New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, OCTOBER 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 6

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

So far, there has been very little participation in this drawing! This substantially increases your chances of winning…

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

Gold and 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 Friday, 18 October of this year, at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. While you are welcome to attend, 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 through the following PayPal link:

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.

The New 49’ers Legal Fund

2020 Schedule of Events

 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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

2020 Schedule of Events: June 20 & 21; July 18 & 19; August 22 & 23.

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

Montine Blevins Needs Help!

Thank you very much to the gals in our office for creating this letter to try and help Montine and Rusty cope with the ever-rising costs of medical treatment for Montine’s condition. Montine managed our New 49’er “welcome program” for many years. Prior to this last year, I am guessing that she has spoken with nearly all our active members. 

We Still Have an Opportunity to Open Suction Dredges on the Federal Lands!

Those of you who have been following our newsletters will be aware that the substantial effort by our industry to regain our mining rights (the use of motors) on the federal lands in California and Oregon in both the State and federal courts have not produced a positive outcome so far.

We are now appealing to key officials in the executive branch (Trump team) of the federal government to perform a formal Rulemaking which will forbid States from enacting laws or regulations that prevent or prohibit mining on the federal lands to a greater degree than the federal mining law(s) allow to the federal agencies.

Once again, initially prompted by the small-scale mining organizations in Oregon, here is our latest effort to keep our issues on the front lines of the Trump Administration’s efforts to reduce or eliminate over-regulation which provides no measurable benefit.

Small-scale mining creates actual wealth and improves the lives of working Americans. This is an industry-wide effort.

While our efforts will continue, it is difficult to get a read on how effective we are being. This is because the Trump Administration is being attacked so viciously by the very same organizations that have made modern methods of mining, more or less, against the law.

If Mr. Trump survives the continuous attacks against him, it is reasonable to predict that America’s federal land management agencies will attempt to assist us. This is what we are hearing from the agencies. Please stay tuned. We will provide updates as they happen.

Your contributions to keep our Legal Fund alive (drawing above) will help us keep the battle going on our side. Anything you guys can do will be greatly appreciated!

Dave McCracken

General Manager, The New 49’ers Mining Association

 

 

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 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Dr Gold! Gold Nuggets!

Mike and Lynda Leamy are longstanding, very supportive New 49’er members who are super-wonderful to have around. Lynda, because she always has a smile on her face and possesses a wealth of good will and a depth of wisdom which seems to have no bottom.

Mike is perhaps the most talented gold prospector that I have ever met. During a Weekend Group Project last season, Mike located a very rich line of gold down along our Wingate property that had so much shallow gold, he was bringing me handfuls of golden flakes that he was just picking up off the bedrock! That’s something that never happened before. It was during that project that we changed Mike’s name in The New 49’ers to “Doctor Gold.”

Diane Helhesen

Diane Helhesen never misses a New 49’er event!

Even though he is perhaps the very best prospector we have in our association, even when he is digging up remarkable discoveries, I have never seen any sign of personal ego. I do see that he experiences pleasure from making the rich finds, and he takes joy in watching all the excitement that his discoveries generate with all the others on these projects.

We have a special bucket where all the gold found on Sunday goes. There is a locking lid so we don’t make any mistakes in dropping gold on the ground. There is always one very trusted person who keeps the “gold bucket” close to hand so we don’t lose track of it. On this event, our “Gold Girl” was one of our most dedicated members, Diane Helgesen. Diane also captured most of the images and video in this newsletter.

Back to Dr. Gold, I watched closely how, as soon as the gold he found was in good hands, his greatest joy was in returning to is discovery to uncover more gold. I have devoted nearly my entire adult life to mining gold. All I can say is that Mike Leamy is a true gold prospector all the way to his core.

And that’s one of the reasons I was so happy during this most recent Weekend Group Project. Mike and Lynda were going to join us. With Dr. Gold on the project, it was a sure thing that we were going to recover a bunch of gold!

This project began with 70 people, including myself. We always devote Saturday morning over at the air-conditioned Happy Camp Senior Citizen’s Hall and start with introductions. It is always interesting to find out where people come from and hear a little about their personal stories of how they came to be members of our organization in Happy Camp. Some members provide very colorful introductions. This all contributes to the special teamwork experience we will enjoy during the weekend.

smiling couple

And then, for the benefit of those who have not listened to my talk about how to pursue a sampling plan, we devote several hours to carefully explaining the most important fundamentals of gold mining – which have to do with locating high-grade gold deposits in the first place. We call this a “sampling plan.” The sampling plan is something that me, my mining partners over the many years, and thousands of New 49’ers have worked out by hard work and the pursuit of truth.

Truth? Yes; if you think about it, if you don’t already know where the rich deposits are, you have to find them through the process of digging small samples in multiple locations, and compare the different results to figure out where there is more gold. Then you continue to sample along the strongest line of gold until you discover a concentration of raw wealth. Concentrations accumulate during very large storms. Sampling is always about what you are actually finding (truth), as opposed to what you would prefer to find.

We allow everyone an hour to get some nourishment and pull their gear together once my talk is finished. Then we drive to the location where we will devote the rest of the weekend. We were back down on our Wingate property on this project. But we were going to be on the far side of the river where several members reported finding “good gold,” with some larger flakes and small gold nuggets. These reports were coming in from longtime members Craig Colt, Derek Eimer, Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman, all who live in Happy Camp and devote most of the winter months prospecting along our very extensive mining properties.

panning lessons

These guys are such good prospectors.  They fully understand the requirement that we must do these weekend projects where there is plenty of gold to be found. They are so supportive of our association, if any of them report a good gold location, it is not necessary for me to confirm the place in advance with my own sampling. This is saying a lot about the prospecting ability and personal integrity of these wonderful members. I would normally confirm a deposit before bringing 69 members there to prospect for gold. This is because I have some uncomfortable experience in splitting just a little gold up between an aggressive group of members.

I never want to do that again!

At around 2 pm on Saturday afternoon, I led the way downriver about 9 miles from Happy Camp. I was towing my jet boat which would be used to transfer everyone across the river. There were so many cars behind me, I could not see the end of the line even on the long, straight stretches of Highway 96!

Everyone was directed to park alongside the road a short distance downstream of Wingate. There are paths to the river down there that would place everyone closer to where we would be on the other side of the river. I launched the boat at the Wingate boat ramp and brought along several members whose physical disabilities were not going to allow them to take the pathways.

There were several fairly large groups of excited members waiting alongside the river by the time we arrived there with the boat.  I’m guessing it took perhaps a dozen back and fourths to transfer nearly everyone to the far side of the river where we would be prospecting. Out of an abundance of caution, every passenger in my boat wears a life jacket. I drive the boat slow and easy when it is full of people.

Racing up the river Dave racing the boat

having fun

But I drive the boat as fast as it will go when returning by myself for the next load. My whole life has been centered around water adventures and boats. Here is a video that captured of one of my return trips:

While transferring people across the river, I found out that Dr. Gold parked his car along the side of the road, stepped out, and spotted a quarter-ounce gold nugget just lying there in the dirt. The nugget was mostly flattened out – like it had been run over by about a million cars and trucks. Come on?  Who does that? Dr. Gold is the only one I know! I’m sorry to say that I was so taken back by this unexpected discovery that it never occurred to me to capture an image of the nugget. Too bad! Take it from me: It was big and beautiful!

This early discovery was a sure sign that we were going to find plenty of gold during our group project!

Saturday afternoon on these projects is largely about familiarizing everyone with the location where we will do a group production mining (very small scale) project on Sunday morning. Everyone scatters over the area doing pan samples. We want to locate the most productive places possible. Beginners are taught how to pan for gold.

Panning is not difficult. But you do have to train your body to perform the correct motions. I believe there were only 2 participants who had no prior panning experience. Experienced members were giving them a hand. I could hear part of this in the following video sequence:

ladies panning Learning to pan

 

Typical sample

We would consider this a good sample.

I loved the water and boats before I joined the U.S. Navy at 19 years old. Back in those days, we were coming close to the end of the Viet Nam war. Needing to get my life on track and become an adult, I enlisted on the condition that I would be able to try out for the Navy SEALS. I put everything on the line; because if I failed in the training, I was going to spend the remainder of my 4-year enlistment chipping paint on some ship.

