally prospected there, one of my earlier mining partners did a few weeks of dredging in that area just before the dredge moratorium, and his gold discovery was on the order of the nuggets we gave away in the most recent drawing.

It is going to take us a while to pull images, video and initial prospecting results together, mainly because some of the area is only accessible by boat or raft. The Forest Service has consented to allow us to place our own lock on the gate which blocks the main access road during the off-season months. The gate is open during the summer. They have requested that we minimize use during the wet season so we don’t tear up the road.

We have initial prospecting teams already doing some preliminary work, and a rafting trip is planned so we can view the entire stretch of river.daves-gold-nuggets

We will have maps, GPS coordinates, images and video in an upcoming newsletter; hopefully in January.  But just to give you an initial taste of what’s to come, here is an initial report I received from John Rose:

“Derrick and I walked to the end of one road and found a gravel bar that is probably three times the size of K-15A. There is evidence of major historical mining being done on the bar that has left tailing rows and what looks to have been a berm for diverting water.  I sampled one place where there was an outcropping of bedrock that didn’t look like it had been mined before and found some gold in a small crack where the bedrock meets the bar about 200 yards from the river.  We are going to spend a few days scouting and sampling the area both on the bar and high up on the hillsides.  You can tell by looking at the hillside where the trees change in type and size just how far up the hill the old-timers mined before.  Every so often, you can see an area up in the brush where there is an old rotting big tree stump where they must have skipped over with their operation.

I haven’t even begun to look at any of the lower part of the new properties yet. They may only be accessible by boat.  But I must say I am really excited about what I have seen and Derrick was taken aback by what he saw and said he never even imagined that the claim was there because it has been overlooked for such a long time.  That and the fact that a whole new concept of mining here could possibly be done with a little ingenuity and some modification to equipment.  I haven’t been this excited about a claim in a long time!

I mentioned to Rich Krimm that when he comes up in a few weeks, we need to spend a few days just scouting the area and throwing out different ideas of what could be done using new prospecting methods and how we would need to modify our existing gear.  I am already thinking of ways I could modify my dredge to operate on dry land far away from the river.  Maybe I will become a dry land dredger (LOL)!

When Rich comes up, we will float the river and check out the whole claim and take videos.  I have some members already lined up that will come down for a group sampling outing to check the bar and the hillside.  There is one spot that I can get to with my blue suburban that would be ideal for sampling and a picnic.”

Drawing Winners!

WatchingThe New 49’ers Legal Fund drew 25 prizes on 31 October from 3 ounces of gold nuggets taken out of my personal collection. The tickets were drawn by a person with no personal interest in the outcome. There was a small gathering of members present to share in the excitement.  Here are the winners:

1 ounce of gold nuggets: Norman L Heller of Sun City, CA

1/4-ounce of gold nuggets: MariAnne Campbell of Port Angeles, WA; Curtis Carley of Torrance, CA; Ted Lance of Oregon City, OR and Jeffry Larkin of Buena Park, CA

1 pennyweight of gold nuggets: Ronald Watson of Poulsbo, WA; Alexander Watko of Walla Walla, WA; Roy Harrison of Quartzsite, AZ; Joseph Martin of Willits, CA; Raymond Dagle of Cottonwood, CA; William Frese of Cincinnati, OH; Ronald Morris of Eagle Point, OR; Daniel Cutshall of Bishop, CA; Brian Mix of Camino, CA; Charles Alberts of Dixon, CA; Chris Saunders of Moore, OK; Ray Derrick of Livingston, TX; Gene Deal of Tulelake, CA; Randy Peacock of Colorado City, TX; Les Martin of Klamath Falls, OR; Robert Gauf of Clear Lake, CA; Ross Benson Hot Springs Village AR; Bill Pechtel III of Medford, OR; John Beisner of Anaheim, CA and Dennis Scharosch of Sacramento, CA.

DrawingCongratulations to all the winners!  If things keep going our way for a while longer, we are all going to win the big prize of being free to get back in the water in California with our suction dredges. Just like going underwater and making a withdraw from the bank; that’s the best prize ever!!

I have a good idea where to go to regenerate my inventory of gold nuggets. Many of you guys also have ideas about this.

I want to thank all of you who responded to our calls for participation. This was another successful legal fund-raiser.

Any contributions which have come in since the drawing will automatically generate tickets for our next fund-raiser — which will be for twenty 10th-ounce American Gold Eagles and a brand new 4-inch Proline dredge. The next drawing will take place on 27 February.

In case you didn’t know, your contribution to The New 49’ers Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

Make a Legal Contribution

Proline Donated the 4-inch Dredge to Our Next Legal Fund Drawing! 

Proline dredge

“I’ll be providing you with our best-selling 4” dredge model. It will be equipped with the GX200 Honda, our HP400 pump, T80 air compressor, 15ft of 4” dredge hose, and one of our swivel tips.  As discussed, the winner will pay for freight or arrange it himself. We get very good shipping rates, and don’t charge any handling or crating fees. Best regards,” Jeff at Proline Mining Equipment, INC. (209) 878-3770.

As we hopefully transition into California suction dredging once again, I hope you guys will remember those companies in the industry that have stood with us in our efforts to overcome prohibitive over-regulation.  Proline makes some of the best small-scale mining equipment in the world. 

Legal Fund Prizes Needed 

On the subject of legal prizes, longtime member and supporter, Steve Kleszyk, consented this past season to head up our legal-fund raising activity on our Internet Forum, and at our Saturday evening potlucks.  These are done in the form of live auctions – which are a lot of fun, in addition to the money raised to support our legal efforts.  Steve says he is getting low on prizes, and is asking if some of you guys can pitch in.  We have learned from experience that gold and silver prizes are the only thing that generates interest on the Internet auctions.  But other valuable items create quite a lot of interest at the potlucks.  Last season, we did quite well with new mining equipment items, gemstones, custom made jewelry boxes, and other items that are nice to own.  Please give some thought to what you might contribute and make contact with Steve to see if he believes your ideas will generate interest in our legal fund-raising efforts. These prize contributions are also tax deductible. We will also issue you drawing tickets according to their monetary value. Every little bit helps. And together, we are finally making some real progress.  It would not be happening if it were not for you guys!  Steve Kleszyk can be reached at: <ratled@sbcglobal.net> 

The United Way

This section by Steve Kleszyk 

Like many of us, I do mining on a part time basis and that means I have a day job.  One of the things many of today’s progressive employers do is partner with organizations such as United Way.  Together, the United Way partnered with the employers, offer community services in many ways with programs such the “Charitable Gift Campaign.”  About this time every year, employers have a “campaign drive” for employees to be able to donate through payroll deductions for deserving organizations such as the New 49ers Legal Fund.  As a 501.c organization, The New 49er Legal Fund is eligible for this and similar programs.  This means you can have your employer take pre-tax donations and have them given directly to the New 49er Legal fund through payroll deductions via the United Way.  The best part is there is no fee or split of the donations and it all goes to the New 49ers Legal Fund!  As a bonus, many employers offer dollar-matching of the donations.  That means if you donate $5 a pay period, your employer matches the $5 and the New 49er Legal Fund gets $10!

I know many of you that have employers that have these kinds of programs are familiar with them but may not have thought about The New 49er Legal Fund as an option for this.   If you are not sure, check with your employer and ask.  Even if they don’t do donation matching, it’s still a great way to make donations to the New 49er Legal Fund

While we are at it, there are some employers who are not partnered with organizations such as The United Way, but may have a direct donation program in place.  This also often incudes dollar-matching.   These programs vary from employer to employer, so be sure to check with yours for specific details.

The New 49ers Legal Fund is in The United Way system now.  As it is new, it will have to be a “write in” organization; but it will be easy for The United Way/your employer to process your request. The important information you need for this, or any other 501.c program, is:

The New 49’ers Legal fund
27 Davis Road
Happy Camp, CA   96039
(530) 493-2012.

So please check with your employer to see if there are any such programs they have.  If you know any other similar program be sure to let us know so we can spread the word and take advantage of these fine programs.  To make sure everything is in place, and to start us off on the right foot, I started us off with a $5 per pay period donation for all of 2015. 

We Continue to Work out Some Billing Issues in the Office

We want to extend a warm welcome to Tony M. Balderrama who has taken over in our main office as our new Office Manager/Accountant.  The position was held by Marcy Charlan for 15 years.  Marcy decided to make a career change this past spring and is now owner and manager of a doughnut shop in Medford, Oregon. She has helped out considerably in the changeover, and Tony still calls on her from time to time.  Tony is highly qualified for this job, is very service oriented, and is very personable in person and on the phone.  He is a good addition to our office team and we feel very lucky to have him.

As it turns out, during the period of around 6 months after Marcy left, but before Tony started, others who did their best to pick up the slack made some errors in the computer entries.  These errors then turned up on some member statements that have been sent out. Some members have voiced concerns to the office.  The good news is that we also keep a separate set of hard copy records on all payments received.  Tony and the other staff in our office are,  step by step, comparing hard copy records to computer records and making corrections where needed in our computerized billing system.  This is to assure you we are working on it.  I ask that you be patient with us; because we have thousands of members, and the office billing functions are more complex than you might assume.

In any event, if you see any errors in your monthly or annual account statement, please call Tony or Bonnie at 530 493-2012 and they will make every effort to accommodate you. 

Join us for our Weekend Group Mining Projects Next Season!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.

Schedule of 2015 Events: June 6 & 7; June 27 & 28; July 18 & 19; August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events 

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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  We generated a big portion of the recent letters to the Third Appellate Court by contacting our supporters this way. 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!

 

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, OCTOBER 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 10

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

I am overjoyed to inform you that the Third Appellate Court of California has issued a unanimous Decision confirming our arguments that a State agency does not have the authority to materially interfere with commercial mining programs on the public lands. The Decision reversed Brandon Rinehart’s conviction for suction dredging without a permit. In case you are interested, the Decision provides quite a lengthy and important discussion:

Here is a brief explanation from our attorney:

As good as the win is, the initial problem was that the Decision was not published. This is not unusual with Appellate Court Decisions in California. We cannot rely upon an unpublished Decision in further litigation; for example, in the multiple ongoing cases we are actively pursuing in San Bernardino Superior Court.

We were only allowed 16 days for the Appellate Court to receive written requests to publish the Decision. So we immediately put the word out to our Internet Action List. Fortunately, our loyal supporters (you guys) generated an avalanche of letters to the Appellate Court from across the country, and even from as far away as Australia!

Truthfully, we were advised by multiple legal experts, even from an active judge, that the chances of getting the Decision published were about zero.  So even generating hundreds or thousands of requests seemed like a long shot.

At the same time, the State petitioned the Third Appellate Court to reconsider its Decision, submitting a lengthy brief, that in my own opinion, was way out there in fantasy land.

Then, to all of our surprise, the Third Appellate Court of California formally published its Decision in the Brandon Rinehart case a full six days ahead of their deadline, and also denied the State’s Petition for a rehearing 16 days before their deadline!

Talking about sending a strong message to the State!

The Decision clearly confirms that the State does not have the authority to impose restrictions which materially interfere with the commercial viability of mining on the public lands. Now that we can rely upon the Appellate Court’s extensive reasoning in existing and future State litigation, I personally see this as the most important legal development in support of California mining during the modern age. I suggest that the legal ramifications will find their way to other States, as well.

I want to voice my sincerest thank you to all of you who responded to my appeal over the Internet to write letters to the Third Appellate Court. Our webmaster says it was the largest response we ever generated. Our attorney said he has a stack of service notices that is 2-inches thick! How’s that for people power?

On the subject of our attorney, James Buchal deserves the lion’s share of credit for bringing about this landmark win for our side.  Here is his Memo shortly after the Appellate Court decided for us again:

I also want to express gratitude for the substantial support provided to us by Siskiyou County for the duration of our legal battles. Check this out from just last week:

Let’s all pause for a moment and allow ourselves to enjoy a huge win for our side; the biggest ever!

Our industry has been held down by unreasonable over-regulation for so long, it is going to take some time to absorb how far-reaching the implications are by this published Decision. For one thing, it should go a long way towards getting us a reasonable set of dredging regulations in California for the 2015 season and beyond.

Let me tell you the reasons why I believe this:  First, I need to disclose that I am not a licensed attorney. Therefore, I cannot provide legal advice.  But I have been around the mining industry for a lifetime, have been on the front line of active litigation for about 10 years, and have a well-grounded understanding of how the federal mining law is supposed to work.  While there are others who might disagree with me, and there are others (particularly State officials) who I am sure don’t want to hear this, let me at least voice my personal opinion:

1)      There are two fundamental parts of the federal mining law. The first allows all Americans free access to the public lands in search of valuable mineral deposits.  The second part allows a person to claim any such discovery for him or herself as real property. The discovery only needs to be potentially commercially viable enough to justify further development. People don’t know this:  You have free access to the public lands to search for gold deposits; and if you find one, you can claim the discovery for yourself as real property!

