New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

transporting the sluice  gold across letrap

Having obtained pretty good results during the first two Weekend Projects of the season along our Sluice box property up near the town of Seiad, we decided to try something new this time. Longtime supporters, and always present to help, Scott Coleman and Laura Bagley had been telling me of a place that was producing good gold for them on the far side of the river down on the lower part of our Wingate property. This is about seven miles downstream from Happy Camp.

We only have a limited amount of time on these projects to confirm good pay-dirt. This is done using gold pans on Saturday afternoon. Then we will devote the cool hours of Sunday morning to process as much of the pay-dirt as we can.

Because we have so much mining property available to our members, sometimes it’s challenging just to decide where to go. To reduce the chances of not recovering very much gold on Sunday, it is common these days for us to pull a team of members together in advance to make sure the pay-dirt is actually present in the place where we will do the project.

There have been many times in the past that I found what appeared to be a valuable gold deposit because I recovered one or two good pans – only to return afterwards and discover that the place I recovered the gold was the only place it existed in volume. We made this mistake on a project many years ago and only recovered enough gold on Sunday that each participant just got a single flake of gold. While the members were gracious about it, because it is the nature of gold mining to not find good gold everywhere; I was terribly embarrassed to have gathered so many people for a group dig and we hardly found enough gold to spread around. Some mistakes you only need to make once in your life. This was one of them!

There are multiple reasons why all of our projects produce plenty of gold to go around these days. One reason is that we know the river a lot better. Another reason is that we have members like Scott and Laura that prospect every day and share the information with us. And the most important reason is that we pull a team together in advance of nearly every project and do enough sampling in the targeted area to be certain the gold deposit is large enough to sustain a group project.

boating people across the riverThis took place in August. The river was really running low. So low, that we had to push my boat off the trailer at the boat ramp at Wingate. There have only been a few times over the years that we had to do that. Here it was on video:

This location below Wingate was ideal because there was plenty of parking up by the road, a well-developed path down to the river, and just a short distance over calm water for us to ferry participants to the worksite. There was also a nice sand beach where we could land the boat and help people in and out of the boat.

Someone had told me that if we hike up the hill some distance, we would come upon the place where the Old-timers stopped mining. Supposedly, there is exposed bedrock there, and the ancient streambed is exposed directly on top of it. I’m told the pay-dirt is extremely rich. So this is where I assumed we were going when I first arrived over there and made the following video. So I was surprised when Laura and Scott stopped about half way up the hill and started sampling:

The place Scott and Laura had made a good discovery was up the hillside along a pretty good path.  So that’s the first place Scott, Laura and I went. Each of us got good pans, and the flakes of gold were larger than we have generally encountered this season. Here is their explanation of the gold discovery and Scott’s single, unscreened pan on video:

Still, it was going to require all the pay-dirt to be packed in buckets some distance to the river. This is something to consider when evaluating any discovery: How much of your labor is going to be subtracted from digging and processing pay-dirt? In this case, I would guess that it would take only about half the time to fill buckets, than it would to pack the buckets to the river. But the gold was good enough that we still could have made it come out alright.

Scott Gold from Scott

The flakes of gold were larger up the hillside.

Sure enough, the gold in Scott’s, Laura’s and my sample pans all had good gold for the small volumes of gravel we processed. Some of the pieces were mid-sized flakes. This is important because bigger pieces of gold weigh up on a scale better than even a good showing of fine (small pieces) gold. We have been fooled many times in the past turning up a good showing of fines, which added up in the recovery system on Sunday looking like we broke the all-time record of two ounces on one of these projects. Then, once we separated all those fine particles of gold from the other heavy minerals, the final result was much less than what we were hoping for. So there is a lot to be said about finding deposits that are made up of more than fine gold.

Craig's gold

This is a good pan sample considering the small amount of streambed material that was processed!

The big surprise of the morning was when Craig Colt started recovering the best results of the day by digging into compacted sand that was being held together by a root structure of dead grass.  This was right down by the river much closer to where we were going to process pay-dirt on Sunday.  Here it all is on video:

Several others on the team were also turning up good gold down closer to the river. Derek Eimer found a gold nugget using his gold detector, and then lost it. Then he found it again! Finding even small nuggets in a gold deposit is always a sign that more will be present.

Craig moved slightly further up the hillside and attacked the packed sand again, this time finding a thin layer of brown compacted streambed resting over rough bedrock. His sample results from the natural streambed were the best yet!

Good sample pan We made our strike

See the thin layer of natural streambed on the bottom just over bedrock?

We really don’t go out on these confirmation projects to mine gold. We just want to do enough sampling to be certain there will be enough gold to support a successful project.  If the location is good, we will return the day before the project and use the boat to transfer all the gear to the site. Here was the moment when I decided we had accomplished our purpose:

Happy Guy Voyage down river

In any event, everyone on our small team was finding good gold in their samples at this new location; so we called it a day. In all, we devoted about an hour to confirming the location. That’s the advantage of having an experienced team of gold prospectors!

Our jet boat is a really important part of our infrastructure to support these projects. Without the boat, we would mostly be confined to the road-side of the river.  The jet boat will allow us to go just about anywhere on the river. When we have large groups, sometimes we break out our large Colorado River rafts and tow whole groups of members up and down the river. Talking about adding a thrill to a prospecting adventure!

The truth is that besides developing rich gold deposits along the bottom of a river, there are few things that please me more than playing with boats on any kind of water. Here is some video that captured how much access the boat provides for us, and our gear, even moving our 300-pound floating recovery system up through several sets of rapids:

As group digs go, this one only had around 45 people. We are used to twice that many or more. But the terrible wildfires over the past several years have often made the air quality along the river so uncomfortable that there would be no fun in being there. The year before, the smoke was so bad that we were forced to cancel two of our Weekend Projects.

We were lucky on this particular weekend. The breeze was blowing smoke away from our work site. We could even see blue sky!

We always devote Saturday mornings at an air conditioned hall where everyone can sit down and relax. After introductions, I give a talk about the history of The New 49’ers which include some entertaining stories about events that happened along the way, and some of the colorful personalities who have been along for the ride – or took us for a ride, depending upon how you want to look at it. Then I make a presentation about how to follow a sampling plan to, step by step, work your way into high-grade gold. It’s not that difficult to make rich discoveries if you just stick to the plan! But it is human nature for beginners to stray from the plan and become discouraged. So I do my best to present the importance of following a sampling plan when looking for high-grade gold deposits.

The whole reason we do these weekend projects is to demonstrate to members that the gold deposits really do exist, and there is a very simple method (sampling plan) for finding them.

Saturday afternoon is all about teaching beginners how to pan for gold. We do this after lunch out on the discovery site. It took maybe 5 or 6 trips with my boat back and forth to get everyone over there.  Providing the boat ride to these projects adds more color to the entire outdoor adventure.  Here is some of the boat action on video:

We have done some projects where we had to tow everyone in through several sets of rapids to gain access to the work site, and then tow them down through two more sets of rapids to get them back to the road-side of the river!  That was a lot of adventure; pretty-much the limit of what I am willing to put people through.

And to think in all these years, we only flipped over a boat full of people just one time….  Thankfully, nobody got hurt. No; I was not driving the boat; I was not even in the country!

Therefore, I do all or most of the boat driving these days!

There were only several beginners who needed some help with their panning skills on Saturday afternoon. Everyone was finding gold in their pans. This was a good place!

We don’t like to stay out very long on these hot Saturday afternoons. The main reason is that once the participants begin seeing the gold in their pans, they get jacked up and sometimes overdo it. Then they are too tired to come out on the cool Sunday morning when the real action is taking place. I’m sorry that there was some wind getting in the way of the audio on the following video, but you can still get the idea of how things were going out there:

But some of the members were so pleased with the gold they were finding, it was difficult to get them back into the boat. We talked several into filling buckets with pay-dirt so they could pan the material on the other side of the river.

 One time, a member was so determined to keep on panning, he insisted that he would swim back across the river before dark!

We also do a potluck dinner and short meeting at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening. All members and their friends are invited to attend. These events are a lot of fun. People get to know each other in this setting. Many life-long friendships have been brought to life during our potlucks. I follow the meal with some instructions about when and where we will meet on Sunday morning.

Screening

Longtime supportive member, Mark Turner, built a fairly large screening device that makes it more efficient to remove the larger rocks from the pay-dirt.

As uncomfortable as the alarm is sounding off at 5 am on a Sunday morning, the discomfort is nothing compared to attempting a serious group dig in the heat of an afternoon in August!

We meet down at the river access Sunday morning at around 6:30 am.  It’s actually cold out there during that time of the day.  By the time I went over in the boat for the last bunch of members, everyone had arrived. Normally I have to go back after a while and bring over a few stragglers. But not this time. These guys were jacked up to get some work done!

We could not sponsor these projects if we did not have around a dozen experienced members who volunteer their weekends to help out and be part of the fun. Even before I transferred everyone over the other side of the river, our experienced team had all the participants busy digging in the hotspots we confirmed the day before, filling buckets (half full) with the pay-dirt, running the material through a classification screen to eliminate the larger sized material; and then transferring the buckets of pay-dirt to the recovery system. I captured some of the action on video:

Building bridge

As this was a new place for us, it took a bit longer than normal to set up our floating sluice recovery system. This is a 6-inch modified dredge recovery system that we have set up on floats. There are adjustments to lower the front of the sluice just below the surface of the river’s moving water. The water then washes pay-dirt through the sluice. Gold, being around five times heavier than the average material we are processing, easily gets trapped in special gold traps (called “riffles”) along the bottom of the sluice.

Since it takes some skill to feed the pay-dirt into the recovery system at the right speed, we always allow Dickey Melton to do this job. He is very good at maintaining the balance of feeding as much pay-dirt as possible so we can recover more gold, while not overfeeding so much that the gold traps along the bottom become overwhelmed. If you feed too fast, the gold will never get exposed to the traps, and it is likely to run right through the sluice into the river. So Dickey probably has the most important job out there.

As it turned out, the water flow in this location was near perfect, because it was smooth, swift water just ahead of a set of rapids. The challenge turned out to be building a bridge of sorts, or at least a stable step, so that buckets of pay-dirt could be safely passed out to the recovery system. Here’s some video of when we were just getting things started:

By the time Dickey was satisfied the sluice was operating correctly, there were so many buckets of pay-dirt stacked up, there was no way he was ever going to catch up with the digging crew! This is the way we like it; never a moment when pay-dirt is not flowing through the recovery system! Here is the way it turned out on video:

River view Dickey feeding sluice

Dickey carefully feeding the recovery system. How about that view of the river; is that beautiful or what?

It was particularly cool on this August morning. Shoveling pay-dirt on a nice cool morning is rather easy. There was a lot of happy chatter out there on the side of the river. My sidekick, Diane took a moment to capture me on video providing an overview of what was going on:

Craig devoted some time going around and taking samples of the material people were shoveling into the buckets. Some samples were better than others; but everyone was digging in gold. If everyone is digging in gold, and we are producing enough pay-dirt to operate the recovery system at capacity for about four hours, I am always confident that there will be plenty of gold to go around when it comes time to split it up.

Group working Work area

Here are some overall views of our work area; a very nice place to spend a Sunday morning!

The sun reaches the gravel bar along that portion of river at about 11 am. The heat of the day begins after noon. Since we still have to separate the gold from all the impurities back in Happy Camp and split the gold, we like to have everyone back across the river at around noon on Sunday afternoon. We give everybody some time to freshen up and usually meet for the final clean-up between 1:30 and 2 pm.

When we removed the riffles (gold traps) from the bottom of the sluice box to recover the material we had accumulated, there was a strong showing of gold present. We always get a good thrill out of that! Here is some video of Craig cleaning out the floating sluice:

The material we clear out of our floating recovery system out on the river is a mix of gold and mostly other heavy material. There is always plenty of black iron sand and small iron rocks. These also get trapped in the recovery system because they are heavy. We call this material “concentrates.”  These other impurities must still be separated from the gold before we do the split.

We usually bring the final concentrate back to one of the meeting halls in Happy Camp for final processing. But wildfires in the vicinity had those all tied up for places to support the fire-fighting crews. So we did the final cleanup and split in the shade of a tree next to the picnic area along the side of our building.

Dave feeding letrap Letrap with gold

Our final clean-up steps begin with a Le Trap sluice box. This is a green plastic recovery system with low-profile riffles (gold traps) that recovers all our gold, but reduces about half a bucket of concentrates down to about a double handful. Final cleanup is always one of the most exciting parts of a successful gold mining program, because you get to see the thousands of pieces of gold add up in the recovery system. Here is a short video of my feeding the Le Trap:

Gold Extractor

Here is our final cleanup in the Gold Extractor.

Our concentrates are passed through a #8 screen before we run them across the Le Trap. Then we run the smaller amount of concentrate over a Gold Extractor. This is an even smaller sluice with much smaller gold traps. When set up properly, neither the Le Trap or Gold Extractor will lose a single piece of gold no matter how small, unless there is some anomaly – like the gold still remains attached to a piece of rock. We captured some video of the Gold Extractor working, and then when that part of the process was complete:

For the benefit of anyone’s doubt, both Craig Colt and Derek Eimer carefully pan the tailings from both devices and show the results to the onlookers. There were no losses on this project!

The Gold Extractor reduces the concentrate down to about a tablespoon volume of gold and impurities.

All material that remains on top of a #8-sized screen are taken by our project supervisor, John Rose. Under his supervision, several participants use tweezers to pick out all the small nuggets. The nuggets are placed with the remaining concentrate and heated up in a small metal pan just hot enough to dry them.

Once dry, the concentrates are passed through a series of different sized (opening size) classification screens. Between the use of a magnet (to remove magnetic iron sands), and some light blowing, each size-fraction of the gold is finally separated from all the impurities.

It is very important to witness these final clean-up steps. It’s already challenging enough to locate and develop a high-grade gold deposit. But reducing the concentrate to where you have the finished product of just gold is something that requires some practice.

Final goldEvery gold deposit is different in the size ratios of gold particle size. Perhaps because most members were cleaning out bedrock cracks alongside the river, we recovered an unusual number of small gold nuggets – 37 in all. This was an amazing number of nuggets to find on one of these projects. Here is John Rose on video, who was so excited by the number of nuggets, that he was compelled to go outside and show everyone even before he was finished:

The final split was between 31 participants, so everyone received at least one nugget. To put this in perspective, even though we recovered more gold during other earlier weekend projects at Sluice box, I believe we only recovered a single gold nugget between those two projects.

The total weight we recovered at Wingate amounted to 264 grains – which amounts to about 11 pennyweights – just over half an ounce. While the volume of gold was less than during the earlier projects, the number of people out there digging was much smaller. This afforded everyone with a share weighing 8.5 grains. The usual split amounts to around just over 6 grains each. So we actually broke a record for the number of people on the project! Everyone seemed more than happy with that.

With another successful Weekend Project behind us, we all said our farewells and broke up at around 4 pm on Sunday afternoon. 

Cherished Member, Alex McCrone, has Moved on at 11 Years of Age

The following is shared with us from his loving dad, Paul McCrone:

Alexander McCroneAlexander Paul Julian McCrone:  9/15/2006 – 7/27/2018

Alex was born on September 15, 2006 in the wake of a tornado…. literally…a Nebraska tornado hit the day after he was born. The devastation was bad enough that Baby-Alex and his family were evacuated.

Alex rested gently in the loving arms of Jesus on Friday, July 27, 2018. But the tornado of Alex’s spirit will live on in all of us who knew him and continue to love him.

There are few people who have faced life’s trials as gracefully and courageously as Alex did. Diagnosed with cancer at age four, he triumphantly beat the cancer monster twice and continued to live his life fully, infusing each moment with his family and friends with all the love possible.

A free-spirited philosopher well beyond his years, Alex taught us how to love, how to say, “I’m sorry,” and how to forgive. Alex wanted everyone to get along and appreciate one another. He loved to be active, playing baseball, swimming, doing karate and sharing his Pokémon cards with anyone who would play.

During his final days, Alex spoke words of wisdom to share far and wide: “A world without love is impossible.”

Every year during his time in school, Alex received well-deserved awards and recognitions including the Loyalty Award in second grade and the Character Quality Award in fifth grade. He enjoyed karate at the Fierce Tigers Martial Arts in Salinas.

Alex loved mining for gold!  It was something he asked me, “Dad, when are we going MINING again?” He loved the glint of gold, and he always lit up whenever he got some.

Alex lit up a lot; he was better at panning than his Dad is! He seldom came away without some gold. Alex has the McCrone family record for finding the largest gold nugget.

Alex was in love with the Klamath River and the beauty of the Happy Camp claims, out of the town, in the forest, watching animals; the entire outdoor experience.

We loved going to the New 49er Saturday potluck meetings, with good food and friends, sharing what happened, listening to the tales. Those were truly some magic times we shared that I will never forget!

Note from Dave: Many of you who have attended our weekend prospecting projects during recent years will remember Alex.  There was a long stretch there when they never missed a single outing. 

Keeping the secret of Alex’s condition to themselves, there was never a time when I saw anything but a gracefulness between father and son and genuine kindness and gratitude towards the rest of us. 

As I find myself getting older, I am losing more and more of the people I care about. I often feel a twinge (or in some cases, a lot) of guilt for not making my encounters as good as they should have been if I had known they were coming to an end.  Finding a way to adjust to these losses is one of my own greatest challenges. I will miss Alex a lot!

Legal/Political Update

I ended off my September comments basically with the following:

Here is my prediction: If the Trump agenda manages to move forward, the Trump Team will ultimately overcome the stranglehold which America’s domestic enemies (inside all levels of government) who are determined to burn America’s forests down (and now entire rural communities), rather than return to sustainable forest management that creates wealth and prosperity for all Americans. This management approach will include us as small-scale gold miners who recover true wealth for America, remove mercury, lead and other toxins from the country’s waterways, and create prosperity for rural communities.

Even though the Republicans have lost their majority in the House of Representatives, as long as the Democrats do not succeed in wrestling away control of the U.S. Senate through the election shenanigans going on in several States, my prediction above remains the same. All of the important endorsements required to appoint federal judges and top level officials (like Attorney General) originate out of the U.S. Senate where it appears that the republicans picked up several seats.