That was the most difficult and brutal training in the world at the time. Dropout rates were as much or more than 90% of the people who tried. In fact, nobody graduated from the class that followed mine. Though it was extremely difficult, I graduated into the SEALS with six others out of a beginning class of 57.

Making it into the SEAL Team put my whole life on track. It changed my outlook in many important ways. It also brought me warmly into a fraternity of very special people. While we might not always agree on everything, there is nothing that could undermine the respect we have for each other.

I don’t need to know an active or former SEAL to provide him with friendship and support on almost any level. This is why I am so pleased when SEALS or other special forces veterans join The New 49’ers. It happens every once in a while. We would have more of these guys if we could get motors back and regain access to the rich gold deposits on the bottom of the river.

On this particular project, Former SEAL, Steve Posey, brought his son, Travis, along for his first time. Steve has joined us in the past, bringing other special forces men along. Whenever we get visited by special forces guys, I go out of my way to accommodate them. Besides the camaraderie we share, these guys make up the tip of America’s spear. They risk everything so that America can remain free. Here is some video I captured of Steve and Travis:

floating sluice

Here is our floating sluice in action!

While all the panning activity was going on, several others and myself moved our floating sluice out into the faster water and set it all up for the following day. This floating sluice was constructed in our shop using an extra recovery system from a Proline 6-inch dredge. We mounted that on 2 large pontoons. The support frame is designed so we can lower the sluice deeper into the river so that the proper flow of water passes over top of the riffles. Diane captured the following video that will give you a better idea:

Riffles are gold-catching obstructions which rest along the bottom of the “sluice box.”  Because gold is around five times heavier than the average gravel we process, the gold will settle behind the riffles while most of the lighter sand and gravel passes right through. We have locking poles on each corner of our floating sluice to keep the platform steady and dialed in the way we want it. In this way, we are able to process volume amounts of hand-dug pay-dirt without the use of motorized pumps.

Boating across riverI ferried everyone back across the river after a few hours. We don’t want people out for too long during the hottest part of Saturday afternoon. This is because the real action and excitement of the weekend takes place during the cool hours of Sunday morning.

During these weekend projects, we always meet at 6:30 pm back at the Senior Citizens Hall for a Saturday evening a potluck dinner and short meeting, mainly to confirm our Sunday morning plans. We encourage everyone to bring something to contribute to the meal, and bring what they prefer to drink.

There were so many members at the potluck that there were not enough chairs to seat everyone! Nobody seemed to mind, though. The roar of enthusiastic chatter was a great way to end the first day. There were all sorts of wonderful food dishes.

stuffing envelopes

Volunteers who came into the office and packaged up all the letters to be mailed out.

We are presently encouraging everyone to write a letter in support of a Petition being directed to federal land management officials to help get California and other state agencies out of the business of mining on the Federal lands. You can find a more thorough explanation about this in last month’s newsletter. I took the opportunity of having so many members present at the potluck to provide them with paper and pens. We collected a healthy batch of hand-written letters. Then we organized volunteers to come into the office the following week so that each letter could be copied to the 10 additional officials who are listed on the Petition and placed into addressed and stamped envelopes. We ended up with around 300 letters in all. These are being mailed in batches every day. Very cool!

Sunday morning is when we all work together to dig up and process as much of the better pay-dirt that we found out there on Saturday afternoon.

We met out at the Wingate property at 6 am on Sunday morning. The idea is to get all the physical work completed before the heat of the day reaches the work site. When I arrived downriver with the boat at exactly 6 am, it looked as though the entire crew had already arrived. I had 6 disabled members in the boat. So they were first to reach the work site.

We are very lucky to have around a dozen or more very loyal, very experienced members who volunteer as “helpers” on these projects. There is no way that I could manage so many people without the help of others. We usually bring about half the helpers to the other side of the river first. They will help participants safely step out of the boat. They will also distribute hundreds of buckets to the locations where we were finding more gold on the day before. The other helpers usually remain on the road side of the river to help me land the boat in the right place, get participants into life jackets, and help them into the boat so nobody slips and falls.

Beautiful river scene

Is this place beautiful or what?

Once we transferred everyone over to the other side of the river, and everyone was lined out on what parts they were going to play, the whole bunch slipped into high gear; and it was like one big human engine of productivity out there. Diane captured some video of the site just as I finished bringing the whole crew to the other side of the river:

My own first focus was on making sure the floating sluice was dialed in to perfection.  Here is the floating sluice on video:

I don’t believe longtime member and local Happy Camper, Mark Turner, has ever missed a weekend project or any other type of activity when we have asked for helpers.  Mark has constructed a large quarter-inch classification screen which will effectively screen dry pay-dirt at a speed of around six seconds per half-bucket. This is much faster than using the standard-sized round classifiers that we sell in the store. We only fill the buckets of dug material half way. Otherwise, they are difficult to carry over the uneven ground.

Mark Turner Screening in volume

Proper classification of pay-dirt (“sizing”) is a very important part of gold recovery. Here is some video we captured of Mark demonstrating his production screen:

Lady Smiling smiling gal

people having funAll I can say is that there was so much digging going on out there, it wasn’t long before nearly all the buckets were full of screened pay-dirt. As is normal, our participants, in all their enthusiasm, were generating pay-dirt about twice as fast as our floating sluice could effectively process it. By this, I mean that if you feed too much material into a sluice box at once, the riffles (gold traps) will be overwhelmed (buried), and the pay-dirt will be swept through and take some of the gold with it out into the river.

Here is a video that Diane captured on Sunday morning high above the river where we could view the entire program as I provided an explanation of what was going on:

It wasn’t enough that Dr. Gold stumbled upon a quarter-ounce gold nugget the day before up by the road. His magic touch carried right over into Sunday morning. I was down near the boat capturing images with the camera when Dr. Gold processed his first pan of material. There was only a single small fleck in the pan. Without any sign of disappointment, he shrugged his shoulders and headed back to the area he was digging.

Just a while later, Dr. Gold’s second pan produced two small flecks and a small flake of gold. This was nothing to get excited about. Most of the pan samples from the day before were more fruitful. Then off he went again. “Gold mining is not always the same,” is what went through my mind.  “Sometimes you make a great strike; and other times you find very little.” But it was still too early in the day to rule out Dr. Gold’s magic ways…

Meanwhile, our buckets of pay-dirt had mostly been filled, screened, and were waiting their turn to be processed. This allowed everyone out there to back off a bit, take a seat on the rocks, enjoy the spectacular surroundings, and get to know each other better. Over the many years, hundreds of life-long friendships have been formed in just this way. These projects are not only about work. They are also supposed to be fun. We do have a lot of fun; and once in a while, something extraordinary happens to create wonderful adventures for everyone out there.

Seeing that she was relaxing on a rock waiting for another bucket, I took the opportunity to interview Lynda Leamy with the video camera rolling:

dr gold 1 Gold nugget

pointing at gold in scoop

Dr Gold

Dr. Gold was scraping out some bedrock crevices.

Just as if the event was scripted, as we were all mostly in a relax mode, Dr. Gold walked down to our processing site with a small plastic dust pan which was only holding about a handful of material. He was being closely followed by a small group of others who had been digging in the same area. There was a really nice flake-like nugget sitting right on top of the dirt. He suggested someone pan the material, “because there was more gold that we could not yet see.” Jim Bear panned the material, only to expose one of the best pans of gold I have seen in a very long time! This was an amazing lot of gold from what was only around a quarter of a medium-sized gold pan of unscreened dirt. Fortunately, I was right there to capture the excitement on video:

You will see in the videos that I joke around with Dr. Gold about having a secret jar of gold that he uses to salt the gold that he finds during our projects. This is just in fun. It’s my way of acknowledging his magical prospecting abilities. I’ve never met anyone who can stumble into gold like he does.  I also have never met anyone who is foolish enough to throw large quantities of beautiful raw wealth onto the ground so he can find it again, and essentially give most of it away to others.

The truth is that there are too many others looking on for someone to secretly remove gold from a bottle or plastic zip lock bag and pour onto a dig site. Someone would certainly see that. Besides, it is a physical impossibility to place gold underneath hard-packed streambed. Only god has the power to do that.