2)     Brandon Rinehart’s case involved the second part of the mining law.  He and his family already discovered a gold deposit on the bottom of a waterway.  Trying different methods, they ultimately concluded that the only method of extracting the gold in a commercially viable way was with the use of a suction dredge.  California is refusing to issue suction dredge permits. So Brandon continued working his deposit with a suction dredge without a permit until the State issued him a criminal citation. He was found guilty in Superior Court for breaking the law.  So we appealed to the Third Appellate Court and won a landmark Decision that now largely reverses the order of things in the State of California.

3)     You should read the Decision yourself, because it provides a substantial discussion concerning the limits of State authority concerning mining.  My own read is that the State has overstepped its authority by first passing a law that requires a permit to operate a suction dredge, and then they refused to issue Brandon a suction dredge permit, even though suction dredging is the only commercially viable method of extracting the gold from his deposit.

4)     It is also my opinion that there is no reasonable way to separate the Appellate’s reasoning from the first part of the mining law. By this, I mean that if a suction dredge is the only effective tool I can use to search for a gold deposit on the bottom of a river, the State must issue me a dredging permit, or they will be materially interfering with my exploration program; an activity which Congress has directed the government to encourage on the public lands.

5)     This reasoning implies that the State must issue a suction dredge permit to any prospector who either has already located, or intends to actively search for, valuable gold deposits at the bottom of California’s waterways where suction dredges are the only effective way to reach down to where the gold deposits are located.

6)     Refusal to issue the permit would duplicate a similar set of circumstances as Brandon was facing when he decided to move ahead without the permit for his suction dredge program.

7)     So here is the 500-pound bomb:  The State of California is not issuing any suction dredge permits at the present moment.  Based upon the extensive reasoning voiced in the Third Appellate’s published Decision, I would be surprised if any prosecutor in the state would attempt to pursue a criminal case against any suction dredger who is operating within the recently-adopted 2012 suction dredge regulations. Said another way, the 2012 regulations have been adopted as California law.  It’s not much of a reach to infer from the Appellate’s Decision that the legislature’s Moratorium on the issuance of suction dredge permits will not stand up in a legal challenge.

8)     We all have to make our own decisions.  And on something as important as this, I encourage you to seek independent legal advice. But I am hearing from a lot of people that they are planning to dredge in 2015 with or without permits.

9)     This does not mean that the DFW wardens might not come out and harass dredgers, and perhaps even write citations (that are unlikely to be prosecuted). But they and their bosses should beware that there are very powerful criminal and civil, federal civil rights laws on the books that forbid public officials from denying us our rights under color of law (like coming out with a badge and demanding we stop doing something that we are allowed to do).

The Third Appellate has sent DFW a strong message.  The message is that if a suction dredge is the only way for us to gain access to submerged gold deposits; we have a right to use one, even if the State refuses to issue us a permit.

10) One more thing:  The 2012 regulations are unreasonably restrictive to the nth degree.  I’m not going to go into it here, because the problems with the regulations have been covered extensively in other places, and are a big part of the active litigation in San Bernardino.  But I will provide an example: The 2012 regulations are only going to allow us to use 4-inch dredges on the Klamath River.  While some economically-viable gold deposits can be discovered within reach of a 4-inch dredge, the most valuable deposits are down under 8 or 10 feet of compacted streambed.  It is virtually impossible to reach those deposits with a 4-inch dredge.  I personally infer from the Third Appellate Decision that this “material interference” in the existing regulations would be just another overreach of authority by the State.

11) These comments above are the reason I have faith that the ongoing Mandatory Settlement Discussions (MSD) in San Bernardino are likely to evolve us into a set of statewide suction dredge regulations that we can live with in California in time for the 2015 season.  If not, I am betting a lot of dredgers will be considering my 8th comment above.  As to progress in the MSD, I’ll leave that explanation to Steve below:

Progress in the Settlement Discussions 

By Steve Kleszyk

Rich Krimm and I attended the fourth session of the Mandatory Settlement Discussions (MSD) in San Bernardino Superior Court on October 1st, 2014.  There have now been a total of eight full days of grueling and very challenging discussions over dredging regulations with all the parties involved in the San Bernardino litigation.

Judge Gilbert Ochoa, who presides over the discussions, has a very good understanding of the numerous issues, and appears driven to reach a settlement that everyone can live with.  It is our opinion, based upon his comments, that he is pleased at the progress we have made so far.

MSD rules bind us to confidentiality. So we cannot provide specific details about the Discussions at this time. However, we can say that we do feel that real progress is being made.  All or most of the contentious issues have been addressed at least once.   Some of the issues have been addressed several times, each time with a little more progress being made. Some of the issues have not been worked out. I am predicting the judge will most likely have to make the final recommendations in those areas. However, the subjects have been discussed in enough detail that we feel the judge has some very good options to resolve the issues. Some important progress was achieved during the last half of the last day.

I should mention that the solidarity of the members of the small mining community has never been stronger.  Regardless of who we represent, we have all come together for the common good of all miners with the intent of getting us all back into the water with acceptable regulations.  This ‘Spirit of Cooperation’ is something that we all can be proud of.

The next court date scheduled is for November 14th, 2014, and is limited to just the attorneys.  The attorneys will be arguing, some very convoluted and complex legal points regarding our Motion to bring another Party into the Discussions for settlement purposes.

All of the parties have brought something to the table, but we would like to extend a special thanks to Mark and Liz Cutler, especially Liz, for their part in the Discussions.  They are Parties in the ongoing litigation, and they are also very valuable members of The New 49’ers.  They have brought a unique set of technical skills based on their professions, and have contributed greatly to rebut some of the misguided statements and requests by our opponents.

As most of you already know, James Buchal and David Young have represented the mining community now for many years, and have significant wins under their belts.  They have always done an outstanding job, but they have been stellar in their performance getting us through these Discussions.

Those of us in the Discussions are very thankful and proud to be in a position to represent the mining community. Having said that, we would not be there if it wasn’t for all of you who have provided information and continued financial support so that we can all benefit and get back in the water.

We Are Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets in Just Two Weeks!

daves-gold-nuggetsPlease take note that we only have 2 more weeks remaining in The New 49’er Legal Fund active fund-raiser.  Because we are making such important gains, in addition to our own legal expenses, The Legal Fund has offered to assist others in the active litigation that are having difficulty keeping up with the costs. After all, we are fighting for the future rights of all small-scale miners!

In anticipation of all this legal activity, several months ago, I consented to allowing three ounces of my favorite gold nuggets to be used as drawing prizes by The New 49’ers Legal Fund in the ongoing fund-raising effort.  There will be 25 prizes in all. Check it out right here!

The drawing will take place just before the close of business (5 PM) at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday evening, 31 October 2014. That’s about 2 weeks from now.

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:

By the way, so far, participation in this fund-raiser has not generated enough contributions to cover the value of my cherished gold nuggets.  What’s up with that?  Actually, I know you guys mostly wait until the end to make these fund-raisers come out ahead.  Thanks for all your support, my friends. I know you will all do your best. The fight would have been lost a long time ago if it were not for you!

In case you didn’t know, your contribution to The New 49’ers Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

Make a Legal Contribution 

Legal Fund Prizes Needed

 On the subject of legal prizes, longtime member and supporter, Steve Kleszyk, consented this past season to head up our legal-fund raising activity on our Internet Forum, and at our Saturday evening potlucks.  These are done in the form of live auctions – which are a lot of fun, in addition to the money raised to support our legal efforts.  Steve says he is getting low on prizes, and is asking if some of you guys can pitch in.  We have learned from experience that gold and silver prizes are the only thing that generates interest in the Internet auctions.  But other valuable items create quite a lot of interest at the pot lucks.  Last season, we did quite well with (new) mining equipment items, gemstones, custom made jewelry boxes, and other items that are nice to own.  Please give some thought to what you might contribute and make contact with Steve to see if he believes the item(s) will generate interest in our legal fund-raising efforts. These contributions are also tax deductible. Every little bit helps. And together, we are finally making some real progress.  It would not be happening if it were not for you guys!  Steve Kleszyk can be reached at: <ratled@sbcglobal.net> 

Welcome to Tony M. Balderrama

Tony

We want to extend a warm welcome to Tony M. Balderrama who has taken over in our main office as our new Office Manager/Accountant.  The position was held by Marcy Charlan for 15 years.  Marcy decided to make a career change this past spring and is now owner and manager of a doughnut shop in Medford, Oregon, and seems very happy with it.  She has helped out considerably in the changeover, and Tony still calls on her from time to time.

Tony is highly qualified for this job, is very service oriented, and is very personable in person and on the phone.  He is a good addition to our office team and we feel very lucky to have him.

 

Fire Restrictions are Lifted 

All of the fire restrictions have been lifted from this past season’s catastrophic wild fires.  Now that the smoke has cleared, I’m pleased to announce that, other than our Scott River property at S-1, there does not appear to be any important fire damage on any of our extensive mining properties.  None of our popular campgrounds sustained any damage. 

Really Good News Coming Soon! 

The good news just keeps on coming!  On top of the significant legal victories we have made, you guys will want to stay tuned in for some fantastic news about some (extensive) new properties we have just purchased along one of the historically-richest portions of the Klamath River!  We will have maps, GPS coordinates, images and video in an upcoming newsletter. 

Join us for our Weekend Group Mining Projects Next Season!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.

Schedule of 2015 Events: June 6 & 7; June 27 & 28; July 18 & 19; August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events

 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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  We generated a big portion of the recent letters to the Third Appellate Court by contacting our supporters this way. 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!

cartoon

 

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, SEPTEMBER 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 9

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Happy Camp Fire 2014
Story and Images by Rich Krimm, Director of Internal Affairs 

Happy Camp Fire 2 - 2014

Siskiyou County has been on fire in one place or another for most of the 2014 season.  All or most of the fires have been the result of lightning storms and very dry conditions in the Klamath National Forest.  While there have been others, The Beaver Fire was sparked in late July from just one of nearly a thousand down-strikes and ultimately burned 32,496 acres. It threatened the entire community of Klamath River for a while. Many of us in Happy Camp were paying close attention, because the fire had closed Highway 96 several times.

At least 26 fires sparked by the very same storm up in Salmon River country have converged into the “July Complex,” and have burned 47,470 acres so far.  The town of Sawyers bar was evacuated for a while, and the Salmon River Road was closed for part of the summer.

Another lightning storm that happened on August 12 sparked the “Happy Camp Complex” almost within site across the river from Happy Camp.  So far, this fire has burned more than 165,000 acres, and is now about 68% contained.  During the early days, there was strong concern that the fire would take out Elk Creek Campground, but it ultimately burned in another direction.  There are around 1,300 active personnel fighting the fire as we go to press with this newsletter. While the fire has managed to jump over to the south side of Highway 96 several times, fire crews have successfully beat the fire back to the north side.  This fire is so large, it presently has the north side of the Klamath River closed from as far upriver as the Scott River, and downriver to Ukonom Creek. That’s more than 50 miles! Parts of Scott River remain under mandatory evacuation and the Scott River Road is closed.

Fire 3This means, until further notice, all of our mining properties along Scott River, and and on the north side of the Klamath River from the Scott River down to Ukonom Creek have been closed to prospecting and camping. Our other properties have remained open as normal.

Some of these fires may continue burning until the rainy season finally sets in.  The authorities have been reopening areas once dangerous conditions are resolved. If you are planning a prospecting trip to our properties, we strongly suggest you make contact with Montine in our office (530 493-2012) for an update on local conditions and information about any areas that may be off limits for the time being.

Most of the impacts on visitors to the area are from the smoky conditions. These come and go, depending upon wind direction.  There are times in Happy Camp that the air is so clear, you would not even know there are a hundred-thousand acres burning just to the east of us.  Other times, the smoke is so thick, you can hardly see across the road.

Just to give you an idea of how dry things are in Siskiyou County, another fast-moving wild fire burned about half the town of Weed several days ago, forcing 1,500 residents to flee for their lives while damaging or destroying 100 structures.

It does not appear that these fires pose any threat to the town of Happy Camp or our headquarters.  We can be thankful for that.  In time, these fires will burn out and we can get back to the business of prospecting for gold.

 

California Legal Update 

Please refer to our July newsletter for a comprehensive update on our efforts to get suction dredging opened back up in California.  We have strong hopes that it will happen in time for the 2015 season.

Rich Krimm, Steve Kleszyk and I accompanied our attorney to San Bernardino to participate in Mandatory Settlement Discussions on the fourth and fifth of September. Superior Court Judge Ochoa made it clear during earlier meetings that he believes there is a chance he can help resolve the outstanding issues between all the parties and settle on reasonable suction dredge regulations for California.

The Settlement Discussions are confidential, so I am not at liberty to provide detail about how we would resolve the various issues.  I will say that the judge decided that we devote the first of two days to issues which appear easier to resolve.  And on that note, my own impression was that we made more progress on the first day than I have seen in nearly 10 years of litigation!

Having said that, we took up more difficult issues on the second day, and I believe all or most of us departed feeling pretty discouraged.  In hindsight, I’m guessing it is normal to experience dramatic up and down-swings when you are attempting to resolve in just a matter of several meetings what would normally require years of litigation.  The judge remains encouraged enough that he scheduled two more days of Settlement Discussions that we just finished, and another two days at the end of September.  It is clear that the judge wants to move these discussions along without delay.

