New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

tickets Drawing 11-2013

This drawing was for three ounces of mostly nugget gold which Rich Krimm and I mined together along the bottom of the Klamath River during the 2013 season.  The drawing took place just before closing time in our offices in Happy Camp on 8 November.  Because she had no personal interest in the outcome, we asked Connie Rasmussen from the gift store next door to draw the tickets. In addition to our staff, eight people were present for the drawing. One of them turned out to be a prize winner. Here are the winners:

One ounce of gold: Guy Congdon

Quarter-ounce of gold:  Michael Crihfield, Steve Sharp, Scott Atkison & James Barbour

One pennyweight of gold:  Jeff Hight, Frederrick Sanders, Donald Flickinger,
Jason Andrews, Michael O’Connell, Mark Bottcher, Ronald Sawyer, David Hook, James Rogan, Bernard O’connell, Bill Wright, Sandy Drake, Jayson Nelson, Les Martin, John Evans, Robert Sonnenburg, Larry Reiter, Gene F Oliver, Gerard Welch & Scott Atkison.

Here is some video that was captured during the drawing:

I want to give a heart-felt thank you to everyone who participated in this fund-raiser. I was really biting my nails, because there did not seem to be very much interest up until the last several days. The girls in the office say the volume of contributions streaming in over the phone and Internet during the last few days required them to bring in two extra office helpers to process everything in time for the drawing! On the larger scheme of things, we can count this fund-raiser as another big winner for small-scale miners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Those beautiful nuggets of gold are yours, now. I hope you appreciate them as much as Rich and I did as we recovered them off the bottom of the Klamath River.

Gold eagleSilver Eagle

Any contributions received after the time of the drawing will automatically generate tickets for our next prize drawing, which will be for 15 American Gold Eagles (3 ounces of gold) and 10 American Silver Eagles (10 ounces of silver).  Our next drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 28 February 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate.  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 you can do it online by clicking here:

Legal Update 

We have some exciting plans on the table concerning how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details when the timing is right.

Meanwhile, I am very excited to announce that the Third Appellate District of California has agreed to consider our federal preemption argument in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that their refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening arguments. Those can be found right here. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. I suggest if we were able to get them properly in front of a federal judge (tried and failed), we would have overcome California’s moratorium several years ago.

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because a judge will have ruled that we can dredge if California fails to issue permits. The State’s Answer is due in November. Then we will submit a Reply. It is impossible to predict how long it will take the Court to then issue a Decision. But it is possible it could happen before this next season.  We have offered to provide financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging (as California’s), except that it does not take full effect until 2016. However, the new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  So the big question is who will get the permits?  State officials are floating an idea to create a point system, providing a single point per applicant for each of the past years back to 2006 that an applicant held an Oregon suction dredging permit from DEQ or State Lands, and another point for each of the past years back to 2006 that the applicant held a federal mining claim in his or her name.  Those with the most points will be given priority.  This was the idea Oregon State Lands was considering about a month ago during public meetings.  They will come out with a final plan before the end of this year.

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

All I can say is that our leaders have clearly lost their way since it is only productive economic activity that provides the foundations for a free and prosperous civilization!  It is very unfortunate that Oregon would desire to close off some of the most fantastic small-scale mining opportunities in the world!

Fortunately, we have our federal preemption arguments to (hopefully) overcome this nonsense in Oregon.  To a large degree, the very same arguments we are using to try and overcome California’s moratorium will also apply to Oregon.   How can a State promote mining (which is a mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every day? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else is allowed to do so?

Because we are getting so much support from you guys on our legal fund-raining events, we are already coordinating with our attorney to help launch a legal challenge to this new law in Oregon.  Having learned the hard way in California, we will be more careful this time on how we position the challenge in front of a federal court. Please stay tuned for the fireworks!

Meanwhile, however Oregon decides to issue permits, if you want to operate a suction dredge there for the next two seasons, we suggest you submit your permit application to Oregon State Lands in early January.

Weekend Project Schedule for 2014 

Our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2014 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

2014 Schedule of Events

All of the 2014 events are expected to happen on or near our famous Mega-Hole property at K-15A. There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be working. 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.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, OCTOBER 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  9

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

 Cover image Gold in the pan

This past season was really good for us. Our innovation of a new method of underwater suction gravel transfer sparked a huge burst of interest and excitement.  Lots of members visited Happy Camp over the summer months, the most we have seen in years. The main thing me and all our staff noticed, even before the season started, has been this surge of enthusiasm — which extended right through the final Weekend Group Project in late August – even though it poured rained on us.