Others were also finding nice big gold flakes and some nuggets. Here are some images of Jim Bear showing off his excitement. Jim, by the way, can be found on youtube at yellowbottom prospecting:

thumbs up! gold nuggets in pan

I encouraged several others to go up and dig closer to Dr. Gold. They went up there just to watch, because we were all waiting for buckets.

gold gold nuggets
gold in pan

This sample came from about a handful of unscreened material!

Just a little while later, Dr. Gold came back down with a bunch of others who had been looking on. He was still using the small plastic dust pan. There was perhaps just a little more than a handful of unscreened pay-dirt in the dust pan. Right on top, there were three nice gold nuggets peeking out of the dirt. Once the material was panned, a fantastic line of nuggets and large flat flakes were exposed. Unbelievable! The Gold Girl was right there to capture it in our special gold bucket with the lid screwed on tight. I was there again with the video camera:

At this point, maybe about 10 am, a bunch of us started joking that we should leave Dr. Gold out there to finish the day while the rest of us went back to Happy Camp to relax for the rest of the day. We actually could have done that; because we had already dug and screened more pay-dirt than we were going to have time to process.

pay dirt in buckets

Pay-dirt that was dug and screened, but we left behind for lack of time to process it!

Travis driving boatNormally, when we have more pay-dirt than we can process during the project, once we stop feeding the recovery system, I invite anyone who wants to take a bucket of pay-dirt back home, or to their camps, to process on their own. Lots of participants were excited about this idea.

We always make an effort to make these events good for any children or young adults who participate. Even if they don’t appreciate the events while they are happening, the experiences we share out in the great outdoors are personal adventures that they will strongly appreciate later in life

Since we were in a wind down mode, I asked 12-year old Travis if he wanted to take a shot at driving my jet boat up through a set of rapids. No hesitation; he was ready to go! His dad caught the action on video:

looking in sluice happy group of people

I called it quits shortly after about 10 am and carefully moved the floating sluice over into shallow water where we could safely remove all the gold and concentrates from the recovery system. As we removed the screens and riffles from the sluice, everyone broke out into joyful cheers as a bunch of gold came into view. The rubber matting along the bottom of the sluice was loaded with fine gold. There were nice big golden flakes and nuggets all throughout the upper portion of the sluice. This was the best clean-up we have seen in years! We were all betting that we recovered at least an ounce of gold. All the sluice concentrates and gold were poured into our special gold bucket. Here is some video which captured the final part of the sluice clean-up:

    

By “concentrates,” I mean that these gold recovery systems are designed to capture and concentrate all of the heaviest material that is fed into them. Concentrates normally consist of the gold and a bunch of black sand (iron) and small iron rocks.

rideing in boat

Bringing disabled members up to the boat launch through some very turbulent rapids!

The day was going by fast, and we still had to separate the gold from about a third of a bucket of concentrates. I immediately used the boat to start ferrying everyone across the river. The time was around 11 am The heat of the day had still not reached the other side of the river where we had been working. My helpers were last to go. This is because they were making sure all the gear had been properly stowed, that any dangerous holes were filled in and that no trash had been left behind.

We never turn anyone away on these projects unless they are so disabled that there is no reasonable way for them to participate. Sometimes we get participants who have disabilities which will not allow them to hike up and down the trails to and from the river. But they are able to contribute once they arrive at the work site. As long as they are up for taking a ride both ways through some pretty serious rapids, we help them into and out of the boat and give them a ride that they will never forget. The water in the river is quite low this year. This dramatically increases the chances that we will slam into rocks as we race through the rapids and other shallow areas. But we didn’t hit any rocks on this day. Here it is on video:

We all agreed to meet back at our office to begin final clean-up at 2 pm. This allowed several of us some time to remove my jet boat from the river and bring it home. Diane is a big help on these projects. With the gold bucket firmly in hand, she remained with me until we arrived at the office. It is an important matter of personal duty to keep all the gold safe and secure until it is properly cleaned up and everyone is given their share. We are very serious about this!

I expected to have to pull all our final clean-up gear out of storage and set it up in the shade of our outdoor picnic area near the front corner of our office building. But when we drove into the parking lot, Diane and I were delighted to discover that John Rose already had all that gear set up and ready to go. Very cool!

John has been Assistant Manager of The New 49’ers for about as long as I can remember. It is because he loyally takes on these responsibilities that I become free to depart Happy Camp during the winter months so I am able to look for golden adventures abroad.

Dave McCracken boating

Boating is my favorite activity in the whole world!

Due to some good fortune that has come my way, I now have a 56-foot luxury motor yacht in the Philippines. Close friends and I have converted this 800 HP platform into a fantastic dive boat. I now devote the winter months voyaging around the Philippines, which is mostly water, doing spear fishing and underwater exploration. This is a lifetime dream come true for me.

Under John’s management, our Happy Camp program runs as smooth as can be. I am able to manage legal matters and compose newsletters anywhere on the planet that I have an Internet connection. The boat provides an Internet connection through a satellite uplink.

With the assistance of my experienced helpers, we made short work of the final clean-up steps with everyone looking on. There was a lot of gold! I bet Craig Colt a dollar that we were just short of an ounce. Then, to hedge my bet, I wagered a dollar with someone else that we recovered more than an ounce. It’s all in fun, and fits in nicely with all the excited chatter from the participants. All debts were promptly paid as soon as we weighed the gold on our scale.

gold nuggets in metal pan people watching

The real value in this clean-up was in the 200 gold nuggets that we had recovered. Granted that most of the nuggets were small. A piece of gold is technically a nugget if it will not pass through a 10-mesh screen.

In the end, the scale weighed up 19 pennyweights (20 pennyweights equals a troy ounce of gold). We were a pennyweight short of making our target of a full ounce. Perhaps if we processed the remaining pay-dirt that had already been dug and screened, we would have more than met our target. But how could I know?

The spot price value of the gold we recovered on Sunday morning added up to $1,360. I made an offer to keep all the gold in exchange for throwing a big pizza party with all the beer or other beverages to make everyone happy. “All in favor?” Not a single participant was in favor of that idea. They never are!

There were 53 people at the split that had been present out on our dig. Divided into 455 grains (about 19 pennyweights), the weight of the individual splits was around 8.56 grains each. Normally, individual splits on these projects are between 6 and 7 grains. I cannot remember the last time the individual splits were above 7 grains. This, along with all the nuggets, gave everyone something to cheer about.

Four of the gold nuggets weighed more than 8.56 grains. One beautiful gold nugget was a pennyweight and a half!  To keep things fair, we all agreed upon a drawing system that would allow the lucky four to pick their nuggets. Boy were those some happy people! Those were some really beautiful gold nuggets!

Then we needed to recalculate the remaining weight against 49 people. From there, I measured out just under 8 grains for each additional split. This is still at least a five-year record. Maybe ten years!

With John and several other members providing support, it did not take long to distribute the individual shares. It was challenging to make it happen through the roar of excitement being generated by the participants. This roar of excitement is all the payment I personally need in order to keep managing these weekend projects.

After a bunch of us packed the gear up the stairs in our building and put it where it belongs, everyone went off to experience more adventure in their lives. I was told that the big pile of pay-dirt we left out on site had been fully processed before dark on Sunday. I heard that some people even swam over there to get their share of what we left behind. 

2019 Schedule of Events

Our first two weekend Group Mining Projects of the season went very well. One of the stories is published above. The other project will make for some excellent video-enhanced storytelling once we complete this latest effort to win our industry back.

The remaining 2019 weekend event will take place in just a few weeks:  August 17 & 18. Otherwise, our numerous properties are available to all members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for you to do your own prospecting adventures. That is, unless there is some emergency that closes the forest down, like a dangerous wildfire. We have not had any serious wildfires this year so far, so the air is nice and clear.

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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

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

Action Alert: We Still Have an Opportunity to Open Suction Dredges on the Federal Lands!

Action Alert by Tom Kitchar, President of Waldo Mining District

Now that we have the attention and support from Trump administration officials, the next step forward for us has been to draft a Petition to the Department of Interior (DOI) to perform an official Rulemaking process to change the federal regulations in a way that prevents States from interfering with mining on the Federal Lands, to do away with duplicative and unreasonable regulation, and to prevent the States from prohibiting mining on the federal lands.

The Petition was submitted in mid-June. This is an industry-wide program which enjoys support from all or most mining associations. There have also been letters of support from several county governments that have sustained serious economic harm because of the misguided policies against mining by some State agencies.