One of the important things that has come to light during the Discussions is that even though the State of California Attorney General’s Office is present at the table, they say they are not representing the California Water Board – which is a State entity that also believes must issue a permit to allow suction dredging in California.  Yes; it is true that the Water Board provided funding for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and submitted voluminous material, all which evolved into the 2012 suction dredge regulations which are being contested in front of this judge. It’s certainly not as though they were not directly involved. It is also worthy to note that the Water Board has never before insisted upon issuing a separate permit for suction dredging.

We will now submit a Motion to have the California Water Board brought into the active litigation and the ongoing Settlement Discussions. This is because it is unlikely that we will resolve all of the important issues unless the Water Board is at the table.

Meanwhile, our attorney has also brought a federal preemption challenge in front of the Third Appellate District of California on behalf of Brandon Rinehart, who was issued a criminal citation several years ago for suction dredging without a permit.  We are arguing that the Supreme Court has already decided that the State does not possess the jurisdictional authority to prohibit suction dredge mining on the public lands, which is exactly what they have done with the existing Moratorium in California.

All of the briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District, and oral arguments took place on 15 September. Since I’m sure everyone is interested, I asked our attorney to draft a memo providing his view of how the oral arguments went. You can find that right here:

Here are a few more observations:

The Hearing took place in a grandiose hall (Sacramento); it was like something out of the Roman Empire, with the three judges sitting up above everyone in large thrones. It was a bit surreal! The panel consisted of Justice Harry Hull Jr. as Presiding Justice along with two others, Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch and Justice Ronald B. Robie. They all seemed very familiar with the case and the legal arguments. They played devil’s advocate with both attorneys during the hearing. It is difficult to read the way they will rule. Of course, we are partial to our arguments. James Buchal (our attorney) did a great job for our side.

Other than a few local prospectors, The New 49’ers were the only organization present representing the small-scale prospecting community. Thanks to you guys, The New 49ers Legal Fund is paying all or most of Brandon’s costs on this.

Brandon Rinehart was present, along with several family members.

One attorney for the Karuk Tribe and their environmental partners showed up about half way through the hearing.

While all of the normal attorneys representing the State were present, the only one speaking for the State was Mr. Mark Melnick. Mr. Melnick’s primary argument was that the State is under no obligation to issue any suction dredge permits to gold prospectors. I believe everyone present was surprised they have taken this direction.

Our attorney speaks to his own arguments in the memo, so I won’t add to that here.

We were glad that we moved ahead with oral arguments, because several important misconceptions were cleared up.

In any event, it felt like we got a fair hearing. So now we wait to see what comes out of this!!

If we win this important challenge, we hope the Appellate District will instruct the State of California that they cannot cite prospectors for using suction dredges unless the activity violates reasonable and lawfully-issued permit regulations. This could possibly help move the Settlement Discussions in San Bernardino along to completion before the beginning of the 2015 season. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed!

Please watch for an update in October!  Or better yet, sign onto our Internet Forum.  It’s a guarantee that legal updates will appear there without delay!

daves-gold-nuggetsYes; I know that is a heck of a lot of legal activity that we are paying for right now! In anticipation of this, several months ago, I consented to allowing three ounces of my favorite gold nuggets to be used as drawing prizes by The New 49’ers Legal Fund in the ongoing fund-raising effort.  There will be 25 prizes in all. Check it out right here!

The drawing will take place just before the close of business (5 PM) at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday evening, 31 October 2014. That’s only a little more than a month from now.

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:

Thanks for all your support, you guys. I know you will all do your best. The fight would have been lost a long time ago if it were not for you!

In case you didn’t know, your contribution to The New 49’ers Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

Make a Legal Contribution 

Join us for our Weekend Group Mining Projects Next Season!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.
Schedule of 2015 Events: June 6 & 7; June 27 & 28; July 18 & 19; August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events 

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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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!

 

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, AUGUST 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 8

Dave Mack

 
 
 
 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

We have developed a new way to mine surface gold deposits!

 Big smilemid day clean-up

This story actually began early this season when we discovered a high-grade gold deposit on the far side of the river along one of our newer mining properties about nine miles downstream from Happy Camp. The property is numbered K-23AA on our Claims Guide.  The upper end of this property has a gravel bar that is down closer to the Klamath River.  Then there is a gradual slope that rises around 15 feet in elevation to a sizable plateau.  We assumed there was an older streambed on the plateau.  But since we made our gold discovery on the slope, we didn’t initially invest much time up there.  The slope was quite easy to mine because the gold was broadly concentrated in a thin layer of compacted sand on top of shale bedrock.  Full pan samples of the compacted sand, and even the decomposing shale bedrock, could produce more than a hundred colors, sometimes more than 200 colors.  Most of the colors were fine gold. But they added up nicely when the material was processed in volume. So we organized the first three Weekend Group Mining Projects of this season to sampling and processing pay-dirt on the slope.  Those projects produced excellent results. And there still remains a lot of the slope that has not been touched.

All experienced gold prospectors will tell you that there are these occasional moments of important discovery that change everything.  That happened when we first located the pay-dirt on the slope.  At that very moment, everyone on our sampling team knew we were going to pull one of our big rubber rafts out of mothballs and use it to support our weekend projects this season on K-23AA.  It was a magical moment that changed much of what we would do this season.

We started calling these guys the “Alpha Team” after they moved some boulders and uncovered the ancient streambed material that is under their feet.

We started calling these guys the “Alpha Team” after they moved some boulders and uncovered the ancient streambed material that is under their feet.

Important gold discoveries change everything! This happened again during our third weekend project when several participants decided to move a few boulders up on the plateau to see if they could find any gold underneath them.  The rocks were rather large, so I lent them a 5-foot pry-bar.  What we found under the boulders was a layer of orange original Klamath River streambed. Surprise, surprise! This was hard-packed streambed material that had been left behind by earlier generations of gold miners.  Perhaps there was a mining camp or someone’s residence on the plateau during the early days; maybe a recovery system where the old-timers were processing pay-dirt.  Who knows?  For whatever the reason, they did not mine this area.  This was a stroke of luck for us! There have only been a few occasions during my 35 years on the Klamath River where I have uncovered original streambed in the surface deposits alongside the river.  Most of the time, the surface deposits are made up of a more recent streambed that was laid down after the old-timers mined the original deposits; perhaps from the 1964 flood.  There is plenty of gold in these more recent streambeds.  But the original deposits paid much better the few times we found them.

Original material

Original streambed on bedrock. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I asked the guys to screen a full pan sample of the orange material from under the boulders as soon as we saw it.  Several minutes later, when I uncovered the gold at the bottom of the pan, I knew that everything had changed!  We had made an entirely new discovery on top of the plateau!  This gold was larger and more flakey than what we were recovering on the slope.  Since the discovery was made late in the day, we departed the area without working very much of the original streambed.  But I strongly encouraged the guys who moved the boulders to return there and do more work in their discovery. Several days later, those guys came into the office to show me what they were finding up on the plateau.  They were really excited.  They put the results of just a single pan in a small jar so I could see how rich it was.  It was one of the best pan samples I have seen in quite a while! That prompted me to cross the river for another look at what was happening on the plateau. When I got over there, I found out several more sample holes had confirmed that the original streambed covers an extensive area. Check it out on the following video segment:

Gold from a single pan out of the orange material! A team

Gold from a single pan out of the orange material!

Unfortunately for them, those guys were leaving Happy Camp. They had to go back to their normal lives somewhere far away.  The next morning, our active sampling team and I started brainstorming on how we could more-effectively mine the high-grade material on top of the plateau.  Our hope was to develop a new, more efficient method of mining to support the fourth weekend event of this season.  Our first idea was to place a remote feed-hopper in a hole up on the plateau and connect it through a 3-inch hose down to a high-banker on the lower bar.  The idea was to pump water into the hole up on top, allow water to overflow into the feed hopper, and let gravity carry water and material down into the high-banker. Gold from early testing The system worked really well on our first attempt, though we realized how we could make some improvements.  The gold we recovered was quite encouraging. Here is a video sequence that captured our first try at “gravity mining.”

This story gets better.  But only because of the loyal support and enthusiastic participation of longtime New 49’er members, Rich Krimm, John Rose, Ray Derek, Derek Eimer, Mark Turner and Diane Helgesen. The bunch of us went across the river on three separate occasions to set up this gear and get it dialed in.  I especially want to acknowledge longtime member, Gary Wright, who devoted numerous late hours in our workshop helping to fabricate, and refabricate, the components which made this all possible.  Prototyping new ideas requires a lot of time and effort!  The components have actually turned out to be quite simple now that we have worked it out.

All smiles Recovery system

Our second try at gravity mining involved two motorized pumps down on the river supplying water to our excavation up on the plateau.  We set up two high-bankers on the lower bar, both being fed through 3-inch hoses from the plateau.  We were using our original modified remote hopper to supply pay-dirt to one of the recovery systems.  We had also come up with a new idea to modify a conventional high-banker nozzle into the second feeder.  It occurred to us that a nozzle would serve the same purpose as a hopper, but allow more flexible mobility.  Motorized suction mining is prohibited in California for the moment; so we capped off the threaded input where high-pressure water from a pump would normally provide suction power to the nozzle. Rich with nozzle Said another way, we basically turned the nozzle into a drain for our water-filled hole.  Rather than allow the water from our pumps to overflow out of our hole as it normally would, the water drained out through our hose while supplying excavated gravel to our high-bankers.  Wow; what an idea! Here it is on video:

Just as we thought, the modified nozzle was easier to manage.  So that’s what we decided to use for our Weekend Project the following weekend.

We split all the gold we recover evenly amongst all the participants during our group mining projects.  Therefore we were a bit alarmed when the signups jumped from 40 to 76 people in just the day or so before the project started.  Normally, for that many people, we would set up four high-bankers to process pay-dirt.  But it was too late for us to set up any more of these gravity mining systems.  It takes a lot of gold to satisfy 70 people! What to do; what to do?  We finally decided to move ahead with our two gravity mining systems hoping that the richer material on the plateau in combination with our new, more efficient, method of mining would save the day.

I am the one who splits the gold into shares at the end of our projects. Since I prefer to make people happy, I don’t think there has ever been one of these events that I was not nervous about recovering enough gold, or perhaps getting skunked altogether. This brings to mind projects during earlier years when the individual shares were so small; you had to look close just to see the gold each person got.  Members were always nice about it, agreeing that the learning and experience were worth more than the gold.  And that’s true!  But when you go out there in the mud and the dirt, sweating under the hot sun, it’s a heck of a lot better if you walk away with something valuable to show for it!

Digging  Good production

To get ahead of what was supposed to be a very hot Sunday, we all agreed to meet out at K-23AA at 6:30 AM.  The sun was still below the tree line when I started ferrying about ten people at a time across the river in our rubber raft.  By the time I got everyone over there, Rich and our team helpers already had everything up and running.  There was a heck of a lot of productive activity going on!  We had briefed everyone at our weekly potluck the night before that we were really going to have to pour on the steam if we wanted to make the project pay off.  The following video segments captured some of the action:

Through a little trial and error, the guys in the hole worked out a system of using the pumped water to help wash streambed material around in the hole. We have talked about this method of “blow mining” in an earlier newsletter. Others were using the syphon nozzles to drain water and material out of the hole.  Their biggest challenge was mainly removing rocks that were too large to pass through the nozzles.

Working in the hole workers

Nearly everyone else was screening orange hard-pack into buckets. The buckets were being dumped into the water hole.  The water from the pumps was being used to wash (blow) the pay-dirt into our syphon nozzles.  That material was being transferred through 3-inch hoses and directed across our recovery systems about eighty feet away down on the gravel bar.  It was all running like a well-oiled machine!  Check it out right here:

Said another way, this new system of gravity mining allows you to extend the feed of your high-banker directly to your dig site.  It’s really cool! After about two hours, we shut down one of the systems just long enough to clean out the high-grade portion of its recovery system.  It was only a few moments before that system was up and running, again.  Rich panned down the high-grade material to see what we recovered.  We always do this for two important reasons.  The first is for confirmation that what we are doing is going to produce enough gold to make the project come out well.  There have been times in the past where we were not happy with the results, and then switched gears into a different production plan for the second half of the day.  But we were doing really well with this new process! Check it out in the following video sequence:

Rich with gold mid-day gold

The second reason we do a partial clean-up at mid-day is to show some gold around to all the participants to help keep them motivated.  More often than not, by the time we get half way through the day, the sun is beating down pretty hard, and people start slowing down. The idea is to strike the balance between processing as much pay-dirt as possible without making the experience so miserable that most of the participants will never return to Happy Camp! This was a very enthusiastic crew.  Nobody stopped working even for a moment until Rich started bringing the gold around for everyone to see.  It was quite good!  This original streambed up on the plateau was producing bigger gold than we had been recovering down on the slope during previous projects.  There were even some small nuggets.   It all looked very impressive in the gold pan. Showing the gold around got everyone even more excited. Here it is on video:

Visibility was rather poor the day before because of several wildfires in the area.  But air quality was pretty good on Sunday. It looked like the smoke created some cloud-level haze that was shielding us from the hot sun; a bit of luck!  Everybody went right back to work after seeing the gold from our mid-day clean-up. The guys in the water were having a blast! They were actually seeing gold wash across the bedrock on one side of the hole.  But that was not slowing down production even a little bit.  Here it is on video:

Good production 2 Recovery system

We normally start shutting things down at 11 AM on these Sunday projects. This is because that’s about the time when most people have had enough.  This bunch was still going strong at 12 noon!  I had to go around and order everyone to stop digging and fill in their holes. Otherwise, they might still be out there!  This bunch was so intent on continuing, I ultimately had to jump in the water and wrestle one of the siphon nozzles away from Mark Turner!  He kept saying, “Let me just do a little more…”

Final goldSeveral hours later, we were all back across the river and at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp doing our final gold clean-up and gold split.  There was so much excitement and chatter going on; Rich had to keep reminding everyone that I was still in the teaching mode.  It’s valuable to know how to do the final gold clean-up steps!  A bunch of the participants were just too jacked-up to watch.

