New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 4

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Story by Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman

Laura & Scott Laura's gold
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Portable Gold in pan

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

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

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

See you guys on the river!

Miners Lose Motion for Summary Judgment in Oregon

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

Order re: Summary Judgement

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

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

There is Reason for Hope!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe that time is not so far away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

Gold nuggets on black

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

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

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

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

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

               

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members

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

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

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

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

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, MARCH 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 3

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Dicky Melton

Cleaning bedrock Gold from Mossing

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

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

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

Leo smiling Klamath River

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

Material in pan Gold

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

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

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

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

More prospectors Mining along the edge

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

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

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

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

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

Legal Fund Drawing Results

Legal Fund Drawing 1 Legal Drawing 2

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

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

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

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

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

John Rose captured the drawing on video:

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

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

Legal Updates

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

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

Initial Response from Brandon Rinehart

Initial Response from State

Rinehart Rebuttal of State Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs               

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members

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

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

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

Updating the Billing System in our Offices

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

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, FEBRUARY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 2

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Dicky Melton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legal Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews of Modern Hand-prospecting Gear

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

Legal Fund Drawing in February

Gold and Silver Eagles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

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

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, JANUARY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Legal Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Legal Fund Drawing

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

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

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, DECEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 11

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Story by Dickey Melton

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope to see you out here!

Legal Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Legal Fund Drawing

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

 

On a Personal Note

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

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

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 10

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

Story by Dickey Melton

 

 

Paul Ritchie's gold Paul smiling

Last week I was in the New 49er office when a fella came in with a gold pan and sniffer bottle in his hand. He introduced himself as Paul Richie. Looking at his bottle, I made the comment, “it sure looks heavy,” and laughed.  He smiled at me and dumped the contents of the bottle into the pan. The surprise caused my heart to skip at least one beat. My first thought was he must have brought the gold from Alaska. There were a bunch of nuggets there. One weighed just under three pennyweights. It was really nice gold!

After some conversation, John Rose and I followed Paul to his mining site to get a look. The location was only about a mile from the New 49er office in Happy Camp. Paul explained that it was another New 49’er member who introduced him the proven location.  This is one of the many benefits of New 49’er membership; experienced members always seem ready to help others get into the gold!

Dicky & Paul hardpack

The interesting thing about this is that Paul just started digging in a hole that someone else had started and left before reaching the pay layer. Paul dug a hole about the size of a 5-gallon bucket where he found bedrock. He vacuumed up the area; and after panning it out, he had just fewer than ten pennyweights of beautiful gold. One nugget was just under three pennyweights.

Paul's Hole Paul's nuggets

The next morning, John Rose and I went to Paul’s site to capture the action on video.  Paul explained to us how he chose this spot and the steps he took. As he was vacking, we watched Paul reach down by the hose and picked up a nugget right off the bedrock.  Then he put the contents of the vack into a single gold pan and went down to the river and panned out about a dozen nuggets.  This gold is coming out of some kind of very old hard-packed material that the old-timers must have overlooked, right alongside the Klamath River. Both John and I were astounded by how rich the discovery is!

Paul was only in Happy Camp two days and left with enough beautiful gold to make any prospector sweat with envy.  We could tell that he was feeling really good.

I’ll bet thousands of people have walked right across this place never knowing what lie just underneath!

The people who started that hole were only the size of a five-gallon bucket away from a very rich gold discovery. It just goes to show how close you can be to a rich discovery and have no idea that it is present.

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

The New 49’er Legal FundLegal Fund Drawing October 2015 drawing took place in our Happy Camp headquarters at the close of business on 30 October.  Here are the winners:

One ounce of gold nuggets: Dennis Costello from Sonora CA.

Quarter-ounce of gold nuggets: Bob Burdett from Shingletown CA; William Moore from LaPorte CO; Clifford G Williams from El Cajon CA; Robert Williams from Georgetown CA.

Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Donna Craig from Cedaridge, CO; Ernest Nelson from Imperial CA; Frank Madsen from Novato CA; Dan Baker from Springfield MO; Robert Franklin from Cheyenne OK; Shasta Miners and Prospectors Association from Anderson CA; Kevin Dahlke from Springfield VA; Keith Benton from Rescue CA; Raymond O’Hagan from Orting WA; George Kramer from Waxahachie TX.

One-once Silver Eagles: Terry White from Cave Junction OR; Michael Krzyszton from Tucson AZ; Duane Werth from Elgin IL; Joseph Loyd from Oroville CA; Don Dahl from Nampa ID; Michael Kuzio from Atascadero CA; Gary Wright from Happy Camp CA; Bill Kerr from Klamath Falls OR; Edward Murphy from Phoenix AZ; Dan Kunz from Wilton CA.

Thank you so much to all of you who are actively supporting The New 49ers Legal Fund’s efforts on behalf of small-scale miners!

Congratulations to all the winners! Any contributions received after the time of this drawing will generate tickets for the next Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.

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

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

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

To contribute to our legal fund, please go here

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

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining.

Now we will just have to wait until the California Supreme Court weighs in.  My sources tell me that the California Supreme Court bases its rulings mostly upon U.S. Supreme Court controlling Decisions.  If this is true, we are likely to win.  From that, we should be able to roll back the State’s determination to impose unreasonable overregulation upon suction gold dredgers.  Stay tuned!

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river.

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

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

As many of you know, the State’s position of insisting that suction dredgers obtain a permit which they refuse to make available has already been overruled unanimously by California’s Third Appellate Court and the San Bernardino Superior Court which has taken control of all suction dredging cases in the State.

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

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

Courthouse Scene

Image provided by Alan Mash

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

We want to thank each and everyone that was at the courthouse on the 5th. It was great to see such a turn out in support of these two men who are making a stand on behalf of all of us.

As prospectors and other supporters filed into the courtroom, the seats filled quickly. Then they started putting people in the jury box. After that there was standing room only. It was a great showing of support for what we believe in. I am sure that the significance of this turnout was not lost on either the court or the state’s attorneys.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

There is a new Water Quality law which will go into effect next year in California that will affect most of these activities.  We are in the process of submitting applications that will cover the extensive properties we make available to our members.

2016 Schedule of Events

You are invited to prospect and mine for gold along 60 miles of gold-bearing mining properties on the Klamath, Scott and Salmon River, and their tributaries, in Siskiyou County, northern California. We guarantee you will find gold–which is yours to keep!

Participate in a fun, weekend basic group prospecting project and keep an equal share of all the gold that is recovered. Learn from hands-on experience how to find your own gold. No previous experience is necessary.

There is nothing more exciting or rewarding than finding and recovering your own gold! 

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.
Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28.

All of the 2016 events are expected to happen on our A & D #3 Gold Claim at K-23AA . There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be gaining access to the river. There is even more free camping just downstream on our Wingate River Gold Claim at K-23A . There are also private accommodations in Happy Camp, which is only about 12 miles away.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 9

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Opening image
Image by Music Lee Adame

This has been a really good season for us along the Klamath River.  I’m guessing we have seen more members around Happy Camp than during at least the past 10 years or longer. Each of our Weekend Group Mining Projects have had in the neighborhood of 100 or more participants  out enjoying exciting rafting trips to reach probably the largest and richest surface gold mining deposit we have found in 30 years.  Our Saturday evening potlucks have been well attended, sometimes filling the Happy Camp Grange hall to capacity.  We have had a lot of fun; and we have sent hundreds of beginning-gold prospectors away with the first gold they ever found.

Relaxing in the sun Girls in the boat
“John Rose’s family enjoyed some time on the river with us, and made my boat look more desirable than ever!”

While California State officials have hassled a few of our members who have been suction dredging, in the wake of several ground-breaking court Decisions in favor of our industry, the State has not filed a single case against any of our members along the Klamath River or its tributaries until the end of our season (please see more below).  Most members who were dredging for gold were not bothered by State officials.

Something that we have not seen in a long time is members taking an interest in our more remote properties; the ones you need to hike into.  Here’s another new thing:  Some of our members and their friends are hiking and camping way out into the wildland areas in the headwaters of the Scott River, Elk and Indian Creeks; places where nobody has set foot in many years, if ever.