There was not any meaningful mining law reform legislation moving through congress anyway. With the Senate and House split between republicans and democrats, and Mr. Trump remaining in charge of the Executive branch of the federal government, we can be certain that new laws at the federal level that will be harmful to working class Americans are unlikely to go anywhere.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump will continue to move his “Make America Great Again” agenda forward by reforming and reducing the negative impact upon us from federal agencies through executive order, much like Obama did when he could not get cooperation from the Republicans in congress.

I do predict that the democratic-controlled House of Representatives is going to do everything they can to make Mr. Trump’s life even more uncomfortable, along with the closest supporters on his management team.  Little or none of this should materially interfere with the Trump Team’s efforts to reform the federal agencies. None of this should affect ongoing litigation between some States and the federal government over who ultimately controls resource development on the public lands.

The democrats may begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, because this just requires a majority in the House. However, the trial would take place entirely by the republican-controlled Senate, and would require a finding by 2/3’s majority of high crimes and misdemeanors. The chances of this happening are about zero. Impeachment proceedings, while distracting, may be the fastest way to get the past two years of Russia Collusion allegations finally resolved in Mr. Trump’s favor.

I saw on today’s national news that Mr. Trump is blaming the federal agencies in a very big way for the wildfires that are ravaging the west. This would seem to be a sign that new management policies are coming that will perhaps return to multiple use management, rather than conservation. If and when this all ends up in front of the existing U.S. Supreme Court, it really should go our way. Why burn entire forests and communities down, when the alternative is to sustainably develop them while creating wealth and good jobs?

On another note, we should not be surprised that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against miners in the BOHMKER v OREGON case in which the miners are challenging a State’s authority (in this case, Oregon) to prohibit mining on the federal lands.

The New 49’er Legal Fund has offered to help with the costs of Petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for Review.

Now we can only hope that the Trump Team has been busy replacing the Obama officials in the justice department who review the thousands of cases sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our Rinehart case, which basically raised the same question over who ultimately controls the federal lands, made it to the final list several months ago.  But it was rejected mainly on the grounds that this BOHMKER v OREGON case was better suited for the high court to review. Let’s all collectively cross our fingers on this one!

While we wait, it appears that the California Water Board intends (perhaps intended) to adopt a Statewide water quality permit that will (perhaps) allow suction dredging under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. I discussed this in my last newsletter. Nothing on this has changed, except it would appear that they have fallen behind schedule. Last I heard, they were going to put out a public disclosure in early October. I have yet to see anything. Several other industry leaders have been sending them queries; but so far, there have been no answers. 

Legal Drawing Winners

 

Legal drawingHere is the winning list from the legal fund drawing 10-26-18

Veronica Rasmussen was our helper on this drawing.

Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles:  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Donald Hill of Vallejo, CA;  John Willett of Porter, ME;  Gradley Hughes of Riverside, CA;  Jolynn Ruedas of Vacaville, CA;  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Kenneth Parchinski of Alford, FL;   John Stewart of Canton, CT;  Bill Dimmett of Redwood Valley, CA; &  Tracy Seeger of Puyallup, WA

Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Jerry Rady of Escondido, CA;  Ken Wilson of Australia;  Terry & JoAnne McClure of Quartzsite, AZ;  Ernest Nelson of Imperial, CA;  Karl Leabo of Florance, OR;  Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR;  Ralph Wiser of Reno, NV;  Richard Davis of Valley Center, CA; Michael OConnell of Crescent City, CA;  & Steven Gonzales of Burlingame, CA

Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles:  James Steffens of Las Vegas, NV;  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Steven Eichman of Portland, OR;  & Molnar Peter EV Budapest, Hungary

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:  Matt Cottrell of Galt, CA

Congratulations to all the winners.

Thank you to everyone who is helping us to preserve small-scale mining in America! 

Next Legal Drawing will Have Alaskan Gold Prizes!

In a wonderful gesture of generosity, Tamarand Campbell has donated two ounces of gorgeous natural gold that was recovered during Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” reality show on television!  We have received the gold. We will follow soon with an image.

This is very cool!

This gold will be divided into multiple prizes, along with 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 one-ounce Silver Gold Eagles in our latest Legal Fund drawing which will take place on 22 February 2019!

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

2018-19 Winter Office Hours

Unless there is some kind of emergency like a wild fire, our mining properties are always open to New 49’er members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

To conserve financial resources during the winter months when there is so little walk-in traffic, we have reduced walk in office hours to 9 am through 4 pm, Monday, Tuesday and Friday. These new office hours will begin on 1 October.

There is a phone message service if you call at a time when the phone is not being answered.

Reminder that we have an emergency Internal Affairs telephone connection that works all of the time by calling Rich Krimm at (510) 681 8066. Please do not use this number in an attempt to discuss routine matters! It is for emergencies only. 

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

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

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New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 4

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

At the invitation of California Water Quality Control, myself and several other industry leaders were urged to attend two separate meetings in Sacramento during this past month of August.

Between the two meetings, the following people representing our industry were present: Myself, representing The New 49’ers; Rich Krimm representing  New 49’er Internal Affairs (Rich has authority to make decisions on behalf of our organization during my absence); Jim Yerby representing The New 49’ers Legal Fund;  Craig Lindsay representing the Western Mining Alliance; Bill Fisher; Jim & Emily Rankin representing the Shasta Miners & Prospectors Association; Shannon Poe & Jere Clemants (Joe) both representing the American Rights Association (AMRA). I’m sorry to not give mention to a few others, because I could not make out the names on the sign-in sheets.

Each of the meetings had a representative from California Senator Stone’s office in attendance.  Please remember Senator Stone for this. His presence in these meetings is extremely valuable for keeping the process going in an honest and positive direction.

I am estimating there were at least five representatives from the California Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) at both meetings. But the two people taking the lead on this process are Renan.Jauregui & Afrooz.Farsimadan. Both can be reached in care of their names @waterboards.ca.gov.

Please note that these were informal meetings to help the Water Board better understand the way our industry works before they release a draft proposal. Once the draft is released, everyone will be invited to participate in the formal process. Nobody has been excluded.

Diana Messina, Section Chief of Surface Water Permitting, took charge of the first meeting and did a very good job of presenting the Water Board’s position. She is clearly very capable, and we can only hope that she will remain involved.

Here are some of the points that we discussed during the meetings, along with some of my personal thoughts and ideas along the way.

1) The Water Board has decided that it will adopt a Statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System(NPDES) Permit to support suction dredging in the State of California. Section 402 of the federal Clean Water Act authorizes EPA and individual States which are delegated the authority by EPA, to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.To put this in perspective, there has been substantial debate and controversy, and even some ongoing litigation in Oregon, as to whether suction dredgers discharge any pollutants since we are adding nothing to the waterways that is not already present there.

While there are different viewpoints about this, I believe it is safe to say that, as a whole, if we should be regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, most of our community believes, if at all, we should be under Section 404. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.

Section 402 is under the authority of the U.S. EPA. Section 404 is under the authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps).  My understanding is that the law only allows an activity such as ours to be regulated under one or the other of these CWA Sections, but not both.

Under Section 404, there are exemptions that easily apply to what we do with suction dredging. As just one example, due to substantial litigation by representatives of the large-scale mining industry, the Army Corps has been forced to allow incidental fallback, within certain limits, to be excluded from regulation under Section 404. The primary definition that comes to mind when considering “incidental fallbackis the material that washes off a large-scale bucket excavation project that is being used to deepen a channel in a harbor. As I understand it, the courts decided since nothing has been added to the fallback, and it is deposited into or near the primary excavation, it should not be considered a pollutant for purposes of regulation under the CWA.

But the definitions of incidental fallback go much further than what falls off a bucket. It also describes placer mining operations which excavate material from the bottom of a waterway, run the material across a gravity recovery system for the extraction of minerals without adding any other substance, and then discharges the dredged material back to or near the excavation site. This describes exactly what we do in suction dredging, only on a much smaller scale than what the litigation was about.

For a better understanding, I suggest you look at the Army Corps’ explanation in the Federal Register right here.

You will be interested to know that in light of existing law, the Army Corps has adopted nationwide exemptions for small-scale suction dredge activities (up to 4-inch intake size, I believe).

However, upper level management officials at the California Waterboard have decided to not adopt the 404 approach. Instead, they have decided to regulate small-scale suction dredging under Section 402 – which assumes we are discharging a pollutant into the waterways.  The question remains what pollutant are we discharging?  Please stay with me and I will present the underhanded tactics that are in play.

As we have discovered through ten years of litigation in California, and ultimately losing every case; the California court system has completely turned its back on ordinary citizens seeking relief from the unreasonable actions by the legislative and executive branches of State government. At least for now, the option of seeking relief from State court is not available.

I have taken it upon my own to forward the Army Corps 404 exemptions to the Water Board staff who are actively developing a 402 permitting scheme to regulate our industry.  But my best guess is that the 404 exemptions will be set aside because the decision to pursue Section 402 has been made by others further up the chain of command.  So we will need to move ahead for the short term with the realities of Section 402.

I say “for the short term;” because even though we do not see it on television, Mr. Trump’s “make America Great” program is moving ahead with momentum to open up resource development on the federal lands. In his various speeches, he has made references to shrinking the size of protected (from development) national monuments, other federal lands which have been made off limits to sustainable development, and possibly even allow some development inside of wilderness areas. You will only see the negative side of this in the main stream fake media.

There are multiple lawsuits initiated by some States, in concert with the (many) George Soros-funded extreme liberal and environmental groups, to try and put a stop to Mr. Trump’s “make America great” agenda. These are the very same groups, many who have infiltrated State and federal agencies and entire portions of State and federal legislatures, that have stopped suction dredging (along with timber development, farming, ranching, etc.) in California and elsewhere for the past ten+ years.

Even though we have never harmed a single fish in any way. But they know that. Our challenge has never been about fish. For those who oppose us, at least at the management level, it has always been about undermining the foundations of what made America great in the first place. I encourage you to take the time to go through the list of leftist organizations either owned directly or supported financially by George Soros. You will recognize the names of many of the organizations, including the environmental groups that have all but killed reasonable and sustainable resource development on our federal lands. For that matter, even on private lands.

The bottom line is that America finds itself in our second civil war! So far, the war is not taking place with guns and bombs. But think about it: the reason to bomb a mine or a factory is to put it out of production. If the mine or factory can be legislated or regulated out of production, we have the same result – except the people who have lost their livelihoods don’t understand the reasons why. We are told it is to save the fish or birds or bugs. But it is really about undermining the productive capability of America.

I know some people are turned off by Mr. Trump’s sometimes abrasive language and behavior. My answer to this is that we are not in a popularity contest. Let’s please just get past that! We are in a very close contest to win back the American dream! All I can say is that if it were not for Mr. Trump, we would have long since lost America’s second civil war with Hilary Clinton ruling the country.

Here is my prediction: If the Trump agenda manages to move forward, the Trump Team will ultimately overcome the stranglehold which America’s domestic enemies (inside all levels of government) who are determined to burn America’s forests down (and now entire rural communities), rather than return to sustainable forest management that creates wealth and prosperity for all Americans. This management approach will include us as small-scale gold miners who recover true wealth for America, remove mercury, lead and other toxins from the country’s waterways, and create prosperity for rural communities.

Said another way: We don’t need to challenge California’s decision to manage suction dredging under Section 402 of the CWA. This very same matter is already being challenged in Oregon. That aside, Mr. Trump will eventually win the litigation against the very same legal issues which are holding us back. If he cannot do it, we will never return to the America dream that we grew up in (those of us who are old enough to remember real freedom).

While we wait, it appears that the California Water Board fully intends to adopt a Statewide water quality permit that will (perhaps) allow suction dredging under Section 402 of the CWA.

2) I apologize for the long explanation above. But I feel it is important to set some foundations so the remainder will be more understandable.

3) Having devoted multiple hours in two meetings with the Water Board staff that are in charge of developing a water quality permit to allow suction dredging in California, and listening closely to their comments, my personal impression is that this mid-level staff has been directed to develop a water quality permit scheme that will work for our industry. I have not detected any animosity towards our industry. In fact, Diana Messina, a very capable person, who is the Section Chief of the Water Board’s Surface Water Permitting Section, made the bold statement that “the Water Board is bound by law to come up with a permitting scheme that will work for our industry.” Said another way: my impression is that this staff has no dog in the fight to prevent us from getting back into the water.

4) This development is a huge change to what we have been up against for a long time!

5) In fact, I get that the Water Board is truly challenged with the problems of imposing Section 402 requirements upon us that were really developed for (very) large industry that creates actual pollution which must be disposed of somewhere.

6) I get that the Water Board staff is looking for solutions that will balance the needs of our community with the requirement to mitigate real environmental concerns.

This is where we were in 1994 after two failed public processes (corrupt attempts to end underwater gold mining in California), when existing Fish & Game management was reprimanded by republican Governor Pete Wilson, and capable staff were finally assigned to assess the real concerns about suction dredge mining and develop regulations that would eliminate or reduce potential harm to acceptable levels. Those regulations sustained our industry and allowed it to flourish for 15 years!

7) Since the 2012 Fish & Wildlife suction dredge regulations, now fully adopted into California law, have basically reduced us to suction dredging along California’s larger-sized waterways, I strongly doubt that turbidity from our tailings discharges are going to be a serious water quality issue. The reason I say this is that there are multiple formal studies which have come to this very same conclusion. This is especially true along the Klamath River where water quality is poor to begin with.

8) The primary concern, in water quality terms, is the potential discharge of certain metals which are considered hazardous within the Section 402 guidelines. The State’s (flawed) position is that heavy metals, such as mercury, are locked in place at the bottom of waterways that are covered by “armored streambeds” which are not normally disturbed or moved by normal flood events. Generally, I would agree that this is true where the armored streambeds exist. However, the larger storm events (which are now more common because of warming trends) will create enough violence in the waterways to break up hard-packed streambeds and tumble everything further downstream, including any and all mercury or other heavy metals that may exist in the waterways.

Think about it:  If large storms do not occasionally break up and disburse compacted streambeds, how is it that the bedrock channels are dug deeper into the earth over geologic time?  Said another way: How is it that armored streambeds are in place at the bottom of a waterway if they were not washed there by large flood storms?

So the Water Board and our avowed enemies have based this process upon a flawed presumption from the beginning.  Please keep on reading to gain an understanding of how large this mistake is.

It is typical progressive logic to ignore the long term and only focus on short term affects.  Long term thinking is what will make America great again! Preventing suction dredgers from removing 98% of the mercury from waterways, even if 2% is left behind, when there is no other alternative to remove the mercury, is either flawed planning by short term thinkers, or careful planning by America’s domestic enemies. No matter the reason, it amounts to extremely poor, politically motivated, management.

Please allow me to shed some light on this: The California Water Board conducted a study years ago to see how much mercury would be recovered by a standard suction dredge in an area (Auburn Creek in the Motherlode) that had been identified by suction dredgers as a mercury hotspot. It was not a controlled study, in that they did not analyze the raw material in front of the dredge to determine how much mercury was present in the streambed or on the bedrock, and what portion was floured. “Flowered mercury” started in liquid form, but has been subjected to so much violence that it has been broken down into millions of particles so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye unless there is an abundance of them present.

I am somewhat of an expert on liquid mercury. I know from extensive personal experience that you cannot break down liquid mercury into floured mercury simply by passing it through a normal suction dredge. No way!

You can break mercury down through hours and hours of aggressive tumbling in a container filled with a set of dredge concentrates and metal balls or heavy rods that clash together with severe violence.

Many years ago, over the concerns about harming fish by sucking them through a suction dredge, a group of dredgers in Washington State demonstrated to interested lawmakers that sucking uncooked hotdogs through a suction dredge did not cause any damage to the hotdogs. So the notion that a suction dredge causes enough violence to flour mercury is absurd on its face!

I also know from extensive experience that a standard suction dredge will recover most liquid mercury, but not floured mercury that is moving with normal streambed material. The individual particles of floured mercury are so small that they cannot separate themselves from the turbulent flow that is moving larger-sized rocks being pushed by water through a standard sluice box. While the dredge may capture some, most miniscule particles of mercury will just wash through the sluice box with the flow of water and lighter gravel material.

Here is the big question: Is a suction dredge the “point source” of minuscule particles of mercury that already exist in the waterway?  Of course not! Those particles originated from some other source long in the past.

In any event, the Water Board study determined that 98% of the mercury was recovered by the dredge. They found 2 % of overall mercury in floured form within the dredge tailings.

Without looking at the raw streambed material being processed, the Water Board determined that the dredge caused the flouring of the 2% discovered in the tailings. Wrong!!  This determination would not be accepted by any scientific enquiry that is looking for the truth. The important unanswered question is whether or not the floured mercury pre-existed in the streambed material that was run through the dredge?  Of course it was!

Here is the important point: My assumption is the reason the Water Board refuses to address this flaw in their study is that they want to make the case that since the dredge is the cause of the floured mercury, the dredge can be considered a Point Source which justifies managing our industry under Section 402 of the CWA.  Upper level nonscientific decisions such as this do not originate by officials who want to help make America great. They originate from America’s domestic enemies.

On that note, the Water Board did return to the very same excavation site the following season and found that the bedrock contained ample amounts of flowered mercury. Where did that come from? The only conclusion to this is that mercury is migrating down some of California’s waterways with every storm event. But this new data did nothing to change their determination that the suction dredge was the point source. You know; only the truth is going to set our industry and America free again!

9) During the first meeting with Water Board staff, we posed the question about whether it is more productive for us to recover 98% of the mercury from California’s waterways, or to leave it all in place to migrate downstream over decades or centuries to contaminate future food supplies. While they were clearly sympathetic to our position, the Water Board staff made it clear that they are bound by existing law which does not allow any hazardous discharges of mercury from our suction dredge recovery systems.But are these discharges? Or are they just pass through of material that already exists in the waterway?

Understandably, this mid-level management group does not have the authority to change or bypass existing California law. So they are looking for solutions that will allow us back into the water without discharging hazardous metals.