In the end, we recovered 10.4 pennyweights of beautiful gold from about four hours of hard work up there on the plateau.  That’s a little more than a half ounce; a seasonal record for this year.  There were 21 nice nuggets, the largest being 8 grains.  That’s pretty big!  We split the gold amongst 64 very happy members.  All of our team helpers agreed this was the most successful and fun project we have done in years. In addition to having a good day, we accomplished two important things:  We have developed a whole new way of surface mining that allows us to get more accomplished for our effort.  This is being called, “gravity mining.”  Through all the effort we invested up on the plateau on upper K-23AA, we have also discovered that the original Klamath River streambed (orange hard-packed material) is quite extensive up there.  Like I said, that discovery changed everything. It means we will be going back for more! 

Join us for our Final Weekend Group Mining Project of This Season!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are. Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations. The remaining weekend event for the 2014 season will take place on August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 530 493-2012.

California Legal Update 

Please refer to last month’s newsletter for a comprehensive update on our efforts to get suction dredging opened back up in California.  We have strong hopes that it will happen in time for the 2015 season. daves-gold-nuggetsRich Krimm and I are scheduled to accompany our attorney to San Bernardino to participate in Mandatory Settlement Discussions on the fourth and fifth of September. Superior Court Judge Ochoa has made it clear that he believes there is a chance he can help resolve the outstanding issues between all the parties and settle on reasonable suction dredge regulations for California. Please watch for an update in our September newsletter.

On the subject of legal, to encourage more participation in legal fund-raising, I have authorized three ounces of my own gold nuggets to be split up into 25 prizes that will be drawn on the 31st of October (Halloween).  Check out the gold by clicking here!

2014 Annual Dues are Being Billed this Month 

We bill $50 for annual dues to all Full Members in August. This is because most of the costs, especially property taxes, that are associated with maintaining our extensive mining properties come due before September.  The Bureau of Land Management in recent years has substantially increased annual filing fees to hold mining properties. We thank you in advance for your support on this! 

Part Time Position Filled in our Office 

Thank you very much to those of you who sent in applications for this position.  This is to let you know that we have hired someone.  I have placed all of the applications on file in case another position becomes available. 

We Found a Caretaker

Thanks also to those of you who expressed interest in our caretaker opening. This position has also been filled. 

Thanks to Our Volunteers!
Volunteers

We need to give a big “thank you” to Rich Krimm and his team of helpers who devoted a half day on K-15A filling in holes that others left behind.

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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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!

 

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 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 7

Dave Mack

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 Canyon View Good gold in the pan

The beginnings of this story date all the way back to 1985, the year after I arrived on the Klamath River.  That is the year I bought a jet boat and gained access to the remote canyon on the Klamath River not far downstream from the confluence of Independence Creek.  That’s about 12 miles downriver from Happy Camp in northern California.

In those days, nearly all of my personal income was generated from suction dredging in the rich high-grade river-bottom gold deposits that were pretty consistent along that stretch of the Klamath River (and remain so). We did not devote any meaningful time digging for gold in the surface deposits in those days. This is because we were busy dredging.  But once in a while, someone would dig out a crack in the bedrock up on the side of the river, and we recognized that the very same gold deposits we were dredging under the water extended right up out of the water alongside the river.

CanyonOur first season with The New 49’ers was during the summer of 1986. Since then, for the most part, my responsibilities with the Club did away with my commercial suction dredging career.  I don’t have any regrets about that, except that I would surely love to see cracks full of gold at the bottom of the river once again before my own final chapter is over.  Uncovering rich deposits of gold is one of the most exciting things I have experienced during my time on this earth!

Over the years that followed, we have acquired an extensive amount of mining property, including nearly all of the mining property that extends its way through that entire 3 ½-mile stretch of mostly remote, gold-rich lower Independence Canyon.  I say “remote,” because the river winds its way down through more of a wilderness experience that is further away from the road.  Most of the stretch is not even visible from Highway 96.  There are some old mining trails that go down to the river here and there.  But it is only during these last two mining seasons that any members have even taken very much notice.

Even with the advantage of a jet boat, very dramatic rapids at the upper and lower ends of the canyon prevent deeper motorized access during the low water periods of the year.  If you want to venture into the deeper canyon where almost no prospecting has been done, you either need to float in with a rubber raft, hike in over one of several trails, or use a rope to climb in and out from places where the road is close enough to gain some access.

Paddle boardMy own interest in the surface mining potential down in the Independence Canyon peaked from a series of events which have taken place this season.  First, a group of experienced members and I used my jet boat to gain access to the far side of the river on K-23AA earlier this summer – and in just a matter of an hour or so, we confirmed an abundant surface deposit which we are now mining during the weekend group projects.  In that place, we have set up one of our over-sized rubber rafts with an outboard engine to ferry participants back and forth across the river. Here is the story. Other members have since moved onto K-23AA and are using different types of boats and rafts to gain access to the richer deposits on the far side of the river.

Then about a month ago, two brand new members, John Hughes and Curtis Cox, used a single paddle board (like an over-sized surf board) to cross the river with a metal detector; and they found a beautiful gold nugget within about 15 minutes.  They had only been members in the Club for about two hours!  It was so exciting that I went right down there and captured their success on video:

In almost 30 years of managing The New 49’ers, we have not paid much attention to the far side of the river. This was because we figured it was too difficult for most members to get over there.  This perception changed when I saw how easy it was for John and Curtis to paddle across!

diane Diane's gold nugget

Just about that same time, Diane Helgesen crossed the river in a small rubber raft and dug a fantastic gold nugget out of a bedrock crack.  Diane told me that “crossing the river is a piece of cake!” If I knew that, I would have been encouraging members to access the other side many years ago!  I also went down and captured Diane’s story on video:

Several weeks ago, I received an email from Melissa Pemberton saying that she would be stopping in Happy Camp to introduce her husband, Rex.  Melissa grew up devoting long summers with her extended family and close friends (there were at least 10 children between the Andrzejewski and Kohler families) extensively dredging for gold along the Klamath River.  We all became very close friends.  Children grow up and pursue other interests for a while.  I say “for a while,” because I am amazed at how many kids grow up spending summers mining gold with us, and then return later as grownups and bring their own children to join with us in the great outdoor gold mining experience.

Even though I had not seen Melissa for a number of years, I have remained in touch with her parents, and I have followed her web page.   Talking about extreme adventure, Melissa makes her money these days as an aerobatic pilot. She participates in competitions and puts on shows all over the world.  You guys have probably seen the way they can put these stunt planes into summersault rolls in the air?  That’s what Melissa does, while flying circles around her husband that is in freefall through the air.  Unbelievable stuff!

When Melissa said they were coming to Happy Camp, I invited them for a jet boat ride down into the Independence Canyon where we could provide Rex with his first really good gold prospecting experience.  They were excited about that, and so was I.  For me, the excitement was more about discovering how a close friend as a kid had grown up into an adult 15 years later.

After introductions over some local (great) pizza in Happy Camp, we drove down to Independence and launched my boat.  I took an immediate liking to Rex the moment I met him.  He has this unassuming, natural, friendly way about him, while also giving the impression that he is quite capable of doing his part, no matter how difficult the task. Melissa is the same straight-up, happy personality as I remembered her as a kid.  I was really happy to see that all the good stuff was still there.

jet boat deep canyon

This was going to be a first jet boat adventure on the Klamath River for Rex, so I made sure to pass through the more exciting (and risky) portions of several class-3 rapids on our voyage down into the canyon. I love boating just about as much as I like finding high-grade gold!  Let me say that a different way:  I live for boating!  Here is some video:

We raced about a mile and a half down into the canyon until we reached “Dragon’s Tooth,”a class 4 rapid, which is really about a 10-foot drop in the river (waterfall) with big ugly teeth protruding out in the center that make it nearly impossible to traverse with anything but a rubber raft.  Even the rubber rafts sometimes don’t make it. Check this out!  I say “nearly impossible,” because I have been through Dragon’s Tooth with a jet boat several times.  Never again, though.  You take more risks when you are young and invincible!

Since we were not going to go further downriver, the three of us looked for a stretch of exposed bedrock on the far side of the river where we could dig out a crack in search of gold.  It didn’t take long to find one.  Shortly thereafter, Rex was busy prying rocks free while I was wishing we brought along a pry bar.  The rocks were jammed tight in the crack.  I might have given up on the location; but Rex’s enthusiasm paid off, and pretty soon we were screening material into a gold pan.

Rex kept digging while Melissa watched me pan the material down.  I fully expected to uncover a good showing of fines; but when I swished the material around in the bottom of the pan to see what we got, both Melissa and I lost our breaths as several sizable flakes of beautiful raw gold were uncovered.   It was one of those “too good to be true” moments.  Both Melissa and I looked at each other and burst out in laughter, fully enjoying that moment of excitement and the renewal of long-established friendship.  Rex had piled up another pan’s worth of material by the time we returned.  When we showed him the gold, he let out a yell of exhilaration!  Too bad the gold is not that rich everywhere we dig!

Melessa & Rex good gold

Melissa & Rex, Gold from just 4 pans of material out of a bedrock crack!

It took us the better part of an hour to clean out the bedrock crack.  The material was screened and panned.  I gave Rex a refresher panning lesson on the fourth and final pan.  He took right to it.

I have to say; in all my years of gold prospecting, there have not been many places that turned up that much flake-size gold in just four pans.  We were all feeling really good.  Me especially, because I wanted to treat Rex and Melissa to a good experience. Afterwards, we just relaxed there for a while enjoying the surroundings.  These canyons alongside the Klamath River are about as good as it gets in the Pacific Northwest.  An osprey flew over us screaming out its own success of the moment.  We could see that she had a fish in her claws, probably on its way to feed her babies in a nest high above the river.

That’s when Rex asked me why somebody had not already mined out the exposed bedrock on the far side of the river.  Almost none of the far side on K-24A or K-25 has been touched by modern prospectors.  I explained to Rex that it was too hard to get down the hill and across the river.  We were looking up at Highway 96 just across the river, maybe a hundred feet up a rather steep hillside. Still, we could see that there were visible narrow foot trails which deer and other animals had forged down to the river. Rex suggested that he could park his car up alongside the road, tie off a rope, throw it over the side, and work his way both down and back up to his car without much difficulty.  I agreed it would not be that hard to do. “What about a boat?” I asked.  He said he could lower a kayak or rubber raft down the side; “piece of cake!”

That’s what got me thinking more about the more remote mining properties we have in The New 49’ers.  We have several of these extensive canyons. It is a lot of effort to get into them if you don’t think you are going to find any gold.  But if you knew how much gold we were recovering out of that exposed bedrock, it would be rather easy to get over there!

crossing in the raftI brought the subject up to Rich Krimm and John Rose on the following morning.  Those guys are always up for prospecting adventure.  We started coming up with ideas about lowering rubber rafts and even smaller aluminum boats (with prospecting gear tied inside) down the hillsides into the canyons.  I remember in the early days of The New 49’ers that we had some aggressive members who tied off a pulley on one vehicle. Then they ran a rope down to a small trailer in the canyon up through the pulley and used a second vehicle to pull the gear right up the hill.  It’s not as hard as it would first seem, as long as you know there is a golden prize on the far side of the river!  Rich said, “Heck, I have a portable, plastic kayak I can put on my back while I lower myself down the hillside, and I can be digging on the far side of the river within 30 minutes!”  I’m guessing it would be more like an hour.  But if I made a bet with Rich, he would surely win!

So I suggested we pull a prospecting team together and use one of the Club’s large rubber rafts to run the entire Independence Canyon on a day-trip and see what kind of gold we could find down there.  That was a heck of an idea!  We started organizing right away.  Rich and John lined up a bunch of our more experienced prospectors, adventure lovers and some of our most loyal Club supporters.

