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!


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

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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

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