The petition has landed home where it needs to be. It is being taken seriously. Now, if we can just please take it to the next step: We need to encourage supportive messages from as many people as we can. This is the moment of truth! Notwithstanding any other opportunities that could arise in the future, this is, to a large extent, our last opportunity in the foreseeable future to regain the use of our mechanized equipment and gold dredges.

To assist you with this, we are attaching the Petition. This needs to either be linked to emails or included with hard copies of support:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Miners-Petition-6-18-19.pdf 

We are attaching a link which provides most of the contact details for the officials that we want to reach at this time: http://www.goldgold.com/contact-information-for-petition-recipients.html

We are also attaching a simple article which describes what a suction dredging is:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/What-is-a-Suction-Dredge.pdf Perhaps you want to enclose or attach this information in tour message.

There is an additional link which provides some talking points to help if you want some assistance with your messages:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/petition-talking-points.pdf

If you please send your messages to each person on the list, especially the two top DOI officials listed at the beginning of the Petition, and also to Mr. Trump; we could find ourselves in a federal Rulemaking process that will finally allow us to defend against the false claims being made against us by the radical extremists who are doing everything within their power to undermine the economic wellbeing of America.

We are thanking you with all sincerity for any and all help you can provide in this effort!

Planned Office Hours for the Time Being

Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s final Weekend Group Projects:  August 17 & 18. Our final Saturday evening potluck will also happen on August 17. 

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

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 at 2 pm on Friday, 18 October of this year, 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.

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.

Eagle
The New 49’ers Legal Fund
,

Our most sincere thank you to everyone who is supporting our efforts to win our industry back. There is good reason for hope at this time.

Best wishes,

Dave McCracken

 

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, JULY 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 4

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Action Alert by Tom Kitchar, President of Waldo Mining District

After careful review of the court documents in the Rinehart and Bohmker cases, we realized that the BLM and USFS (Forest Service) mining regulations had been amended in the early 2000’s, basically allowing the States authority over mining on federal lands in excess of authority which the BLM or USFS is allowed by law!

On June 18, 2019, we sent a formal petition asking for the federal regulations to be changed.

About the time we recognized the problem in the federal mining regulations, we were contacted by a fairly high official within the Department of Interior (DOI) who had noticed all the letters and wanted more information. Then they wanted to help! I was told that they (DOI) wished they had known about the Bohmker case six months ago. I believe they would have submitted an amicus brief on our behalf to the Supreme Court defended mining; which would have greatly increased our chances of a hearing… and winning.

This is proof: Letter writing can work!

Be-that-as-it-may, the Bohmker case is dead for all practical purposes, and we had a choice to make: (A) GIVE UP, or (B) FIND ANOTHER WAY. Giving up means the eventual death of small-scale mining as we know it. We really do not want to give up what otherwise would be a thriving industry which generates raw wealth for America…not to mention, fulfills the dreams thousands of Americans and others have had since they were children.

It was then that we realized the answer was present the whole time, but we never recognized it. This was largely because we believed our case was such a “slam-dunk” based on much more powerful laws and court cases.

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Constitution is supposed to be the #1 Law of the Land. In the Constitution, Congress is empowered sole authority over all lands belonging to the United States. Congress has delegated management of the public domain lands to various federal departments. This includes the Department of Interior (BLM), and the Department of Agriculture (USFS).

In 1955, Congress amended the 1872 Mining Law by providing the federal agencies management authority over the “non-mineral resources” on unpatented mining claims, with the provision:

“…That any use of the surface of any such mining claim by the United States, its permittees or licensees, shall be such as not to endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing operations or uses reasonably incident thereto…” (30 U.S.C. Sec. 612(b)) (emphasis added).

Please read that again; mineral development is the primary use of the federal lands. This is because mineral deposits can only be developed where they exist.

This has been taken to mean that the federal management agencies are not allowed to prohibit mining. Any restrictions must be necessary and reasonable.  There is so much existing federal case law on the books, this reality is not in dispute.

Then, during the early 2000’s, both the BLM and the USFS amended their mining regulations requiring that all miners MUST OBTAIN ALL REQUIRED STATE PERMITS without placing any limits on what the States could require. BLM regulations even went so far as to say that the States could set higher standards or “more stringent” levels of restriction upon the federal lands than the federal agencies are allowed.

Oregon’s SB 3 (Bohmker) was not preempted by the federal Mining Law because the BLM and USFS regulations allowed the States to deal with mining any way they want!

What?

This raises a Question: If the BLM & USFS are prohibited from endangering or materially interfering with mining, how can those very same agencies provide the States with authority to do what the federal government agencies are barred from doing?

Answer: BLM and USFS cannot provide the States with authority that the federal agencies themselves do not have in the first place!

Action Alert!

Now that we have the attention and support from Trump administration officials, the next step forward for us has been to draft a Petition to the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to perform an official Rulemaking process to change the federal regulations in a way that prevents States from interfering with mining on the Federal Lands, to do away with duplicate and unreasonable regulation, and to prevent the States from prohibiting mining on the federal lands.

The Petition was submitted several weeks ago (June 18th) with support from eleven major mining associations including The New 49ers. In addition to the Petition, Letters of Support are coming from several county governments that have sustained serious economic harm because of the misguided policies against mining by some State agencies.

The petition has landed home where it needs to be. It is being taken seriously. Now, if we can just please take it to the next step: We need to encourage supportive messages from as many people as we can. This is the moment of truth! Notwithstanding any other opportunities that could arise in the future, this is, to a large extent, our last opportunity in the foreseeable future to regain the use of our mechanized equipment and gold dredges.

To assist you with this, we are attaching the Petition. This needs to either be linked to emails or included with hard copies of support:

Miners Petition 

We are attaching a link which provides most of the contact details for the officials that we want to reach at this time:

Contact Information for Petition Recipients 

We are also attaching a simple article which describes what a suction dredge is: What is a Suction Dredge?  Perhaps you want to enclose or attach this information in your message.

There is an additional link which provides some talking points to help if you want some assistance with your messages:

Petition Talking Points

If you please send your messages to each person on the list, especially the two Secretaries listed at the beginning of the Petition, and also to Mr. President Trump; we could find ourselves in a federal Rule-making process that will finally allow us to defend against the false claims being made against us by the radical extremists who are doing everything within their power to undermine the economic well being of America.

Look for the most current news and updates regarding the Petition and possible Rule-making (with a possible public comment period) on the Waldo Mining District website at: www.waldominingdistrict.org. You will also find important updates on our own message forum.

We are thanking you with all sincerity for any and all help you can provide in this effort!

2019 Schedule of Events

Our first weekend Group Mining Project of the season went very well. It will make for some excellent video-enhanced storytelling once we complete this latest effort to win our industry back.

Remaining 2019 events: July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

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

Schedule of Events

Planned Office Hours for Upcoming Season

Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects:  June 22; July 20; and August 17. Our Saturday evening potlucks will also only happen on these dates.

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

Winners from Our Most Recent Legal Drawing!

Here is the winning list from the legal drawing which took place on  Friday, June 21 2019:

Ten 1-Ounce American Silver Eagles

John Roina of Sacramento, CA
Richard Grady of Waldport, OR
Guy Lawrence of Port Orford, OR
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA
Karl Schrock of Palm Harbor, FL
Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA
Steve Rive of La Quinta, CA
John Bilik of Spring Grove, IL
Van Wilhite of West Point, CA
Ronald Copenhafer of Malibu, CA

Ten 1/10th-Ounce American Gold Eagles

William Frese of Cincinnati, OH
Robert Guardiola of River Banks, CA
Richard Speidal of Minden, NV
Clifford Robinson of Oakland, CA
R. Jim Pace of Hillsboro, OR
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA
Robert Guardiola of River Banks, CA
Russell Steen of Huntington Beach, CA
Theodore Ehrhardt of La Valle, CA
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA

Four 1/4th-Ounce American Gold Eagles

Bobby Whitaker of Bloomington, IN
Bobby Whitaker of Bloomington, IN
Mathew Nelson of Rigby, ID
Van Wilhite of West Point, CA

The Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:

Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA

Our most sincere thank you to everyone who is supporting our efforts to win our industry back. There is good reason for hope at this time.