10) The good news is that this dredge study and others were conducted in already-established mercury hotspots located by suction dredgers where puddles of mercury were visible on the bedrock. I believe such places are far and few between. For example, I have never seen a puddle of mercury in the Klamath River, and I have devoted many years of dredging there in high-grade gold deposits which would also accumulate mercury if it were present.

11) Other than a few defined areas, the State does not know of any other mercury hotspots along the rivers of California. So they are flying blind. They don’t know if and where any other mercury hot spots are, other than the several that have already been discovered by suction dredgers.

12) I encourage you to read the Water Board’s page which provides an explanation concerning the ongoing project to adopt an NPDES permit under the authority of Section 402 of the CWA. Project staff conducted five public workshops during early 2017. It would be safe to say that our two meetings last month were an extension of their information gathering process.

13) The dilemma Water Board staff is faced with is in not knowing if California’s waterways are completely inundated with mercury, or if mercury hot spots are rare. Years ago, some rivers were monitored for mercury in the water columns both during regular flow periods and during high water events when mercury levels always increased. There was also some monitoring of certain types of critters in the waterways which accumulate mercury when present. I don’t know what happened to those programs. But it would seem as though they would provide the best available information.

14) All of this aside, the Water Board staff has made it clear that they are moving forward with an NPDES permit. End of story. So the question remains how we can fit our suction dredge industry into the process so that we can get suction dredgers back in the water under the 2012 suction dredge regulations which have already been adopted into California law by the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW).

15) Just a side note on this: Through ten years of expensive litigation in the State of California, each of our multiple attempts to overcome the 2012 DFW suction dredge regulations failed within the California courts. There is a federal preemption case in the federal 9th Circuit Court that challenges State authority to prohibit mining on the public lands. This case will certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A positive outcome there might turn things around for us in California and all the other gold-bearing States. Some of the ongoing challenges to the Trump Administration also have the potential to free us from severely punishing State regulation.

16) Back to the NPDES permit: The main problem to small-scale miners is the cost involved. As I understand it, the permit application begins with a nonrefundable $2,000 application fee. Then there will be required monitoring costs. I believe Water Board staff said they have identified 5-to-7 metals they are concerned about. The primary metal is mercury. To maintain integrity in the process, the monitoring will need to be conducted by licensed technicians – who will forward the water samples to a California-certified lab. Samples of the water will be required upstream of the excavation, at the discharge of the dredge, and at some distance below the discharge. This process will be expensive. The average figure of an additional $4,000 was voiced multiple times by Water Board staff.

17) During the discussions, it was generally agreed that once a section of river has been monitored to satisfy the conclusion that harmful discharges of mercury and other dangerous metals were not present, the monitoring activity could be ended in that portion of waterway. I gather that the initial $2000 permit application fee is for a permit that is good for five years.

18) We do not even know yet how much an annual suction dredge permit will cost from DFW. The amount of $200 has been floated around.

19) Remember; the 2012 suction dredge regulations open most of the larger waterways for only three months. It used to be that we could dredge year-round on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

20) Then there is this ongoing discussion about recreational miners compared to commercial miners. We don’t need to make that argument here. But we do need to discuss how much time a person has available to go dredging. A person with a week or two is not going to spend thousands of dollars to go dredging! Even a person with three months to invest has no guarantee that he will recover enough gold over costs to even break even on a permit scheme that will cost thousands of dollars.

21) As I said earlier, with an occasional exception, I don’t believe the Section 402 permit scheme was created for individuals who just want to spend a few weeks enjoying the great outdoors, and perhaps exposing their children to the authentic golden wealth at the bottom of California’s waterways. Section 402 was created to deal with industrial industries which produce waste on a large scale.

22) To my surprise, and that of others in the meetings, the Water Board staff was also taking these prohibitive costs to individual suction dredgers into consideration.

23) As I understand it, their tentative solution is to permit mining associations which provide access to multiple mining properties to all of their members. “Mining association” is somewhat of a loose term that could apply to many different situations. As a large example, The New 49’ers provides perhaps 50 miles of waterway that would be allowed dredging under the 2012 regulations to around 1,500 active members. If our association arranges for the Section 402 water permit to cover all of our properties on behalf of all our active members, and arranges an adequate monitoring program, our active members would just need to obtain the suction dredge permit from DFW. This would provide a way for individuals to participate.

24) It was suggested that an independent property owner could potentially work with our association to include his property(ies) under our water quality permit, become an active member and obtain the dredging permit, even if his personal properties were not made available to others within our association.

25) Said another way, there is no limit on the ways groups of suction dredgers can come together to share the costs of the water quality permit so each can qualify for a suction dredging permit.

26) This association permit plan was devised by the Water Board staff as an idea to make the permit available to individuals who otherwise could not justify spending the money to go suction dredging for shorter periods.

27) To give you a better idea of the way the Water Board staff was trending before our first meeting, here is a link to the “Topics of Discussion” document they sent to us before the meeting. As you can see, the discussion was all about the idea of suction dredgers coming together in groups (associations) to spread the water quality permit costs out to become more affordable.

28) We were sent the same discussion document in advance of the second meeting.

29) New 49’ers is organized already to, not only obtain the permit for all of the properties we make available to our members, but also to include other, smaller associations and individual claim owners who have properties within the umbrella of our existing area of responsibility (most of Siskiyou County; most of the Klamath National Forest in northern California).

30) Our primary question has to do with how much, and how often, monitoring will be required over the five-year term of the water quality permit.  If allowed some flexibility, step by step, I believe we could free whole reaches of waterways from the concerns over harmful heavy metal contamination; and perhaps even identify hot spots (if they exist at all) which would thereafter be made off limits to suction dredging.

31) Other associations at the meetings expressed some level of encouragement, though monitoring costs, how often and where, remain a concern.

32) According to Water Quality staff, they are hoping to release a draft permit for public comment sometime in February 2019.  You can place yourself on the list to be informed at this link..

33) We should allow for twists and turns as the public process moves forward; but the present schedule is to have the Statewide NPDES permit finalized in April of 2019.

34) As long as the monitoring plan is something we believe we can accomplish and afford, we will immediately submit an application on behalf of all our active members for all of the properties we make available that are legal for suction dredging under the 2012 DFW regulations.

35) Therefore, I would predict that it is more than a 50/50 chance that our members will be dredging again during the upcoming 2019 season. We have not seen those kind of odds since we were shut down in 2009!

36) While I may be wrong, I see this as a temporary reprieve from the existing situation of no suction dredging at all – and the terribly flawed definition California adopted of a “suction dredge” as being any mechanical device within 300 feet of an active waterway that is being used to help facilitate excavation or processing material for the purposes of mineral recovery. Just to be clear, this is what suction dredging is!

37) I have my fingers crossed that ongoing litigation (which is out of our hands) at the federal level will bring this sort of nonsense to an end.

A Big Thank you to Those Members who have Sent in Your Annual Dues!

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

In real terms, the true value of the gold along these extensive properties is probably more substantial than the net assets of any financial institution on the planet. We should be calling our properties the “Klamath First National Bank.” Ours is the only bank in the world where you can go out and make a draw anytime you wish. There are no interest or bank fees to pay.  And you never have to pay the gold back!

This is as close as it comes to an opportunity to maintain some degree of personal freedom during difficult or troubling times.  As far as I know, we are the only organization in the world that makes a very large bank of pure wealth freely available to our members on many, many properties that are in reasonable close proximity.

Having said that, most of us remain disappointed that the State has been preventing us from using motors to gain access to the more valuable deposits of gold which are largely out of reach to non-motorized programs. Please believe me when I say we are exhausting every effort to reverse this situation. As you can see from above, the situation will not last forever.

As it is, things being the way that they are; even if every Full Member pays the $50 annual dues, and every Associate Member pays an annual renewal fee, I personally support cost overruns with other sources of monthly income which I earned before becoming a gold miner, along with savings put away during better times.

Costs associated with maintaining our extensive properties, our material infrastructure, and to hold onto our very experienced and loyal staff, exceed the amount of income we bring in. I don’t expect this reality to change until either we get motors and underwater mining back, or until the dollar value of gold goes up so high that non-motorized mining will produce a living wage.

There remains hope that America will wake up and realize we need to produce value and wealth in excess of what we consume. Mr. Trump and his team appear to be leading the charge on this, though he is not getting as much support from congress and the mainstream press that he deserves. Like him or not, our existing president is leading the freedom and prosperity side of the existing civil war over the future of America. If Mr. Trump cannot succeed, there is nobody else to take his place with any chance of success. The whole world hangs in this balance. It remains too early to predict the outcome.

One of the developments that gives me hope is the ongoing efforts by the Trump Team and other conservatives to completely overhaul the Endangered Species Act.  (ESA) There is a strong push right now to develop America’s natural resources in a responsible way, rather than to continue making them off limits. This in itself is a reason to help republicans maintain control of the house and senate during the midterm elections.

It is the existing ESA that succeeded in killing the once-profitable logging industry in America that produced thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs. It would be interesting to see the statistics on how much timber is harvested off the federal lands these days compared to how much is burned to the ground in wild fires due to really stupid policies which have been adopted by State and federal authorities.

Our suction dredging industry in the Western U.S. has been shut down over concerns for the endangered or threatened Coho salmon.  This, even though there is zero evidence that suction dredging ever harmed a single fish of any kind. In fact, the most recent study performed on the cumulative impact of all suction dredging determined that the effects were so small that they could not be measured.

But the deep State is not interested in real science that does not support their narrative. Therefore, productive activity is closed down by the States while they continue to sell millions of fish-kill licenses to anyone who wants to go fishing, and while our valuable forests, and now some communities, are burning to the ground.

These mid-level managers in the California Water Board are a breath of fresh air as they attempt to establish a program that will allow us to get productive again.

There are other signs that the political winds are finally trending more in our direction. My sources are telling me that the State of California has informed the Klamath National Forest (KNF) (where all our gold properties are located) that they should prepare for suction dredging to start up again during the 2019 summer season. KNF has taken this seriously enough to post an experienced Minerals Officer in the Fort Jones District that manages both the Salmon and Scott River watersheds. The Salmon River is ground zero  where all the years of litigation started so many years ago..

Fake news and left-leaning political activism aside, in the end, it will only be integrity and pursuit of the truth that will lead us towards enlightenment and prosperity. There seems to be some meaningful progress at the moment.

There is more hope now than there was 2 years ago!

I am eternally grateful to those of you who stick it out alongside me and our loyal staff. 

Our Message Forum Finally Went Down!

This has been coming for quite some time. We have not been able to reach the person who controlled the earlier platform upon which our Internet message forum has been located for a very long time.

Despite our efforts, we were also not able to save all our history. The forum was inaccessible to some members at first. Then more people could not get up there. Finally, the whole structure collapsed.

Therefore, longtime member and supporter, Jim Foley, got to work and created a whole new forum that is set up much like the original one, except the history of all our threads, posts and conversations are not there, anymore.

So it’s time to begin some new conversations!

You can find the new forum at the same link where the earlier one was by clicking here: 49’er Message Forum

I’ll make my first appearance by posting a link to this newsletter. Then another to the ongoing Legal Fund-raiser.

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

 Gold and Silver Eagles

American Gold & Silver Eagles!

There will be 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

This drawing will take place in Happy Camp, California at our office at the close of business on 25 October 2018.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

2018-19 Winter Office Hours

Unless there is some kind of emergency like a wild fire, our mining properties are always open to New 49’er members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

To conserve financial resources during the winter months when there is so little walk-in traffic, we have reduced walk in office hours to 9 am through 4 pm, Monday, Tuesday and Friday. These new office hours will begin on 1 October.

There is a phone message service if you call at a time when the phone is not being answered.

Reminder that we have an emergency Internal Affairs telephone connection that works all of the time by calling Rich Krimm at (510) 681 8066. Please do not use this number in an attempt to discuss routine matters! It is for emergencies only. 

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter! 

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

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, AUGUST 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 3

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Because of wild fires late last season, we were forced to cancel the final two Weekend Group Mining Projects that we had scheduled. We don’t like to cancel scheduled projects for a number of important reasons. Perhaps the most important is that we take people on these events and; as one big team, go out and do some real gold mining. This sends people away with authentic experience and some confidence that they can come back out and find their own gold as long as they are prepared to invest some personal effort.

le Trap Sluice Having a good time

Another reason we don’t like to cancel is that some people plan their entire vacations around our Group Projects, and then continue to mine more gold in the very same locations afterwards. Some arrive from long distances away — like Florida or even Europe.  It’s a long way to come just to be turned away! We have a moral duty to provide them with a positive gold mining experience.

The smoke was so thick in August of last year (2017), it was difficult to see the other side of the Klamath River down at Wingate where we had been mining all season. It’s not reasonable to ask people (except fire fighters) to go out and do physical work under those circumstances!

So when around a dozen people arrived at our office on Saturday morning to join in our final project of the season, sending them away was not an option. They were traveling at the time we cancelled the project, so they did not know the project had been cancelled.  But they all invested considerable time and resources to participate in our program.

Some of our Project helpers suggested that the smoke was not as bad upriver. Heck, we have miles and miles of gold-rich properties upriver from Happy Camp. So we hooked onto the trailer of my jet boat, loaded up some basic sampling tools; and everyone followed me by vehicle upstream. By the time we reached the small town of Seiad, about 25 miles upriver from Happy Camp, the smoke had thinned out enough that we could do some prospecting without killing people off from smoke inhalation.  We settled for prospecting our “Sluice box” claim which is just downstream from Seiad. Sluice box was a good choice because there is a U.S. Forest Service boat launch in that location. Also, many years ago, we did nearly all our Group Projects there, targeting a contact zone between two layers of streambed that was around 14 inches deep into the material. We only worked a small portion of the upper claim with our pick & shovel methods. The gold there was always good. I had a feeling we could move upstream from where we left off and find a continuation of the very same gold deposit.

After launching the boat and giving a panning demonstration for the beginners, I used the boat to place small teams of prospectors up and down, and on both sides of the river near the top end of this very, very long claim (maybe 4 miles).

While all of this was going on, I spotted a group of New 49’er members working very determined-like on the road side at the top-end of the claim.. When I motored over there in my boat, they more or less gave me the cold shoulder. This is very unusual in The New 49’ers; because all our members are friendly, especially to me. I have learned during the 33 years we have been in business that the cold shoulder from one or more New 49’ers can only mean one thing:  They are mining a rich gold deposit and do not want to share any of it!

There was no way to park my boat where they were working without upsetting the river’s flow through their sluice boxes. So I parked my boat down at the river access and walked up there to take a closer look at what they were finding.  I recognized all the members from seeing them around the office and at our potlucks. Most had participated as beginners during earlier Weekend Group Projects. Now they were out recovering their own gold. This is the whole idea!

Pointing to discovery

Pointing at the place where they were mining.

These were very nice people!  But none of them were happy to see me. They were worried I was going to introduce another dozen or so people into their golden discovery. This is something I would never do unless there was a welcome invitation. There was zero invitation; not even for me to have a look at what they had found. I have been through this many times over the years. It can actually be very dangerous!  Volume amounts of gold (in the eye of the beholder) can bring out the best and the worst in any human being.

As I said hello and attempted to move in closer to see what was in their sluice boxes, the largest, and obvious leader of the group quickly stepped in my way and met me with his big chest. This guy was much larger than me; and his determination to keep me away was stronger than my curiosity. Our Rules provide protection to any member(s) who make a new gold discovery. I never break our rules. These members deserved confidentiality if they wanted it. The others positioned themselves so I could not see what was in their gold pans or sluice boxes. Wow; what a good signal that they found something good!

Leave our gold alone!

The guy met me with a threatening tone, leave our gold alone!

So I wished them a good day and withdrew politely, knowing that whatever they found had them all wound up with a strong case of gold fever. Later on, one of the guys who was up there volunteered to me that he panned more than 6 ounces of beautiful gold in just under 2 weeks. That’s a high-grade pay-streak!

Back in my boat, I went around to pick up all the people I had distributed along the river and brought them back to the boat ramp. None of them had turned up anything exciting through their sampling efforts. This is not unusual. There is nearly always a little bit of gold wherever you dip a pan along the Klamath River. But we are looking for the narrow path where most high-grade gold deposits are hiding in and alongside the river. If you are not sampling on this narrow path, you seldom find more than traces of gold in your samples. This is the way you discover where the gold path is not located. Then from additional samples across the waterway or gravel bar, you can discover where the gold path is located.

Sample pan

Some of the pans down by the boat ramp were extraordinary!

Since the boat ramp where it reached the river was lined up perfectly with the place further upstream where the group of members were working so secretively, I suggested we just walk upstream a ways and start sampling on the edge of the river. And there it was on the very first pan! It was not long before everyone in my small group was happily panning shallow gold alongside the riverbank. Satisfied that I had accomplished what I set out to do, I loaded my boat back on the trailer and drove away. My duty was accomplished!

Now turn the clock forward to our ongoing 2018 season. Where do you think we decided to do the Group Mining Projects this year? Up on the Sluice box claim, of course!

We are blessed to have a dozen or so extremely loyal members who help out on these projects. Sometimes as many as a hundred people show up for these events. One time, we had more than 200 people attend a project which required me to go out and buy a bull horn! The gold split on Sunday afternoon took hours! There is no way we could make these projects come out well without the help of so many volunteer members.

By “coming out well,” I mean finding enough gold on Sunday that all the participants can see how the gold adds up when you process larger volumes of the right kind of material. “The right kind of material” means gravel with a healthy concentration of gold in it!

To dramatically reduce the possibility of failure (not recovering enough gold) on these projects, we have several volunteer members who sample all up and down the Klamath River nearly every day of the year. I suppose they take some time off if the winter rain or snow makes it too uncomfortable. They let me know when they locate promising areas along the river to do these Group Projects. In fact, most of the areas where we have done these Projects during the past 4 or 5 years have been initially discovered by this sampling team or others.

In addition to that, before we fully decide on a Group Project location, our group helpers and I launch my boat and visit the area with some basic prospecting tools. This is always just to verify what we pretty-much already know to be true from earlier sampling activity.

sampling before project

Here is one of our better sample pans!