GabeSome of these guys are coming back with stories which border on unbelievable, or at least unexplainable, encounters with Bigfoot.  The encounters are happening too often, and in too many places, to just discount as wild imagination.  For example, Gabe Garrison was recently on an extended hiking/camping trip with two New 49’er members into the headwaters of Indian Creek in search of an old historical gold mine. They were way out in the wildlands just a mile or two from the Oregon Border. Shortly after setting up camp one evening, something started a landslide from the high peaks just across the canyon.  They didn’t think much about it until a little while later when they heard a distinct signal just out of sight a short distance away.  The signal was unmistakingly from two sizable pieces of wood being banged together; a noise that was clearly not from natural causes.  Just a little while later, a similar banging signal came from just out of sight on the other side of their camp.

Each of the guys agreed the signals were originating from an intelligent source.  Yet they were in a place so far away from civilization that they were completely certain there were no other human beings around.  Beside the signals, they heard no other unusual noise.  Just after dark, another dramatic landslide was triggered from the other side of the canyon.  They all had the uncomfortable perception that they were being watched and warned to leave.  Heavily armed (which is always a good idea when venturing into the wildlands); they spent that night in camp and returned home the following day.  While they did not find the historical gold mine, they found enough mysterious adventure to last a lifetime!

Longtime New 49’er member and resident of Happy Camp, Doug Robinson was one of the guys with Gabe on that hike.  But Doug has had other mysterious encounters while gold prospecting in a remote canyon in a location which he would prefer not to disclose.  This is a sure sign that he has found a good gold strike up there! 

Doug says the encounters have been with intelligent forces that never allow themselves to be seen.  One time, he was rushed from behind by something alarming enough to spin around and draw his gun.  He found himself yelling out to whatever it was that he was prepared to use his weapon.  Going back to investigate, he could not find any sign that anything even made the noise.  Doug says he has heard the bang, bang, bang signal in his secret canyon.  He says there is no doubt that it is a signal coming from an intelligent life form, but he can never find the source.

Dicky Broken tree

Dickey Melton, also a longtime New 49’er member and Happy Camp resident, is yet another prospector who enjoys prospecting in the more remote areas.  He says he has had several encounters in different locations with some kind of very powerful intelligent sources that seemed to be trying to scare him away.  In one place, up on our extensive East Fork of Elk Creek property,  just after the gate was opened for summer access this spring, Dickey and his wife, Cherie, took a drive up there to prospect around – only to find the road blocked in several places by some form of intelligence.  In one place, the top of a tree had been ripped off and thrown across the road.  Dickey didn’t think much about it until he realized there was no possible way the treetop could have landed on the road by any natural cause.  Upon further inspection, he found claw marks on the tree stem; similar markings that a bear would leave to mark its territory.  But no bear dragged this treetop up the slope and onto the road!  There were other barriers engineered by some intelligence further up the road.  Yet there were no tire tracks and no foot prints.  How do you explain this?

Here is some video that we put together which captures all three of their close encounter adventures:

Big FootPerhaps Dickie’s most compelling encounter is when he was prospecting up on our Indian Creek Claim near West Branch Campground.  He was not satisfied with the way the creek was flowing over his sluice box, so he walked a ways upstream looking for a more favorable location.  Then he heard a huge crash just behind him.  Spinning around and startled, he saw that a sizable tree had fallen across the creek.   Cautiously going back to investigate, he could not see any reason why the tree had fallen over.  It was well away from the creek.  The tree was healthy.  The only plausible answer was that something very powerful had pushed it over.  While there was no sign that any physical presence had been there, Dickey says there was an odor in the air that he had never encountered before.  A distinct odor has been acknowledged in many Bigfoot encounters around the world.

It is not by accident that a large statue of Bigfoot is the center piece attraction in uptown Happy Camp, just down the street from our headquarters.  Bigfoot sightings and encounters near Happy Camp go way back in time.  Even local Indian tribal history makes reference to encounters with this strange, intelligent, powerful creature that seems to have the ability to appear and disappear at will.  While the creature clearly attempts to frighten human beings away from its territory, to my own knowledge, fortunately, there is no history of Bigfoot attacking, harming or killing people around Happy Camp.  This is a good thing!

There is something very mysterious in all this.  On the one hand, there have been Bigfoot sightings all over the world, even in the arctic.  But no bones have ever been found to confirm its existence.  No Bigfoot has ever been captured.  How do we account for this?  I suggest we should not be so bold as to discount things that we do not yet understand.  In closing, here is a video that captured a Bigfoot sighting not very far from Happy Camp.

If you are not up for wild adventure, I suggest you contain your prospecting activities to our extensive properties which remain on the more beaten path.

Happy prospecting!

Part Time Office Management Position Available

A new office management position is opening in our administrative office.  This is largely because of the growth we have experienced during this past year, along with anticipated growth during the coming year.  Note that we have never hired a person on a part time basis that did not quickly evolve into full time work.

The position is perfect for someone who would like to settle in Happy Camp.

The person should have some office management experience, should have an understanding of business accounting principles, and should have a good working knowledge of Microsoft’s Excel program.

For more information, please contact either John Rose or Montine Blevins in our office at 530 493-2012.

New Adventure Book puts us in a Good Light!

Gold Fever Book Cover

We met British journalist Steve Boggan on the Klamath River a few years ago, shortly after the price of gold had peaked at $1,900 per ounce.

Excited by the opportunity of striking it rich – and maybe because he had just turned 50 – Steve simply packed his bag, got on a plane from England and flew to California to find some gold for himself.  Steve’s gold mining adventures found him traveling through some of the most interesting, historical gold prospecting locations in California, eventually to arrive in Happy Camp.

This all happened a few years ago when we came up with a whole new method of motorized underwater suction mining which was not restricted by California’s dredging regulations at the time.  In fact, Steve’s first exposure to The New 49’ers was in Siskiyou County Superior Court, overflowing onto the street with our members and nearly the entire business community of Happy Camp, at the very moment the judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the State which pretty much allowed us the remainder of the season to suction mine within the waterways along our extensive mining properties.

Steve Boggan with Dave Mack and Rich Krimm

“We were all pretty excited about the gold we were finding!”

Rich Krimm and I devoted a big part of that season sucking up gold nuggets on our K-25A property.  Rich and I agreed to take Steve under our wing while secretly plotting to scare the dickens out of him every step of the way.  He writes fondly in his book about those fun and exciting adventures, along with interesting tales of his other gold mining adventures in California in a way which places a very positive outlook on our industry. The book is called, GOLD FEVER: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush. The book has just been published in the United States and is getting great attention. GOLD FEVER was chosen as a BBC Book of the Week and Steve has been interviewed by USA Today, NPR, and National Geographic talking about his time prospecting in California, and especially his time at Happy Camp and with The New 49ers.  In all or most of these interviews, which are circulating amongst millions of viewers and readers, Steve puts our New 49’er program as the Number One small-scale gold mining opportunity in California.

Since Steve has given us so much positive coverage, I suggest we should all read his tales about the modern-day gold rush.

EXCLUSIVE FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO THE NEW 49’ER NEWSLETTER:  Steve’s publisher has agreed to offer an exclusive giveaway of  Steve’s book – GOLD FEVER (Hardcover, $24.99 retail) – to our first 10 newsletter subscribers (US residents only) who send an email to marketing@oneworld-publications.com.  Please enter the giveaway!

You can check out Steve’s book on amazon for more information.

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. Just to give you an idea how important this case is, even the Obama Administration just filed a brief opposing the rights of small-scale gold miners on the public lands! Our attorneys are busy rebutting those briefings.  We will just have to wait until the California Supreme Court weighs in.  My sources tell me that the California Supreme Court bases its rulings mostly upon U.S. Supreme Court controlling Decisions.  If this is true, we are likely to win.  From that, we should be able to roll back the State’s determination to impose unreasonable overregulation upon suction gold dredgers.  Stay tuned!

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river.

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

There is a legal provision in California which requires appeals of denied injunctions to be expedited when ongoing circumstances are causing irreparable harm to people who are 70 years or older. A bunch of our 70+ year old members have come forward with Declarations in support of this appeal.