Best wishes,

Dave McCracken 

 

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 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 3

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Without voicing any opinion, the  U.S. Supreme Court has declined to Review Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018). This was our second attempt to get the High-Court to weigh in on the very important matter of how much authority State agencies have to prohibit mining activity on the federal lands.

We can only speculate as to the reason our case was not accepted. I am told that the High Court receives so many requests that it is only able to review about 5% of the cases it receives. With all of the political turmoil right now in America, my guess is that there are other matters (immigration on multiple levels, abortion, gun control, the limits of Presidential authority, election tampering, and much more) which are perceived to be more expedient to the broad population.

The Trump Administration is also being challenged in the courts for relaxing environmental regulation on the federal lands. The decisions in those matters may affect our industry.

I am attaching a letter from our attorney which summarizes this matter. Let me please suggest that we keep trying. This was our second legal case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in about a year.  We should be pleased that our legal challenges are making it all the way up to one step from the top. This issue is so important to America’s future; it is just a matter of time before the Supreme Court Reviews it.

The matter will not be fully resolved until the High Court weighs in on it. More cases are certain to arise as States continue to prohibit Americans from developing mineral deposits which have been granted to them by congress through existing mining laws.

We have also heard from the new Director of the California Water Board that they have fallen behind in their effort to develop a water quality permit to support suction dredging. The reality is that there is not enough time to make it happen in time for our 2019 mining season.

Therefore, we will not have access to mechanized systems to support our small-scale gold mining programs this coming season. All I can say is that we will keep on trying as long as you guys continue to support our efforts.

Our 2019 summer in Happy Camp will largely be devoted to teaching members how to do successful gold mining using hand methods, and to provide several weekend projects that will generate fun, excitement and some natural gold for all who participate.

2019 Schedule of Events

 June 22 & 23; July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

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

Schedule of Events

Planned Office Hours for Upcoming Season

 Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects:  June 22; July 20; and August 17. Our Saturday evening potlucks will also only happen on these dates. 

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

Upcoming Legal Drawing in Just Two weeks!
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 on Friday, 21 June 2019 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.

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.

My sincere thanks to each of you who support our efforts!

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken

 

 

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, APRIL 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 2

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

One of the important benefits to becoming an Associate or Full Member of The New 49’ers is that you are able to participate for free in all of our organized Weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.

Gold mining on the Klamath River Beautiful Gold Sample

We have sponsored these projects every season since 1987 when we realized that many or most members needed some direct exposure to successful gold mining projects so they could go out and find gold by themselves on our extensive gold properties along the Klamath River and its tributaries in northern California.

Reading about how to prospect for and develop rich gold deposits sets a good foundation. But there is no substitute for going out with a group of very experienced prospectors and participate in a successful mining project. Actually seeing how the techniques and processes work is very valuable to progressing through the learning curve. But perhaps the most important part of these projects is that everyone gains the objective reality and confidence that there really are high-grade gold deposits to be found if you just stick to a basic sampling plan.

Fortunately, we have quite a few experienced members who like to come out on the weekends with us and help less experienced members learn the basics as we aggressively sample for a valuable gold deposit. We try to find one that is close to the surface so we don’t have to dig very deep. Then we join together in about three hours of hard work to recover as much gold out of the deposit that we can.  We had about 45 members on this particular project, including 10 or more volunteer helpers.

I thank my lucky stars for the volunteer members who join us on these weekends. There is no way I could manage projects with so many people on my own. I believe the largest weekend group we ever had was around 207 members. That’s not a group. It’s an army! Even with plenty of helpers, I had to buy a megaphone to communicate with so many people out alongside the river!

This project was planned on our Sluice Box property which takes in around 4 miles of the Klamath River just downstream of the small town of Seiad. That is about 20 miles upstream of Happy Camp where our headquarters is located.  We have been making the Sluice Box property available to members since the late 1980’s.  The property is always producing well for streamside mining. This is because it replenishes its shallow gold deposits every winter from high storm flows. We have sponsored quite a few group projects on Sluice Box, both with suction dredges, and by digging the shallow gold alongside the river.

Over the many years, there have been numerous gold rushes to Sluice Box both in and outside of the active waterway. As shown below, the property continues to produce good results. This is true even in the very same places that we have mined in the past. No kidding!

The reason we chose Sluice Box for this particular outing is that the most recent gold rush I was aware of happened towards the top end of the property during the 2017 season, and extended into the beginning of the 2018 season.

In 2017, there was so much energy in the group of members that made the strike, when I went up there to have a look, I got the clear impression that I would make a bunch of good members upset if I directed dozens upon dozens of new members nearby to do a weekend project. Gold has this effect on just about anyone. If you have not had “gold fever” yet, it is only because you have not found a rich enough gold deposit. It is only reasonable that if (when) you locate a rich deposit of pure wealth; you want to recover as much of it for yourself as you can. Most often, you don’t want to share the deposit with the whole world.

The only time I get the cold shoulder from a group of members out on the river is when they have found something really good and do not want a whole bunch of others moving in on them. We have rules that protect the deposits members find so they can take their time developing the site and not have to worry about others jumping in right on top of them.

As manager of The New 49’ers, I have to abide by our rules more than anyone else.  Still, because it is good for other members, and helps keep our bills paid; it is in my personal interest to figure out how to introduce as many members as possible to high-grade gold deposits when they are discovered. Therefore, occasionally some members conspire to keep newly-found rich gold deposits a secret (which is impossible to do). To find them, we just have to watch where a bunch of members flock to along our extensive gold properties.

The thing is that high-grade gold follows a continuous path down more than 100 miles of the Klamath River. So when a rich discovery is made, I can usually organize an experienced sampling team to locate an extension of the very same high-grade by sampling further up and downstream along the very same path, down to the very same layer in the streambed material that is paying. If we cannot do this without stepping on the discoveries made by other members, we have plenty of other places to go.

I knew about the small gold rush at the top end of Sluice Box towards the end of the 2017 season. Myself and a few helpers launched my boat to go take a look at what they found, and to see if it would be practical to do the final weekend project a respectable distance downstream of the strike. As it turned out, there was a long stretch of river available downstream of the strike. But the vibes I was getting from the active members upstream was that at least some of them would be unhappy if we moved in there.

Having been managing The New 49’ers for about 35 years, I have learned that it is never a good idea for me to organize mining projects, or do my own mining, in close proximity to an active strike where all or some of the existing members are emotionally jacked up over the gold they are finding. Therefore, we did something else on our final project that season.

Sample pan

All of our sample pans were looking good, and the gold was coming right off the surface of the streambed!

With the 2018 season upon us, we returned to Sluice Box and only found a few members mining along the road-side edge of the river near the top end. As I said, there is a long stretch downstream of the original strike that has yet to be sampled or mined. These members were as friendly as can be, and actually encouraged us to do the project up there any place we desired. They showed us the gold they were recovering out of very shallow streambed material along the edge of the river and even out into the river as far as they could reach. The gold was quite good!

When we launched my boat and all the gear to support this project, all or most of the members who were already at Sluice Box helped us pack gear to the site and set it up. They went so far as to show us the gold they were recovering, and the exact streambed layer that was producing the gold. This was great! It meant that we already had a gold strike even before we began the project!

We do a Saturday morning meeting to introduce everyone, especially the project helpers. Then I devote the morning to a blackboard demonstration about how gold deposits in waterways and how to follow a simple sampling plan to, step by step, walk yourself right into high-grade gold.  Then, after lunch, we go out to the site and devote the afternoon doing gold pan samples to confirm the gold deposit we will all work together for several hours on Sunday morning.

John Rose

John Rose has been our project manager for quite a long time.

There are two objectives on Saturday afternoon on these projects. The first is to make certain that everyone is able to pan gold correctly. The reason for this is that if you cannot pan gold without losing any, you cannot sample for rich gold deposits. Sampling is the process you go through to locate and develop rich gold deposits. So gold panning is pretty-much the first important step in the learning curve. The second objective on Saturday afternoon is to confirm a rich gold deposit that we will all work together on Sunday.

It wasn’t long on Saturday afternoon before nearly everyone was recovering a good showing of gold in their pans. Our helpers dedicated themselves to helping beginners with their panning skills.

Putting on these projects requires me to delegate nearly all of the management duties to our helpers. John Rose takes charge of the entire outdoor program. This frees me to capture some images and video so I can tell the adventure story in a monthly newsletter at some later time.