We do this is to make absolutely certain that we avoid the serious blunder of not recovering enough gold to go around on Sunday afternoon. Since I am the one who splits up the gold among the participants, it is vitally important to me that we will do the projects in a good gold-producing place.

Some of the people who were mining at the top end of Sluice box last season had returned. But this season, they were as friendly and welcoming as could be. Why? Maybe it was because I did not invade their gold discovery last season. In any event, they were happy to show us the gold they were recovering along with everything else they had discovered near the top end of Sluice box. Their gold recovery was quite impressive!

Rather than infringe upon their mining project with our Group Program, we tied off the boat maybe 150 feet downstream from them and just started sampling along the edge of the river. Every pan produced a good showing of gold. Derek Eimer produced one of the best pans I have ever seen by digging around the roots on the edge of the river. These were roots that had been exposed by last winter’s larger storms. Craig Colt produced a similar result just panning gravel off the bar. Dicky Melton produced a fantastic showing of gold from just digging four pans of material out of the shallow water on the side of the river. Some helpers said they could see the gold laying on the river-bottom, around the roots, and even in the grass along the edge of the river. Here is some of the action on video:

 

Dave towing sluiceThat’s all I needed to see! Our purpose was only to confirm the gold deposit. It took us less than an hour to put the boat in, confirm the deposit, pull the boat out and head back to town.

We pulled a team together the following day and moved all our project gear over to the site. This included our beloved floating sluice; a gold recovery device that we constructed several years ago. This is a cool gold recovery system that floats a sluice box in deeper water and can be adjusted to allow the river’s natural flow to wash pay-dirt across the recovery system without the need of any mechanical assistance.

Rather than move the floating sluice inside my boat up to our destination, I decided to try and tow it up there behind the boat. This is a bit risky; because if the sluice box dips into the river even just a little bit, the entire floating recovery system will abruptly dive to the bottom of the river.

During one of our events last season, I attempted to tow the floating sluice upriver out on the end of the boat’s tow rope, perhaps 30 feet behind the boat. We positioned one very brave member on the rear of the platform to keep the front of the sluice from getting caught in the river. It was all working out great until we got into a small set of rapids. We were probably moving at 20 miles an hour, really putting on a good show for the onlookers, when the rapids caught the sluice and drove the unit down so hard and fast that it tumbled end-over-end with our rider lurching off the front and getting swept under the sluice. It’s amazing how quickly things can go wrong on the water, especially when you are horsing around!  Disconnecting our rope to the sluice so I could maneuver the boat, our top priority was to recover our guy. He was pretty banged up, but nothing serious. It took us better than an hour to finally recover the floating sluice that continued rolling down the river for about half a mile. The poor thing needed a complete overhaul in our shop. Here was some of the action caught on video:

This was just another fun day on the river! Nobody got seriously hurt, the floating sluice could be repaired; and we put on an exciting show for all the onlookers, including perhaps 70 rafters who were taking a lunch break. We also learned how not to tow the floating sluice up through a set of rapids. We all got a pretty good laugh at our misfortune once it was all over.

So this time, I tied the sluice box right behind my boat with a harness under the sluice to prevent it from diving. This method worked like a charm. Here it is on video:

Saturdays during our Group Projects are broken up into 2 parts. We devote the morning at the air-conditioned Happy Camp Grange Hall and do introductions so we can all get to know each other and start to build the team experience. Then I provide my best presentation about how to find high-grade gold deposits by following a simple sampling plan. To keep it interesting, I add in some true adventure stories. There are plenty to choose from, this being our 33rd season with The New 49’ers along the Klamath River. I guess I have just about seen or heard of nearly everything and anything in the way of both good and bad experiences. Fitting this in with the theory helps create some entertainment and perhaps makes the information sink in a little better.

Friendly wave People working
Derek Eimer giving a helping hand to the beginners.

After lunch on Saturday, we all pull together and travel to the project site. Then we devote the afternoon to pan-sampling in the area where we plan to work on Sunday. Beginners are taught how to gold pan, and begin finding their first-gold. It is important to realize that finding your first gold on the river is a life-changing experience! Under the direction of our experienced helpers, the more experienced participants work in coordination to find the richest pay-dirt out there so we can target that the flowing morning. I was seeing some really good pans out there on Saturday afternoon!

Everyone gets to keep the gold they find on Saturday.

We host a Saturday evening potluck at 6:30 pm during these projects at the Happy Camp Grange. We always ask everyone to bring something to contribute to the meal. I personally supply enough hotdogs to make sure everyone is going to have something to eat. With so little time remaining on Saturday afternoon, I don’t know how they do it; but the food tables were overflowing with all sorts of interesting dishes, and even a bunch of yummy deserts.

There were enough of us to nearly pack the Grange Hall. This is very rewarding to me. Some participants come from half way around the world!

Before and during dinner, the happy chatter inside the Grange Hall was loud enough that you had to raise your voice to be heard just across the table you were sitting at. This happy chatter is better than my favorite music.

Having now been managing a gold mining association for nearly my entire adult life, I am very sensitive to the signs of good or bad tidings when a group comes together. I have seen it both ways in my time. It is the difference between heaven and hell on this earth! Take my word for it!  To my grateful relief, this group of prospectors were singing the happy music that I have grown to love.

We always do a short meeting after dinner, and then a prize drawing. We try to make this short, because we were all going to meet up at the project site at 6 am the following morning so we could finish the hard physical work before the heat of the day makes it uncomfortable out there on the rocks.

Over the years, we have tried many different ways to quiet the ongoing roar of excited conversations in the hall. This is so I can begin the meeting. We have tried yelling, whistling, whistles and even blow horns. While all of them work, those are uncomfortable methods of quieting down such a roar of enthusiastic chatter. One time, a long time ago, I went so far as to yell, “Shut the —-up!”  That’s a terrible way to turn down the beautiful sound of music. But I was a lot younger in those days and still had much to learn.

Just in the last few seasons, I have come to realize that if I stand up front of the group with a kind demeanor and raise my right hand, the word circulates around quickly that it’s time to quiet down so the meeting can start.  Please don’t ask why it took me so long to learn this. Some of the best lessons in life take time to learn.

For the most part, the meeting was about my hopes and perception that the political winds appear to be changing in our favor, and there is reason to hope we will be dredging for gold again in California, perhaps as soon as next season. Or if not then, the time is not far away. I’ll talk about this more below.

Everyone went off after a short prize drawing with plans to meet early on Sunday morning out at our mining site.

Most everyone on Sunday morning were wearing extra clothing to stay warm. That’s the way we like to begin these Sunday Group Mining Projects.

Besides safety, the primary objective on Sunday morning is to dig up as much rich pay-dirt as we can, put it in buckets, carry the buckets over to a classification screen so that all of the larger-sized material can be separated out, and then direct the classified pay-dirt to the recovery system.

Mark Turner’s classification screen

Mark Turner’s classification screen

I had offered to pick up Diane Helgesen on Sunday morning up at Elk Creek Campground and give her a ride out to the diggings. Diane has been one of our most active and loyal supporters for as long as I can remember.  Among several others, Diane is so dedicated to The New 49’ers, that if we were attacked by a wild bear or angry mountain lion on one of these projects, I’m certain that she would stand out in front of all of us; and with no fear, command the wild animal to “go home!”  And the animal would certainly comply. I’m not kidding! If anyone ever complained about The New 49’ers within Diane’s hearing, I’m sure she would give them a spanking that they would never forget!

When Diane and I arrived at Sluice box at about 6:15 on Sunday morning, everyone was already hard at work. There were people digging pay-dirt which they had discovered the day before and placing it in buckets. Others were carrying the half-filled buckets to the large classification screen provided by long-time supportive member, Mark Turner.  Several participants were working the pay-dirt through the quarter-inch screen. The dry material went through easy. The wet material took more work to classify.

All the classified pay-dirt dropped into two large tubs. Others were shoveling this into buckets that were directed to our floating recovery system.

Mining for goldIt was all like one big production machine!

The interesting thing about these Sunday projects is that, most often, the participants do not need any direction. Everyone just seems to find their own place where they can add to the volume production. In this way, the group project becomes much more powerful than a bunch of individuals working on their own. We saw the gold in that gravel on Saturday. Sunday was a collective inspiration to process as much of it as possible for the common good. Everybody that participates on Sunday, even children, will receive an equal share of the gold we recover. Here is my introduction to what was happening:

The thing slowing our production machine down was that Dickey and our other helpers could not get the proper water flow from the river going through the floating sluice. This was a problem we had never encountered before. There was just something wrong about the way the fast water was surging, and then withdrawing, through the sluice. We attempted a number of solutions, but none of them resolved the problem. By this time, every bucket we had (hundreds) was filled with classified pay-dirt and ready to be processed; and our whole production machine (maybe 60 people) were just standing there watching us. Not good!

Ultimately, Dickey and John Rose (team leader on these events) decided we needed to push the sluice further out into the fast water of the river. So we pulled my boat up and placed it between the side of the river and the floating sluice. Even that was not enough. So we all started packing large rocks out there to push my boat further out into the river. Finally, Dicky announced that the sluice was working properly and we started processing pay-dirt.

Using boat to move sluice Out on the water
We positioned the boat to hold the floating sluice out into faster current. All the buckets
were filled with pay-dirt even before we got the recovery system dialed in.

We probably lost an hour of valuable production over getting the recovery system set up to work properly. That is unfortunate in the loss of gold we recovered on Sunday. But it was a valuable lesson for everyone that was out there. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. The answer is to keep at it until you have things dialed in.

We finally positioned the floating sluice far enough out in the water to make it work right.

We finally positioned the floating sluice far enough out in the water to make it work right.

Once the sluice was working properly, Dickey fed in the pay-dirt as fast as the device could process it. Here’s the other thing: If you over-feed a gold recovery system, the gold-catching elements of the recovery system become overwhelmed and the gold feed will just wash out with the tailings! Said another way, any gold recovery system has an optimum capacity. If you don’t exceed it, you catch all or most of the gold. If you over-feed it, you bury the gold traps and wash the gold right through the recovery system along with the sand and gravel.

This is why we always place Dickey in charge of feeding our floating sluice. He has a unique perception of how to feed the recovery system to the limit without losing the gold.  After all, as a result of all of our combined effort, Dickey is in that key position to either recover the gold or let it flush out from over-feeding. I suppose that makes Dickey the most important guy on the team!

We were sampling the pay-dirt inside the buckets on a regular basis just to make sure everyone was digging in pay-dirt. The samples all looked good! Some participants were even seeing exposed gold where they were digging in the river. I captured some of the excitement on video:

We like to try and finish up these projects by around 5 pm on Sunday afternoon. This is because some participants already have plans to start on their way home after getting their share of the gold.

Processing streambed material through a recovery system out on the river is only about half of the overall process. The recovery system also concentrates heavy iron and other materials. There are additional processes to separate the gold from all the other impurities. Knowing how this is done is a big part of becoming a successful gold prospector. We do these final processes back at the Happy Camp Grange Hall later in the day. It takes a few hours to complete the final separation, weigh the gold, and split it up evenly among all the participants.

All of this is quite unique in that we teach beginners and intermediates how the full gold mining process is accomplished, from learning to use a gold pan, to sampling for high-grade gold deposits, to production mining in pay-dirt, to final gold cleanup procedures without the use of any chemicals, to weighing all the gold we recovered from our combined efforts with little or no losses, to providing everyone with a fair split of the gold we recovered.  That’s quite a lot of knowledge that took me years and years to learn on my own!

There was a lot of gold visible during our final clean-up steps. But most of the gold was fine (small) in size. We have been fooled many times in the past believing we recovered more gold than it added up to on the scale.  This was just one more time.

In all, we recovered 11.2 pennyweights (20 pennyweights make a troy ounce of gold).  There were 9 pieces of gold that were large enough to meet the legal standard of a gold nugget. I personally expected the weight measurement to be much higher. But I have been fooled by large amounts of fine gold many times during the past. Millions of tiny colors in a gold pan or set of concentrates often look to be more until all the impurities are removed.

Final gold

The bottom line is how they weigh up on a scale.

The gold was split among 51 persons who were in attendance at 5.3 grains each.  We have done better. And we have done worse. This is the way it is with gold mining. There are never any guarantees about how much you will recover.

All participants seemed happy with the result because the same excited, enthusiastic chatter from the night before at potluck was overwhelming in the Grange Hall as I passed out the shares.

It’s not only about the gold, although the gold certainly keeps our program alive with thousands of active supporters. It is also about the learning and hands-on participation; and perhaps most about developing life-long friendships and belonging to a group setting that is truly trying the make America great again; something that is larger and more rewarding than just ourselves.

We ended off at about 5 pm on Sunday afternoon, and I was truly happy to see a bunch of New 49’ers go off feeling good about what we accomplished over the weekend. 

Join us for our Final Group Mining Project on August 18 & 19!

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 sets us apart from other mining associations.  All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members. 

Our Special Memorial Event was Lots of Fun!
Dan's BBQ Chicken BBQ

In concert with several other organizations, we sponsored a special 3-day event in memory of three of our closest supporters who recently passed away: Ray Koons, Myrna Karns & Gary Wright. The event took place on July 6, 7 & 8 at the Happy Camp park. We put on a metal detecting seminar, mining demonstrations, a coin hunt to win prizes, a hot dog and hamburger lunch; and a special chicken BBQ was provided by longtime member and supporter, Dan Effman.

Our staff worked hard to make this event fun for the whole family. Many thanks to Samantha Everett and Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon, and master detecting guru’s Josh Bohmker and Trever Sheffield who also came over from Oregon.

I did capture some of the action on video; but the best was of Dan’s BBQ. Looking at it made me hungry. I broke for lunch just after capturing his BBQ chicken:

Annual Dues Are More Important These Days

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

In real terms, the true value of the gold along these extensive properties is probably more valuable than the net assets of any financial institution on the planet. We should be calling our properties the “Klamath First National Bank.” Ours is the only bank in the world where you can go out and make a draw anytime you wish. There are no interest or bank fees to pay.  And you never have to pay the gold back!

This is as close as it comes to an opportunity to maintain some degree of personal freedom during difficult or troubling times.  As far as I know, we are the only organization in the world that makes a very large bank of pure wealth freely available to our members.

Having said that, most of us remain disappointed that the State is preventing us from using motors to gain access to the more valuable deposits of gold which are largely out of reach to non-motorized programs. Please believe me when I say we are exhausting every effort to reverse this situation.

As it is, things being the way that they are; even if every Full Member pays the $50 annual dues, and every Associate Member pays an annual renewal fee, I personally support cost overruns with other sources of monthly income which I earned before becoming a gold miner, along with savings put away during better times.

Costs associated with maintaining our extensive properties, our material infrastructure, and to hold onto our very experienced and loyal staff, exceed the amount of income we bring in. I don’t expect this reality to change until either we get motors and underwater mining back, or until the dollar value of gold goes up so high that non-motorized mining will produce a living wage.

There remains hope that America will wake up and realize we need to produce value and wealth in excess of what we consume. Mr. Trump and his team appear to be leading the charge on this, though he is not getting as much support from congress and the mainstream press that he deserves. So we must try and estimate the depth of the swamp and predict if Mr. Trump has the capability to drain it. The whole world hangs in this balance. It remains too early to predict the outcome.

One of the developments that gives me hope is the ongoing efforts by the Trump Team and other conservatives to completely overhaul the Endangered Species Act.  (ESA) There is a strong push right now to develop America’s natural resources in a responsible way, rather than to continue making them off limits. This in itself is a reason to help republicans maintain control of the house and senate during the midterm elections.

It is the existing ESA that succeeded in killing the once-profitable logging industry in America that produced thousands upon thousands of good-paying jobs. It would be interesting to see the statistics on how much timber is harvested off the federal lands these days compared to how much is burned to the ground in wild fires due to really stupid policies which have been adopted by State and federal authorities.

Our suction dredging industry in the Western U.S. has been shut down over concerns for the endangered or threatened Coho salmon.  This, even though there is zero evidence that suction dredging ever harmed a single fish of any kind. In fact, the most recent study performed on the cumulative impact of all suction dredging determined that the effects were so small that they could not be measured.  But the deep State is not interested in real science that does not support their narrative. So productive activity is closed down by the States while they continue to sell millions of fish-kill licenses to anyone who wants to go fishing, and while our valuable forests, and now some communities, are burning to the ground.

There are some signs that the political winds are finally trending more in our direction. My sources are telling me that the State of California has informed the Klamath National Forest (KNF) (where all our gold properties are located) that they should prepare for suction dredging to start up again during the 2019 summer season. KNF has taken this seriously enough to post an experienced Minerals Officer in the Fort Jones District that manages both the Salmon and Scott River watersheds. The Salmon River is ground zero  where all the years of litigation started with the Karuk Tribe.

On top of that, myself and others have been invited and will attend a meeting later this week with California Water Quality Control officials who are beginning the process of adopting a permit to allow suction dredging while protecting water quality.

Fake news and left-leaning political activism aside, in the end, it will only be integrity and pursuit of the truth that will lead us towards enlightenment and prosperity. There seems to be some meaningful progress at the moment.

Largely due to what I have explained in the paragraphs above, I personally believe we should stay the course for a while longer and see how these larger forces play out. I am willing to invest my personal resources to keep the program going as long as you guys, our members, are also willing to hang in there until we overcome what is destroying America, or it becomes clear that there is no longer any hope.

There is more hope now than there was 2 years ago!

I am eternally grateful to those of you who stick it out alongside me and our loyal staff.  

Long time New 49’er Supporter, Terry Wolfe, has Passed Away at 71

By his wife, Anita 

Terry Wolfe

Here’s an image of Terry his wife Anita supplied that was taken about the time that they joined The New 49’ers.

Terry passed away on July 8th after fighting a very long battle with vascular disease and cancer.

Before he got sick, Terry was the hardest-working man I have ever met. He was also very good at everything he did. When we lived on the coast, he was a successful commercial fisherman. He was a very good mechanic and also a carpenter. Terry could make a good living under all the different circumstances we faced over the many years we were together.

It was in 1984 that we became interested in gold mining. That year, we went into the California Department of Fish & Game and asked them where we could go to find some gold. They gave us maps and pointed us to some high creeks in the Trinity mountains. We hiked up there and found a little gold.