We did our first canyon float just a few days ago with Rich and John, Diane Helgesen, Robbie Collum, Connie Krimm, Steve Jones, Josh Collum and Derek Eimer. I went along to steer the boat.  Though I will admit that even though I tried my best, when you put 9 people in a big rubber raft, it pretty much goes where the Klamath River wants to take you!

lunch break fine gold

I believe this was just the first of many more trips to come.  One of my own objectives was to see how difficult this canyon is to travel by rubber raft. It’s not so bad, but life preservers are a must! I wanted to see how long it takes to float the 3+ miles. It’s maybe just two hours if you don’t stop to prospect or enjoy the surroundings. All of us wanted to see how good the prospecting is down there.  I can tell you that the prospecting is really good in some of the areas where we stopped.  The opportunities are so extensive that we could devote the rest of our lives down there and not prospect it all!

Robbie rich's gold

Since this is getting kind of long winded, I’ll allow the following video sequences and the story images to tell the rest of this story.  Let me just say that the ride through the canyon provides as much adventure as the gold prospecting.  One set of rapids after another keeps the adventure alive most of the way.  We had intended to video our drop through Dragon’s Tooth. But the ride was so dramatic, we completely forgot the camera! But we did capture some rapid-adventure further down into the canyon:

 

lots of bedrock working the bedrock

There are long stretches of exposed bedrock on both sides of the river, most which have never been touched by modern gold prospectors.  Some of these places are producing nice, larger flakes of shiny gold, and even some nuggets. I’ll bet we would find large nuggets if we devoted more time, especially to underwater prospecting.  Some places are producing hundreds of colors of fine gold in each pan.  All you have to do is dig out the cracks! Even the place where we stopped for lunch was producing gold right out of a crack alongside the wall where we were sitting.

great outdoors people waving from the raft

All the adventure and gold aside, the part of the experience that impacted me the most on this trip was being surrounded by the wild remoteness of the outdoors once we got deep down into this canyon.  Steep walls tower up out of sight as the river takes you through a place where few people have gone before. The best I can describe my own experience is similar to the majestic and humbling feeling I have when I stand under a mature redwood tree, so large and old, having been alive for more than a thousand years.  This quiet, massive, hidden canyon has been keeping her secrets safe much longer then the oldest redwoods on this planet!  There is not only gold to be found down there.  You can rediscover parts of yourself and internal, almost-magical feelings in places like this that you forgot you even had.  It would be almost spiritual to spend a night or two down in that canyon; something to think about.  As we were floating through this wondrous place, just before we reached the final rapids that would speed us back to civilization; I was feeling so lucky that we have these gold-rich canyons available to us.  Interesting, after all these years, we have just gotten around to them!

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

We performed the prize drawing from the most recent New 49’ers Legal Fund drawing at our July 5th Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp. The event was fully attended by a very lively bunch.

Myrna and Montine from our office had produced a ticket for every $10 contribution during the previous (approximate) 3 months, until 12 noon on the 5th. These were placed in an open container and mixed well. John Rose drew 25 tickets, one at a time. We started with the silver prizes, and then went to the gold. Here are the winners in the order they were drawn:

1-ounce Silver Eagles:  Timothy Ray McGarry; Francisco Rodriguez Jr.; Ernest Gajdusek; Timothy Ray McGarry; John Berrier Jr.; Tom Chambers; John Barrier Jr.; Ronald White; William Pettigrew & Gerald L. Sciscent

1/10th-ounce Gold Eagles:  Robert H. Franklin; Gary Wright; Tom Chambers; Dennis Henry; Edward Murphy; Craig Hall; Steve Kiesel; Douglas Hurt;  Roy Davis & Randol Thrasher

1/4-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Richard Grady; Gary Zenter; Edward R. Rosemark Jr. & Howard Hutto

1-ounce American Gold Eagle:  Randy Richards

Here is some video of the drawing event:

Winners can make contact with Montine in our office at 530 493-2012.

I want to give a sincere thank you to everyone who has contributed to the New 49’ers Legal Fund during these past several months, and especially to the army of you who responded to our calls during this past week. You guys have never let us down! If it were not for you, we would not have the resources to fight for small-scale gold miners.

Dave's gold nuggets

Next 25 drawing prizes will be made up from these 3 ounces of Dave Mack’s gold nuggets!

Even though we can write it off as a successful legal fundraiser, this one only produced 2/3 of the revenue that The Legal Fund normally brings in on similar legal fund-raisers.  I take this as a sign that maybe you guys are getting bored with gold and silver coins.  We all know that legal fund-raising is less about the prizes, than it is about generating resources to pay the very best specialists to defend small-scale miners against extremists who want us off the public lands. Having said that, we also know that valuable prizes create a fun and interesting incentive for you guys to participate. Therefore, the newest fund-raiser (already in progress) will be for 3 ounces of beautiful gold nuggets that I personally dredged off the bottom of the Klamath River.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc.).  Any contributions received after noon on July 5th will automatically generate tickets for the new drawing.

This drawing will take place at the close of business on 31 October 2014 (Halloween). You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. 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. 

California Legal Update 

Several other members and I accompanied our attorney on June 24th & 25th for 2 days of Mandatory Settlement Discussions in San Bernardino for the several ongoing cases in front of Superior Court Judge Ochoa. Before I get into this, I need to point out that the discussions were confidential, so I can only discuss this in general terms.

As an important part of this, in case you didn’t know, because of scheduling conflicts, oral arguments in Brandon Rinehart’s appeal to the Third Appellate District have been pushed back to September. In that case, we are petitioning the Court to decide that federal law prevents the State of California from prohibiting suction dredging on the public lands. We are arguing that the law is already well-decided on this issue. One of the State’s primary arguments is that they are only prohibiting suction dredging, and we are still allowed to use our gold pans. Our position is that our mining claims are only valid in the first place because we have made viable gold discoveries at the bottom of waterways which can only be reached through suction dredging. Preventing us from extracting the gold deposits we have discovered is basically a prohibition on the use of any effective method of mining that is available to us. As long as we get a fair hearing, and it appears as though we will, we are pretty confident that we will win the federal preemption case in the Third Appellate Court. The case law we are relying upon says that while the State has the authority to impose “reasonable regulations” upon us, they cannot prohibit mining altogether.

This brings up the subject of what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California. While maybe everyone does not agree, many of us believe that the regulations we worked so hard for in 1994 were reasonable, except that the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) decided afterward that the Special Permit process was no longer available to us.

Please allow me to put this in perspective: A statewide suction dredge permit scheme is good for our industry. Otherwise, each of us would need to submit separate dredge applications for each different place we want to work. The process of obtaining those permits could be quite lengthy, burdensome and expensive. For example, the previous judge that was presiding over most of this litigation was strongly suggesting that every single suction dredger should be required to do a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a requirement which would certainly have been the end of our industry.

Section 5653 of the DFW Code allows the Department to issue dredging permits if there is not going to be “harm” to fish. “Harm” in this respect means a deleterious impact upon an entire species of fish. Rather than require each individual dredger to complete an EIR, the State has developed a statewide EIR with regulations which allow limited suction dredging along numerous waterways at certain times of the year. Since the statewide approach requires DFW to make general assumptions concerning “harm,” the Department believes it must err on the side of caution. This in itself is not unreasonable. But in the exercise of caution, the regulations are sure to restrict or prohibit suction dredging in areas where, if looked at more closely, reasonable people could agree that some suction dredging could take place without endangering a species. This is where the Special Permit process came in during 1994 and before. Said another way, without a Special Permit process in place, suction dredging would be completely prohibited in all areas that are not allowed by the statewide regulations. We believe this would rise to a prohibition in some portions of the state which would likely be preempted by federal law. The recently-adopted 2012 statewide regulations do not allow for a Special Permit Process. This is just one thing (of many) that must be resolved.

You guys probably recall that Brandon Rinehart was cited several years ago for suction dredging without a permit. Our attorney, James Buchal, took Brandon’s case. More or less, our defense is that the state has over-reached its authority by first adopting Section 5653 of the DFW Code which prohibits people from operating suction dredges within California’s waterways without obtaining a permit, and then passing another law which prohibits the state from issuing any suction dredge permits. If Brandon wins this argument in the Third Appellate, it basically means that we can all resume suction dredging without much worry over being prosecuted for not having a permit. I suspect this would prompt the legislature to cancel its moratorium and order DFW to immediately begin issuing dredging permits in conformance with the recently-adopted 2012 suction dredge regulations.

While permits under the 2012 regulations would be an improvement over our existing situation, I believe everyone within the industry would agree that they are not even close to being “reasonable.” At the same time, anti-mining activists are arguing quite strenuously that the 2012 regulations are not restrictive enough. Therefore a big part of the active litigation in Judge Ochoa’s court is over the disagreement on what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California.

I have read some recent comments made by others which are pushing the notion that Judge Ochoa’s Order for all the parties in the active litigation to participate in mandatory settlement discussions is a bad thing, especially since they will not be continued until September 4th & 5th. That means we will not be dredging this season. The reason for the delay, as I understand it, is the very same scheduling conflicts that delayed Brandon’s case in the Third Appellate. It is basically the same group of attorneys in both cases. People take vacations during the summer months. Yes; I know that does not include suction dredgers. But, since we are not going to resolve this without the attorneys, it is a waste of time to make a big deal over things we cannot change. We are so late in the season already, under the new regulations, there was not going to be much time for anyone to get in the water this summer, anyway. Perhaps it is better that we dwell on the good side of this.

The good side? This is where others might disagree with my perspective. Civilized disagreement and debate amongst us is a good thing. We do this all the time within the industry. It increases all of our awareness on the issues we face and improves our ability to deal with the obstacles we must overcome. When I look back at how much better we are today at managing legal challenges than we were in the 1990’s, I am amazed we actually overcame the very strong push to eliminate suction dredging and came up with a set of regulations that supported our industry for 15 years. We were very divided in our views back in 1994. But we did manage to pull together a united front on the important matters that we had to deal with. I am confident we will do that again this time.

Now to my perspective: Since we expect that the Third Appellate is going to overturn the legislature’s moratorium on suction dredging perhaps sometime around the end of this year, the next big matter to resolve is what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California. That matter is in front of Judge Ochoa. I believe this is one of the main reasons he has ordered Mandatory Settlement discussions. The beginning of the process this past month involved all the parties and attorneys communicating our views and concerns to the judge on a personal basis. I believe the judge was trying to discover how far apart we are and assess the likelihood that he can bring us together in a negotiated settlement that everyone can live with. I believe he now has a good understanding of the issues we must resolve. Before we closed on the second day, he asked for a list of issues that each party would like to see changed in the 2012 regulations. After reviewing these with all the attorneys, he still had enough confidence to schedule two more days of settlement discussions in early September.

I know some people don’t like this settlement idea. But we should consider the alternative, which is to litigate each and every one of the issues that we do or don’t like, and that anti-mining activists don’t like – all in front of the very same judge. This would involve tens of thousands of pages of reports and comments, expert witness testimony from all sides, all which could take years of hearings, not to mention the costs. This is because many of the issues are scientific and complex. All of this, only to have Judge Ochoa make the final determination in the end, anyway.

Therefore, I see his offer to try and resolve the issues through settlement discussions as an opportunity to shortcut a very timely and expensive process.

The 1994 regulations were not the result of litigation. They were the result of all the parties coming together in discussions, with a very capable negotiator finding the balance that we could all live with. That was not an easy thing to do! My initial impression of Judge Ochoa is that we are very lucky to have him there. I’m sure he is going to give everyone’s view a fair hearing. That is a lot more than we have received since we were shut down in 2009. It is a lot more that we might expect in today’s world.

Therefore, I am suggesting that we should not be too quick to decide mandatory settlement discussions are a bad thing. Without them, even if Brandon wins, we are likely to be stuck with the 2012 regulations until they are fully litigated, which could end us up in the very same place as a settlement degree before the start of next season.

2014 Annual Dues will be Billed in August

We bill $50 for annual dues to all Full Members in August. This is because most of the costs, especially property taxes, that are associated with maintaining our extensive mining properties come due before September.  The Bureau of Land Management in recent years has substantially increased annual filing fees to hold mining properties. We thank you in advance for your support on this! 

Part Time Help Needed in our Office 

We are in need of a part time person in our administrative office (in Happy Camp, California). We need a person that has some background in accounting, particularly on maintaining an electronic balance sheet.  We are using Microsoft Excel.  Part time positions in our office normally evolve into full time positions if the person is interested.  We would prefer to fill the position before the end of this summer if possible.  Anyone interested can please initially contact Montine at 530 493-2012. 

Caretaker Needed

We are in need of a caretaker (night security presence on our office property) who would like to plug in on the back corner of our building in Happy Camp in exchange for free electric, water & sewer connections. The person must have an RV (not much more than 30 feet). There are some minor duties involved. While we can be flexible, we prefer no pets.  We are looking for someone who is not into the after-hours party life. We would prefer to find someone for this position before the end of the summer, who will commit for the upcoming winter months.  Anyone interested can please initially contact Montine at 530 493-2012.

Join Us for our Remaining Weekend Group Mining Projects!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.

The remaining weekend events for the coming 2014 season are scheduled for August 2 & 3 and August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members.  We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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!

 

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

Legal update for California ( Fri Jun 27 2014 )

By Dave McCracken

 

 

I just returned to Happy Camp from 2 days of Mandatory Settlement Discussions in San Bernardino for the several ongoing cases in front of Superior Court Judge Ochoa. Before I get into this, I need to point out that the discussions were confidential, so I can only discuss this in general terms.