Our final project was done out on our famous Mega Hole property at K-15A.  This is a very popular place with the members for surface mining activity. There is a really nice campground there which makes it convenient for people who are not staying in private lodging facilities in town.

The upper end of K-15A has a huge gravel bar, most which has a surface storm layer which is about a foot deep.  The contact zone where the storm layer rests on an older layer of hard-packed streambed always produces some gold.  Some places are better than others. Since there has been quite a lot of member activity out there during recent years, the challenges are (1) to find areas that have not already been mined, and (2) to find areas where the contact zone is paying well.

John smiilingThere was no sign of rain out there on Saturday.  We always begin with a demonstration for all the participants what hard-packed material looks like.  The existence of hard-pack in the top layer shows us what has not already been worked by others before us.  Then we provide a very thorough demonstration of how to gather a really good sample of the contact zone at the bottom of the upper storm layer.  I provide a panning demonstration for those who need to learn, working the sample all the way down to whatever gold may be in the pan.
I recovered an average amount of gold in my sample.  By average, I mean a few medium sized flecks and some fine colors.  Showing the result to the participants gives them an idea of what they are looking for.  My advice was that they would have to find more gold than my result if we wanted to have a good day on Sunday with the use of our high-bankers. We try on Saturday to discover a rich location that we can work the following day with some portable production machines (high-bankers).

This bunch was boiling over with the same kind of enthusiasm we had been experiencing all summer.  So off they went with more determination than we are used to seeing on the first day of these projects. Participants get to keep the gold they find in their pans on Saturday.  But I think nearly everyone was just happy to be out there.  August is a wonderful time to be on the Klamath River.

Lots of people Lots of panning

It wasn’t long before we had more people panning on the gravel bar than we had ever seen before.  This bunch was having a lot of fun!  Here are some video segments we captured of the moment:

I’m very sad to report that longtime member Bill Pechtel shown in the video segment above passed on from natural causes several weeks after this project.  Bill loved to come out and help newcomers learn to prospect.  We will miss him a lot.

Normally, if we have a bunch of people sampling out on K-15A, it does not take more than about an hour or so for someone to turn up a good strike.  A good strike is when the amount of gold being recovered in the gold pans will add up to a lot of gold on the following day when we step up into a production mode. Larger flakes of gold add up really fast.  So that’s what I’m always hoping for.

Happy CamperSince I am the one who does the gold split on Sunday afternoon, and I always like to send everyone off with a healthy pinch of gold, once I finish my demonstrations out on the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon, my entire focus changes to finding a good gold discovery.  I don’t make the discovery on these projects.  This is something the participants must do.  My part is more about providing encouragement, maintaining a sense of hope, and waiting for the magic moment of discovery.  That moment of discovery is always joyful for me. It is a reminder of how lucky I am to have a job that I really enjoy.

One of the things that make these projects great is that we always have a bunch of experienced members who come out and help.  By help, I mean they devote these weekends assisting participants in dialing in their panning skills.  They also coordinate the more serious dig that happens on Sunday. And they help keep the group chemistry on a wavelength where miracles can happen. Rich Krimm heads up the field activity on most of these digs.  He had five experienced helpers on his team this weekend.

Still, for the most part, it is the participants who must make the discovery and get the work done.  We mostly provide encouragement and advice. This way, the participants actually bring their gold splits into existence from their own combined effort.  There is some magic involved in this.  I like to think of it as a form of alchemy; using the wavelength of hope to convert base metals (raw effort with tools) into golden treasure and joy.

Sample gold

This was the discovery gold.

True to form, about an hour into the sampling, a man and wife team turned up a rich discovery from under the very place where we had been storing our high-banking gear between the projects.

One of the most valuable things that participants gain in these projects is the ability to relate how the visible gold in a sample pan will add up the following day when we process hundreds of buckets of the very same material.  We made sure to show everyone what the discovery looked like.  It was actually a very good discovery, considering the small volume of material that had been processed.  Here is a video sequence that captured the moment:

All the dynamics of the project immediately change upon the discovery. Everyone wants to recover as much gold as possible.  For some, it is the first gold they ever found. A bunch of the participants were still panning in the high-grade gold when our helper-team left the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon.