Then we saved our money and went up to Alaska during the summer of 1986. It was there that Terry had his first experience using a 10-inch suction dredge.

Hoping to find a good gold prospecting opportunity that was closer to home, we stumbled upon The New 49’ers in Happy Camp along the Klamath River in 1988. First, we tried our luck with a 3-inch dredge during a single weekend. We went home with enough gold to prompt us to become lifetime members of The New 49’ers. After that, we were mining the Club’s properties on every weekend. Then, when we stepped up to a 5-inch dredge, we recovered more gold than we had ever seen. That prompted us to move to Happy Camp.

At that time, Stone Forest Industries had an operating saw mill in Happy Camp. Terry went right to work for them taking on various responsibilities in the mill. We took the opportunity to mine for gold on every weekend and holiday.

As Terry became experienced at finding richer gold deposits, he took beginning 49’er members under his wing and also showed them how to find the gold. We really enjoyed meeting and making lifelong friends at the Saturday evening pot-lucks. The number of friends, experiences and adventures we have had are too many to tell. But one of my fondest memories is of fellow New 49’er, Dan Porter. With a little help and encouragement from Terry, Dan was able to pay for all his mining equipment, and even do a Caribbean Cruise by cashing in the gold he found. There have been many other close friends with similar stories to tell.

Terry has moved onto whatever is next ahead of me, his three sons, and several grandchildren. Wherever he is, I know he will be waiting patiently for all of us so he can help show us the way. Meanwhile, we are comforted by all the wonderful time we shared together in this life.

Note from Dave Mack:   Terry evolved into commercial dredging during the 1990’s when the Klamath River was home to, likely, the most active commercial underwater mining industry in the world.

There were dozens of hard-working underwater miners up and down the river. Many of us used jet boats to support our operations into the more inaccessible deep river canyons where no miner had ever touched before.  We found exceptionally rich gold deposits in those places. Many remain in place!

While we competed amongst each other in a friendly way, we always supported each other in a more important way. It was during the 90’s that we developed underwater conveyors to remove rocks from our excavations more efficiently, and underwater-controlled winches on floating platforms so we could move the big rocks out of the way without ever slowing down nozzle production.  During the cold winter months, we contracted to build specialized underwater mining machines that were destined to other countries. Terry played a big part in all of this.

The thing I most respected about Terry is that he was always his own man. He never asked permission from anyone. He moved ahead as he saw fit. And he always had a number of close friends who supported his adventures – along with others who depended upon Terry to provide assistance in making their life-dreams come true.

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

Gold and Silver EaglesThere will be 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets).

This drawing will take place in Happy Camp, California at our office at the close of business on 25 October 2018.. 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’rs Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online through PayPal:

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

2018 Office Hours

Unless there is some kind of emergency like a wild fire, our mining properties are always open to New 49’er members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

To conserve financial resources, we have reduced open office hours to 9 am through 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Our office will remain open on Saturday mornings only during the weekends when we are sponsoring Group Mining projects:  The final Project this season will start on August 18.

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, JUNE 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 2

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Story by Jim Box

Horrifying experience by a gold prospector who should no longer be alive

Jim Box

I crafted my first suction dredge back in 2015 when it looked like there might be a chance to dredge again in California. But the day I placed it in the Klamath River, some game wardens confiscated two dredges downstream from me and were looking for more. I pulled my unit into the brush and ran it for about half an hour as I tried to work out a few problems. Then I put it back in the RV before the wardens could catch me.

It is just a 2″ suction and a sluice of my own making mounted on the frame and floats for a four-inch dredge. But I was pretty impressed with the way it worked. I struggled to  move it around by myself. It weighs about as much as I do; and with the current pushing on it, I am easily overpowered by the river. Doing things by myself is really tough when it isn’t just plain impossible.

Someday, I would like to find out if my dredge will catch gold. I think I have built something I can be proud of. But until dredging is legal again, I have resigned myself to stick with non-motorized gold prospecting. I do prospecting for fun. Worrying over getting in trouble with the law is not fun for me.

I had the opportunity to make a brief visit to Happy Camp in August of 2016. I like people, but tend to wander off by myself where I can enjoy the surrounding beauty and some quiet solitude.  I chose to camp at Savage Rapids. I had the place all to myself. There wasn’t a soul in sight during the four days I was there except for the people driving down the highway. It seemed like all of the other New 49’er members were far downstream developing a new gold strike that had been made below Happy Camp.

Jim's dredgeMy wife had purchased for me a metal detector and I happily spent a couple of days digging nails, tin cans and junk from the gravel bar without ever detecting a single speck of gold. I decided on my third day to put away the detector and try a bit of crevicing so I’d have something to show my wife for my time on the river. By midday, the temperature on the rocks was brutal and I was roasting in the sunshine. There, just a few yards away was a river filled with cool water. It was too much to resist.

Anyone that has ever seen Savage Rapids will tell you that is dangerous water. But a short distance downstream from the parking (camping) area and the main rapids, there is a place where the river widens a bit, creating a calmer pool on the north (road side) side of the river.

Wearing goggles, I slipped off into the water, keeping very close to shore and inspecting the gravels as I cooled off. I did not realize until it was too late that I was being slowly carried into one of those dangerous eddies. In the blink of an eye, I found myself moving faster away from the safety of the shore. I tried to swim towards the shore but the current was too strong. So I swam with the current, hoping I could just peel away from the flow. But instead, I was drawn into a narrow channel where the main flow of the river was churning the water white with bubbles.  This all happened in a matter of a few seconds.

Savage RapidsWater lacks density when saturated with air bubbles. This made it almost impossible to swim because I was stroking largely against air instead of water. I became totally exhausted almost immediately. Yet, the current just became stronger. Finally, I was drawn into the narrowest part of the channel and was spun in circles like a top by the swirling currents. I was helpless to do anything about the turbulent force that had me in its grip.  All around me were giant up-welling’s of water. Those were countered by down-welling’s which dragged me underwater like a bug being sucked down the bathtub drain.  Every ounce of my energy was drained.

In a microsecond of mental clarity as I saw a big whirlpool in my path, I knew my only hope was to fill my lungs with as much air as they would hold and hope that my natural buoyancy would at some point lift me back to the surface. I took my last breath just before I was sucked deep beneath the surface.

In total panic, I almost wasted that last breath of air by screaming for help. Not that it would have done me any good because there was nobody nearby to hear my call. Had I called out for help, I certainly would not have survived the experience.

I remember the exact moment when I became so exhausted that I could no longer move my arms and they seemed to just float above me as I sank deeper into the depths. Then came darkness as I blacked out.

I don’t know how long I stayed beneath the surface. I do remember my body getting slammed against some rocks. I vaguely remember thrashing about and banging my left elbow on the rocks hard enough to be quite painful.

The next memory I have is finding myself washed up on a little sand bar next to some boulders on the side of the river. I was experiencing an overwhelming amount of pain. I was certain that I was having a heart attack and that I was going to die right there. My body was so oxygen-deprived; that even though my lungs were taking in air, I was still gasping as if I was being dragged under the water.

When I was finally able to stagger to my feet and look around, I discovered that I was trapped on the wrong side of the river with no way to return to the other side. That’s a bad situation to be in while you believe you are having a heart attack! Scared beyond words, embarrassed, and on the edge of total panic, I sat down to rest and gather my composure. I was so weak that walking was dangerous.

There was no way I was able to swim across the river. To enter the water again was to die. That was certain.

No help was coming. I was screwed big time!

But as I gathered myself together, I recognized that I was still alive and not ready to give up. After what seemed an eternity, I began exploring the river bank looking for a way to cross the river. I found a piece of plastic rope tangled in some willows.  I gathered that up and kept looking; for what, I don’t know. I was looking for something I could use to help get me across the river. I finally settled on what appeared to be just the right piece of drift wood that might get hung up in the gnarly rocks and boulders on the far side of the river.  I tied one end of the rope to the driftwood and carefully made up the rope so it would play out nicely when I threw it.

Then, in the place where the river’s channel was the narrowest, and also the raging water was most turbulent, I was finally able to toss the piece of wood across the river and get it to hook in the rocks like a grappling hook. It took quite a lot of tries to make this happen. But I was determined, because it was late in the day and I could not fathom the idea of spending the night over there in the cold.

Not to mention that I saw a very large bear over there the day before…

I pulled and tugged on the rope about a gazillion times to test its strength while I tried to work up the courage to enter the water again. It is for sure the most frightened I have ever been in my life. I was still struggling with a horrible feeling that I was in the middle of a heart attack.

Getting to the other side of the river was my only chance of survival.

Finally, I tied the rope tightly around one wrist and plunged into the water knowing full well that if the rope or wood was to give way, the last remaining bit of life in me would be snuffed out in a matter of seconds.

In a split second, the rope slammed taught almost ripping my arm off, and the current shot me across the river like a stone skipping across the water. I consider this to be some divine intervention, because my plan could so easily have gone wrong in that mammoth torrent of boiling water. Deep down inside, I felt some relief that I made it. But I was in too much pain and far too exhausted to experience any joy.

Rope & wood

Now that I have recovered, I am so thankful for being saved by the rope and driftwood, I will hold onto them as some of my most cherished belongings for the rest of my life!

I made my way back to the RV, got into some dry clothes, laid down on the bed and totally passed out. The following morning, I woke up very happy to be alive. My body had some bruises and hurt all over. But my breathing was normal and heart was beating fine. I was starving! After some breakfast, still in shock, I stayed in the slow lane of the highway all the way back home.

I never went to a doctor, so I don’t know what happened to me physically. Whether I truly had a heart attack is just a guess. Maybe just a total panic attack. But I can say with certainty that something happened to me that has left me with less endurance than I had before. I admit this might be some post-traumatic stress from the harrowing experience I went through. Part of it is that I am just getting older, too.

That’s the second time I have nearly bought the farm in the Klamath River. I should be pretty well educated now. It reminds me of the old joke; “What do you tell someone with two black eyes? Nothing… they have already been told twice.”

I am a tad embarrassed that I have taken such reckless risks. But darn, getting myself into such dire circumstances, and using my own ingenuity to overcome them, leaves me with increased confidence and more sense of personal freedom. I am also more cautious, having experienced for myself that the difference between life and death can only be seconds away. I don’t want to repeat those experiences, but they were great adventures now that they are behind me.

And I’m still alive!

Now I am eager to get into the next adventure; but for sure, somewhat less extreme….

I Apologize for the Long Delay in Putting Out a Newsletter!
Good fun for the whole family Special Forces
Dickey

Longtime supporter, Dickey Melton, loves to feed pay-dirt into our gold recovery system during the Group Projects!

Our office has received many calls about not receiving a newsletter for so long. Nobody else can really put together these newsletters but me (too bad!). Part of the reason is that since the final two Weekend Group Mining events of 2017 were cancelled because of wildfires, I didn’t have much story material to work with. Also, until just a few weeks ago, there has been almost zero movement on legal matters that affect our situation. That doesn’t leave me much to talk about.

Even though you are not hearing from me as often as before, I can assure you that my first priority is, and always will be, with the help of our close, dedicated team, to manage the New 49’ers so that everyone who participates has a wonderful time and finds gold. And, also to oversee our obligation to try and win our industry back through the non-profit Legal Fund.

We are presently gearing up to provide you guys this season with exciting Group Mining Projects along with a special three-day event in July with mining and metal detecting seminars, a coin hunt, rafting trips and other activities that will be fun for the whole family.

Jim Box conveniently sent me his (mis)adventure story several days ago as I was struggling to come up with something to begin this newsletter. While trying to work this out, I found some video sequences that I don’t believe we have published. They provide good examples of the things we do here in Happy Camp, and how friendly our friends and supporters are:

Derek & Craig

Craig & Derrek in our shop.

Here is some video I captured of longtime supporters, Craig Colt & Derek Eimer making improvements to the non-motorized gold recovery system we use in our Group Projects:

Here is some video we captured of metal detecting guru, Dennis Dickson, demonstrating how to ground balance a gold detector:

Here’s some video I captured over the shoulder of longtime supporter, Alan Mash, controlling a video camera being flown by a drone, sweeping down onto one of our Group Projects; and we were nearly half a mile away far up a steep mountain hillside under the deep cover of the forest:

Flying drone

Alan was capturing video of a Group Project that was a whole world away from where he was controlling the drone!

Here is some video captured from behind me after we split the gold from a Group Project, winding up the weekend with a proper acknowledgment of all the participants for their hard work:

There is a lot more about all the fun we all have along the Klamath River in northern California by checking out our past newsletters.

 Join us for our Group Mining Projects This Coming 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. 

2018 Schedule of Events: June 23 & 24; July 21 & 22; August 18 & 19

In concert with several other organizations, we are also sponsoring a special 3-day event in memory of three of our closest supporters who recently passed away: Ray Koons, Myrna Karns & Gary Wright. This event will take place on July 6, 7 & 8. Everyone is welcome. There will be a metal detecting seminar, mining demonstrations, rafting, hiking & camping, along with a hot dog and hamburger lunch and special BBQ. Our staff is working hard to make this event fun for the whole family. Please contact us for more details. Here: check it out on youtube!

Long time New 49’er Supporter, Gary Wright, recently passed on at age 69 

Gary Wright

Many of you guys have met Gary if you have spent time in our office, participated in the Weekend Projects or attended our potlucks. He was a wonderful human being, always placing the needs of others above his own. Originally from Canada, after getting blown up in some kind of industrial accident and becoming substantially disabled, Gary moved down to California and took up gold mining. This is what brought him to Happy Camp and The New 49’ers sometime around 1991.

Gary was an incredible fabricator. He built his own 10-inch dredge and operated it along the Klamath River during the late 90’s. He was one to never let his disabilities stop him, even if they did slow him down at times. He always had a smile on his face, even though he was in chronic pain. I’m not sure there was ever a time asked for volunteer helpers that Gary didn’t show up.  Most of the innovations we have come up with to keep underwater mining going since 2009 were fabricated by Gary. He built the steel tripod we used last year to channel side-stream water across the Klamath River.

Gary was a Director in The New 49’er Legal Fund, and devoted countless hours on his own battling with unreasonable State intervention into our lives.

He loved the freedom associated with gold mining; he loved all of us that keep The New 49’ers going; and he loved Happy Camp.

Gary was so tough, even when he was really crippled up with arthritis, when his car broke down, he struggled with only his walker two miles mostly uphill to our workshop more than once to help complete the work on fabrication jobs we were doing – welding while sitting on his walker. He was quite a guy and everybody loved him. Even though he seldom had enough money to feed himself, every week he made it his personal duty to treat the girls in our office with chocolate and other treats. He was also a kind hearted prankster, taking delight in tricking the girls with his storytelling.

Gary was struggling with his physical difficulties from the time he arrived in Happy Camp. There was always something bothering his broken body. But he seldom complained. He was just happy to be on the front lines of all the action. I guess we all got so used to Gary’s physical difficulties, we never expected that his end was near.

Having fun with Gary Sample gold
Gary, Dickey and I were out having fun sampling in advance of the final Group Project we sponsored last season

Here; we captured Gary, Dickey and I doing some sampling just last season:

Service for Gary

Group image after our informal service to celebrate Gary’s life and give him a proper send-off. All or most of Gary’s local close friends attended.

Soft spoken and polite, Gary was delighted in knowing all the gossip about everyone in Happy Camp. If I wanted background on anyone, all I had to do was ask Gary.

Very religious, he was largely opposed to drinking alcohol. But over time, I talked him into a glass of red wine as we spent time relaxing in my apartment after finishing shop work, usually late into the night. Mostly we talked about life, freedom; and more recently, whether or not Donald Trump will succeed in overcoming the Deep State.

I was in the Philippines when John Rose from our office notified me that Gary was in the hospital for bypass surgery. Supposedly the procedure was routine. But Gary’s body was only being held together by a wish and a prayer. John was at his bedside after the operation, along with others from The New 49’ers and his immediate family. The doctors said he was not recovering as normal.

Even though we were in completely different time zones, I knew that the essence of Gary had let his body go, because he paid me a visit on his way to heaven. I’m telling the truth about this! I was driving my car when I suddenly had the thought of Gary; and had to immediately pull over to the side of the road because he completely enveloped me with an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for our time together. There was a brief moment when I was completely occupied by Gary’s essence at its very best. He was so very happy to be free of that broken down, old, painful body. Full of love and exhilaration, and thankful of all his friends and life-experiences, he knew I would pass on his deep thankfulness to all of you. Then he moved on. I sat there for the longest time because of the emotional impact of the experience, tears of joy and sadness were preventing me from seeing. Sadness, because I won’t see Gary again in this life. Gladness for the wonderful friendship we shared together.

Winners of our most recent Legal Drawing
Feb 23 drawing

We have video footage of the drawing, but it is in a format that we have not been able to edit.

I’m sure most who contributed to our last Legal drawing have already seen the results. If you have not joined our free Internet Forum, I encourage you to do so (more about how to do this below). We published the following results of the drawing on our forum within hours:

Here follows the winners list for this legal drawing of 2-23-18 held at 27 Davis Road in Happy Camp, California:

Ten one-ounce American Silver Eagles:  Kim Ellison of Hayward CA; Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA; Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA; Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA (and yes we did stir the pot/tub!); Tom and Sharon Chambers of Hanford CA; Bob Burdett of Shingleton CA; Steven Lundin of Yuma AZ; Pat O’Brien of Long Beach CA; Greg Dennis of Livermore CA; and Aviya Girdner of Edgewood WA.

Ten tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Kenneth S Wagner of Klamath Falls OR; Ralph Wiser of Reno NV; Mark McCurry of Monterey CA; Robert Deknes of Tampa FL; Parts to Use, a company out of Oakland CA; Robert Maytum of Sacramento CA; Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA; Terry McClure of Quartzsite AZ; Don Wylie of Seiad Valley CA; and Ted Gray of Portland OR.

Four quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Jim Miller of Bothwell WA; William Hinkle of San Diego CA; Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA; and Luther Warneke of Kerrville TX

Two Grand Prizes winners of the half-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Rocky Tester of Milwaukie OR; and Steve Sharp of Citrushights CA.

Congratulations!! to all the winners!!