Dicky Melton Dicky feeding sluice

Dickey Melton takes pleasure in feeding pay-dirt to our main gold recovery system.

Dickey Melton mostly takes charge of our floating recovery system, and makes sure that all the pay-dirt will be fed at the proper speed. By this, I mean as fast as we can without overloading the riffles (gold traps in the recovery system) and avoid losing gold that everyone has worked so hard to dig up. Here is some video we captured of Dickey showing how it’s done:

Diane Peirce is designated as our “gold girl.”  She places all the gold we recover on Sunday inside of a good plastic bucket with a twist-on, locking lid. The thing about gold is that if you do not handle and take careful control of it as soon as it is recovered from the ground, the gold will find some way to get lost.  This is absolutely true!

Diane Helgesen is a longtime supporter who never misses an opportunity to volunteer herself on any and every New 49’er event.  You never met a happier or more loyal person. She also adds humor and fun times to the collective group chemistry. She took on the “gold girl” responsibility on this project. She also works with me in capturing images and video. When you see me slip off my more serious demeanor on camera and break out into a smile (sometimes I even laugh), you know it is because Diane is there behind the camera adding fun to what is otherwise a serious activity for me.

Happy ProspectorThere are several reasons that I personally take these projects very seriously, even though they are mostly fun and entertaining for everyone else. Part of this is because there are rules we must follow to avoid problems with local officials. Also, with so many people out there on the rocks and in the water, accidents do occasionally happen – which is never good. This normally has to do with someone losing balance and taking a fall on the rocks.

Perhaps the main reason I take these projects serious is that the final clean-up steps and gold split on Sunday afternoon is my responsibility. Everyone works hard out there. Most people by Sunday afternoon have gained enough exposure to the processes we employ are already aware that prospecting is a hit or miss program. There are times when you don’t recover very much. I have been told endless times over the years that participants are happy with the education and exposure to gold prospecting, and really don’t care about how much gold they get as their share of what we recover.  But I know from long experience that it is much more satisfying to everyone if they go away Sunday afternoon with a nice share of gold to show for their effort. While other very dedicated helpers contribute to this, the ultimate responsibility to make it happen falls squarely upon my shoulders.

Gold in pan

When we are capturing this much gold in a single pan of the material we are processing, I don’t need to worry about how the splits are going to come out at the end of the day!

There are numerous regular helpers on these projects; too many to name here. But I must acknowledge Craig Colt and Derek Eimer who are perhaps our most serious gold prospectors. Also, Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman are local members who do prospecting nearly every day of the year, unless the snow is too deep to allow access to the streambed material. Nancy Aberg never misses a weekend project even though she has to travel perhaps 100 miles each way over windy roads to join up with us. Ray Derrick, now living in Arizona, also joined us on this project. Many years went by when Ray never missed a single weekend project.

We end off rather early on Saturday afternoon so we can freshen up and prepare for a potluck at the Grange Hall which begins at 6:30 PM. The gold panning was so productive on this Saturday; a bunch of the participants were still hard at it when I returned to Happy Camp. For some participants, the gold they recover on Saturday afternoon is the first gold they ever recovered. Some people never do break away from the gold adventure on the river and make it to the potluck. Instead, they go get flashlights to assist with their panning activity late into the night.

Even so, our potluck at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp was a full house. There was plenty of scrumptious food to go around. The roar of exciting conversations was so loud; it took some doing to quiet the room so I could tell everyone that dinner was ready. We have a bunch of local members who have either moved to Happy Camp altogether, or at least spend the entire summer seasons there. Many of these folks have already done the weekend projects, so we only see them around the office when they come in, or at the Saturday potlucks. All active Members are invited to join our group dig on Sunday morning.

We begin the group dig early on Sunday morning; usually at around 6:30 AM. The main reason for this is to complete the physical labor before the heat of the day reaches the site where we are working. When I arrived at Sluice Box, nearly everyone else was already hard at work. Everyone already knew at what layer in the streambed the gold was coming from.  This time, the pay-dirt was directly on top of the streambed. So digging was going to be rather easy.

We had already set up and dialed in our floating recovery system on Saturday, so Dickey was ready for the first bucket of pay-dirt as soon as he arrived.

Classification of pay dirt Screened pay-dirt

Our group helpers quickly organized participants into teams to perform the necessary functions to produce a continuous flow of pay-dirt to the recovery systems. Under John’s watchful eye, participants are sorted into diggers who fill plastic buckets about half way to keep them from becoming too heavy to pack over the rocks to a staging point. This is where the material will be passed through a classification screen.  Longtime supportive member, Mark Turner, created a volume ¼-inch classifier that we use on these projects.  In this way, we remove larger sized material (mostly rocks) that do not need to be fed into the recovery systems. Here it is on video:

Another team does the screening so that the classified pay-dirt drops into some large plastic tubs. Then others fill buckets with classified pay-dirt and walk the material down to where it can be passed out to our floating recovery system. Others gather up the empty buckets and distribute them back to the diggers. We captured the following video of how Sunday morning got off to a good start:

John feeding hand sluiceWe discovered on earlier weekend projects that when the pay-dirt is close to the surface, a group project can generate rich pay-dirt faster than our floating recovery system can process it. If you feed any gold recovery system too fast, the gold traps become buried and some portion of the gold will be lost with the tailings. Not good!

So, to take some pressure off Dickey, John and Scott set up a large modified hand sluice in the river so even more pay-dirt could be processed.  Here is some video I captured from up on the gravel bar:

Then I went out into the water to capture the pan samples Scott was turning up. All I can say is “Wow!”  I did not stay out there for long because the diggers were so intent on filling buckets that the camera was getting splashed from the rocks they were throwing into the river:

As it was, the production crew produced more pay-dirt than both recovery systems could keep up with. It is not unusual on these weekend projects to have so many buckets of pay-dirt that there is not enough time to process it all. When this happens, we invite participants to take what they want to process for themselves at some later time.

Helping hands Sample gold

Here is a typical pan that Scott Coleman showed me of the material that was being sent to the recovery systems.

Scott, Craig and Derek mostly devote themselves to running pan samples of the material which different participants are digging. This is to dial in the pay-dirt we process to the richest material we can find out there. As busy as they were, I did not see a single sample of material that was not worth processing. This is better than normal. Check out this video I captured of a pan sample dug by Scott. This was the very same material that was being fed into the buckets:

We are rather informal on Sunday digs in that as long as we are producing more pay-dirt than we will be able to process, participants are encouraged to take breaks whenever they feel the need, consume some nourishment and fluids, and pretty-much not overdo it. Here is my summary of what was taking place out there on Sunday morning. As you can see, things were going so well, I was in a light-hearted mood. Diane was also pulling my strings; we were having some fun out there!

We stopped the production team at around 11 AM. There remained at least an hour of processing pay-dirt which had already been dug. While the processing continued, the production team reclaimed the areas that had been disturbed. They moved rocks, gravel and tailings into the holes to return the gravel bar to the natural contours that were present before we got started. I gathered up about a dozen helpers to fill in a fairly large excavation that someone else had made downstream and did not fill in. That actually took us about an hour!

Members are supposed to reclaim their excavations when they are done. But sometimes fairly large excavations are left behind when members (or perhaps nonmembers) depart. When this happens, the rest of us must do the reclamation so we can stay off the bad list of local officials.

Clean-up of the floating sluice was really something to behold!  There is a section of punch plate over top of the initial recovery traps. So there is no way to see how well we are doing until we clean out the whole system after all the pay-dirt has been processed. My trusted helpers were present when we cleaned out the floating recovery system, along with some of the participants.  Check it out right here on video:

Gold concentratesDirecting a controlled flow of water over the concentrated material in the floating recovery system allowed the lighter material to be washed away while the much heavier gold lagged behind. Seeing all that gold in the recovery system was truly a sight to behold! Any worries I had about having enough gold to do a good split were evaporated from my mind as I watched the water concentrate millions of small flakes of pure wealth as we washed them into a large plastic tub. It was quite a show that reminded me of earlier days when we were allowed to suction dredge out in the river!

The Gold Girl was right there with her special plastic bucket to take possession of the very valuable gold-laden “concentrates” from the recovery system.

With just a little work, all remaining gear and tools were secured and put away safely.

Everyone was allowed some time to relax and freshen up. Then we at met at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp later in the day.