The previous set of legal suction dredge regulations (2009) allowed year-round suction dredging on the Klamath and multiple other rivers in California.  So there is still reason for hope.  In my own experience, the best time to dredge the Klamath River is during the fall when the water is most clear and low…

In another case in front of the San Bernardino Court, the mining community has just filed an opening salvo in challenging the process California used to adopt the 2012 suction dredge regulations.  Stay tuned for more activity on this as our adversaries start to argue that the process did not go far enough to put an end to suction dredging:

And in a more recent, surprising development, New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland were both notified last week that the State will attempt to criminally prosecute them in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).  The first hearing date is set for 22 September, but it will just be a formality.  Both members are being defended by our attorney, James Buchal.  I believe he will file a motion to dismiss the charges, since the Decision has already been established in the California Courts that California’s “scheme” of first requiring suction dredgers to acquire a permit, and then refusing to issue them, is preempted by federal law, is illegal and unenforceable.

We were hoping for this criminal contest in Siskiyou County during the spring; but we will take what we can get.  In view of recent California Decisions on these matters, I predict the possibility of a conviction (guilty beyond a reasonable doubt) is about zero.  With just a little luck on our side, the judge will dismiss the charges and tell the State to not bring any more.  Notwithstanding the other ongoing cases, this might open the door to hassle-free suction dredging in California.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

New Legal Fund-Raiser!

Gold Nuggets for FundraiserThe new drawing will be for two ounces of beautiful gold nuggets.  Those will be split into a 1-once grand prize and four quarter-ounce prizes.  There will also be 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 American Silver Eagles. That’s 25 prizes worth winning!

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 October. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

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

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

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

Other announcements:

Fire Restrictions:  Because of exceptionally dry conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed fire restrictions in the Klamath National Forest.  This means internal combustion engines (like water pumps) cannot be operated on our mining properties unless you are floating them out on the waterway.  Since the fire restrictions are likely to continue for the remaining part of this season, you might give some thought to how you can rig up something to float your motor(s). In case you are interested, there are special floats made specifically for this purpose. Please contact Montine for more details: 530 493-2062. You can find out more about what is and is not allowed under these restrictions right here:

Annual Dues:  As many of you noticed, we bill all Full Members for $50 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 in order to maintain control over a very substantial number of federal mining claims (60 miles of gold-rich river and creek properties).  Thank you very much to those of you who responded immediately.  Thank you also to those of you who will help us maintain our extensive properties, which provide the backbone of our Association!

Winter hours:  As of the 1st of September, we will switch to winter hours at our headquarters in Happy Camp.  This means the office and store will remain open between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except for normal national holidays.  Our Saturday evening potlucks ended this season on 29 August.  They will resume next season on the 4th of June.  Check out this video as we ended the organized part of our 2015 season with some song and dance:

Just because the office is on winter hours does not mean that members cannot actively prospect on our properties.  There is a 24-hour emergency number on our Contact page to reach our Internal Affairs in the event of a serious problem or emergency:  (510) 681 8066.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, AUGUST 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 8

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

People working Good Gold in the pan

This has really been a good season for us along the Klamath River in northern California.  While we have members scattered all over our extensive properties actively prospecting and mining, we have been doing our Weekend Group Mining Projects on an extensive virgin gold deposit that was discovered late last season on one of our newer properties, K23AA, about 7 miles downstream of Happy Camp.

K-23AA is an extensive mining property that reaches down and nearly touches our Wingate Claim (K-23A). Wingate is another popular and very large property that includes a US Forest Service river access (boat ramp into the river) and a rather extensive free camping area which includes toilet facilities.

We devoted all of last season’s Group Mining Projects to another high-banking area located up towards the upper end of K-23AA.  Since that gold-rich discovery was on the far side of the river from Highway 96, we pulled one of our very large Colorado River Rafts out of storage and used it to transport project participants directly across the river to the worksite.  A small outboard motor mounted on the raft made those boat transfers rather easy.

But this new much larger gold discovery about a mile downstream on K-23AA is a whole different story.  It is located in a more remote reach of the river.  While there is a good trail from the nearest easy boat crossing, we know there would be some project participants that would not be prepared to make the hike back and forth two days in a row.

Ground zero Ground zero

This is one of only two virgin gold deposits we have found up out of the water during the past 30 years!

The gold deposit is quite rich; so there has never been any doubt that we are going to work it.  The challenge has been in coming up with ways to deliver large numbers of participants to and from the worksite with the use of boats.  Ultimately, through trial and error, we worked out a way to use my jet boat to tow the river raft, which was also making use of its own, smaller outboard engine.  Participants parked their vehicles down at our Wingate property and then were carpooled about a mile upriver where they boarded the boats.  Then we towed them about a half-mile downstream to the worksite through a pretty aggressive set of rapids.  Then later in the day, we used the same boats to tow them about another half-mile downstream through another set of rapids to Wingate where they could offload near to where their cars were parked.

This is all something we have never attempted before with large numbers of people. But we knew at the beginning of the season that the new gold discovery is so rich, we had no alternative but to give it a try.

Thumbs up Dicky

As it turns out, towing large groups of people downstream is the easy part.  Not to mention that the boat adventures through the deep, remote canyon adds a white water rafting dimension to the already-exciting program of recovering your own gold.  Our free Group Mining Projects provide the first mining experiences for many of our members.  These Projects are one of the many exciting benefits of being a member of The New 49’ers.

The main challenge of using the boats has been in towing the large rubber raft back upstream through the rapids so that we can pick up more passengers.  Even with twenty passengers at a time, it has been taking 4 to 5 trips each time we move the participants.

During our first attempts, we were mostly flooding the raft with water from standing waves in the rapids that would wash right over the front and swamp the raft.  We finally worked it out with my jet boat on the first project; but repeated trips upstream put so much wear and tear on my jet boat that we almost didn’t make it up the rapids for the final two voyages.  That would have left about 40 participants stranded on the far side of the river – which would have been rather embarrassing.

Extensive deposit

Here is just a glimpse of how extensive this deposit is!

One of our newer members, Dan Baker, arrived this summer with one of the best jet boats I have ever seen for maneuvering the Klamath River.  His boat has about twice as much power as mine.  Dan volunteered his boat during our second Group Project to tow the raft back up through the rapids.  Making this happen also required some trial and error, because the Klamath River had dropped due to the ongoing drought. While you would think that less water would make the river run slower, it actually makes the rapids steeper and faster.  Last month’s newsletter shares some of the fun we had while trying to work that out – which we ultimately accomplished.

But Dan needed to attend to some family business, so his boat was not available for this most recent project.  Fortunately, several days before, Siskiyou County was slammed with a cloud burst of rain – which brought the river level back up a little and turned it brown. You will see the darker-colored water in some of these images and video sequences.

Even still, we were pretty sure that my jet boat was not going to handle the load.  So a bunch of our loyal Project helpers and I were down on K-23AA a few days before this project with it in mind that we were going to need to transport all of our project mining equipment upstream to a point closer to the river access.  That was going to be a lot of work!  It also was going to require us to make a whole new gold discovery further upstream. We were pretty confident about making that happen; but it is very painful to withdraw from an already-established rich gold deposit!

Just on a chance, before starting to move gear, we decided to try different ideas of attaching the raft to my jet boat to see if we could tow it up through rapids without flooding it with water.  Our first attempt involved lifting the bow of the raft all the way up on top of the jet boat’s outboard engine and try towing it.  This technique worked pretty well until the raft slid off the side of the outboard and prevented me from steering the jet boat.  Here was my explanation on video as we were just beginning the exercise:

Dave in rapids

People PanningOur second attempt involved tying the raft as close to my jet boat as possible and allow the raft to ride on the jet blast from, my motor.  This worked best once we removed all passengers from the raft.  Once we had that worked out, we made two flawless passes both up and down the river and came to the fortunate conclusion that we were going to be able to do the weekend project once again in our already-established high-grade pay-streak.  Our joy and relief is reflected in the following video sequences:

We had 85+ enthusiastic participants signed up for this project.  That’s an all-time record for the third project of the season.  We sure have a lot of interest this summer; there are plenty of new faces around!