We had a full house at pot luck on Saturday night.  Morale was so high; there was no need to say much of anything to keep people laughing. Mostly, we talked about how early we were going to meet up the following morning (6:30 am) to get our work done before the heat of the day set in.  That was a bit of a joke; because it then proceeded to rain all night, and it was still raining hard on Sunday morning.  I half-expected that most of the participants would not show up in the pouring rain, but everybody in this crowd showed up early!  When I arrived, Rich Krimm and his helpers had the whole team organized into production crews. There wasn’t a single person out there that seemed to mind the pouring rain.

Digging in the rain Umbrella

They were having a good time just getting the job done.  Here follow some video segments which captured some of the action:

We recovered just under a half-ounce of gold in a morning of work in the rain.

We recovered just under a half-ounce of gold in a morning of work in the rain.

After a while, the rain tapered off and we actually had a perfect day out there for this sort of work – certainly better than a 100-degree sunny day!  In all, we estimated that we processed around 700 half-buckets of pay-dirt through the two high-bankers that had been set up out on the gravel bar.

Sometime around noon, we finished up the dig, back-filled our excavations, completed the initial processing of our gold concentrates, and loaded up our gear into several trucks so it could be put away for the winter.

Several hours later in Happy Camp, with everyone looking on, we finished cleaning up the gold and weighed out at just under half-ounce of beautiful gold. There were 12 gold nuggets.  The gold was split evenly between 42 people.

With lots of cheers from the participants, I was just sitting there thanking our lucky stars for finishing up the most productive season we have had in a long time!

We Have Some Incredible Gold to Give Away!

The New 49’ers is the only mining association of its kind in the world.  We have around 2,000 active members. Only a fraction of our members show up any given time, spreading out over around 80 miles of the richest gold-bearing waterways in Siskiyou County in northern California.  We do training programs and provide other support to help our members get better results for their effort. We provide legal and political support. We have four fulltime staff in our administrative departments and several part-time staff that help with other important duties. This season, we had two additional guys heading up our Internal Affairs under the guidance of Rich Krimm.  Mainly, their job is to keep an eye out on what people are doing on the properties.  Sometimes they need to coordinate with various State and federal agencies.  The idea is to keep it all going in a way that makes everyone as happy as possible.  We are all pretty busy between May and September.  Activity tapers off a bit during the winter months.

As long as things are running smoothly, I personally try and work in a few days of underwater mining each week.  After all, mining gold is how it all started for me.  Most of my adult life has been about underwater gold mining. I still like to go out and find some gold for myself.  There is nothing else quite like the joy of uncovering high-grade pockets of gold!

I teamed up with Rich Krimm this season.  Rich is slightly older than me in years; but he is a powerhouse of a work machine when it comes to getting the job done.  As I touched upon above, it is necessary to develop this magic alchemy in successful gold mining. When everything is in alignment, physical effort (with some tools) is converted through hope directly into raw gold and pure joy. If there is anything in this world more exciting than that, I have not found it, yet!  The key is getting the prospecting program in alignment.  A lot of this has to do with the chemistry between the partners, and the chemistry between the partners and the physical world.  Rich and I get along really well.  We have found good gold on every project we have ever done together.

Thumbs upBecause it was a busy season, Rich and I only averaged a few days a week mining for our own gold.  This began down on our new Middle Independence property at K-24A with the use of an underwater gravel transfer system.  It took us a while to touch down on a rich deposit. But when we finally did, the gold was exposing itself in rich pockets of mostly nugget gold. It was a fantastic experience!
A big part of the New 49’er program is in maintaining an aggressive stand to preserve the rights of small-scale gold miners in America.  This is a never-ending battle that requires a steady stream of legal defense money.  I often say that raising legal fund money is more challenging than the actual legal battles that we fight. This is mainly because I really do not like asking others to send money.

Shortly after getting into the nuggets, Rich suggested one day that we ought to use three ounces of our season’s best gold as the next set of legal fund prizes.  It’s not very often that someone offers to contribute such incredible treasure to help defend our industry. I took Rich up on his offer without hesitation!

Mouth piece gone

The water was so fast, the first thing Steve Jones did when dredging with us one day was bite both nipples off the inside of his mouth piece!

After finishing up in our deposit on the Klamath, Rich and I devoted a few days a week for the final 6 weeks of the season dredging for gold in a (very) fast section of the Rogue River over in southern Oregon.  All the gold we recovered over there was very fine.  But there was plenty of it.  It’s fun to get the nuggets.  But I can tell you that Rich and I shared some great experiences recovering gobs and gobs of fine gold.