With all or most participants present at the Grange early on Sunday afternoon, we demonstrated the final clean-up functions using gravity methods. This is without the use of any chemicals.  It is extremely important if you plan to do gold prospecting to learn how to do the final steps to separate all remaining impurities from the gold that has been recovered. By “impurities,” I’m mainly talking about heavy iron sands and small iron pebbles which also become trapped in the primary recovery systems.

Over the many years, we have perfected this procedure and have demonstrated it to thousands of participants on these weekend projects. The entire process takes a few hours, mainly because we go slow to explain what we are doing, and to avoid losing a single speck of gold.

The entire final clean-up process would only require an hour or so if I was working on my own concentrates.  The reason is that I am not worried about saving every speck of gold, no matter how small. When allowed, I go for filling up bottles of gold (raw wealth) rather than allow my focus to be on a few (or many) tiny specks that don’t add up very well on a scale.  But this was not my gold. So I invested the extra time to make certain that nothing of value was lost.  This requires more time.

We allow project participants to participate in these final steps. Everyone is allowed to watch. This is not one of those programs where we take the concentrates into a hidden room and then come out later with a share for everyone. This is real small-scale gold mining where participants are allowed to be present every step of the way.  The value in getting direct exposure to these processes cannot be understated.  In my early days, I had to figure out most of these processes on my own. There were plenty of painful lessons along the way. As far as I know, The New 49’ers is the only mining association in the world that demonstrates all of the required steps necessary to become a successful small-scale gold miner.

Final goldIn all, we recovered 292 grains of gold. This is a little more than 12,1 pennyweights (20 pennyweights equal one troy ounce). This was about $800 at today’s gold price – all in about 3 hours of work.  I made an offer to keep all the gold for myself in exchange for all the pizza and beer necessary for all participants to celebrate our successful day. But not a single person was interested in that. They all wanted their shares!

So we split 6.4 grains by weight to each of the 45 participants that remained. Needless to say, making 292 grains of raw gold come out evenly between 45 people presents a challenge all in itself. It is easier for me because I have made these splits come out hundreds of times in the past. More importantly, I had to endure the personal embarrassment several times when we came up short on the final shares. True to my word, I had to make up the difference out of my own gold collection (ouch!).

The most difficult part in all of this is to keep order as we give the gold shares away. The noise of enthusiasm in the Grange Hall becomes almost deafening. During my early years, I used to try (and failed every time) to keep all this noise under control. It was impossible!  After a while, I realized this was the enthusiastic response that we wanted to generate. We just had to learn how to work around it  You have to accept thankful forms of appreciation however it comes to you!  Looked at in this light, I am very thankful that I have devoted my entire adult life to small-scale gold mining and the wonderful people who are attracted to it.

By around 5 PM on Sunday, we had cleaned up behind ourselves and put the chairs and tables away at the Grange Hall. There were plenty of sincere “thank yous” and other kind acknowledgments as I slowly worked my way, with our clean-up gear, to my car. Then I retreated to my own quiet home space and poured myself a well-deserved cold one or two… “Whew; another successful weekend project!”

Here was one more time that we sent a bunch of enthusiastic members off with the confidence and knowledge that high-grade gold is available for the taking if you just work at it.

Being able to locate and recover your own gold, and stashing some away, provides you freedom from the misguided dictates of governments that have lost their way. Gold is the ultimate currency which has a fair exchange value wherever you go in the world – as long as you can manage your affairs so that the bad guys don’t take it away from you.

On that note, I suggest that if you are free enough to put true wealth away in the form of gold, you are already much smarter than those whose only opportunity to acquire gold is to take it away from others.

2019 Schedule of Events

 June 22 & 23; July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

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

Schedule of Events

Planned Office Hours for Upcoming Season

 We shall monitor walk in traffic at our headquarter office in Happy Camp as we progress into the 2019 season.  Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects:  June 22; July 20; and August 17. 

If business is slow, sometimes the girls will close the office at 2:30 PM on Tuesdays. This won’t likely happen during the summer months. Still, we advise you to call the office in advance to make sure the doors will be open if you need to get inside to take care of business: 530 493-2012.

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

Most Recent Legal Fund Prize Drawing Winners!

Our office staff have informed me that all of the prizes have been sent out to the following winners from our most recent Legal Fund drawing which took place on February 22, 2019:

Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles:  William Frese of Cincinnati, OH; Kim Ellison of Hayward, CA;  Steve Perris of Eureka, CA;  Eric Hansen of Happy Camp, CA;  Cliff Leidecker of Rogue River, CA;  Ronald Mathews of Peyton, CA;  Chris Johnson of Talent, OR;  Van Wilhite of West Point, CA;  Michael Tietz of Proberta, CA;  & Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR.

Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Mark Newhagen of Hanover, MD;  Steve Perris of Eureka, CA;  Randol Thrasher of Atwater, CA;  Kim Ellison of Hayward, CA;  Russell Barrett of Redding, CA;  Rebecca Parrish of Seattle, WA;  Rodney Gunderson of Eatonville, WA;  Ed & Diane Tillotson of Lake Havasu City, AZ;  Stephen Perfetto of Menlo Park, CA;  & Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR.

Twenty 1\10th-Ounce bags of beautiful Alaskan gold:  Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA;  Manuel Alcantar of San Jose, CA;  Stephen Perfetto of Menlo Park, CA;  KMS Electric Co. Inc. of Palm Harbor, FL;  Micro Sluice Gold Products of Chetek, WI;  Hank Fender of Chandler, AZ;  Clifford Robinson of Oakland, CA;  Charles Herren of Marion, IN;  Marvin E. Duncan of Happy Camp, CA;  Ronald Copenhafer of Malibu, CA;  Donald Esch of Salem, OR;  William Sowell of Sidney, NE;  Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA;  James Goularte of Paradise, CA;  Mark Newhagen of Hanover, MD;  Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR;  Jeffery Palme of Prescott Valley, AZ;  Charles Rosebery of Cordova, AK;  Matt Cottrell of Galt, CA;  &  Cheryl Lee of Klamath Falls, OR.

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:  William Frese of Cincinnati, OH

Congratulations to all the winners!

Words alone cannot adequately describe the feelings of appreciation we feel for all our supporters who send in your contributions to The New 49’er Legal Fund. Without you guys, our small-scale gold mining industry would have been a thing of the past many years ago.

As it is, we remain in the fight to regain our freedoms with a very important legal challenge that has been placed on the doorstep of the now right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court (Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018)).

If you have not done so already, we are asking all supporters to send a letter to President Trump, his Solicitor General and several other officials, asking for them to help put attention on Bohmker v. Oregon, and encourage the Supreme Court to review this case. For your convenience, there is an Action Alert below which links to a sample letter from which you can copy and paste to create your own letter. The timing to send in your letter is perfect right now! This is because our official Reply to California’s Opposition is due to the Court in early April.

We should also place some hope and faith in the Trump administration.  Now that the 2-year cloud (hoax) has been lifted off of Mr. Trump, he and his team should be able to invest more resources into saving the once very productive resource development industries which supplied most of America’s continuous need for raw materials (timber, energy, minerals) from our federal lands.

In large part, Mr. Trump won the presidency on his platform of “draining the swamp” which definitely exists within American politics and continues to hold down a substantial portion of the American economy.

It is now becoming clear that the deep state (those very well connected individuals who are dedicated to turn America into a socialist country) organized a nation-wide all-out effort to bring down our president even before he won the 2016 election – all or mostly based upon a false narrative.  It is a sobering realization of how powerful the deep state is when the President of the United States, even with all the resources at his disposal, can be brought to his knees for a matter of years all because of a false narrative perpetuated by perhaps half or more of all of America’s politicians, newscasters and political activists.

Our industry has been brought to its knees by, more or less, the very same powerful bad actors or their affiliates who have perpetuated a hoax that in-stream mining is harmful to fish, even though the many studies have proven otherwise.

This very same tactic was used to kill America’s once thriving timber development industry.  Now, for lack of any reasonable sustainable development, we have vast reaches of public lands in America that have become severe fire hazards.

With a fair hearing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe we will be able to prove that the very same tactics by the very same or affiliated institutions, have succeeded in disallowing modern gold miners the use of any mechanized device to locate and develop America’s abundant gold deposits (true wealth) within 100 yards of any active waterway (Oregon and California, with other States not far behind).