Saturday morning is always devoted to some classroom theory and organization.  We do this over at the Happy Camp Grange Hall. After lunch, we all parked our vehicles down on the Wingate property.  Two car pools had already been organized to immediately transfer people a mile upriver where the boats were waiting. It took four trips to get everyone down to the worksite. A dozen or so of our most experienced members were already set up at the site to teach beginners how to gold pan.  Teaching people how to pan is really the main objective on Saturday. Gold panning is the essential beginning of the prospecting learning curve.

PotluckParticipants get to keep all the gold they find on Saturday; so there was no holding back this enthusiastic bunch of prospectors.  I saw several nice gold nuggets recovered off the bedrock.  People were pretty jacked up even though it must have been 100 degrees out in the sun.

We normally don’t keep people out there very long on Saturday afternoon.  This is because we want them at their best on early Sunday morning when we pull together to recover as much gold as we can in several hours of hard work.

Saturday night potluck was a full house, as usual.  There was lots and lots of great food to go around. The roar of exciting chatter was like something you would experience at a sporting event. After a short meeting, we sent everyone home early.

There was already a line of eager participants ready to board the boats when I arrived at 6:15 on Sunday morning.  We made short work of ferrying everyone down to the worksite. Here is some video that captured the action (including some from our new video drone):

Loading boats Unloading raft

By the time we secured the boats alongside the river, our experienced team leaders already had the whole crew, somewhere around 80 people, dialed in like a well-oiled production machine.  They were supplying two high-banker recovery systems as fast as the material could be effectively processed.  A lot of the action was caught on video.  I apologize for the vibration in the drone footage.  The machine got bumped while being moved. But we still think the values in the video are worth showing enough that we will now order a video drone that is more durable:

Feeding high-banker Lots of workers

Craig showing gold Gold in blue pan

Craig Colt showing off some mid-day gold.

One of the important benefits to this location is that the sun does not come over the trees until about noon. With the early morning coolness, we usually get in between 3 and 4 hours of good production before people start slowing down.  After about 2 hours, we usually clean up just part of one of the recovery systems and show the gold around.  This always pushes the level of enthusiasm up.  We were doing particularly well on this day. The truth is that these projects are just plain fun! In fact, the human production machine was so tuned in that I captured our management team just goofing off:

John sampling Sample off bedrock

Both John’s and Craig’s sample pans were showing good results!

Actually, both Craig Colt and John Rose had been actively sampling the pay-dirt, and directing people to dig in the more productive areas which are mostly just above bedrock in the orange-colored hard-pack.  I saw Dyton doing quite a lot of physical labor up at ground zero where the original gold strike was made.  Much to the dismay of onlookers, he hefted a 200-pound rock out of the excavation without even breathing hard.  Here was Dyton explaining the nature of this fantastic gold deposit we have discovered:

Guys digging Alex

We don’t push people too hard on these projects.  We figure people will invest as much physical work as they have to give.  We especially like to get younger people involved.  As long as they work, every participant is rewarded with an equal share of the gold.  As we all know, the years go by fast, and it’s today’s children who will be running tomorrow’s show.  Here is a conversation I had with one of our future leaders:

Letrap cleanupSometime around 11 am, we shut everything down, put the gear away, leveled off our tailings piles to reclaim the visible disturbances we made; and then we did a preliminary cleanup out there on the gravel bar.  By this, I mean that we ran the concentrated material from both high-banker recovery systems over our green Le Trap sluice.  This was just the first of several steps we would do to separate all the gold from the other heavy material we had collected, mostly black iron sand.  There were lots of “Ooh’s and Ah’s” as I fed the material into the Le Trap.  It was clear that we were going to have a good day!  Check it out right here on video:

After a final, exciting boat trip down to Wingate, we all agreed to meet back up at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp at 2 pm to finish the cleanup and split the gold.  This involves several steps in which participants are able to watch and help.

As far as I am aware, our Weekend Group Projects are the only program in America, perhaps in the world, where we demonstrate and allow people to actively participate in a successful gold mining program from A-to-Z, from sampling, to discovery, to production, to cleanup – and actually receive an equal share of the gold.

In all, we recovered exactly three-quarters of an ounce of beautiful virgin gold.  There were 16 gold nuggets.  This was all split between 71 very happy participants who stuck with us until the very end.

Join us for our remaining Weekend Group Mining Projects this Season!

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

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.

Remaining schedule of 2015 Events:  August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events

Let’s Not Rule out the Last Part of our 2015 Dredging Season Just Yet!

We have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce (by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river).

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have filed an appeal with California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  There is a legal provision in California which requires appeals of denied injunctions to be expedited when ongoing circumstances are causing irreparable harm to people who are 70 years or older. A bunch of our 70+ year old members have come forward with Declarations in support of this appeal.

You can find the Appeal, along with supporting Declarations, at the bottom of this page.

Our Appeal with the Forth Appellate Court is being filed as we go to press with this newsletter.  You can watch for links to the material either on our Internet Forum, or on the legal page we have specifically set up on our web site to keep you guys informed.

The previous set of legal suction dredge regulations (2009) allowed year-round suction dredging on the Klamath and multiple other rivers in California.  So there is still reason for hope.  In my own experience, the best time to dredge the Klamath River is during the fall when the water is most clear and low…

Let’s not give up yet on 2015!

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

 

New Legal Fund-Raiser!

Gold NuggetsThe new drawing will be for two ounces of beautiful gold nuggets.  Those will be split into a 1-once grand prize and four quarter-ounce prizes.  There will also be 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 American Silver Eagles. That’s 25 prizes worth winning!

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 October. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

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

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

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

Fire Restrictions

Because of exceptionally dry conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed fire restrictions in the Klamath National Forest as of last week.  This means internal combustion engines (like water pumps) cannot be operated on our mining properties unless you are floating them out on the waterway.  Since the fire restrictions are likely to continue for the remaining part of this season, you might give some thought to how you can rig up something to float your motor(s). In case you are interested, there are special floats made specifically for this purpose. Please contact Montine for more details: 530 493-2062. You can find out more about what is and is not allowed under these restrictions right here:

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, JULY 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 7

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Working in a rowGold in pan

This is turning out to be a very low water year along the Klamath River; the lowest I have seen in a very long time; and we still have several months in front of us before the season is over.  The water has dropped by at least a foot since we did our first weekend group outing of the season several weeks ago.  You guys might recall from last month’s newsletter that we have discovered a massive surface gold deposit on our K-23AA property which is located around 7 miles downstream of Happy Camp.  Since the discovery is a pretty long walk from the nearest easy place to gain access to a boat, a walk that many people might want to make in hundred-degree weather, our biggest challenge this season has been in coming up with creative ways to move large numbers of people to and from the rich gold deposit by boat.

Dave in jet boatDerek driving raft

Gold sample

Typical pan sample out of the new deposit!

We worked out a pretty effective method several weeks ago by towing one of our larger Colorado River rafts behind my jet boat. We were able to transfer around 20 people at a time.  That worked out well.  Surprisingly, it was not the movement of people that was difficult.  The hard part was towing the empty raft back up through two sets of pretty gnarly rapids so that we could pick up another load of people.  All in all, with 120 people, this meant towing the raft up through two sets of rapids 24 times during the first project.  My jet boat was getting so tired, there were a few trips towards the end where I had my doubts we would make it!

As it was, the first project of the season went really well.  This new deposit appears to be the richest and largest surface gold deposit (out of the water) we have ever located.  We recovered 18 pennyweights (9/10ths of an ounce) of beautiful gold in several hours of digging on the first project of the season, which is at least a 5-year record.

The first thing I did after the first project was finished was tow my tired jet boat over to the shop for a full tune-up.  Because it is the mechanic’s busiest time of the year, I did not get the boat returned to me until the Friday morning before the start of the second project (last weekend). By then, John Rose was telling me that the river had already dropped too low, and the rapids were too steep, for us to use boats to move people.  Oh my!

Virgin streambedVirgin stream bed 2

This is only the second time in 30 years that we have found rich, virgin stream bed out of the water!

Dan's boat This gold deposit is too rich to abandon!