A special thanks to our drawing helpers Christina Johnson and the little side kick, Lilly Garcia.

Any contributions received after our cutoff time have already generated tickets for our new, ongoing Legal fund-raiser (please see below)

Thank you guys for all your support. It is only with your help that we will ultimately win!

 

New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 26 prizes in all:

Two Grand Prizes: half-ounce American Gold Eagles
Four quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten one-ounce American Silver Eagles

 

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on 29 June 2018 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. 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’rs Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online through PayPal:

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

2018 Office Hours

Unless there is some kind of emergency like a wild fire, our mining properties are always open to New 49’er members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

To conserve financial resources, we have reduced open office hours to 9 am through 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Our office will remain open on Saturday mornings only during the weekends when we are sponsoring Group Mining projects:  June 23; July 21; and August 18.  Those will also be the only Saturday evenings for our Saturday evening potlucks this coming season.

Legal/Political Updates

As of now, my understanding is that there is not any legislation being seriously considered at the federal level concerning mining on the federal lands. My read on this is that the Republicans need to increase their majority in the U.S. Senate. And quite a lot more drainage (from the swamp) needs to be accomplished in the federal agencies before meaningful reform can be implemented concerning resource development of the federal lands.

We just need to be patient. It took a century or more to fill the swamp with anti-American values and creatures. It’s going to take some time to clean up that big mess. However, Mr. Trump did sign several Executive Orders just a few days ago that will make it a lot easier to discharge nonproducing federal officials. This is likely to be challenged in the federal courts like most of the policies Mr. Trump implements. One step at a time.

Frankly, I don’t understand how employees of the federal government who are supposed to be serving taxpayers can be allowed collective bargaining (represented by unions). I suppose this will be dealt with in its own good time.

There is an important legal case out of Oregon (Bohmker v. Oregon) which is challenging State authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Oral arguments took place in front of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the 8th of March. We are now waiting for a Decision to be rendered.

Whichever way the Ninth Circuit decides Bohmker; it is a near guarantee that the Oregon Case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The final decision will affect Oregon, California and the rest of the federal lands in America.  This is separate from any new laws that the Trump administration will eventually push through as long as republicans continue to control congress after the upcoming midterm elections.

The latest news on progress to get motorized mining and suction dredging going again in California was put out a few weeks ago by Shannon Poe of the American Mining Rights Association (AMRA). Shannon put out an announcement in mid-May that he and others have been working closely with officials in the California Water Quality Control Board. Shannon says, beginning in 2019, they have made progress to, more or less, get our suction dredge regulations back much the same as they were prior to the moratorium which was imposed upon our industry in 2009.

As part of Shannon’s efforts, a new bill has been introduced to the California Legislature which redefines “suction dredge”  in terms of gravel and water being directed through a suction hose to a mineral recovery system. If that bill were to be passed under its existing language, it would free up most of the other types of small-scale motorized mining that we do, but not necessarily suction dredging.

As I understand it, under existing law, California Water Quality Control must issue a permit to allow suction dredging before the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) can issue a suction dredging permit. During the past, California Water Quality issued a state-wide permit that covered everyone who was operating under the suction dredge regulations adopted by DFW.  DFW issued a new set of suction dredge regulations several years ago. So if Shannon has managed to convince California Water Quality officials to issue a general permit, or individual permits, based upon the finding that suction dredging produces a De minimis impact” according to his announcement, it would be a complete reversal of their official position for at least the past 5 years or more.

I know Shannon Poe to be a very level headed man with a strong determination to help win suction dredging back in California. He has contributed generously to The New 49’er Legal Fund. His announcement prompted The New 49’ers to immediately ask our attorney to make personal contact with the attorneys who have represented both DFW and Water Quality Control during recent litigation over suction dredging in California – and he could not find anyone within these agencies who know anything about the statements made in the AMRA announcement. We took it a step further and contacted the person in charge of issuing permits at California Water Quality Control. He also did not know about any changes in the works.

Having done all that, I also must tell you that I have worked with these California agencies for many years; and it is more common than not that, because the agencies are so large, information about changed policies or new programs does not get circulated around the agencies very well.

If there is anyone with the savvy and determination to reach inside these agencies and bring about positive change, Shannon Poe would be the guy. In any event, he deserves credit for trying. We can all hope that Shannon is onto something that we have yet to confirm. If he is, we should begin hearing something about it from the agencies pretty soon.

Meanwhile, please allow me to provide a reality check: Unless there is a major turnover in future elections, radical liberals will continue to impose their unreasonable and non-sustainable policies on the rest of us in California. Those liberals are 100% beholden to our enemies.

We devoted a huge effort, and hired one of the State’s most effective lobbyists, to kill the original moratorium that put an end to suction dredging in 2009. Some of you will remember how much effort was invested into that by The New 49’ers, Public Lands for the People, Keene Industries, and other people and organizations within our industry. Remember the postcard drive we directed to Governor Schwarzenegger? His aids told us that the Governor’s Office had never been contacted by so many people –ever!

In the end, we were so out-matched by the liberal machine in California that even some republicans and the republican governor voted against us.

It was a very painful lesson!

The lesson was (and remains true) that we cannot overcome our enemies through the administrative or political institutions in California because they are controlled by our enemies.  We are up against a totally stacked deck when trying to bring about positive change through the legislative and executive branches in California.

If Shannon can get past all of that, then he is a magical miracle worker!

After figuring out that political solutions would not work in California, we turned our fortunes to legal challenge. In the end, after many years of litigation all the way to the top, we came to the very same conclusion with the California Supreme Court fully disregarding the law of the land in favor of the liberal agenda.  So unless someone pulls off some true magic, the solution to our problems at this time cannot be found within the three branches of California government.

I would be the last one to discourage AMRA’s or anyone else’s’ efforts on behalf of the industry.  But, from my own perspective, from considerable personal involvement, the chances of success at the State level are poor at best.

At the same time, I have reasonable confidence that the Trump Team (federal government) in time, is going to do everything it can to get resource development flourishing again on the federal lands. America cannot become truly great again until we are allowed to develop our own natural resources. They are already fighting this battle in federal court with California and other liberally-controlled States. Federal agencies under Mr. Trump’s leadership are up against the very same people and organizations that killed sustainable timber development and have suction dredging stopped. The cases are moving ahead.

At the same time, I understand that there are perhaps six vacancies in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and maybe two Supreme Court Justices that are getting ready to retire.

It’s an uphill battle for the Trump movement right now because he/they are up against an army of liberals and obstructionists at all levels of government that ultimately need to be purged and forced to get real jobs for a living. Holding down honest jobs in the private sector to support their families would be the ultimate re-education program for all those people who are holding the country down because of misguided social and economic principles that do not work. As of this moment, nearly all those who are resisting want Mr. Trump out of office at any cost. Once he overcomes the serious matters at hand, my guess is that his momentum will pick up in our direction.

As difficult as it can be, we need to adjust ourselves and just be patient. As long as Trump is allowed to continue his work, the tables are eventually going to turn. And when they do, government employees will be there to help us succeed, rather than prevent us from doing even the simplest things to get on with our lives.

On that note, I heard on the news this morning that the Trump Team is looking at how to open up sustainable logging again on the federal lands. It’s the first time I have heard that. Since around 50% of federal lands are presently off limits to mining, I suggest things will begin swinging in our direction before long.

We should keep hope alive for Shannon Poe. Shannon is an honorable and smart guy who deserves the benefit of the doubt; and as much support as we can throw behind him if his solution comes to fruition.

More importantly, we should do our absolute best to support Donald Trump. He is the single best chance we have of opening the federal lands back up to sustainable development in spite of the State’s unreasonable objections.  Mr. Trump, perhaps, has the resources to implement a long term solution that will set the future for sustainable resource development on America’s federal lands.

New Book Details History of Mining the Comstock Lode & Tells the True Rags-to-Riches Life Story of One of the Most Successful Miners of all Time, JOHN MACKAY

Bonanza King CoverIn June, a biography of one of the world’s greatest miners will be published – THE BONANZA KING: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in the American West by Gregory Crouch.

This is an epic book that anyone interested in mining will enjoy.

John Mackay started out in the mid-1800s as a miner making $4/day; and through hard work and mining knowledge, he became one of the wealthiest men in America (his fortune would be roughly $66 billion in today’s dollars) by discovering and extracting the greatest mineral deposit in the World — the Comstock Lode.

THE BONANZA KING will make you rethink the western history you were taught in school. It provides a greater appreciation for the western states’ role in transforming America into a world power after the Civil War. This book tells the story of a hardworking man who never let money change him, and never lost his good name.

The author, Greg Crouch, grew up in Goleta, California, and has been fascinated by the Comstock Lode since he visited the area as a child. He graduated from West Point, completed US Army Airborne and Ranger schools, and served as an infantry officer. He became a mountain climber and was a senior contributing editor at Climbing magazine. He’s written two previous books about adventure and history, Enduring Patagonia and China’s Wings.

Exclusive Offer For Our Subscribers:  The publisher has agreed to offer an exclusive giveaway  of THE BONANZA KING ––Hardcover, $30.00 retail –– to the first 5 newsletter subscribers (US residents only) who send an email to becky@cursivecomms.com

Please enter the giveaway – and check out the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or an Independent Bookstore near you for more information. 

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 1

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Story by Derek Eimer

Craig and Derek Gold from 7 days of mining

Come listen to a story, bout’ two miners in the red, a couple mountain boys, barely kept themselves fed.

And then one day, while diggin in their hole, out from the ground, come some mighty shiny gold!!!! NUGGETS that is–PURE wealth!

Hello everybody. First let me say I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and may this new year bring you heavy pans and loaded mats!! I titled this story, “The Luck of Two Miners” with my tongue in my cheek.  You see; when you have sampled as many spots and dug as many holes as my long time mining partner, Craig Colt, and I have, ya start wondering about that word “lucky.”

Klamath River at Happy Camp 49er-office

Well, I tell ya, and I am sure also I speak for Craig, we feel lucky; very lucky to live in a place like Happy Camp, surrounded by beauty and ruggedness. We are lucky to be in an area loaded with gold. And we are lucky to be involved with, and supported by, a group like The New 49ers. We truly love what we do.

So, yes; we are amazingly lucky!

But as to the locations of where we dig, and about mining in general, sometimes luck must be busy shining down upon other members. Because, since gold is our only source of income, and we are not allowed to use our underwater mining machines (for the moment), there have endured too many nights when Craig and I went to bed hungry.

Which is a good place to kinda start our story over again. Let’s please just start at the beginning: As many of you experienced in last season’s New 49’er newsletters, Craig and I, along with a bunch of other members, and of course Dave Mack, worked really hard, sometimes defying death (I’m serious about this!), to put together a huge gravity-powered underwater mining operation. We actually did it!  And it worked great! With the extraordinary rich gold deposit already located in that place, we woulda recovered pounds and pounds of gold. We planned to do managed group outings on the deposit to share the glory with all New 49’er members. We had big plans. All our local members were really excited!

Except the mountain ran out of water!  You know; that stream had plenty of water during the years before. What’s up with that?  I admit that I was kinda startin to shake my fist at luck when all our hard work came to nothing at the beginning of last season Especially when a bunch of us were out there dismantling our gravity system!

True miners never give up, even if we do go to bed hungry more than seems right. So Craig and I, mostly Craig, built a floating sluice box so we could use the natural flow of the river to process stream-side gravels.  Here’s the thing about Craig: He likes the saying, “Go big or go home!”

So we built a floating sluice that was large enough to process all the material from a group weekend outing with ease. And yes; it even has a cup holder!

But wouldn’t ya know it…Siskiyou County caught on fire again last season. It got so smoky at one point that you couldn’t even see across the river! You cannot do manual labor in smoke like that unless you are working to put the fire out (we have a lot of respect for the firefighters). The fires around Happy Camp cancelled our final two weekend group outings.

By this time, I was shakin my fist, cursin a little, stompin my feet at lady luck. So far, this wasn’t a very “lucky” year for Craig and I.

After a while, rains extinguished the fires, the smoke finally cleared, we got Craig moved back to Happy Camp from Oregon; and we got another good friend packed up to move away. Nice clean air to breath; boy, the simple things we take for granted!  Into Mid December, Craig and I were finally ready to start some serious digging. This was good, cause we were both runnin on empty.

Now, you should know that between Craig and I, we have a zillion different places we want to sample for high-grade gold. The New 49’ers make so many miles of gold-bearing property available along the Klamath River and its tributaries, there are endless opportunities.  But every day we pass this same area; and we always agree the place is worth some sampling effort. It is close to Happy Camp. Several members have found big nuggets there. So, after a short walk-about, we kinda just lined up between where we knew some members had done well and drew an X in the sand. That’s the thing about sampling. In the beginning, you are just guessing and hoping. Sampling close to where others have already found high-grade increases your chances of making a strike.

The next day we began shoveling sand out of the way. This was just light material that washes in during the winter storms. We didn’t bother to pan a single-scoop of the sand. We were aiming for what was underneath. We had to shovel off about three feet of sand down to the first layer of hard-pack. Sampling there showed some decent color; but it was not going to feed us for dinner.  We were not discouraged. This was a good tight hard-pack laid in by some ancient storm. Craig and I both knew the real test was going to be at the bottom of the hard-pack.

Virgin streambed

This was virgin streambed that has been resting there long before modern man arrived in California.

That night I talked to Craig about the metal detecting technique I use when I mine in Arizona. Once on bedrock, I can follow the gold whichever way it goes and often follow it into the raw meat of a rich gold deposit!

I run a very sensitive pulse induction metal detector which, for the most part, ignores hot rocks. “Hot rocks” are heavy rocks filled with iron material that will make earlier generations of gold detectors sound out similar to a gold target. Since they are also heavy, there are usually a lot of hot rocks deposited in and around gold deposits.  Up until the recent development of induction pulse metal detectors, electronic prospectors were digging dozens or more hot rocks for every nugget they found. I’m sure glad those days are over!

The other stuff that any detector will sound off on is trash. Trash” is a loose term we use for manmade objects like nails, bottle tops, pieces of lead, and all the other metallic stuff that washes down Mother Nature’s waterways during flood storms. Even pulse detectors will not ignore most metallic objects; though, to the experienced ear, most iron objects do not give off a signal that sounds like gold.

But this hard-packed streambed that Craig and I were digging in looked to be virgin. That is to say original streambed that was present before modern man arrived on the scene.  Back when we were allowed to operate dredges (soon again, I hope), we used to uncover virgin streambed on the bottom of the river wherever it was too deep for the old-timers to reach.  That’s where the commercial gold deposits remain waiting for us; sometimes extremely rich!  We only uncover virgin streambed up out of the water once in a while. Perhaps there was a settlement over this place that is now long gone.

Gold catching bedrock

The bedrock is full of cracks perfect for capturing gold nuggets during major flood storms!

For sure, as we got deeper into the hard-pack, we could see that it was very old. This meant that there would be no trash to distract my metal detector. Very cool!  Said another way, if my detector sounded out down in this streambed, it was more likely than not that there was a gold target there.

Since the State of California will not allow small-scale miners to use engines or mechanized equipment in pursuit of gold (for the moment), using my detector to search bedrock for gold seemed like it could be a very helpful solution.

The next day we made it to bedrock. We filled 40 buckets of bottom material to run at home. Sorry; but it is totally ridiculous that we have to haul our pay-dirt home to process when we are digging right next to a river! But I’ll save my ranting for another time…

There was a water table keeping the bottom of our hole mostly submerged. We had cleaned it off as best as we could with our hands and some other tools; but we could still feel irregularities along the bottom where we know the gold nuggets like to hide. So I broke out my pulse detector just to check the bedrock for anything we missed.

There was a deep spot on one side of the hole with a slight crack running down right into the bottom; and I heard that familiar sound…” AYE YOU!”  At least, that’s how I hear it. Gold has its own distinct sound that is entirely different than nearly all other metallic objects.  In fact, experienced prospectors, while hunting in ground which contains a bunch of trash, train themselves to only listen for the sound of gold. Ut in this place!!

BOOM BABY!! A NUGGET!!! Then another just a little further up the crack!

Cleaning out crack Nugget in hand

Clearing bedrock

What can I say. When luck is going your way, you feel totally on top of the world!

I don’t care how tired you are, how disabled, how down and out; folks, I’m gonna tell ya; virgin gold nuggets are highly motivational! Craig and I kicked into high gear and we were some diggin and detecting fools!   At the end of each day I would detect the bedrock we had uncovered; and each day I was finding 5-to-8 nice little nuggets hiding deep in the bedrock. This is such a cool way to end the work day! Kind of like winning on a slot machine. But so much better, because we were finding pure wealth; Mother Nature’s most cherished and hidden treasure.

So far we were just shy of a half-ounce of gold in all. Not bad for 4-5 days of digging.  We have done better. But we have done a lot worse. You have to appreciate the high-grade gold when you find it. Some days are going to be better than others.

THEN IT HAPPENED! The next day, I started digging: but just wasn’t feelin it. So I fired up the detector and started swingin’…and the detector started screaming!!!!

Gold from 1 nest

In my experience, there’s two different types of signals: the ones that say” Hey, hello, I might be a nugget, you can dig if ya want” And then there’s” HEY!!DIG HERE DIG NOW!!!” And that’s what I was hearing. It was coming from under a hanging rock still stuck to the bedrock and right in line with where we had been finding most of our nuggets.

I won’t tell ya the exact words that came out; but I looked at Craig and started doing the dance! “ITS ON, BUDDY!”  I have my own special dance that I do when I feel the need to express my enthusiasm. My close friends call it “The Chicken Dance.” What can I say; you know I am feeling lucky when I start to dancing around. Here it is on video:

I started scoopin with my plastic digging tool and nuggets were everywhere! There was a little mud puddle below that rock and I pulled out over 30 nuggets in a spot no bigger than a basketball! We were jumpin up down hoopin and hollerin in exhilaration.  Craig and I locked arms and chicken danced around in a circle until we heard someone coming down the path.  The person turned out to be one of our very active local members, Mark Turner. He lives up in central Happy Camp and probably heard our excitement and laughter. Mark is also a very good gold prospector. Somehow, good prospectors are able to follow the signals into gold. Hearing us screaming and laughing our hearts out was a pretty good sign to follow!