This, when there is no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate that we have ever harmed so much as a single fish!

We are committed to keep fighting until either there is no hope remaining, or until we win back our most basic freedoms. As things are, perhaps we are closer than we have ever been to winning our industry back in full. My fingers are crossed on both hands!

Thanks for all you guys do to support our efforts! 

Upcoming Legal Drawing Will Have 3 Ounces of Gold & 10 Ounces of Silver Coins!
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 on Friday, 21 June 2019 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.

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. 
 Action Alert: We need to Push as Hard as We Can to Encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to Review Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018)

This case originated in Oregon and has been supported along its way mostly by prospecting associations based in Oregon up until the present. The case is challenging the State of Oregon’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands.

Many of you will recall that we made the final cut in the previous session of the High Court just this past year in Rinehart v. California. The Rinehart case was challenging the State of California’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Rinehart was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court largely because of the Solicitor General, who has the authority to provide “yes” or “no” advice to the High Court as to which of the final cases should be reviewed. The Solicitor General advised the Court to reject Rinehart largely on the grounds that this Bohmker case would soon be along, and it frames the very same arguments in a more straightforward manner than Rinehart.

The New 49’er Legal Fund made an initial substantial financial contribution to help get the Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court drafted, finalized and submitted. Other people and mining associations are also contributing. This is an industry-wide effort. Here is the Petition:  http://www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Petition-for-Writ-of-Cert.-1-21-19.pdf

I won’t go into the legal arguments here because of time and space. Let me just say that 150 years of case president supports our side. We believe that the existing High Court will also see it our way. The challenge is to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review Bokmker. After 9+ years of painful and expensive litigation, this is the industry’s final ongoing attempt to win our mining rights back.

Since the Solicitor General advised the High Court to reject Rinehart, our attorney is requesting we make an all-out industry-wide effort to encourage Mr. Trump to become involved, along with the existing Solicitor General and other officials who have an active interest in mining activity on the federal lands. Upon competent advice, we have added the Supreme Court to the list.

This is a letter writing campaign (postal mail). I have attached a sample letter  which can be cut and pasted into a letter of your own – or you can just add in the correct date at the top, your name and address at the bottom, an original signature; and mail the letter to Mr. Trump. It would be very helpful if you copy your final letter and send it to each of the officials listed at the bottom of the letter, especially the Solicitor General.

Tom Kitchar, who has been President of the Waldo Mining District in southern Oregon, and who was already fighting for small-scale miners 30+ years ago when I started The New 49’ers, has taken the lead role in organizing the Petition, encouraging other mining interests to file supporting briefs, and keeping the industry informed of ongoing developments. I have granted Tom a free hand to post updates on our Internet forum. You can read Tom’s latest assessment right here:  https://www.waldominingdistrict.org/

Our attorney believes that hard copy letters in the mail are likely to have a greater impact than email. I agree that perhaps only a single aid might view an email, while letters from a lot of people must be opened, handled and put into a location where they will stack up for many to see.

I won’t say that this is the end of our road, because there are dozens of other lawsuits between the Trump administration and various States over who has the controlling authority over the federal lands. The outcomes of those cases will perhaps affect us in a positive way. But this Bohmker case is the crown jewel for us; because it directly addresses the special status and property rights afforded to miners when we make valuable discoveries on the federal lands. Other resource developers on the federal lands do not possess these rights. Over a century of controlling case law confirms that mineral development is the priority use of the federal lands.

This is my strongest request for you guys to support this final effort by our industry to win our rights back. For as long as we have been fighting, and all the money we have spent over the past 9 or 10 years, it has all come down to this: We need to push as hard as we can to get Bohmker in front of the U.S. Supreme Court!

My sincere thanks to each of you who support this final effort!

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken

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, FEBRUARY 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 1

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Before we go into the Action Alert, I would like to make a few announcements which are important to this February newsletter:

1) 2019 Schedule of Events:  June 22 & 23; July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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. All participants share equally in the gold we recover.

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

Schedule of Events

2) Our New Message Forum is On Line:

Some months ago, the platform we were using to support our extensive Internet Forum went off line, taking all of our past history and list of subscribers somewhere into hyperspace.

Through countless hours of hard work, longtime supportive member, Jim Foley, has created a new Internet Forum which can be found at this link: http://new49ers.x10host.com/phpBB3/

This forum is the one place where you can get up-to-date industry news, make new friends who have similar interests as you, and have lively discussions about mining gear and the gold mining adventures (and misadventures) you and other prospectors are having. You do not need to be a member of The New 49’ers to become part of our forum conversation.

3) Upcoming Legal Drawing Will Have 4 Ounces of Gold & 10 Ounces of Silver Prizes!Gold and Silver Eagles

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!

This gold has been divided into 20 prizes and added to a 1-ounce American Gold Eagle, 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 one-ounce Silver Eagles in our ongoing Legal Fund drawing which will take place on 22 February 2019. That’s only about 2 weeks away!

I believe this is the most gold we have ever put into a Legal Fund drawing; 41 prizes altogether! Here is a link to the Prize Drawing:  http://www.goldgold.com/alaska-gold-prizes-1-19.html

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.

 

Action Alert: We need to Push as Hard as We Can to Encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to Review Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018)

This case originated in Oregon and has been supported along its way mostly by prospecting associations based in Oregon up until now. The case is challenging the State of Oregon’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands.

Many of you will recall that we made the final cut in the previous session of the High Court in Rinehart v. California just this past year. The Rinehart case was challenging California’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Ultimately Rinehart was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court largely because of the Solicitor General, who has the authority to provide “yes” or “no” advice to the high court as to which of the final cases should be reviewed. The Solicitor General advised the Court to reject Rinehart largely on the grounds that this Bohmker case would soon be along, and it frames the very same arguments in a more straightforward manner than Rinehart.

The New 49’er Legal Fund made an initial substantial financial contribution to help get the Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court drafted, finalized and submitted. Other people and mining associations are also contributing. This is an industry-wide effort. Here is the Petition:  http://www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Petition-for-Writ-of-Cert.-1-21-19.pdf

I won’t go into the legal arguments here because of time and space. Let me just say that 150 years of case president supports our side. We believe that the existing High Court will also see it our way. The challenge is to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review Bohmker. After 9+ years of painful and expensive litigation, this is the industry’s final ongoing attempt to win our mining rights back.

Since the Solicitor General advised the High Court to reject Rinehart, our attorney is requesting we make an all-out industry-wide effort to encourage Mr. Trump to become involved, along with the existing Solicitor General and other officials who have an active interest in mining activity on the federal lands.

This is a letter writing campaign (postal mail). I have attached a sample letter which can be cut and pasted into a letter of your own – or you can just add in the correct date at the top, your name and address at the bottom, an original signature; and mail the letter to Mr. Trump. It would be very helpful if you copy your final letter and send it to each of the officials listed at the bottom of the letter, especially the Solicitor General.

Tom Kitchar, who has been President of the Waldo Mining District in southern Oregon, and who was already fighting for small-scale miners 34 years ago when I started The New 49’ers, has taken the lead role in organizing the Petition, encouraging other mining interests to file supporting briefs, and keeping the industry informed of ongoing developments. I have granted Tom a free hand to post updates on our Internet forum. You can read Tom’s latest assessment right here:  https://www.waldominingdistrict.org/

Our attorney believes that hard copy letters in the mail are likely to have a greater impact than email. I agree that perhaps only a single aid might view an email, while letters from a lot of people must be opened, handled and put into a location where they will stack up for many to see.

I won’t say that this is the end of our road, because there are dozens of other lawsuits between the Trump administration and various States over who has the controlling authority over the federal lands. The outcomes of those cases will perhaps affect us in a positive way. But this Bohmker case is the crown jewel for us; because it directly addresses the special status and property rights afforded to miners when we make valuable discoveries on the federal lands. Other resource developers on the federal lands do not possess these rights. Over a century of controlling case law confirms that mineral development is the priority use of the federal lands.

This is my strongest request for you guys to support this final effort by our industry to win our rights back. For as long as we have been fighting, and all the money we have spent over the past 9 or 10 years, it has all come down to this: We need to push as hard as we can to get Bohmker in front of the U.S. Supreme Court!

My sincere thanks to each of you who support this final effort!

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken

 

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, 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!

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, 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. 

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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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