Very fortunately for the Club, we have a new member this year, Dan Baker, who brought along the strongest and nicest jet boat I have ever seen for maneuvering the Klamath River in low water.  Dan also brings along other valuable attributes, like being able to capture images and video, and do an excellent job of editing.   You will see a bunch of his good work being put up on our new Facebook page.  All or most of the images and video in this newsletter were produced by Dan and our new office manager, Tony.

In any event, while most of our other project helpers were of the opinion that we were going to need to walk people in for the weekend project, Dan was telling me that his jet boat was easily making it up and down through the section of Klamath River where the project was going to take place. The weatherman said it was going to be 100+ degrees on Saturday afternoon.  So Dan and I, with some of our helpers, were out on the river Friday afternoon, using two jet boats and our large rubber raft working out how we could move people around on the river.

Raft with peopleThe interesting thing about the Klamath is that when the water drops, the rapids get steeper, shallower and faster, and the waves get taller.  So while the slower sections of river get easier to traverse, the faster sections get more difficult as the water drops.  Fortunately, and to my great relief, we discovered on the first trial run that we were going to be able to use my jet boat, once again towing the large raft, to move people to and from the worksite, just like we did during the earlier project.  The ride through the rapids was going to be faster with more splashes; but members were going to be alright with that in the hot weather.

The big challenge was how we were going to move the raft back up through the rapids. Since his jet boat is stronger than mine, Dan offered to tow the raft upriver.

So there we were on the first try with several of us in Dan’s boat and Derek Eimer riding along in the rear of the raft.  Dan’s boat had plenty of power to do the job; and it initially looked as though the raft would go along with no problems.  But about half way through, a very large stationary wave in the rapids came over the front of the raft and caused the front end to dive just like a submarine.  It all happened in a split second. Derek was lucky he was not washed right out of the rubber raft!

I have more experience driving boats on the Klamath River, so Dan insisted that I give it the second try while he filmed the adventure.  Once again, it was going just fine until one of the large stationary waves in the rapids caught the front of the raft and drove it underwater, nearly filling the boat with water. Here is some video that Dan captured during our second try:

These kinds of problems are best worked out in advance of having 100+ members out along a remote section of the river where the only way back to the cars is either by boat or swimming!

For our third attempt, Rich Krimm came up with the idea of rigging a tow harness from further to the rear of the raft and running it underneath to the front so that the pulling would help lift the front of the raft higher above the water.   We had some extra rope in my jet boat and made quick work out of rigging the harness.  And while the front of the raft appeared to be further above the water, that stationary wave in the rapids overwhelmed the raft just like during our earlier attempts.  By now, Derek was looking half drowned.  But he was still laughing and enjoying the adventure.

One of the many reasons I love managing The New 49’ers is that I am able to get out with other very capable guys (and gals) and confront some of Mother Nature’s most difficult challenges, and usually, but not always, find a way to overcome them.  We were all having a blast out there!

Even though we were having fun, not a single one of us ever let our guards down to the dangers involved.  The Klamath River is so powerful; it can snuff the life out of a person in just moments.  When things go wrong in a boat on the river, they go critically wrong; and rather than worrying about saving the boat, the emergency can immediately turn into trying to live through the experience.   The more extreme the conditions, the less margin there is for error; and the worse things are going to turn out if we make a mistake.  Believe me; I have experienced a whole lifetime of making mistakes!

Dan pulling raftDerek waving

After submarining the raft three times, we came up with a whole new idea of tying a harness further forward on Dan’s jet boat, pulling the front of the raft right up onto the backside of the jet boat and securing it so it would piggyback up through the set of rapids.  This plan worked out great, except that the powerful blast out of Dan’s jet boat made for an interesting and challenging ride for Derek.  Several times, it looked like the raft would completely flip over!  Ultimately, we worked out a system where Derek and Dyton Gilliland would shift their weight one way or the other to compensate for which side of the jet blast the raft was riding on. Here is some great video showing how we finally worked out a technique to move the raft upstream.

Piggy backWe did several trial runs up through the rapids just to make sure we could rely on the technique once we had a bunch of New 49’ers to move around on the river.  The technique worked great, and we were all set for another weekend project on the river. Cool!

By Saturday morning, we had 130+ people signed up for the weekend project.  This was an all-time high for the second project of a season.  Always in the past, we have a large group on the first project, once as many as 137 people. Then the numbers drop off dramatically as we progress through the season.  But not this year!

This turned out to be an enthusiastic bunch of New 49’er members who were out to have fun and get some gold!  After going over some theory on Saturday morning, and a break for lunch, our large group arrived down on K-23AA at around 1 pm. This is when the heat of the day really sets in.  Someone measured the temperature at 109 in the shade, and 123 out on the rocks in the direct sun.  That’s hot!

Fortunately, since we have already located the pay-dirt in this massive gold deposit, Saturday’s objective for this season’s projects is mainly to teach beginners how to operate a gold pan.  We take this part very seriously, because panning is the beginning of the prospecting learning curve.  You cannot sample for high-grade gold deposits unless you can effectively work a gold pan.

People in raftsPeople working together

All of our project helpers were waiting for us when we started arriving by boat with 20 people at a time.  Using our new method of moving the raft upriver, it only took us around 30 minutes to get everyone to the worksite.  It went just like clockwork.

By the time Dan and I tied off our jet boats, nearly everyone was already panning up a storm.  Participants get to keep all the gold they can find on Saturday afternoon.  So this bunch was really going at it! Here is some video that captured a lot of the action.

Boy was it hot out there on this Saturday afternoon!  Once people started collecting under the shades we have set up out there, I took it as a sign that it was time to start ferrying people downstream to where they had parked their cars earlier in the day. With some excellent teamwork, it took 5 boatloads to get everybody back across the river through another set of rapids about a half-mile downriver.

Pot luckBig smile

Saturday potluck was a full house; I’m guessing about 180 people.  There was lots of food, and I could barely hear myself think over the enthusiastic chatter of the very large group.  This type of noise is always music to my ears!

Because Sunday is the day we work hard, we always get out there early.  This is so we can get the work finished and be off the gravel bar before the heat of the day sets in.  When I arrived at 6:15 am, there was already a long line of participants putting on life jackets to board the boats.  Once again, it only took our experienced crew around 30 minutes to get everyone on the worksite.

Ground zero actionFeeding high-banker

The mission on Sunday is to process as much of the pay-dirt as possible through our high-banker recovery systems without killing off the participants.  Fortunately, the sky was overcast and rewarding us with a very mild drizzle.  In just a short time, our experienced team members had the whole crew organized into groups performing different functions.  Some were moving rocks out of the way.   Others were using garden picks to drag pay-dirt into piles. Then others were transferring the pay-dirt into plastic buckets. More people were packing the buckets to the recovery systems, where still others were feeding the material.  There was a whole lot of productive activity going on!  Dan captured some of the action, along with my explanation, in the following videos:

Once things were well underway, Dyton and I took the time to show most of the participants how to reach out and carve out “top cuts” to increase the amount of volume a person can process.  This is also something we do to obtain maximum production in gold dredging.  The more pay-dirt you process, the more gold you end up with at the end of the day.  It is as simple as that.   Dan captured some of the demonstration on video:

Vacking bedrockNuggets in pan

Several participants were vacking gold out of the bedrock traps as we uncovered them. 

Craig Colt, who has been helping on these projects for many years, devoted most of Sunday panning samples of the material people were digging.  The purpose of this is to identify the richer-paying areas and direct the digging program into more productive pay-dirt.

As we have worked forward in this deposit, we have discovered that there is an ancient, orange-colored streambed material that is paying the best.  The good thing is that the material in most of this deposit is usually 2 feet or less to reach bedrock.  Bedrock is where we expect to find gold nuggets!

Pointing at ground zeroGold sample, ground zero

This is one pan sample off the bedrock at Ground Zero!

While most of the group was working a long stretch of bedrock we uncovered at the base of the deposit, several others climbed up the hill to where the original gold discovery was made.  We fondly refer to this spot as “ground zero.” The material is a bit deeper over there.  We attempted to reach bedrock at ground zero during the first project, but didn’t quite make it.  Several very determined guys reached bedrock this time in about 5 feet of virgin streambed which was producing gold all the way through.  Then Dyton took a careful sample off the bedrock and produced a very favorable result.  Now we had confirmation that this rich gold deposit is so large, we will be working it for many years to come.  Here was my explanation:

Dave showing goldGold in bottle

We were getting nuggets out there, too!