As an important part of this, in case you didn’t know, because of scheduling conflicts, oral arguments in Brandon Rinehart’s appeal to the Third Appellate District have been pushed back to September. In that case, we are petitioning the Court to decide that federal law prevents the State of California from prohibiting suction dredging on the public lands. We are arguing that the law is already well-decided on this issue. One of the State’s primary arguments is that they are only prohibiting suction dredging, and we are still allowed to use our gold pans. Our position is that our mining claims are only valid in the first place because we have made viable gold discoveries at the bottom of waterways which can only be reached through suction dredging. Preventing us from extracting the gold deposits we have discovered is basically a prohibition on the use of any effective method of mining that is available to us. As long as we get a fair hearing, and it appears as though we will, we are pretty confident that we will win the federal preemption case in the Third Appellate Court. The case law we are relying upon basically says that while the State has the authority to impose “reasonable regulations” upon us, they cannot prohibit mining altogether.

This brings up the subject of what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California. While maybe everyone does not agree, I believe the majority of us believe that the regulations we worked so hard for in 1994 were reasonable, except that the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) decided afterward that the Special Permit process was no longer available to us.

Please allow me to put this in perspective: A statewide suction dredge permit scheme is good for our industry. Otherwise, each of us would need to submit separate dredge applications for each different place we want to work. The process of obtaining those permits could be quite lengthy, burdensome and expensive. For example, the previous judge that was presiding over most of this litigation was strongly suggesting that every single suction dredger should be required to do a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a requirement which certainly would have been the end of our industry.

Section 5653 of the DFW Code allows the Department to issue dredging permits if there is not going to be “harm” to fish. “Harm” in this respect means a deleterious impact upon an entire species of fish. Rather than require each individual dredger to complete an EIR, the State has developed a statewide EIR with regulations which allow limited suction dredging along numerous waterways at certain times of the year. Since the statewide approach requires DFW to make general assumptions concerning “harm,” the Department believes it must err on the side of caution. This in itself is not unreasonable. But in the exercise of caution, the regulations are sure to restrict or prohibit suction dredging in areas where, if looked at more closely, reasonable people could agree that some suction dredging could take place without endangering a species. This is where the Special Permit process came in during 1994 and before. Said another way, without a Special Permit process in place, suction dredging would be completely prohibited in all areas that are not allowed by the statewide regulations. We believe this would rise to a prohibition in some portions of the state which would likely be preempted by federal law. The recently-adopted 2012 statewide regulations do not allow for a Special Permit Process. This is just one thing (of many) that must be resolved.

You guys probably recall that Brandon Rinehart was cited several years ago for suction dredging without a permit. Our attorney, James Buchal, took Brandon’s case. More or less, our defense is that the state has over-reached its authority by first adopting Section 5653 of the DFW Code which prohibits people from operating suction dredges within California’s waterways without first obtaining a permit, and then passing another law which prohibits the state from issuing any suction dredge permits. If Brandon wins this argument in the Third Appellate, it basically means that we can all resume suction dredging without much worry over being prosecuted for not having a permit. I suspect this would prompt the legislature to cancel its moratorium and order DFW to immediately begin issuing dredging permits in conformance with the recently-adopted 2012 suction dredge regulations.

While permits under the 2012 regulations would be an improvement over our existing situation, I believe everyone within the industry would agree that they are not even close to being “reasonable.” At the same time, anti-mining activists are arguing quite strenuously that the 2012 regulations are not restrictive enough. Therefore a big part of the active litigation in Judge Ochoa’s court is over the disagreement on what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California.

I have read some of the comments made by others in the last few days which are pushing the notion that Judge Ochoa’s Order for all the parties in the active litigation to participate in mandatory settlement discussions is a bad thing, especially since they will not be continued until early September. That means we will not be dredging this season. The reason for the delay, as I understand it, is the very same scheduling conflicts that delayed Brandon’s case in the Third Appellate. It is basically the same group of attorneys in both cases. People take vacations during the summer months. Yes; I know that does not include suction dredgers. But, since we are not going to resolve this without the attorneys, it is a waste of time to make a big deal over things we cannot change. We are so late in the season already, under the new regulations, there was not going to be much time for anyone to get in the water this summer, anyway. Perhaps it’s better that we dwell on the good side of this.

The good side? This is where others might disagree with my perspective. Civilized disagreement and debate amongst us is a good thing. We do this all the time within the industry. It increases all of our awareness on the issues we face and improves our ability to deal with the obstacles we must overcome. When I look back at how much better we are today at managing legal challenges than we were in the 90’s, I am amazed we actually overcame the very strong push to eliminate suction dredging and came up with a set of regulations that supported our industry for 15 years. We were very divided in our views back in 1994. But we did manage to pull together a united front on the important matters that we had to deal with. I am confident we will do that again this time.

Now to my perspective: Since we expect that the Third Appellate is going to overturn the Legislature’s moratorium on suction dredging perhaps sometime around the end of this year, the next big matter to resolve is what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of suction dredging in California. That matter is in front of Judge Ochoa. I believe this is one of the main reasons he has ordered Mandatory Settlement discussions. The beginning of the process this past week involved all the parties and attorneys communicating our views and concerns to the judge on a personal basis. I believe the judge was trying to discover how far apart we are and assess the likelihood that he can bring us together in a negotiated settlement that everyone can live with. I believe he now has a good understanding of the issues we must resolve. Before we closed on the second day, he asked for a list of issues that each party would like to see changed in the 2012 regulations. After reviewing these with all the attorneys, he still had enough confidence to schedule two more days of settlement discussions in early September.

I know some people don’t like this settlement idea. But we should consider the alternative, which is to litigate each and every one of the issues that we do or don’t like, and that anti-mining activists don’t like – all in front of the very same judge. This would involve tens of thousands of pages of reports and comments, expert witness testimony from all sides, all which could take years of hearings, not to mention the costs. This is because many of the issues are scientific and complex. All of this, only to have Judge Ochoa make the final determination in the end, anyway.

Therefore, I see his offer to try and resolve the issues through settlement discussions as an opportunity to shortcut a very timely and expensive process.

The 1994 regulations were not the result of litigation. They were the result of all the parties coming together in discussions, with a very capable negotiator finding the balance that we could all live with. That was not an easy thing to do! My initial impression of Judge Ochoa is that we are very lucky to have him there. I’m sure he is going to give everyone’s view a fair hearing. That is a lot more than we have received since we were shut down in 2009. It is a lot more that we might expect in today’s world.

Therefore, I am suggesting that we should not be too quick to decide mandatory settlement discussions are a bad thing. Without them, even if Brandon wins, we are likely to be stuck with the 2012 regulations until they are fully litigated, which could end us up in the very same place as a settlement degree before the start of next season.

 

The New 49’ers Legal Fund
27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039

 

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, JUNE 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 6

Dave Mack

 

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 Waving from boatPointing at gold

We have been on the lookout for a new place to do our Weekend Group Mining Projects for quite some time.  This is because we have done every Weekend Project on the upper bar of our Mega Hole property at K-15A for the past five years.  That amounts to 35 separate projects in just one area, even though we have 80+ miles of good mining property to choose from (It used to be 60 miles, but we have grown).  We kept returning there because the Mega Hole property always produces gold for our projects.

We used boats a lot during our earlier years when there were not so many people on the projects.  The truth is, with an occasional exception, the better gold deposits are always richer in the places that are more difficult to get to; especially those places that are just out of reach.  This is the nature of gold, and is one of the reasons it is so valuable.

The upper gravel bar at the Mega Hole is still producing gold.  All you have to do is dig in the remaining undisturbed areas and the gold will immediately start adding up.  Our Weekend Project team leaders and I are just tired of going back to the same place over and over, again.

So a few weeks ago, Rich Krimm and John Rose, two of our Project team leaders, and I found ourselves looking at the extensive gravel bar on our new Elliot Bar property at K-25AB.  We already know that the bar on the Highway-96 side of the river pays very well in the surface deposits alongside the river.  The problem is that the existing trail down to the gold deposit is perhaps a little too difficult for some members that might arrive for a Weekend Group Project.  We were expecting more than 70 participants on the first project of our season.

As a second alternative, we made plans to organize a small group of experienced members to meet up and make use of my jet boat to do some sampling on the far side of the river on our new A & D # 3 property at K-23AA.  This is the property where a bunch of members did quite well last season, both in and out of the river.  These numbers, by the way, identify each of our many properties on a published Claims Guide along with maps.

 Dave in jet boatClaim A&D #3

Several days later, the day before Memorial Day, I found myself launching the jet boat with longtime supportive members, Rich Krimm, John Rose, Derek Eimer, Steve Jones, Sean Hart and Steve Kleszyk.  Our initial target was the sizable gravel bar on the far side of the river at the top end of A & D #3.  We chose this place because quite a lot of members have been doing well on the far side of the river about a half-mile downstream. John said a small family were prospecting on this upper bar last season. They told John they were pleased with the gold they were recovering. There is a pretty good trail going down to the river from the Highway 96 side of the river directly across from the gravel bar.  There is also a huge pull-off for plenty of parking and camping.  This place is nine miles downriver from Happy Camp.

Once our prospecting team arrived across the river with the jet boat, we scattered across the gravel bar and started sampling.  Initial results were rather poor. Rich and I found a place where some rocks were tightly wedged together just above where we could see some exposed bedrock. We were wishing we brought a pry bar along.  Our progress was moving along slowly. The results in our gold pans were not getting better as we dug deeper, which is also often the case when we are beginning from scratch in a new location.

 John's Gold

We had been out there for perhaps thirty or forty minutes when John came over with a pan with maybe 15 or 20 gold colors in it.  It was a good pan. It was a heck of a lot better than what the rest of us were finding. I felt this huge sigh of relief as soon as I saw the gold.  The first moment of an important gold discovery always takes my wind away just for a moment. This is the moment of magical alchemy, when something of little value is suddenly turned into raw wealth.  There are not very many other experiences in life that are so exhilarating. Derek followed just a few minutes later with about twice as much gold from a single pan.  Eureka!

The rest of us immediately gathered up our prospecting gear and followed Derek and John to where they dug their samples.

It does not take very much gold in a sample pan to signal an important discovery.  This is because the volume of material processed in the sample is very small. We then follow up with more tests to establish exactly where the gold is coming from. Further testing is done along the trail that leads to the richest material.  Then the amount of gold in a single pan, or perhaps even a 5-gallon bucket, needs to be related to how much volume of material we can process once we get into production.

There are a few important lessons here that are worth pointing out:  The first is that your chances of making a good gold discovery in a new place are vastly improved when you go out with a group.  If Rich and I went out there alone, we may never have made the strike.  Perhaps the most important lesson is to keep your ears and eyes open all the time when you belong to an active mining association like The New 49’ers.  The reason Derek and John were sampling in that place was because they had watched where the family was mining last season.  Once the rest of us got over there, we could see where the earlier prospectors had been scraping bedrock. John and Derek had just picked up where they left off, and that’s all it took.

 BedrockBlue pan

More than 100 colors from a single pan out of Rich’s vack machine

The location of the strike is in a transition between the lower gravel bar alongside the river and an elevated older gravel bar from some earlier time.  The transition is mostly exposed bedrock with a thin layer of sand on top.  The sand is loaded with fine gold, sometimes 100 colors or more to the pan.  The bedrock is made up of decomposing shale which is very easy to break apart with a hand-pick (garden tool). Gold is also packed down into the shale about as far as you care to dig.  The bunch of us spread out across several hundred feet of the bedrock transition, and our sample results were about the same wherever we dug the material.  Talking about easy; all we had to do was dig a thin layer of sand and clean up the bedrock underneath. Every pan was producing a handsome showing of gold.  We had arrived on the bar about an hour and a half earlier, and we had discovered a new place to do our Weekend Group Projects!  Here is some video that captured the moment:

It is challenging to separate fine gold from volume-amounts of sand, difficult to accomplish with a normal high-banker.  Ultimately, we pulled together three Le Trap fine gold recovery sluices and connected them to a single water pump down alongside the river.  We normally use these Le Traps to concentrate the material from our high-banking and suction dredge recovery systems at the end of the day.  They are very effective, but a bit slow to keep up with volume amounts of material. Derek also offered up his new Gold Well recovery system, which, I believe, is the most exciting gold processing system on the market at this time.

Then we pulled one of The New 49’er Colorado River rafts out of storage and pumped it up.  We did not expect it to hold air. This was because we have not used the big rafts for about 6 years.   But the quite sizable boat blew up like it was brand new!  Then we added in the floor boards and pulled out the outboard engine.  The outboard had been worked over just a few years ago. Once we got it started and ran it awhile, it sang like a well-oiled machine.  Later that day, our whole prospecting team and some more members loaded everything up and hauled it down to A & D #3.  That Colorado River Raft is so tough; we just slid it down the hillside and into the water.