We only mine underwater about three hours a day.  The work is hard! Mostly, we really enjoy our time out on the river, pushing ourselves to overcome the physical challenges and reaping the golden rewards.  Neither of us really do it for the money.  We do it for the glory; for the exhilaration that we experience every time we bring up more of Mother Nature’s most cherished treasure. Most experienced gold miners I know feel that the emotional rewards are worth more than money.

 

10 Ounces of Gold

Here is the 10 ounces of gold Rich and I recovered during the 2013 season.

Here is some video that captured Rich and I on our final day of the season:

The first thing Rich and I did once our gear was put away for the season was weigh up all the gold we recovered together. In all, we recovered 10.2 ounces of beautiful gold for the season.  That’s pretty good for the size of our gear and the amount of time we were able to invest.  Then we screened all the nuggets out and weighed up twenty-five prizes for this next legal fund-raiser.  There is a one-once prize; there are four quarter-ounce prizes; and there are twenty one-pennyweight prizes.  All the prizes have nice nuggets.  I insisted that Rich take the largest nugget we found this season, because he was right there in that magic moment when we uncovered it.  Tears came to his eyes when I put it in his hand. That’s the right kind of chemistry alright, and we are already making plans for next season.

When we were finished weighing up the prizes, all of the nuggets we recovered in our personal program from this season were gone.  Those nuggets are for you guys.  Let’s spread the joy around!

Last Chance to Win Our 2013 Gold!
Weighing out prizes

Rich Krimm weighing up the prizes

Since this is our last newsletter before we will give these prizes away, I am hoping for a lot of participation over the coming month.  So far, we have only issued 360 drawing tickets! I know you guys will come through, because you always do!

The drawing will take place just before the close of business (5 PM) at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday evening, 8 November 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. Though you are welcome to be at the drawing, you do not need to be present to win.

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

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 can be made online by clicking Here

Legal Update

The San Bernardino Superior Court has denied a motion by Public Lands for The People (PLP) for a Preliminary Injunction to overturn California’s Moratorium on suction dredging. But the court also denied the State’s motion to dismiss our federal Preemption challenge (to the Moratorium), and our Takings claim in the event that the State ultimately succeeds in putting an end to suction dredging in California.  Therefore, we remain in a strong position to win one way or the other.

It is our belief that while controlling case law allows the State to impose some reasonable restrictions upon mining, the very same law forbids the State from prohibiting mining on the public lands.  The existing moratorium clearly amounts to a prohibition without end.  I will personally be very surprised if we do not succeed in overturning California’s moratorium with the federal preemption argument.

In the event that we do not succeed in this argument, claim owners and others with mining interests in California will have a right to be paid for our losses.

The case that was filed in Siskiyou County to overcome the State’s use of Emergency Regulations to stop our new method of underwater gravel transfer has now been transferred to San Bernardino.  The jury remains out on whether or not this has overturned the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Siskiyou County that has prevented the State from enforcing Emergency Regulations in Siskiyou County. Only time will tell on this.

You should be aware that we have some exciting plans on the table concerning how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details when the timing is right.

The most recent and important legal development is that the Third Appellate District of California has just agreed to consider our preemption arguments in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument that the State does not have the authority to prohibit suction dredging, and that refusal to issue a permit amounted to a prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the premise that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a (very) fast track to get this important issue decided.  In the event that we win the argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again be available in California.  It’s possible that could happen before this next season.  We have offered to provide financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court, since that is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino.

So there is reason for hope!  Maybe this will encourage you guys to send contributions to our legal fund!

I’ll talk more about the legal situation up in Oregon in next month’s newsletter. 

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD  QUARTER, AUGUST 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  8

Dave Mack

 

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

 

 Ray and Peggy Pointing at gold

Ray & Peggy Derick showing off gold recently discovered in the Klamath River.

Guy on floats

Derek Eimer spotted just a small gold nugget on the bedrock about five weeks ago while he was testing out his new underwater gravel transfer system.  Since then, he has opened up cracks full of big, gleaming gold nuggets, several weighing nearly an ounce.  He says turning up all that gold has been one of the greatest and most exciting experiences of his life!

The good news is that he is just getting started. Derek has invited several of his close friends to help him mine up the pay-streak — which could go on for years, if they are lucky.  The following video segments tell much of the story:

2013 Season is Going Great!

We just completed the forth very successful weekend Group Mining Project on our Mega-hole property at K-15A, recovering the most gold, per person, of the season.