We were operating three high-bankers on Sunday, feeding material as fast as the machines could process the gold. Once we put a few hours of good production through the high-bankers, we normally take a moment to clean out only the high-grade portion of a single high-banker.  We screen the material to pick out any nuggets. Then we pan the rest down so we can get an idea how well we are doing.  Everybody agreed we were doing really well!  Dan captured the excitement on video:

Showing off the gold always motivates participants in these projects to redouble their efforts, and this time was no exception!  So I was met with some disappointment about an hour later when I went around and told everyone to finish up the final buckets and start reclaiming our excavation back to the normal contour of the bank.  Some just kept on digging, anyway. There were at least 15 full buckets of rich pay-dirt delivered to the high-bankers even after we had shut them down to do final clean-up!  In hindsight, if we had processed those, we likely would have met my target of recovering a full ounce of gold.

Dave running Le TrapGold in Letrap

It was about 11 am when we started winding things up.  This means storing the gear away and performing an initial clean-up to reduce the amount of concentrated heavy material accumulated from the 3 high-bankers.  We usually do this part with a Le Trap Gold Sluice. This is one of the big rewards of the day, because the process reveals to everyone how their hard work has been converted into raw gold.  Every scoop from the buckets of concentrates produced a trail of gold into the Le Trap.  We were going to have a good clean-up!  Dan caught the excitement on video:

Ferrying everyone down through another set of rapids to the boat landing where their cars were parked just added more fun and excitement to an already excellent day.

Dave & CraigWatching Le Trap

Dave and Craig Colt demonstrating the final clean-up steps.  

We all met up at the Grange Hall a few hours later to complete the final clean-up process and split the gold.  In all, we recovered 18.6 pennyweights, which included 27 nice gold nuggets.  Everyone who participated  received an equal share of the gold by weight.  There were a lot of happy faces as we handed the shares out.  For many, it was the first gold they had ever mined.

Final goldHaving fun

Truthfully, before we weighed the gold, it looked to me like it was at least a full ounce.  That’s what I was hoping for.  But we didn’t quite make it. We will just have to take another shot at it on the next project!

By the way, you guys don’t have to wait for the monthly newsletter to see the adventures we are enjoying on the Klamath River.  Our new video team is posting great material on the New 49’er Facebook page nearly every day. Just as one example here is the whole project adventure video which our guys put up on Facebook just a day or so afterwards.

Join us for our remaining Weekend Group Mining Projects this Season!

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

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.

Remaining Schedule of 2015 Events:  July 18 & 19; August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events

Legal Fund Winners!

We completed our most recent New 49’ers Legal Fund Drawing for 20 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 2 fantastic Garrett gold detectors at our Saturday evening potluck on the evening of 27 June. There were a lot of members present, though not a single one of them won a prize. Not that anyone was disappointed.  These legal fund raisers are more about pulling together to defend something that is much more important than prizes.  Here follows some video which captured the event:

Here are the winners:

Grand Prize: Garrett ATX Metal Detector: Gerald Fawcett of Anchorage, AK

Second Prize: Garrett AT Gold Detector: Chris Edmondson of Mission Viejo, CA

American Gold Eagles:  Howard Charleboix of Great Falls, MT;  Robert Lake of Brookings, OR;  Michael Ward of West Point, UT;  Edward Murphy of Somes Bar, CA;  Larry Buzzell of Sequim, WA;  Michael McLeod  of Carson City, NV;  Greg A Miller of Coarse Gold, CA;  Eugene Lewis of Gig Harbor, WA;  Daniel Cutshell of Bishop, CA;  David Ames of Silverton, OR;  Joseph Burda of Pacifica, CA;  Dennis Taylor of Sherwood, OR;  Daniel Court  of La Pine, OR;  Michael Dickman of Manteca, CA;  Jerry Keith of Wake Forest, NC;  Greg Miller of Coarse Gold, CA;  Bill Kerr of Klamath Falls, OR;  Randy Watkins of Sparks, NV;  Gerald Hawley of Kalispell, MT;  Floyd Parker of Kannapolis,  NC

Montine in our office (530 493-2062) is making contact with all the winners.

I want to thank Garrett Metal Detectors for their generous support of our efforts to preserve the industry.  When you are considering what kind of equipment to buy for your prospecting activities, I sincerely request that you take a strong look at the products being offered by the industry manufacturers who are supporting all of our combined efforts.

I also need to personally thank all of you who participated in this fund-raiser. We could not play our part to help defend the small-scale mining industry if it were not for your ongoing support.

Gold nugget prizesAny legal contributions which have arrived in our office after this drawing will automatically generate tickets for the next New 49’ers Legal Fund drawing.  The new drawing will be for two ounces of beautiful gold nuggets (image above).  Those will be split into a 1-once grand prize and four quarter-ounce prizes.  There will also be 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 American Silver Eagles. That’s 25 prizes worth winning!

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 October. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Look for our new Paypal contribution link here. Your legal contributions can also be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012 or by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

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

We are Not Going to Have a Hassle-Free 2015 Dredging Season

Here is the bad news:  I’m disappointed to announce that our motion in San Bernardino Superior Court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to allow suction dredging on our extensive New 49’er properties in conformance with the 2012 regulations was denied by the judge on the 9th of July.

I believe this was likely our final opportunity to obtain hassle-free suction dredging in California during the 2015 season. By “hassle-free,” I mean that we continue to believe California’s moratorium is not legal; and that suction dredgers are not likely to be prosecuted, even if they are written a criminal citation. But suction dredgers do have the risk of their equipment being confiscated until some later time. So you dredge at your own risk for the time being.

We will now switch gears into appealing San Bernardino’s recent Rulings to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that the moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce. There is also the landmark Rinehart Decision which is being reviewed by the California Supreme Court. It is not an unreasonable expectation that we can have these matters resolved in time for our 2016 season.

All I can say is that we have done our very best to bring about a hassle-free 2015 dredging season. I thank everyone who has supported our efforts. All we can do is keep trying.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with the State only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

Now here is the good news:  Just as I am finishing this newsletter, some of our most experienced underwater miners are finishing up a prototype for an entirely new concept in underwater mining with the use of a pressure washer primarily uses a powerful blast of very low-volume water to uncover and free rocks that must be moved out of the way in a submerged streambed.  We believe the process may be nearly as effective as suction mining, but without the discharges which anti-mining activists complain so much about.  We will be testing and developing the new idea over the coming weeks.  Please watch for updates and news on our Facebook page and in next month’s newsletter.

Fire Restrictions

Because of exceptionally dry conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed fire restrictions in the Klamath National Forest as of last week.  This means internal combustion engines (like water pumps) cannot be operated on our mining properties unless you are floating them out on the waterway.  Since the fire restrictions are likely to continue for the remaining part of this season, you might give some thought to how you can rig up something to float your motor(s). In case you are interested, there are special floats made specifically for this purpose. Please contact Montine for more details: 530 493-2062. You can find out more about what is and is not allowed under these restrictions right here:

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

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

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, JUNE 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 6

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

virgin streambed chunky gold in sample pan

Not to get overly religious on you guys; but I have realized time after time in my own life experience that if your heart is in the right place, and you really need something important, and you put out just the right kind of hope and patience, the universe that we all share will reorganize itself and bring what you need right to you.  Sometimes it takes a while.  Sometimes my hopes come through almost immediately.  This is especially true in gold prospecting.

This story actually started late last season as we were going into our final Group Mining Project.  Early in the season, we had discovered a fantastic surface gold deposit on one of our newer mining properties, K-23AA, which is about nine miles downriver from Happy Camp.  The gold discovery was on the far side of the river.  You have to go to the places where you find the best gold.  So after many years of not using boats to support these projects, we pulled one of our large rubber rafts out of storage and got back into the business of transporting large numbers of members across the river.  The season worked out really well.  All of the participants seemed to enjoy the added adventure of a few rafting trips, in addition to working the high-grade gold deposit across the river.