Sampling team initial test pan

Gold recovered from a single bucket of pay-dirt

70+ membersA few hours later, we had all the recovery gear set up on the far side of the river.  John Rose wanted to do a small production run just to be sure everything was going to work when we arrived with an army of 70+ people.  It is always better to be safe than sorry!  We dug up a bucket of the sandy pay-dirt, directed it through an 8-mesh screen, and ran it across one of the Le Traps.  The amount of gold we recovered gave us solid confirmation that we had made a fantastic gold discovery. Here is some video:

 

There were 78 members signed up for the project on Saturday morning. This was an enthusiastic, friendly bunch.  We met over at the Happy Camp Grange Hall where I introduced our team leaders who would help manage the project. We are so lucky to have a bunch of experienced members that enjoy helping with these Group Projects!

I then provided the group with my talk on how to pursue a sampling program.

 Members on the raftRafting across the river

Once we all arrived out on A & D #3 on Saturday afternoon, it took less than 30 minutes for us to get everyone across the river in the raft.  Our team leaders and I had preplanned how we would get everyone into and out of life jackets with no lost time, and also how we would launch and recover the raft on both sides of the river.  All that went off without a hitch. Here is some video that captured the action:

Since we had already made the gold strike, the only real objective for my team on Saturday afternoon was to teach beginners how to pan for gold.  We consider that as one of our most important responsibilities.  This is because the whole sampling process comes back to effective panning skills.  If you cannot pan, you cannot sample.  If you cannot sample, the only way you are going to find high-grade gold is if someone else gives it to you!

 Young boy having funMembers having fun

Nugget

At least 2 nice nuggets were panned on Saturday afternoon!

We do a New 49’er potluck every Saturday evening during the summer months.  This meant we needed to get all these people back across the river so they would have time to freshen up for the evening event.  Once the beginners were all lined out, me and my team mates were eager to start transferring people back across the river.  But they didn’t want to go!  There was so much fine gold in their pan samples, just about all of them kept saying, “just one more pan.” We literally had to peel the last of them off the gravel bar late Saturday afternoon.  Truthfully, I was worried some of them were going to hide over there so they could continue mining. There was no other way back across the river unless they wanted to swim.  Gold does have that effect on people!

It was a full house at potluck on Saturday evening.  The enthusiasm and excitement was so noisy, it was challenging for me to get the meal started!  After a bunch of great food, we had a short meeting, did our weekly prize drawing, and let everyone go home earlier than normal. This is because we were planning to meet out on A & D #3 at 6:30 the following morning.  We have found over the years that it is better to start early on Sunday so we can get most of the physical work done before the heat of the day sets in.  The whole objective on Sunday is to come together in a well-organized team to process as much pay-dirt as we can.

By the time I finished ferrying everyone across in the boat, our team leaders had already positioned everybody into a well-organized production crew.  Did you ever see the war footage of the American D-Day invasion?  That’s what this reminded me of! This bunch was charging ahead to fill buckets with pay-dirt as fast as they could. There were people picking, digging, screening, vacking, carrying buckets, and feeding the recovery systems.  The noise out there was almost deafening!  The following video sequences captured the different parts of our production program:

I had left word up in the parking lot that I would return with the boat after a while for any stragglers.  Thirty minutes or so later, I was stunned by a very directed shout from across the river. Sure enough, there were enough people over there for another boat load.  It was lucky someone over there had a strong voice.  By then, I was so involved with all the productive activity that I might never have remembered about stragglers!

Le TrapsSmiling

It is a good thing we brought Derek’s Gold Well recovery system to support this project.  The easy digging in the sand and shale, along with the very substantial energy of this group, was producing screened pay-dirt several times faster than the three Le Traps could process the gold out of it.  If you try to process sand too fast, you will overload the recovery system, and the gold will just wash out with the tailings.   This crew was doing it just right.  Excess pay-dirt was being directed to Derek’s crew on the Gold Well.  And even the Gold Well could not keep up.  That’s what happens when you have 70 people filling up buckets as fast as they can!

 Derek's teamGold Well

Derek’s team operating the Gold Well

Mid day clean up gold in pan

Mid-day clean-up!

We cleaned up the Gold Well and one of the Le Traps at about mid-day, just to see how we were doing – and the amount of gold was even shocking to me!  This bunch was so jacked up; at least half of them did not even stop digging to take a look at the gold!  The buckets just kept coming and coming.  Pretty soon, we were filling extra wash tubs because we were running out of buckets!

We stopped the digging at around 11 AM.  This was because we had already dug more pay-dirt than we would have time to process.  The crew went around and filled the few holes we had dug.  There were not many.  This gold discovery is mostly resting on exposed, decomposed bedrock. In most places, after you scrape it off, you are left with clean bedrock and no hole to fill in!  Eventually, we were all down watching the recovery systems struggle with more material than we could feed even if we stayed out there for another hour or two.

Get this: In nearly 30 years of doing these Weekend Group Mining Projects, this is the first time the digging crew ever supplied more pay-dirt than we had time to process!  So I called a meeting to order out there on the gravel bar and made a motion that we split up the remaining pay-dirt into buckets and allow everyone who wanted a share to take it across the river to process at home.   The motion was passed unanimously, and at least 30 buckets of pay-dirt were carried off towards the raft without any delay.  The material disappeared so fast, it was as if it were never there!

 Crew in productionAlan

We met back at the Grange Hall at about 1:30 on Sunday afternoon, and all worked together to complete the final gold separation. Then we split the gold.  It was the most fine gold I have ever seen on one of these projects.   There were 10 small gold nuggets.  In the end, we split off a half-ounce of gold between 70 participants.  There were lots of smiling faces.  That’s the part I like the most.

 Final gold recoveredGold Extractor

Legal Update: Federal Preemption Decision Coming Soon! 

As many of you are aware, our legal specialists have brought a federal preemption challenge in front of the Superior Court of San Bernardino. We also have a similar challenge in front of the Third Appellate District of California.  We are arguing that the Supreme Court has already decided that the State does not possess the jurisdictional authority to prohibit suction dredge mining on the public lands, which is exactly what they have done with the existing Moratorium in California.

All of the briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District, and they have just scheduled this 28 July for oral arguments concerning the Eighth Circuit’s Decision on federal preemption. This development is a hopeful sign that we are going to get the hearing we have been asking for on this very important matter. Here is how the Eighth Circuit weighed in. And here is a short update memo from our attorney.

If we win this important challenge, we suspect the Appellate District will instruct the State of California that they cannot cite prospectors for using suction dredges unless the activity violates reasonable and lawfully-issued permit regulations.

Meanwhile, in a completely separate case, we are making similar arguments challenging the existing Moratorium in front of the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  If we win that motion, we anticipate that the judge may order the State of California to immediately resume issuing suction dredge permits.  During a motion hearing last month, the judge Ordered that we attempt to settle all of the mining-related issues in front of him on June 24th before he issues a Decision concerning federal preemption.   Here is a short memo from our attorney which provides further explanation.
I will personally attend the mandatory settlement discussions alongside our attorney in San Bernardino in just a few weeks. Cross your fingers that this will lead to the judge deciding for us on the federal preemption motion.

Please take note that we only have 3 more weeks remaining in The New 49’er Legal Fund active fund-raiser.  We will be giving away 25 gold and silver coins  during our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on July 5th.  To date, the Legal Fund has only brought in $2,124 in contributions to support this fundraiser. That’s only somewhere around half the value of the gold and silver prizes that will be given away. Ouch! This will be the last newsletter we send out before the drawing. So I am I encouraging you to send in some contributions. This is how we generate the necessary funds to pay for legal support.

Thanks for all your support, you guys. I know you will all do your best. The fight would have been lost a long time ago if it were not for you!

Join Us This Season on Our Weekend Group Mining Projects!

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting adventures with others who more experienced than you are.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.

The remaining weekend events for the coming 2014 season are scheduled for June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members.  We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 530 493-2012.

We have free long term (dry) campgrounds available to participants who prefer to enjoy the complete outdoor experience.  There are also private RV and other lodging options in and around Happy Camp for those of you who prefer more accommodations.  The staff in our office will go out of their way to help you with your individual needs. Montine specializes in helping you guys get the most enjoyment from your visits to Happy Camp. Here are our contact details. 

What We Can Do on Our Properties in California 

Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County.  While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.

1) We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California.  As explained above, this is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings. It is possible that either of these two challenges could be decided in our favor during the 2014 season.

2) Surface mining (high-banking) is still alright.You can do that on your own, or you can join in on our Weekend Group Mining Projects.

3)      The State of California has adopted modified regulations which now define “suction dredging” as using any type of motorized vacuum or suction to excavate material off the bottom of a waterway.  Therefore, the underwater suction gravel transfer systems we used last season will no longer be allowed until we overcome the suction dredge moratorium.

4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards or more from the active waterway.  There is also a way to boom using blowing methods (see below) which should not be affected by the 100 yard rule.

Please note that all surface mining activities on New 49’er properties are governed by our internal set of Surface Mining Guidelines.

5)  Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season. Some were using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help blow material out of the way. Our attorney agrees this cannot be classed as “suction dredging” under California’s expanded definition.

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 I 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, just a few years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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!

 

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 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 5

Dave Mack

 

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Rich Krimm, Director of Internal Affairs

Panning in tubGold in Pan

Lots of members have already arrived in Happy Camp to start the season off early this year.  Our office and store in Happy Camp have been busy each morning even with some members waiting out front before the door is opened.

First time pannerFirst gold

Craig and Alicia Hill finding their first gold last week up on Indian Creek

While more members are around, most people are only just getting started with mining activity.  Jeff Hight and Stuart Allen have been doing pretty well working the bedrock down on the Ukonom Claim K-25AA recovering some very nice course gold.  Jeff enthusiastically shared that he has already recovered as much gold this season as he has accumulated during the past four seasons.  Further down river, I saw Jim Shannon at the Elliot Bar Claim K-25AB doing some diligent sampling out on the gravel bar where very few members have been.  Dennis Turner has been doing very well for the past six weeks working at the Wingate River Claim K-23A.  He has been working large cracks and crevices in the bedrock, classifying material that he takes back to his camp where he processes the material through a small recirculating high-banker.

Panner on riverGold in pan

I have seen members working at a number of claims from K-2A all the way down to K-25AB.  Last week, four members spent several days at our long term camping area at Schutts Gulch K-11. They were high-banking on the gravel bar.  Montine had a chance to talk to them before they left the area to go home. She says they were very pleased with the gold they recovered.

GatheringIndian Creek

Father & sonJohn Rose, one of my Internal Affairs assistants, organized a gold panning outing up on Indian Creek just a few days ago, and at least ten people went along for a day of fun.  John says everyone had a blast.  They finished up the day with a great meal sitting around a campfire.

I talked to Derek Eimer and Dan Collins just a few days ago. They are working on some type of an underwater blowing system that they can use to uncover more of the extremely rich gold discovery they made last year on our new K-23AA property.  Clearly they want to have their equipment ready to take advantage of this year’s low water opportunity.  Other members have been preparing to begin using underwater blowing techniques — and also hand-operated suction devices to recover the gold from underwater cracks and crevices.  This is going to be a great year for crevice mining both above and below the water!

Heightened river sceneLow water

Speaking of low and slow water, I was coming downriver a couple of weeks ago and saw two kayakers paddling ‘up river’ faster than I could drift down river in the current.  The current is now flowing almost 3,000 cubic feet per second slower than the average for this time of the year. The river is over three feet lower than where it should be.  The Forest Service Snow Report for May 1st shows several sites that normally record 28-to-55 inches for snow depth and water content at this time of the year.  The most recent survey reveals there is no snow at these sites, which means there is no water.  My guess is that the current and water level in the creeks and river are going to continue to drop through the summer. This will expose more areas that members can access for our gold prospecting activities.

DemonsrationOver the past couple of years, a few members have shown some interest, and have actually used small boats and kayaks to prospect on the other side of the river.  Lower and slower waters this year have caused several of our members to take that idea more seriously.  A couple of the members are already making plans to coordinate their efforts and work together to place their vehicles in position so they can shuttle their equipment and kayaks after they drift the river sampling our claims on the far side.  Stuart Allen told me that he called his girlfriend and asked her to bring his kayak down on her next trip. Stuart has convinced me to get my kayak out and join him.

We have been doing some concentrate cleanup sessions in front of the store on Friday mornings during the early spring for the past few seasons.  Several pieces of cleanup equipment get set up and operated. This allows members a chance to see demonstrations of the latest innovations in mining gear and the processes.  Quite a few members show up for these events. A couple of weeks ago, John Rose set up a rather large panning station, and even Montine from our office was out there showing off her panning skills!  These Friday morning get-togethers also provide our members a chance to meet each other, drink coffee, eat donuts, and tell stories. Here are some video sequences we captured during the last event:

This coming Friday morning, we will be joined by Steve Herschback. Steve will be present to talk to members and answer questions about using our metal detectors for gold prospecting.  Steve owned and managed Alaska Mining & Diving for many, many years, and is one of the world’s leading experts in electronic prospecting.  Several members who have recently arrived have told me that they have metal detectors with them, and they are looking forward to talking to Steve to get some welcomed tips so they can become more efficient while using their equipment.

We have scheduled the Saturday evening potlucks at the Happy Camp Grange Hall to begin May 31st. They will extend through August 23rd of this year.