 

New 49'ers having a good time Record gold

The following video sequence captured some of the fun and excitement on the project just this past weekend:

We continue to have so much activity centered around Happy Camp this season, the town almost looks like the bustling economy that it was in the 1980’s and 90’s!

There have been a lot of members doing surface mining on the far side of the river, and a few in the river (finding nice nuggets), along our new A & D #3 property at K-23AA.  There remains a New 49’er encampment there on the large pull-off along the side of Hwy 96.

Work party Smile

There has also been quite a lot of action and excitement down on the new Middle Independence property at K-24A, though some of those members have since moved to Indian Creek and other places where new gold strikes are being developed.

Nuggets John

There are nearly always some nuggets to go around during the weekend projects!

There are members scattered all up and down our properties.  Most of them are doing surface mining activity. At present, there are only a few underwater suction mining programs working along our properties.  Some of the underwater miners have immigrated up to Oregon to operate suction dredges.

More recently, we are seeing a new wave of underwater crevice miners on our properties.  Some of these prospectors are using small motorized, floating hookah systems to allow them to remain underwater for longer periods of time.  One member told me over the weekend that he and a buddy recovered nearly 5 ounces of beautiful gold out of a single crack in the bedrock.  This just proves that where there is a will, there is a way!  You don’t really need a motorized suction device to recover the gold from the bottom of a waterway where there is shallow streambed to move out of the way.

Underwater Gravel Transfer Systems will now be Adjudicated in San Bernardino

As outlined last month, on 2 July, the Superior Court of Siskiyou County issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) that prevented the State of California from enforcing Emergency Regulations that would prevent us from pursuing our new method of underwater suction mining in Siskiyou County. This means we were able to continue using our underwater gravel transfer systems until the Siskiyou County Court was to consider a more permanent injunction.

The case has since been transferred to the San Bernardino Superior Court, where the judge has issued a “Stay” on the proceedings at least until 27 August. While the law is kind of murky in this area, we are assuming that the Judge’s “Stay” has also locked in the Temporary Restraining Order that was already in affect.

This was kind of reinforced a few days ago when two wardens told some of our members that underwater gravel transfer is alright until further notice.

Here is a memo from our attorney that attempts to make sense of the existing situation.

It will be 27 August before the San Bernardino Superior Court will address suction dredging issues (suction mining with a sluice). We will put the word out immediately on our Internet Message Forum if anything changes on this.

2013 Annual Dues Billed This Month

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

Other Announcements

Dave's goldGiving away 3 ounces of Klamath River gold! The substantial response to our previous legal fund-raiser has prompted Richard Krimm and me to put up 3 ounces of the gold we have mined on the Klamath River this season for the next drawing prizes. Check it out right here! 

All of our recent wins have been the direct result of your continued support.  Thanks for whatever you can do!

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:  Until further notice, the U.S. Forest Service is not allowing internal combustion engines in the Klamath National Forest, except on established roadways and on active waterways.  Therefore, members who are pursuing motorized high-banking activity over the past few weeks have been placing their pumps either out on floats, or on piles of rocks and material constructed in the shallow water.

One more Weekend Project this season:  All members are invited to attend our final weekend Group Mining Project of the 2013 season and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  It will take place on August 24 & 25.

5-inch Dredge for Sale:  Speaking of contributions, two of our most supportive members recently donated a 5-inch Keene side-by-side triple sluice suction dredge, along with all of the extras, weight belts, wet suits, pry bars; even fuel containers – pretty much the whole package to get started.  The gear is in good running condition, and is available $3,500 (about 3 ounces of gold).  Please call Montine to make a deal you cannot refuse: 530 493-2062.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD  QUARTER, JULY 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  7

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

 

Things got very busy for us this past month when we were provided just a few days of notice that California Department of Wildlife (DFW) intended to submit an application to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to enact Emergency Regulations to broaden the definition of “suction dredge” in a way that would include the new method of underwater suction mining that we have developed. That would effectively eliminate our new activity as part of the existing Moratorium on suction dredging for gold in California.

Dave's program

Even after our attorneys made a very substantial legal presentation arguing that no “Emergency” exists within the law, OAL issued the following Decision on Friday afternoon, June 28th:

“The Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) submitted this emergency action to amend the definition of suction dredging in title 14, California Code of Regulations, section 228(a) for purposes of Fish and Game Code sections 5653 and 5653.1. In this context, suction dredging or suction dredge mining is a method of vacuuming material from rivers, streams, or lakes for the extraction of minerals. There is currently a statutory moratorium on suction dredge mining pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 5653.1 (b). The existing definition of suction dredging in section 228(a) is prescriptive and has resulted in members of the public evading compliance with the Fish and Game Code by modifying suction dredging equipment. The Department’s proposed amendment to the definition of suction dredging closes the loophole in the current definition in order to allow the Department to enforce its regulatory and statutory authority over suction dredge mining activities.”