That deposit sustained all of our weekend projects last season, in addition to all of the members who went over there to recover gold on their own.  But as the season was winding down, all of our loyal project helpers and I agreed that, while there was still plenty of gold there to support individual mining programs, we were going to need to find an entirely new gold deposit to support the weekend projects for this coming season.  We had no idea where we were going to turn that up.  I’m not sure about the others, but I put out a strong hope (some might call it a prayer) that something would turn up.

Dave & Alice

“Dave and Alice”

It was with that hope in mind during our final project last season that I spotted a man and woman couple excitedly showing off some gold in a bucket to others on the project.  I could see that something good was happening by the way others were gathering around.  I zoom right in on this sort of thing!  If somebody has discovered something good, I want to know about it.  Sometimes I refer to this as dialing in on the right frequency.

The members showing off the gold in their bucket were Dave Mackenzie and Alice Leverenz, both from Oregon.  They said the gold came from panning a single bucket of material from a new gold deposit they had located a little more than half-mile downriver on the very same claim. It was a lot more gold than the average material we were working during the project. They said the deposit appeared to be absolutely huge, and there was room there for everyone.  To top off the excitement, Dave pulled out of his pocket a bottle of beautiful nuggets they had found down there in their first sample hole near the river.

This is one thing about The New 49’ers that sets us apart from any other mining organization I have ever seen.  With very few exceptions, when our members make a new gold discovery, they share the news with others and excitement levels go through the roof.  I cannot even count the number of mini gold rushes we have generated over the years!  Perhaps this is because we have so much gold-rich property, members are confident that there is plenty of gold to go around.  Perhaps it’s the nature of our members and the combined culture we have developed to help each other out.  Our motto is “Miners helping miners.”

Assuming this was the answer to our hopes for a new location to do our Weekend Group Mining Projects in 2015, several of our project helpers and I made an appointment to meet Dave and Alice on the following day. Their deposit is also on the far side of the river from Highway 96.  The only way over there with gear is by boat or raft or some other floating platform.  We launched my jet boat from the developed river access on our Wingate property about a half-mile downstream from the new discovery.

Vack mining dreamAs they took the time to show us what they had found, they also told us of their personal story; a story which could prompt you to ponder the larger mysteries of fate and hope that affect each of our personal destinies. It turned out that they actually did not intend to sample in this new location at all.  Their vehicle had broken down alongside the highway. It was going to take a week for the parts to arrive.  Since they were not going anywhere, Dave lowered his raft and prospecting gear down the embankment and decided to make the best use of his time prospecting on the far side of the river.  He was rewarded with good gold in his very first pan!  Then he just kept on going, only to realize they had discovered a rich gold deposit by accident – and already arrive at the place they really wanted to be!

There is a good lesson in this.   No matter how big the problems are that you are confronted with, there is usually a good opportunity in there somewhere if you just look for it.  I can look back at the most difficult times I have experienced in my life; and now that I am beyond them, I realize how lucky I am that things happened the way they did.

Here are some video segments that I captured while Dave and Alice were showing us their discovery:

“This is gold Alice panned out of the leaves on the ground!”

“This is gold Alice panned out of the leaves on the ground!”

Just as Dave and Alice had told us, the size of this gold deposit is enormous.  There is a very wide section of mostly exposed bedrock that extends from the river about a hundred feet or more to a very long section of what appears to be original streambed.  By that, I mean streambed material which has never been mined before.  Samples from the cracks and irregularities in the bedrock are producing excellent panning results.  This place is a vack-mining heaven!  There are also places down closer to the river where shallow layers of hard-packed streambed are overtop of cracks in the bedrock that contain very exciting gold nuggets.

I am personally experiencing a lot of enthusiasm over the virgin streambed material.  That’s where Dave and Alice were recovering the most gold for their effort.  I could see a distinct layer change there which is certain to concentrate gold.  Alice showed us a single pan with a nice display of gold she said she panned just out of the debris on top of the ground!

Dave and Alice made it very clear that they had no problem with us running the group projects in this new discovery.  So our prayers had been answered this time with almost no delay.  Is that cool or what?

Virgin streambed (2)The problem is that this new discovery is in a rather difficult location to gain access with large numbers of people.  There is plenty of parking and a rather easy trail from Highway 96 located about a quarter-mile upriver from the deposit.  There is a set of rapids between the trail and this new discovery.  So while we could transfer people down to the deposit with our large rubber raft, we were not going to be able to get the raft back up through the rapids using its own small outboard motor, even without passengers.  There is a trail on the far side of the river.  But it’s a long way to walk at the end of a hard day of mining.  Anyone who has participated in these projects will tell you that we work pretty hard on Sunday morning, especially when we see how the gold is adding up!  So walking out of there is not a great option.

We have learned over the many years that it is better to find the balance between working hard to recover as much gold as possible, while not killing off the participants.  My helpers all agreed that the long trail on the far side of the river was going to be asking too much for some people.  So we put our heads together on coming up with a plan to move everyone by rubber raft through two sets of rapids on both days of the project.  This is something we have never attempted before.

Before I go further into the story, I want to introduce an important new member of our team, Shawn Tilton.  Shawn has a vast background in many areas, but he actually arrived in Happy Camp with the purpose of creating a New 49’er Facebook page to capture the day-to-day excitement for the whole world to see.  Shawn has a lot of filming and editing experience.  He is working closely with our new office manager, Tony Balderrama, who also has a very strong background in the ever-changing developments in the high tech world of social media.  You can find our New 49’er Facebook page right here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-49ers-Prospecting-Association/1396597950668824   Please take a look.  This new program was only started about two weeks ago, and we believe you will be impressed at our progress.  We hope you will “like” the page and help us spread it around. Once we gain some steam, Shawn intends to put fresh material up every day; gold prospecting developments and adventures you would never know about unless you were part of the ongoing action.

Shawn

Shawn

Here is a video segment I captured with a short introduction to Shawn, since you will probably be seeing him on the scene if you visit Happy Camp this season.  Shawn was present last week while we were out reconfirming the gold deposit on K-23AA.  We were also working out how to move large numbers of people on the river without it taking too much time away from our mining project.  All video as we go forward will be material which Shawn captured and edited together. Note that Shawn increases the video speed in places to allow more emphasis on the important parts without taking up too much time. It’s pretty cool!

Before we even began working out the transportation challenges, John Rose, Rich Krimm, Derek Eimer, me and several others returned to the new discovery point on K-23AA.  Other members were in the area, but nobody was working the place where Dave and Alice left off last year.  Just to be certain the gold was there, Rich took one pan of material from the deeper, darker brown layer, and I took one pan from the lighter brown contact zone just above.  The pans were not full.  But they had enough material to confirm (or not) what Dave and Alice had showed us last season.

Rich was first to finish his pan.  The gold he found surprised Rich so much that he ordered Shawn to turn the video camera off.  Ladies and gentlemen, that’s called gold fever!  Shawn complied with Rich’s demand, so unfortunately we did not capture Rich’s pan to show you.  All I can say is the result was outstanding.  My smaller pan result was just as good as Rich’s in proportion to the smaller volume of material that I sampled.

Craig Colt

Craig Colt has returned!

That’s all we needed to see.  This new gold deposit is a huge gift that we never expected.  The area is so large, as far as I was concerned; all of this year’s Weekend Group Projects are going to be a success.  Everyone out there agreed.  The following video sequence captured a lot of the action:

A few days later, I got the word that one of our more experienced members went down to our discovery and only found very little gold out of a full bucket of material.  That was quite a shocking report!  There have been times in the past where I made an initial discovery of really good gold, only to realize after I moved all my gear there that the gold in my initial sample was the only gold present. It’s one thing if I make this kind of mistake on my own.  It’s quite another thing to bring a large group of people to a place where we are not going to recover much gold — especially since I am the one who has to split the gold up at the end of the project!

So as to not take any chances, me and our sampling crew found ourselves back out on the river to reconfirm the gold deposit once again.  This time, we were joined by Craig Colt.  Craig was one of the key players in all of our weekend and weeklong projects for many years.  He is a very well-respected gold prospector who is now coming out of self-imposed retirement in hopes that we will have a dredging season this year.  I expect we will be seeing more and more of our longtime, experienced members on the river if we get dredging back.  I even heard Otto Gaither may return. Oh my! 