Gold from 7 days of mining

This was what our first 7 days produced!

A good detectorist always double checks his hole. Well, I kept checkin and it kept beepin, each time giving up another pure golden nugget.  But I was thinking this little hole must surely be cleaned out by now… That’s when it occurred to me… metal detector signals also come from above the coil. So I concentrated on a that rock stuck on the wall, “HEY!!DIG HERE DIG NOW!!!” What the heck! OH BABY! Craig’s tellin me bucket it up and we can get it all in our concentrator at home.

I knew he was right about that, but was having way too much fun! I rolled that rock back and there they were; just sittin there — two big beautiful nuggets, with a family of little ones all around. At one point, I had 4 nuggets in my scoop and 3 in my hand. That’s a problem I can work with every day!  By the time we had our little honey hole cleaned out that day, we had recovered a little over an ounce in total for seven days of work.  In all, we withdrew over 1 ½ ounces of beautiful gold from the Klamath National Bank.  And we were NOT done yet.

Since writing this story, we have uncovered more glory holes and are up to just under 2 ounces.  And we still have a long way to go!

Here follows some of our action on video:

LUCKY! Darn right we are!  Sometimes you just have to wait a while before your good luck catches up with you! 

Here it is all cleaned up. It’s so pretty, we can’t bring ourselves to sell it. So we are still runnin on empty – but we are loving it!

Join us for our Group Mining Projects This Coming 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. 

2018 Schedule of Events: June 23 & 24; July 21 & 22; August 18 & 19

California Legal Update

After devoting nearly a decade in the California legal system, and more than a million dollars in legal fees, the district court in San Bernardino has dismissed all our claims except the takings case, and the State is asking the Court to dismiss those claims as well, arguing that losing the right to develop a gold deposit that you have located is really not a “taking;” because you still have the opportunity to locate and perhaps develop another gold deposit on your claim.

Never mind that it was the location of a viable gold deposit that provided you with the possessory right (valid mining claim) in the first place! Said another way, once the State decided we would not be allowed to develop the gold deposits we had already located, the validity of our claim had been taken away. Waste of time to continue making the argument; because as I have said before, we have finally realized that there is no justice to be had within the California court system.

Now the State is asking the San Bernardino Court to award them legal costs for the decade of litigation.  The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides us with a right to petition for a governmental redress of grievances. Right? It’s bad enough that the California court system will not allow our petitions an equitable review. I mean that’s really bad for the future of our freedoms! But on top of that, the State now intends to impose huge penalties upon us for seeking redress! They are going to punish us for challenging their misuse of authority. This mindset is what Donald Trump will have to change if we are the make America great again!

Note: The New 49’ers saw this possibility several years ago and carefully positioned ourselves to minimize our liability. Good thing!

U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Rinehart case

I’m sorry to report that the Rinehart case was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is unfortunate considering how much effort and money the small-scale mining community invested into it and how far we took the fight.

My sincerest thank you to all of you who supported our efforts, especially during the final weeks.

It would be something else if we just stood by and did nothing while the anti-America movement is taking our rights away. But our whole industry pulled together and fought this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court!

The good thing is that all is not lost. I detect that the winds of change are turning in our favor, even it is not being reported in the main stream media. There are a lot of good things happening. It has taken a year for Mr. Trump to get himself settled in and figure out the game. I expect to watch the momentum keep picking up from here.

There is another case out of Oregon (Bohmker v. Oregon) which is also challenging State authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Oral arguments in front of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will take place on the 8th of March. Oral arguments usually take place shortly before a Decision is rendered.

Whichever way the Ninth Circuit decides; it is a near guarantee the Oregon Case will also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. That decision will affect Oregon, California and on the rest of the federal lands in America.

This extra time is going to allow the Trump Administration to bring his Justice Department more around to looking at the world the way he does, rather than file legal documents intended to prevent Americans from gaining access to the mineral wealth which exists on the federal lands.

The Trump Administration is rapidly figuring out who the bad guys are as they move forward on their agenda to “make America Great Again.” More or less, it is the same bunch who have slowed or killed resource development in America are in lock-step with the other progressive policies which are eroding basic American values. Here is just one example of where the Trump Team is feeling around for the drains (to the swamp). National health care, taxes, domestic energy production, immigration and strategic minerals and other issues are of national importance. They will eventually get around to small scale miners. My perception is that the momentum is picking up. Just as an example, here is a news report from CNBC – which is nothing less than a propaganda tool for the world-wide progressive movement.

But at the very same time the private sector starts getting on its feet again, California  is wasting no time in trying to take away half the benefits. You see the way this goes?  We are right in the middle of a non-violent (so far) war between free enterprise and totalitarianism.  That progressives want to create a world where their children will need to obtain government approval for everything they do never ceases to amaze me.

Here is a landmark case that Pacific Legal Foundation just won unanimously in the U.S. Supreme Court.  There remains strong reason for hope.

To predict how things will go with our industry, at this point in time, I suggest we have to watch the larger picture of how things are trending. The latest news on how the Democratic party colluded with the FBI and U.S. Justice Department during the Hillary/Obama period is reason for hope. If our side ends up on top of this, I predict a lot of important people are going to jail.

Please stay tuned in. We will be sending out Action Alerts once the Bohmker case is forwarded to the U.S. Supreme Court. The law clearly supports our position in this matter. And step by step, Mr. Trump and his growing team is bringing the federal agencies around to the idea that we should be creating wealth, rather than welfare; that productive people are heroes, not criminals; that government workers should be helping us, rather than trying to sink our boats (in the swamp).

Swamp?  How about this. The State of California is now considering criminal convictions for any restaurant waiters that provide plastic straws to customers unless the straw is specifically asked for!  Here it is.

Think that’s bad? California is so far gone, it recently passed a new state law – the Immigration Worker Protection Act – employers and businesses can face fines of up to $10,000 if they provide employee information to U.S. Immigration or Customs. Really; this situation is much more important than just immigration. We are sitting on a powder keg! Here it is. There is no fixing something that is so far gone!  I predict big, national problems are not far in the future. See how this is coming to a head?  Here is another one to demonstrate how far down the road California has traveled. Not enough? Here is another one!

Perhaps the only good result of this is that the value of gold should go out the roof. And unless California starts printing its own money, there are not going to be many State employees on the payroll. Those that are, will have much more serious problems to deal with than a small-scale miner minding his own business.

Except for helping with several ongoing criminal cases against miners who were prospecting with the use of motors, and helping to eliminate or minimize the liability of attorney fees (to the State) upon the other industry organizations involved in the years of litigation, I believe that ends our involvement in the California courts. Just like we discovered several years ago that lobbying the California political structure was a waste of time, we have also discovered that the same is true of the judicial system. I’m sorry to say that petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances with the State of California is no longer an option unless you are fighting for progressive (socialist) causes. My advice? Stay out of trouble!

We are also finished with the Rinehart case.  So we now move forward to providing support for the Bohmker case which has a high possibly reversing our present situation in California and Oregon.  Here is what our attorney has to say about it:

Chance to Win More American Gold & Silver Eagles! 

gold and silver eaglesThe girls in our office just informed me that we have had very little participation so for in this drawing.  Only $327 dollars so far; ouch!  Since the drawing date is only a few weeks off, I’m hoping you guys will send something in to help support our legal efforts on behalf of small-scale mining in America.

There will be 26 prizes in all:
Two Grand Prizes: 1/2-ounce American Gold Eagles
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on 23 February 2018 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. 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’rs Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

 $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
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. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER 2017                               VOLUME 31, NUMBER 10

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Here is the list of winners for the Friday 27 October 2017 New 49’er Legal Fund-raiser Drawing:

Legal Drawing Legal Drawing 2

Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

1. John Stewart III of Canton CT
2. Rex & Jeannne Wheeler of Cloverdale OR
3 . Dorthy Easley of Tamarac FL
4. Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA
5. Steve Van Meter of Cocoa FL
6. Robert Guardiola of Riverbank CA
7. Mathew Ziesak of Eureka CA
8. Byron Brown of Sandy OR
9. John Krueger of Gold Hill OR
10. Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA

Ten 1/10- ounce American Gold Eagles

1. James Porter of Bend OR
2. Joseph Redmond of Hermosa Beach CA
3. David Thomson of Grand Canyon AZ
4. Robert Guardiola of Riverbank CA
5. Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA
6. Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA
7. Gary Heglund of Salem OR
8. Gary Fox of San Leandro CA
9. Bill & Leone Lant of Campbell River Canada
10. John Krueger of Gold Hill OR

Four 1/4-ounce American Gold Eagles

1. Van Wilhite of West Point CA
2. Theo Campbell of Rogue River OR
3. Michael O’Connell of Crescent City CA
4. Forrest Sutherland of Klamath Falls OR

And the Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle

1. Ryck Rowan of Spokane WA

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Thank you each and every one for all your support of our effort to keep small-scale gold mining alive in America.

A special thank you to our drawing assistant, Valisha Armstrong, who works at one our local schools in Happy Camp.

Comment: Either Rick Rowan is one heck of a lucky guy, or he bought thousands of tickets!

Myrna Karns from Our Office Has Passed Away
Myrna Karns

Here is Myrna helping with the legal drawing in July of this year.

I am saddened to announce that longtime New 49’er supporter, Myrna Karns, passed away on September 14thShe was 79 years young. Many of you who have attended our Saturday potlucks will remember her because Myrna sold tickets at the prize table for more than 20 years. Myrna worked as a loyal staff member in our front store-office for the past 6 years.

The rest of us in the office recognized that Myrna was struggling with her health towards the end of this past season. She wrote it off as her allergies acting up with all the wildfire smoke in the air. But the reality was that she came down with bone cancer and her health deteriorated rather quickly. As tough as she was, she made it to the final potluck of our 2017 season; and she continued to open up our office every morning until the ambulance finally had to take her away. We will miss her dearly!

Here is some history on Myrna that was sent to us by her favorite niece, Kelly Parker:

“The thing I most admired about Aunt Myrna was that she was always adventurous and commonly defied convention. Her long-term career was as a printer/machinist for Interlake Steel in Illinois. When she showed up for the interview, the boss said it was a man’s job. She said that was fine and to please return her resume. He saw that she was riding a HarleyDavidson motorcycle, and he asked what she did when it broke down. She said, “I fix it.” She got the job.  They put her on a machine without instructions or training. So she took the machine apart, cleaned it, put it back together, and figured out how to run it.

No muss…no fuss. Aunt Myrna married Carl Karns and they moved to Ohio. She worked at a print shop, but their hobby was building underwater metal detectors. They actually met while detecting. They eventually sold their detectors to the police department that used them to find weapons and discarded treasure.

A younger Myrna KarnsThey bought a print shop in Ft. Pierce, Florida and continued detecting. The cache was always better after storms. A neighbor found an emerald necklace, they found pieces of eight, rings, etc. They always tried to find the owners of high school rings.

Once at a neighborhood fair, you could buy a bag of dirt for $3 and pan for gold. She enjoyed the heck out of that! She bought $30 worth. She was happy when she found something, but her joy was more about the process.

Myrna eventually signed up for The New 49’er newsletter and then bought the videos. When her husband died, she moved to Lewisville, Texas to be with family. She told her dad about the gold and Happy Camp. He encouraged her to go out there. She visited a couple of times before making the big final move in 1997.

While in Texas, she was a bus driver, waitress, dishwasher, and helped build the HARM missiles. She had a strong work ethic. She made money to support her hobbies and to eat, but was never interested in becoming rich.

She loved Pepsi. She bought a Pepsi machine, made it work and stocked it. If you don’t think the nieces & nephews LOVED that about their aunt…she was so stinkin’ cool!

She rode motorcycles for years until her back finally had enough. She gave up riding in 1990. Her dad and her brother also rode bikes, so it was a family thing. She was part of Motor Maids in the tri-state area. It’s a women’s motorcycle club.

She loved water, swimming, diving, boating, gold panning… anything water-related.  She became quite good at underwater gold dredging until her body just wasn’t up to it, anymore.

She had a strong faith in god. Shout out to Pastor Bill Estes of Happy Camp who sat by her side for the last 13 hours of her life so she wouldn’t be alone when she left this world.

Death was just one more adventure for Myrna to undertake. She was comfortable, at peace, and ready. You’ve heard that saying… Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body; but rather skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride! That was my aunt Myrna!”

Gary Wright and I visited Myrna in this wonderful Hospice center in Yreka shortly before she passed on. She was as bright and clear-headed as ever. She was clearly comfortable and at peace with the idea of moving on. The last thing she said to us was, “What the heck; it’s totally boring just laying here looking at the ceiling; so I guess it’s time for me to see what comes next.”   I gave her my most heart-felt hug and asked her to keep an eye out for me in the next world. She promised that she would. Myrna’s promise was as good as gold!

Legal & Political Updates

Our California litigation is challenging the State’s authority to impose a moratorium upon suction dredging. As part of an ongoing effort by State authorities to eliminate small-scale mining completely, “suction dredge” has been redefined by State lawmakers as any mechanized device within 100 yards of a waterway for the purpose of excavating or processing minerals.

There was a court hearing in San Bernardino on 17 October. We are now waiting for the judge’s ruling. Here is our attorney’s explanation of how that went.

Frankly, after struggling for many years in the California courts to win our mining rights back, I have very little faith that we will ever succeed in State Court. California has been nearly completely taken over by progressives. Some might call them socialists; but I have come to the conclusion that this is more like foolishism.  California is definitely on a death spiral. This is not just about small-scale mining. This is about the entire State. There appears to be zero rational leadership capable of seeing the consequences.  Here is a very short video that clearly lays out where the State is going.  I advise everyone to watch it and pass it around.  Please understand me: I am not discussing immigration. I am discussing economic consequences and a complete lack of rational leadership.  One America News, by the way, is an up and coming conservative cable news station which is vastly different than the well-established fake news media which we all grew up with and trusted.

Did you know that California is now considering banning all internal combustion engines in the State? This includes motor vehicles!  In fact, the process has already been started. Said another way, this is not going to end well!

Here is the lesson: Sound economics are unshakable natural law. They are facts of life that cannot be changed by wishful thinking or political ideology. Not even a State can spend more than it takes in without eventually going broke. Since the State is too large to “bail out,” and cannot print its own money (thank god for this), nearly everyone who depends upon the State of California for income is going to get the shaft.

If I had to guess, I would predict that we are more likely to win our small-scale mining rights back because there will no longer be any game wardens to enforce the State’s crazy laws! Why? Because there won’t be any money left to pay them!

While I am on the subject of how things might turn out, we should take note that while law abiding conservatives are being portrayed as racists and Nazis by the false news media, America’s far left, violent extremist groups are busy organizing for violent revolution. You don’t see much about this in the mainstream media. But we should not ignore the evolving realities.

Here is another thought: California has hired an army of lawyers to challenge the Trump Team’s policies on immigration, energy production on the federal lands, and the list of ongoing lawsuits against the Trump agenda goes on and on. But what happens when a State runs out of money?  You can only tax citizens so much before they also go broke. The State could eliminate unnecessary programs to cut costs; but that is unlikely under existing “leadership.”

I don’t know if a State has ever filed for federal bankruptcy protection. A declaration of bankruptcy by the State of California would place the Trump Team in charge of California, right?  Keep your eye on the far left extremists; they will be ready when law and order retreats.

Just as a side note, California’s budget acknowledges a potential liability to small-scale miners of $5,500,000,000 (yes, that’s $5.5 billion) because of our ongoing takings litigation.

As I have said, we live in very interesting times!

As many of you will recall, “Rinehart” is a dredging case that began several years ago which challenged the State’s authority to overrule an act of congress concerning small-scale mining on the federal lands. We won this case unanimously in California’s Third Appellate Court. Then the California Supreme Court reversed the Decision in another unanimous Decision. We are now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court has requested a briefing by the Solicitor General.

The American Exploration & Mining Association is a large organization which mostly represents the interests of large-scale mining. But they also support small-scale miners when we need them The New 49’ers belong to their membership. They are very well connected in Washington DC. So for the most part, they have taken the lead role in urging the Solicitor General to write a favorable brief on our behalf. My understanding is that the new Solicitor General (a Trump appointee) is in the process of writing a brief as to why the U.S. Supreme Court should review the Rinehart case. Let’s collectively cross our fingers on this one!

At the same time, California’s legal challenge to block the federal government (Trump Team) from developing natural resources on the federal lands is working its way through the courts. Natural resources are the foundation of any economy! They have to come from somewhere! But, as is demonstrated by the linked video above, California leadership does not look very far ahead.  Or perhaps they do and we cannot understand why they are deliberately running the State into the ground… In any event, these State/federal lawsuits move forward on a fast track. The outcome in this and other ongoing litigation should help us, loggers, farmers who need water to grow our food, and a big part of America’s national economy.I receive emails from people on occasion requesting that I do not express my opinions on political matters and just publish stories about mining gold.  I always answer the emails that are polite and respectful. My time is too valuable to waste on haters. My answer generally explains that State policies have reduced small-scale mining down to hands and pans. While there is some enjoyment in that, the real adventure is deeper down in the streambeds which we cannot reach without the use of motors. Locating those deposits generates excitement that everyone wants to read about!

I have been in mining for 38 years. I had to learn everything through the school of hard knocks. Everything I have was worked for — not to say that there have not been hundreds or thousands of supporters just like you guys along my very long journey. Good and bad, it has been a great journey!

If it were not for my VA and SS benefits, I would have had to throw in the towel several years ago. And truthfully, since the State is not allowing me to use a dredge to recover the fast water gold deposits, I would rather devote my remaining years chasing fish and other interesting adventure on the South China Sea.

But there probably is nobody else within our industry in a stronger position to keep the hope alive and legal bills paid. With so many of you supporters out there, and all those who helped carry the load over the many years, and all those who kept small-scale mining alive since America’s beginnings, I am bound by personal duty to see the battle through until the end, whichever way it goes. There is no other path for me!