Legal Update: Federal Preemption Decision Coming Soon! 

As many of you are aware, our legal specialists have brought a federal preemption challenge in front of the Superior Court of San Bernardino. We also have a similar challenge in front of the Third Appellate District of California.  We are arguing that the Supreme Court has already decided that the State does not possess the jurisdictional authority to prohibit suction dredge mining on the public lands, which is exactly what they have done with the existing Moratorium in California.

All of the briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District. We are patiently waiting for them to issue a Decision.  If we win this challenge, we suspect the Appellate District will tell the State of California that they cannot cite prospectors for using suction dredges unless the activity violates lawfully-issued permit regulations.

Meanwhile, in a completely separate case, we are making similar arguments challenging the existing Moratorium in front of the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  If we win that motion, we anticipate that the judge may order the State of California to immediately resume issuing suction dredge permits.  During the motion hearing several weeks ago, the judge Ordered that we attempt to settle all of the mining-related issues in front of him on June 24th before he issues a Decision concerning federal  preemption.   Here is a short memo from our attorney which provides further explanation.

My best guess is that any such settlement would require all outstanding issues in front of the Court to be resolved once and for all. This is because they are all connected in one way or another to the preemption motion.

Don’t get your hopes up too high on a successful settlement agreement. I only suggest this because there are many different interests that would have to come together, some whose only interest is to prohibit mining on the public lands. Though the judge has ordered that we should try. So we will. He will preside over the settlement discussions.

I will personally attend the mandatory settlement discussions alongside our attorney in San Bernardino next month. Cross your fingers that this will lead to the judge deciding for us on the federal preemption motion.

Thanks for all your support, you guys. The fight would have been lost a long time ago if it were not for you!

Note that we only have a little more than a month remaining in The New 49’er Legal Fund active fund-raiser.  The Legal Fund will be giving away 25 gold and silver coins  during our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on July 5th.  To date, there has been very little participation.  I encourage you to send in some contributions, since this is how we generate the necessary funds to pay for legal support.

Make a Legal Contribution 

Join Us This Season on Our Weekend Group Mining Projects!

 

 Running high-babkerHappy smile

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting trips with others who are further along on the curve than you are.   We are fortunate in The New 49’ers that we have experienced members who take pleasure in going out and helping on the weekend projects.

Our 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  We started them during our second season in 1987 with the purpose of helping members to learn how to successfully prospect for gold on their own.  Long since then, the weekend projects have evolved into fun events that many members attend just for the adventure and shared camaraderie with other members.

The weekend events for the coming 2014 season are scheduled for May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members.  We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 530 493-2012.

We have free long term (dry) campgrounds available to participants who prefer to enjoy the complete outdoor experience.  There are also private RV and other lodging options in and around Happy Camp for those who prefer more accommodations.  The staff in our office will go out of their way to help you with your individual needs. Montine specializes in helping people get the most enjoyment from their visits to Happy Camp. Here are our contact details. On that note, if you prefer private accommodations, I suggest you don’t wait until the last minute.  Sometimes they fill up! 

What We Can Do on Our Properties in California 

Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County.  While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.

1)      We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California.  As explained above, this is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings. It is possible that either of these two challenges could be decided in our favor during the 2014 season.

2)       Surface mining (high-banking) is still alright.You can do that on your own, or you can join in on our Weekend Group Mining Projects.

3)      The State of California has adopted modified regulations which now define “suction dredging” as using any type of motorized vacuum or suction to excavate material off the bottom of a waterway.  Therefore, the underwater suction gravel transfer systems we used last season will no longer be allowed until we overcome the suction dredge moratorium.

4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards from the active waterway.  There is also a way to boom using blowing methods (see below) that should not be affected by the 100 yard rule.

Please note that all surface mining activities on New 49’er properties are governed by our internal set of Surface Mining Guidelines which are available from the office.

5)  Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help blow material out of the way. Our attorney agrees this cannot be classed as “suction dredging” under the expanded definition.

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.

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, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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!

 

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 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 4

Dave Mack

 

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

Story by Lori Meyer & Debra Thewes

highbanking Good gold

Before we came to Happy Camp, we looked all over the Internet hoping to find an affordable gold claim where we could prospect.  This is when we stumbled across the New 49er website, which we found to be such a wealth of valuable information and colorful adventure. Holding nuggetAfter watching the videos and reading about the Club, we decided to join and we are so glad that we did.  We have made friends that we now consider our family, and we have had so much fun hunting for gold out on the Klamath River.  We now spend several months a year in Happy Camp.  The 2013 season was our best ever. We even found a gold nugget weighing just over 1/5th of an ounce! Boy was that exciting!  We actually discovered the nugget on bedrock under only 8 inches of sand. This was just a mile from town!  In fact, all the nuggets we have found were just a short distance from Happy Camp.

When we joined, all we wanted to do was find gold. We had absolutely no prior experience. But with over 60 miles of mining property available to us, it was like a smorgasbord of opportunity! On our first day, Montine (she is Customer Relations in the New 49’er office) took the time to tell us everything we needed to know to get started. She was so helpful!  We met our friend, Rip Ripple, on our first day, too.  Rip took us to his personal dig and showed us exactly how he was finding gold. Boy was he finding some nice stuff! We have watched Rip and other experienced members do the very same thing for many other beginners.  But that’s what you can expect with the New 49ers, “miners helping miners.”  So we bought a vack mining machine, some gold pans, a highbanker, and some digging tools; and we headed out onto the claims to dig for gold – and yes, we found gold.

vackingThe first weekend we were there, we attended one of the weekend outings at the Mega Hole and learned so much. We also got to meet some awesome people.  Dave Mack is such an amazing guy.  You can tell right off that he really cares about his New 49’er members. 

Being members of the New 49’ers has been life-changing for us.  Gold mining has become a passion. This is not only because of gold. It is also becoming friends with so many interesting people. The Klamath River is one of the crown jewels of the Pacific Northwest. The place is breathtaking!  The New 49ers program has provided us the opportunity to not only find gold, but also to make great friends and experience the outdoors like never before.  With so many mining properties, we get to choose where we want to prospect and there are simply unlimited opportunities to find gold.

Deb gold nugget

LoriSo many of our friends have asked us “Did you find gold?” and we always tell them that we do!  Then they ask, “Did you get rich?” and we always answer that we have gotten rich in so many wonderful ways.  Then they want to know if we have gotten wealthy with gold, and we answer that we have found more gold than we expected, so far – but we are not finished, yet!  The New 49’er program has been, without a doubt, the most exciting outdoor adventure we have ever experienced in our lives.  We are living the dream!

When we joined, we had no idea that our lives would change in so many wonderful and profound ways. Now we can’t wait to get back to the Klamath and our friends, and the great outdoor adventure that waits for us.  Watch for us out there.  We are the Jersey Girls!

This is Going to be a Low Water Year! 

By Rich Krimm, Director of Internal Affairs

The Klamath River and its tributaries are presently experiencing historic lows for both current flow, and gauge height.  Today (April 6) at the Seiad Valley station along the Klamath River, the current is flowing at 2,350 cubic feet per second, which is more than  3,000 cubic feet per second lower than the average for this time of the year.  The gauge height is 3.54 feet and that is about three feet lower than where it should be.

We are expecting a few days of extremely warm spring weather (80 degrees plus) that will cause the insignificant amount of snow in the area to melt and possibly cause the river to rise slightly only for a short period of time.

I made the trip from the Scott River down to our lower claims at Elliot Bar, a distance of almost fifty miles, and conditions looked similar to the low water we were experiencing last year in early July.  If these conditions persist, then more locations along the river and creeks will be exposing bedrock areas that are traditionally underwater year round.  Access to submerged areas along the side of the rivers and creeks will also improve.

Several of my neighbors, who I will describe their age as being life-long residents and senior citizens, have told me they have not seen conditions like this in all the years they have lived on the river.

We already have more members arriving in Happy Camp than normal for this time of year. Looking into this coming season, I can already see and hear the Vack machines running as the newly exposed material in bedrock cracks and crevices are drying out. So they can hopefully take advantage of the low water conditions, I know that at least several members are putting together blow-mining gear to help facilitate the underwater crevicing activity which Dave Mack described in our March newsletter. This is lining up to be a very productive season along the Klamath and its tributaries! 

Join Us This Season on Our Weekend Group Mining Projects! 

 Running high-babker Happy smile

More smilesOur 2-day Group Mining Projects are one of the primary benefits of New 49’er membership which set us apart from other mining associations.  We started them during our second season in 1987 with the purpose of helping members to learn how to successfully prospect for gold on their own.  Long since then, the weekend projects have evolved into fun events that many members attend just for the adventure and shared camaraderie with other members.

There is a learning curve to successful gold prospecting.  One of the most effective methods of progressing through the learning curve is to go on prospecting trips with others who are further along on the curve than you are.   We are fortunate in The New 49’ers that we have a bunch of experienced members who take pleasure in going out and helping on the weekend projects.

The weekend events for the coming 2014 season are scheduled for May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members.  We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 530 493-2012.

Schedule of Events

Panning Pointing at gold

The events begin with a few hours of theory, normally presented by me, on Saturday morning at the local Grange Hall in Happy Camp.  After lunch, we all go out on one of our more productive properties and put the theory to practice.  Our mission on Saturday afternoon is to make sure everyone knows how to sample for gold deposits with the use of a gold pan.  We also need to find one or two gold deposits to work on the following day.  All the gold that you recover on Saturday is yours to keep.

If you are not too tired, we encourage everyone to attend our Saturday evening potluck at the Grange Hall.  This is a relaxed, somewhat-informal social affair where we all share some great food and camaraderie.  We take the opportunity to pass on any important information, and we end the evening with a prize drawing.

Group mining Kid having smiling

We normally start early on Sunday morning so that we can get off the gravel bar before the heat of the day sets in.  Sunday is where we pull everyone together into a cooperative production program, devoting three or four hours to processing as much pay-dirt as possible through a few portable gold recovery machines.  Rich Krimm normally heads this part up with the help of several other experienced members.  Everyone is organized into activity which fits their physical capabilities.  Even most disabled participants can contribute in some meaningful way.  Sunday is an exercise in teamwork where we try to recover as much gold as we can.  Having said that, we also caution everyone to not push beyond your personal limit.  We are also trying to keep the project as fun as possible for everyone.

High-grade Looking at gold

Happy kid

Once we feel we have processed enough pay-dirt, we fill in the excavations that we made out on the gravel bar, put our gear away, and do some initial gravity concentration of the material that has accumulated in our gold recovery machines.  Then we allow everybody a break to get refreshed, and meet back at the Grange Hall for final separation of the gold.  Everyone is invited to watch and participate in the final steps. Usually, sometime before 4 or 5 PM on Sunday afternoon, we have split up the gold evenly amongst everyone who actively participated on Sunday. Even children receive a share if they worked.  Sometimes the kids out-work the adults!

These weekend events cover the fundamentals of successful gold prospecting from A-to-Z. If you are paying attention and stay involved, even a raw beginner will have a substantial grasp of the important fundamentals by the time a project is over on Sunday afternoon.  As far as I know, we are the only outfit in the world that is providing this service.  Most prospectors have to go out and learn through the school of hard knocks.  Our weekend projects shorten the process by a large margin.

Most of these images were captured during our August 3 & 4 event last season. To get a better idea of what we do on these projects, and how much fun we have, I encourage you to read the video-enhanced story we published in our October newsletter about our final weekend event of 2013. Even though it was raining that day, which almost never happens in August, everybody participated with enthusiasm and we recovered a bunch of gold. Better yet, here are some more video sequences that we did not publish in the story:

Nice gold in the pan

We have free long term (dry) campgrounds available to participants who prefer to enjoy the complete outdoor experience.  There are also private RV and other lodging options in and around Happy Camp for those who prefer more accommodations.  The staff in our office will go out of their way to help you with your individual needs, for example, if you are flying in from some longer distance away or even from another country.  Montine specializes in helping people get the most enjoyment from their visits to Happy Camp. Here are our contact details. On that note, if you prefer private accommodations, I suggest you don’t wait until the last minute.  Sometimes they fill up! 

What We Can Do on Our Properties in California 

Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County.  While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.

1)      We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California.  This is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this turning out in our favor. On that note, The New 49’er Legal Fund is giving away 25 gold and silver coins in our ongoing legal fund raiser.

2)       Surface mining (high-banking) is still alright. You can do that on your own, or you can join in on our Weekend Group Mining Projects.

3)      The State of California has adopted modified regulations which now define “suction dredging” as using any type of motorized vacuum or suction to excavate material off the bottom of a waterway.  Therefore, the underwater suction gravel transfer systems we used last season will no longer be allowed until we overcome the suction dredge moratorium.

4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards from the active waterway.  There is also a way to boom using blowing methods (see below) that should not be affected by the 100 yard rule.

Please note that all surface mining activities on New 49’er properties are governed by our internal set of Surface Mining Guidelines which are available from the office.

5)  Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way. Most of our March newsletter focused upon this new method of moving material around by blowing, rather than sucking. Our attorney agrees this cannot be classed as “suction dredging” under the expanded definition.

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.

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, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  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! 

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