Craig and I both took a pan of material from the contact zone at the initial discovery point, and all I can say is that the gold is fantastic!  My pan had nine nice-sized flakes of gold and at least 100 colors.  Craig’s pan produced a similar result.  Here it is on video:

Dave's sample from a single pan

This is from a single pan of the pay-dirt!

When we returned to the boat, John Rose was relaxing there in the warm summer sun with a big grin on his face.  We were all excited to show him what we found.  Without even looking at our pan, he laughed and said, “I’ll bet I got more than you did!”  And he was right; he had a lot more gold than Craig and I recovered combined.  And that was just out of a third of a pan of unscreened material that he dug out of a bedrock crack next to the boat.  Man, this K-23AA is rich!  Shawn captured the moment on video:

Sampling team

“This deposit is rich!”

Now, with 100% certainty about the gold deposit, we switched gears into the challenge of moving large numbers of people on the river.  By large numbers, I mean we are expecting at least a hundred members to participate in this weekend’s project.  That’s a whole lot of people to move around on the water!

So we came up with the idea of using my jet boat to tow one of our large rubber rafts.  We needed to see if we could pull it fast enough to get it up on a plane and through a set of pretty fast rapids.  We have never tried this before.  My first idea was to tie the raft as close as possible to the jet boat so we could direct the jet blast under the raft to help pick it up.  This first experiment worked. Getting up through the rapids was easy, even with two guys riding in the raft.  The problem was when I needed to turn the boat; the jet blast was directed right over the side of the raft and almost filled it with water in just a few seconds.  We all got a good laugh out of that.  Shawn caught it all on video:

From there, we did several experiments pulling the raft further and further behind the jet boat.  We finally discovered the right distance and realized that not only could we pull the boat up through a set of rapids, but we could do it with passengers aboard.  So we took it to the next step and added the smaller outboard motor to the raft; the one we normally use to maneuver the raft around on the river.  That improved our new ferry system so much that we scattered out across K-23AA to find all the members who were working out there for a test run on the river.  The idea was to use the large raft to launch and recover people without disconnecting the jet boat.  We got it right on the first try!  Shawn was right there with the video camera:

Dave Mack in the boatAfterwards, we realized that with a little creative carpooling at the beginning of the day, we can park most of the vehicles down at the Wingate River Access and ferry people downstream from the work site at the end of our day.  That will make the process go faster.

There is a longer video segment Shawn put together on our facebook page that shows all the action spliced together with interesting parts which were not included above.  Please remember to “like” our page so we can spread our adventures around to others who might take an interest.

This is all something new:  We have worked out a system of moving large numbers of people through difficult river conditions to gain access to and from perhaps the largest and richest gold deposit we have ever discovered during thirty continuous years of prospecting along the Klamath River in northern California.  The proof will be this coming weekend during our first project of 2015.  Watch for how it turns out on our Facebook page and in next month’s newsletter.

Suction Dredging Situation for 2015 Season Should be Decided on June 23rd!

Superior Court Judge Ochoa has set a hearing date for 23 June in San Bernardino for our motion for relief from the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (DFW’s) continued enforcement of the unlawful moratorium on suction dredging for gold in California.

In an effort to get the matter resolved more quickly, several suction dredgers on the Klamath River refused to sign the promise to appear portion of the criminal citations they were being issued (“unlawful dredging”), opting instead to be arrested.  Ultimately, one of those very courageous guys ended up in jail with The New 49’ers Legal Fund hiring James Buchal to represent him.  That hearing in front of a Siskiyou County judge was to take place within 48 hours.  Mr. Buchal was motioning the Court to dismiss all charges, order a return of all seized equipment, and order DFW to not bring any further dredging cases in Siskiyou County.  Had we got our day in court, this seemed like it would have been a slam-dunk for our side.

What we had not planned on was that the Siskiyou County jail is completely full of people either arrested or serving time for felony convictions.  Our local sheriff Lopey was objecting strenuously that in order to incarcerate a suction dredger for a rather minor misdemeanor, he was going to have to release a hardened criminal back onto the streets.  This all caused quite a stir at the jailhouse in Yreka while all the key players were trying to figure out what to do.  Ultimately, according to my limited understanding, the District Attorney decided to defer the charges (or something like that) and let the dredger out of jail with no agreement that he appear in court at any later time.  Once the dredger was released, the required 48-hour hearing in front of a judge was lost.  So it was kind of like being arrested and let go.  What can I say; it’s California.

Therefore, it appears that the earliest chance we will have to get hassle-free suction dredging restored in California is on June 23rd.  Yes; I know there are some very important due process issues in play here.  We have considered all possible options, and have decided that our best course of action is to wait it out a little longer and place our hope for a 2015 dredging season with Judge Ochoa.  He knows more about our plight than any other judge in the country.

Several dredgers have signed a promise to appear (for “unlawful dredging”) in Siskiyou County on 9 June.  I’ll be surprised if the State moves ahead with that, but we shall see.

Update note: We went to court on June 9th, and the names of the two dredgers were not even on the docket, so the court clerk wrote them in by hand. When it was their turn in front of the judge, they were informed that no criminal case against them had been filed with the court. The dredgers asked if the judge could help them with a return of equipment which the wardens took from them. The judge’s answer was that his hands are tied until a case is brought in front of him, which he did not believe was likely to happen. The judge explained that the State has up to a year to file a criminal case on a misdemeanor. So it would appear as though the State can rob you of your possessions with impunity for up to a year if they suspect you are guilty of a misdemeanor — or they just want to punish you!

You would not have to look much further than this to wonder why rioting in the streets is on the increase!

The only remedy is to file a civil lawsuit; but judge Ochoa has instructed us to not do that. So we are crossing our fingers for June 23rd in San Bernardino.

We filed our opening salvo in San Bernardino on May 18th.  The relief we are asking for is to return to the 2009 suction dredge regulations which were in affect at the time that the unconstitutional moratorium was imposed upon our industry – and stick with those until they can be updated in a way that does not break the law.  You can find the documents we filed right here:

Shortly after we filed these documents, the State filed something with the Court that appeared to argue that judge Ochoa could not return us to the 2009 regulations because the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process they used to enact the (illegal) 2012 regulations was followed properly. In turn, The New 49’ers and PLP filed a joint response demonstrating conclusively that the State’s process did not even come close to following the law. I suggest you read this document, because it is very reveling about who and what we are up against.

Since the Court in San Bernardino will likely decide the immediate fate of suction dredging in California on 23 June, and we will not publish another newsletter until a few weeks later, for updated news, I suggest you “like” our Facebook page (link above) and/or join our free Internet chat forum.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with the State only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

Don’t Forget About Our Ongoing Legal Fund-raiser!

I am very pleased to announce that Garrett Metal Detectors is generously supporting this next fund-raiser with their brand new top-of-the-line ATX pulse induction gold detector.  That is a $2,500 machine!

Garrett is also donating a refurbished AT Gold metal detector as a second prize (“refurbished” means the unit was used as a demo at a trade show, but never used in the field, and then put back through quality control and repackaged in new condition). This is an $800 machine!

These are both fantastic gold machines which can actually be taken underwater to shallow depths!

The drawing will also include 20 American tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles.

The drawing will take place at our Saturday evening potluck on June 27. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Having said all that, I am starting to get concerned that the drawing date is fast approaching, and The New 49’er Legal Fund has only brought in enough contributions so far to about equal the value of the prizes. It is less than a third of what the Fund brought in on the previous legal fund-raiser.  We know you guys out there support our efforts or we would have not been able to get as far as we have on the legal front.  Right now, we are closer than we have been since 2009 to getting legalized gold dredging returned to us in California.  This is just a reminder that the very hard push we are making at the moment is costing a lot of money.  Please get behind us on this as much as you are able.

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

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

You can find out more about The Legal Fund’s ongoing fund-raiser by going right here.

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

Join us for our Weekend Group Mining Projects This Season!

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

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

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

Schedule of Events

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

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