I’ll still manage to do some adventures searching for fish and other interesting things during our slow winter months when not much is happening in Happy Camp. While they have nothing to do with our New 49’er program, these adventures are as wild as it gets. While we wait to get our industry back, especially during the slow winter months, if you want to share in adventures more like this, please let me know. Just to be clear, I’m talking about sharing the stories, not bringing anyone else along in the flesh.  Otherwise, I could tell some mining stories from earlier times.

Thanks very much for your personal contributions, support and taking the time to communicate with me directly when you feel the need. Nobody understands your frustration better than I do.

You want to know how I feel? I feel terrible that the State has us down to hands & pans when we could be a thriving industry doing our part “to help make America great again.” I feel deeply betrayed to have put my life on the line (tip of the spear) for my country, only to have it taken over by enemies of the traditional American way of life. I am deeply upset that the judicial branch of government, which is charged with the duty to protect Americans from the excesses of the legislative and executive branches, has largely become a tool to enforce the unconstitutional excesses and destroy the American Dream. Here is an example of what the State is paying millions of dollars to do, which small-scale gold miners used to do for free with the use of our suction dredges, while at the same time, adding real wealth to the State’s economy. It’s okay for the State to run heavy equipment out into the river. But it is a criminal offense for us to use a 12-volt bilge pump within 100 yards of the river!

What?

It kills me to supervise a weekend project when there are more local volunteer helpers out there than members or guests arriving from outside of Happy Camp. I am embarrassed to be at a Saturday night potluck when the 25 or so people there mostly live in Happy Camp.  During the 90’s, we had hundreds of people attending our events!

I know: The big adventure comes from the deeper gold deposits which require some mechanical assistance. Most experienced miners only want to pan the concentrates from their suction dredges or high-bankers!  So things have slowed down quite a bit during the past several years. But there remain enough of you out there with continuing hope that monthly and annual cash flow is able to keep our program alive. You guys are correct; we should not let go of the 60+ miles of gold-rich property that we make available to our members. If we do, there will never be such a golden opportunity for small-scale miners to attain personal freedom again.

The truth is that I had pretty-much given up on the America which I was so lucky to grow up in. I did not anticipate someone big and tough enough like Donald Trump to come along and turn everything upside down! I’m sure that was quite a surprise for almost everyone. Like him or not, he is, at least for the moment, making progress in our direction (see links below). He truly is facing off with the dark side – which is huge! But Trump is a fighter. As much as he has accomplished in his life, it is amazing his enemies, with unlimited resources, have not found anything he has done wrong that will bring him down!

And there is reason to believe The Trump Team’s momentum is going to pick up. There are a lot of bad people who have had it their own way in the deep state who should be in jail. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. We still have to wait and see how it plays out. If Trump comes out on top, I believe we will get our dredges and motors back; and then our industry will flourish like never before in modern history. And America will regain its strength and become great again – for everybody. There is still some hope!

As long as there remains hope, and others are willing to help carry the load, I will stay the course.

Even though most of the news we are seeing has been associated with heath care reform, tax reform, Russian meddling in our election process, immigration reform and Donald Trump’s tweets; there is a lot of progress being made at the administrative level of government where we have to do business.  Here are just a few examples that you guys might find interesting:

Donna Brazile: I found ‘proof’ the DNC rigged the nomination for Hillary Clinton

Big Three Networks skip Donna Brazile bombshell that DNC was rigged for Clinton

E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule

BLM cancels 10 million acre Sagebrush Focal Area Withdrawal Proposal

EPA moves to nix Obama’s ‘waters of the US’ regulation

New Interior Department Order limits most NEPA studies to a year, 150 pages

Ryan Zinke calls for lifted restrictions on national monuments

Oregon Dems push phony precedent to block Ninth Circuit Court nominee

Trump is remaking the federal judiciary (while the press freaks out over his tweets)

Chance to Win More American Gold & Silver Eagles!

gold and silver eaglesThere will be 26 prizes in all:
Two Grand Prizes: 1/2-ounce American Gold Eagles
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on 23 February 2018 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. 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’rs Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.

You can find out more about this legal fund-raiser right here.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

$10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
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. This is because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2017                               VOLUME 31, NUMBER 9

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

Thankfully, the smoke from wildfires surrounding Happy Camp cleared up enough that we went ahead with our group electronic prospecting 2-day outing in mid-August. The event was attended by the allowed capacity of around 40 New 49’er members. This was in addition to seven New 49’er members who are very experienced at using metal detectors to discover gold both in exposed bedrock cracks and in extremely rich deposits along hillsides where ancient lode deposits have weathered away into pockets of raw wealth. You can find out more about these types of gold deposits right here.

Big smile nuggets
Detecting bedrock

There remains a lot of gold to be found in bedrock cracks alongside and inside the waterways with these new high-tech metal detectors!

These detecting events are being sponsored by The New 49’ers with our extensive gold properties in northern California, Whites Electronics who are the world leader in metal detecting equipment, and Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon – all longstanding friends and allies in the effort to keep small-scale mining alive in America.

Since the States of Oregon and California are making it more difficult (for now) to prospect for and develop gold deposits within active waterways (We are in litigation because several States have passed laws forbidding us the use of mechanized equipment), we are discovering that there are plenty of prospectors and members who are equally interested in prospecting for gold with the use of modern metal detectors – which is a technology that has made huge strides forward during recent years.

Out of deep respect, I want to acknowledge the following experts who donated their time and effort to both of this year’s electronic prospecting projects:

DennisDennis Dickson who was the primary organizer of this year’s detector outings. There is nothing Dennis does not know about every different kind of detector on the market, including every metal detector that has ever been sold. He spends a big part of his time traveling the world on behalf of Whites Electronics, teaching dealers how to use the latest technology to find gold, which largely has to do with “pulse induction detectors.” Dennis has gone to places in north Africa where I would not even consider going! Based out of Merlin, Oregon, which is just north on the other side of the mountain from Happy Camp, Dennis has the vision that we can use these pulse detectors to develop a whole new gold rush of prospectors onto the extensive gold properties which we make available to our members. On this particular venture, Dennis and most of the other experienced helpers arrived a day early so we could go out and do some advanced prospecting. Here he is on video:

Tom Using trigger to magnify

Whites was also represented by Tom Boykin; a very nice young guy who knows everything there is to know about using detectors to discover natural gold. It’s impossible for anyone to not like Tom from the moment you meet him. He has recently been promoted to the Project Manager at Whites Electronics.  Here he is caught on video teaching some of our members how to interpret the signals being given off a gold detector in gold country:

TeachingSamantha Everett (“Sam”) from Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon was also present to help beginners through the early part of the learning curve. She also plays a major role in making sure these events go off smoothly without a hitch. I caught her on video trying to hide behind a brave face. This is because video cameras scare the heck out of her. Only because we were having fun, I held the camera on her long enough to make her blush:

JoshJosh Bohmker is a very well-known prospector on the Oregon side of the Siskiyou’s. He was present with his prospecting buddy, Trevor Sheffield. Josh played a big role, if not the leading role, in re-discovering the famous, extremely rich, Briggs gold pocket just up on the border which separates Oregon from California. This is right at the headwaters of our very own Thompson Creek.  I view Josh as one of the future leaders of the small-scale gold mining industry. Not because he is into politics; but because he is authentic and is masterful at using modern technologies to discover Mother Nature’s most cherished treasures. He is one of those rare individuals who can convert hard work and ingenuity into pure wealth (the true definition of alchemy). Someone must keep the dream alive as us old-timers start using fishing poles more often than gold mining equipment. Josh will certainly be one of those guys! See for yourself in this video which was put together by Tom Boykin of Whites Electronics.

I also captured Josh prospecting with his detector during the 2-day project. While his target turned out to be a small piece of iron, there is plenty to learn from his demonstration of how to pinpoint a target that is singing out on your detector:

TrevorHere is another video I captured of Trevor moving quite fast to identify a target that was reading out on his detector. This was a text book demonstration. While the target ended up being a small piece of iron, it just as well could have been a gold nugget or full pocket of gold that had been uncovered by recent storm events along the Klamath River:

Cliff Leidecker from Rogue River, Oregon also honored us with his support of the project. Most members will remember Cliff as the engineer who helped us set up our gravity water system earlier this season.  Cliff is also one of the smartest and most determined guys involved with our latest generation of small-scale prospectors. We are so lucky to have his support behind our program!

Miguel Rodriguez is one of our local members who is so good with a metal detector that he declined to participate in our nugget hunting contest at the final event of this project. The reason, he said, was that he would easily find every gold nugget that I had hidden in the contest area. As it was, he found all of the remaining gold nuggets I had hidden within minutes after everyone else had given up!

Since firefighting crews had taken over the Happy Camp Grange Hall, we arranged for the Karuk Senior Citizens Hall to be made available to us on Friday afternoon. The Hall was filled to capacity. Dennis, Josh and the others on the team of helpers and teachers had set up various displays of gold samples, detectors and other electronic prospecting supplies. They entertained a full house of enthusiastic participants with educational advice and very interesting stories. This was followed by a spaghetti dinner that was prepared by regular supporters of our New 49’er Saturday evening potlucks.

Samantha from Armadillo sold drawing tickets for a bunch of valuable prizes. All of the proceeds were donated to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

We all met on Saturday morning and drove downriver about 7 miles from Happy Camp to our Wingate River property where there is a gargantuan historical hydraulic mining site on the far side of the river. That old gold deposit extends at least a thousand feet to the top of mountain peaks where old-timers mined ancient gold-bearing channels that had been pushed up there millions of years ago by geologic forces beyond our human experience.

Boat on river nuggets

We used my jet boat to safely transfer everyone across the river. Beginners remained down towards the river where our experienced helpers were providing demonstrations. More advanced prospectors headed up the mountainside to search for gold on the numerous terraces where ancient streambeds had been mined more than a century ago. There remain patches of ancient streambed still in place up there.  There is also nice gold to be found in bedrock cracks.

While he found the nuggets at an earlier time, here is some video I captured of one member who had already found some beautiful nuggets of pure wealth at the top of the mountain:

Just like any other type of serious small-scale gold mining, using even the most advanced electronic innovations to find gold deposits, with the occasional exception of luck, requires time and practice.

Great smile! Found first nugget!

Nugget hunt contestOn the chance that anything of great value might not be found during the few hours we had on Saturday, to make sure the event would end on a positive note, I used orange ribbon to block off a special area and hid 11 small, but nice, of my own gold nuggets on top of some exposed bedrock down near the river. All of the nuggets were hidden by a thin layer of sand.

The area was large enough that even I could not remember where the nuggets were hidden once I was finished. The only way anybody was going to find these nuggets was by pure luck, or by properly interpreting the signals being given off by their detectors. It was lots of fun to end off the project with a gold nugget hunting contest! Here is a video I captured of a young lady who located the first nugget using her detector: 

Her close friend actually found one of my hidden nuggets just by sweeping sand around on the bedrock; pure luck! I captured the excitement on video:

Authenic nugget find

Here was a nugget found within the contest area that I didn’t hide!

One participant actually found a beautiful gold nugget that I had not placed in the contest area! This was a truly amazing surprise! Here it is on video:

The group participants went at the contest area with a fury that even surprised me, and the nuggets were discovered one after the other.

After about 30 minutes, most participants figured all my hidden nuggets had been found. So they were ready for the boat ride back across the river. I estimated that there were still at least 2 or 3 nuggets remaining in the contest site. That’s When Miguel Rodriguez attacked the contest area with his detector. Truly, I have never seen anyone so skilled at keeping his detector coil just above uneven ground while moving amazingly fast over the bedrock. Indeed, by the time I returned for the final trip across the river, Miguel had recovered the last of the nuggets that I contributed to the contest!

Found a nugget! Found another nugget

 

Wildfires Have Kept Happy Camp Under a Layer of Smoke for Most of Our 2017 Season
Happy Cmp fire Smoke

Despite having a very wet winter, the wildfires along the Klamath River watershed started early this season. More recent thunderstorms sparked fires that have burned 53,600 acres near Happy Camp. As of a few days ago, there were 1,137 personnel assigned to the fires, and the fires were only 24% contained. Word around town is that these fires will burn until the rainy season sets in.

My impression is that Happy Camp is not in danger. But the smoke becomes very thick and uncomfortable at times, largely depending upon the direction of the wind. Because of thick smoke, and the loss of the Happy Camp Grange Hall to the firefighting teams, we were forced to cancel the final two weekend group mining projects of this season. Asking participants to dig gravel under those conditions would have been a bad idea!

Having said that, as uncomfortable as the smoke can be at times, we should feel blessed compared to what is presently happening with the flooding down in Texas and Louisiana! Goes to show you no matter how difficult the challenges that we are facing, we don’t have to look very far to find others who are confronting much more difficult circumstances.

Ray Koons, Our First Member, has Passed Away

Ray Koons R.I.P.I am disheartened to announce that Ray Koons passed away from natural causes on the 19th of August. He was 91 years old. Ray, and his wife Cricket (who passed away a number of years ago), were our very first members in The New 49’ers. They joined up in Quartzsite Arizona in February of 1986. That was only a month or so after we began advertising the idea of a mining club. Ray and Cricket signed up even though most others had little or no faith that my plan would succeed. There were quite a few people in Quartzsite who were interested. But most were nervous about wasting money on something that might fail. So Ray and Cricket visited Happy Camp a few weeks later (mid-winter of 1986) and met our staff – which was mainly made up of my dredging partners in those days and my ex-wife, Maria. They returned to Quartzsite with a good review and we immediately started signing up new members.

By 1987, we had over 500 members, many or most who showed up in Happy Camp. We were in no way prepared for so many people. The chaos of the 1987 season turned into the most difficult and challenging days of my life. Ray Koons recognized the difficulties and jumped right in to help manage. We appointed him as Director of Internal Affairs. His first job was to create a set of rules, enforce them, and get rid of the (quite a few) troublemakers. Ray put order into the chaos and remained as our Internal Affairs Director for the following 25 years. He also took on the role of Acting Manager of The New 49’ers during the many times over the years that I went off on foreign adventures – sometimes for years at a time.

Ray was completely loyal and dedicated to me and The New 49’ers for most of my adult life. He was one of the few very best friends I have had in this life. There is no doubt in my mind that if the situation ever came up, Ray would not have hesitated to give up his own life to save mine. Friends who are that devoted are hard to find. In this case, Ray found me. Rather than miss him, I choose to remember all the good times we had together over the many years, and the difficult times we overcame side-by-side. I am blessed to have had such a dedicated and loyal friend.

New Chance to Win American Gold & Silver Eagles!

Gold and Silver Eagles

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc.).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on Friday 27 of October 2017 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. 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.

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

All contributions are tax deductible. You can find more information about the drawing right here.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

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

I want to thank those of you who immediately responded to this message last month. With your help, we have succeeded in meeting all the requirements to maintain the gold properties we all have access to.

For those who have not yet paid annual dues, I ask that you please fit them into your budget as best you can.

For many years, our New 49’er members have been the leading force of keeping the small-scale gold mining opportunity alive in America. Small-scale gold mining remains one of the last true free enterprise opportunities in America, where hard work and ingenuity can take the place of substantial financial capital to create a viable business opportunity which can generate pure wealth and personal freedom. The incredible amount of gold-rich properties we make available to our members will never be duplicated again. We should not give it up until there is no hope left!

As it is, things being the way that they are; even if every member pays the $50 annual dues, I personally support cost overruns with other sources of income which I earned before becoming a gold miner, along with savings put away during better times.

Costs associated with maintaining our extensive properties, our material infrastructure and to hold onto our very experienced and loyal staff exceed the amount of income we bring in. I don’t expect this reality to change until either we get motors and underwater mining back, or until the dollar value of gold goes up so high that non-motorized mining will produce a living wage.

There remains hope that America will wake up and realize we need to produce value and wealth in excess of what we consume. Mr. Trump and his team appear to be leading the charge on this, though he is not getting as much support from congress and the mainstream press that he deserves. However, his outstanding performance in dealing with the storm damage in Texas and Louisiana seem to be bringing some of his detractors around.

Also, there is some reason for hope in that several States, including California, are suing the Trump Administration right now to try and prevent coal and gas exploration on the federal lands – largely due to “the possibility” of environmental consequences (sound familiar?). On somewhat of a fast track which is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the question is going to be answered as to how much authority the States have to prevent the federal government from allowing natural resource development on the federal lands. 

The States and environmental organizations opposing Trump are the very same bunch that have more or less shut down the use of mechanized equipment in small-scale gold mining. Our legal question in Rinehart remains on the list being considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The States’ legal arguments against Trump and their arguments against small-scale miners are much the same; except that our position is even stronger. This is because we have a property interest in the minerals that we want to develop.

I personally believe that if we persist in our fight against totally unreasonable laws and regulations which have been put in place by the far left, and are directly in the way of “making America great again,” we will ultimately prevail and win our industry back. If I did not believe there remains hope, I would surely not be continuing to invest my retirement income into our program.

We are on the front lines of the fight for personal freedom. I will be the first to admit that it is uncomfortable. But if we do not hold the line for small-scale gold mining in America at least until all hope is gone, I guarantee nobody else is going to do it.

I am eternally grateful to those of you who stick it out alongside me and our loyal staff.

Do We Really Need a Hard-copy Version of this Newsletter?

In line with my explanation above, we are taking a hard look at how we can continue to provide the important services to our members without wasting money.

To keep members informed and interested, we began sending out hard-copy newsletters with the monthly billings all the way back in 1986. The hard copies have continued to be sent out nearly every month to all members, including those who had fully paid for their memberships more than 30 years ago.

But now in the modern age, nearly everyone has access to the Internet.

So we find ourselves making up two versions of the newsletters; one that goes out in the mail, and another which is placed on the Internet.  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.  The video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  All of our future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster. The Internet at least provides you with the opportunity to join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

If you are not able to sign up for our Internet version of the newsletter, please contact Montine at 530 493-2012.

As a substantial cost savings, we are considering eliminating the hard-copy version of our newsletter (this may be the last one). Depending upon how many of you rely upon a hard copy to stay informed of our activities, we might save a lot of money by printing the Internet version and sending that out to you, instead.

We will be looking closely at how we might eliminate other unnecessary expenditures in the coming months. This is not about survival. It is about using our cash flow wisely to provide you with the very best service that we can.

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

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

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