The formal Rulemaking can be found here:

Most Gravel Transfer Devices pretty much look like this.  We counted a total of 15 on over 100 miles of the Klamath River. Most were sitting idle.  How is this an emergency?

Most Gravel Transfer Devices pretty much look like this. We counted a total of 15 on over 100 miles of the Klamath River. Most were sitting idle. How is this an emergency?

Through quite a substantial effort, and some awful good teamwork over the weekend, we helped organize a lawsuit in Siskiyou County against the California Department of Fish & Wildlife on behalf of 20 local businesses just after lunch on Monday (1 July) – with an emergency hearing scheduled in front of a local judge on Tuesday at 1:15 PM.  Our Motion was for an immediate Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent DFW from enforcing the Emergency Rulemaking.

The Judge who presided over this case is the honorable Karen L. Dixon. Our attorney, James Buchal, drove down to Yreka from Portland, Oregon on short notice to make the case against the State.  The DFW attorney appeared at the hearing by telephone. After listening to initial arguments on Monday, Judge Dixon continued the matter over to Tuesday afternoon, asking the attorneys to further brief her on matters of law with which she was not familiar.

In short, DFW was arguing that since this was a “suction dredging” matter, it should be transferred to the San Bernardino court which has already consolidated around 6 ongoing lawsuits concerning suction dredging.  Our side was arguing that this was not about suction dredging at all; but about what constitutes an “Emergency” for the purpose of bypassing the normal rulemaking process in California which must consider the economic consequences of new regulations upon small business interests.

I want to thank everyone who attended the hearings in Yreka on both afternoons. The courtroom was filled to capacity on both days. I have the impression that this does not happen very often.

Here is the initial Order that was signed by the judge before we left the courthouse on Tuesday, 2 July. The Order granted the TRO we were hoping for.

Our motion was for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would apply to all of California. But the issues are complex, as they always are; and Judge Dixon was only comfortable ordering a TRO for Siskiyou County. It is a step. This means we can continue with our underwater gravel transfer systems through the 30th of July when Judge Dixon will consider a more permanent injunction. Both the Karuk Tribe and DFW are working furiously to get the Superior Court of San Bernardino to take this case out of Siskiyou County even as we go to press with this newsletter, so it is difficult to predict accurately when and where our motion for a permanent injunction will be heard.

I want to especially thank longtime supportive members, Mark Chestnut, Richard Krimm and Jim Foley for helping to make this all happen.  Our attorney, James Buchal, dropped everything else for five continuous days to make it happen. We are so lucky to live in a community where all or most of the other businesses are willing to fight on our behalf to push back the harmful impacts from too much government and unreasonable regulation. Thank you to everyone who attended the hearings – and especially to all of you who provide financial support so we can cover the costs of doing battle, which are substantial.

I don’t think I have ever felt more proud than the moment when nearly everyone in the crowded courtroom erupted into a standing applause when the judge issued her ruling for our side. She looked pleased.  Even the Siskiyou County Sherriff and his deputies were congratulating us for our win.

We pushed the machine back one click on the 2nd of July. That was a big win for us.  We should savor the moment since we have not had a win for a while. But the machine never stops grinding away at the traditional way of American life. Let’s not overlook that anti-mining advocates have already regrouped and are coming back at us, again.

If all remains as is, this next hearing on 30 July will determine if we can continue our underwater suction mining for the remainder of this season.

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

We did the drawing for our most recent legal fundraiser for 3 ounces of my personal gold nuggets at our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on July 13 in front of a full house. Diane Pierce drew all the tickets. The winners are as follows:

One-ounce bag of gold nuggets: William J. Burrage.

Quarter-ounce bags of gold nuggets (4 prizes): Brigitte Mueller, Elvin Watkins, Douglas Hurt & Barb Pettigrew.

One-pennyweight bags of gold nuggets (20 prizes): William V. Gallagher, John Benson, Jan Craig, Ed Tillotson, Maury Hammond, Clifford Paul Ryland, William Pechtel II, Donald Barnhart, John R. Smith, Craig John Kitchen, Robert Dilworth, Uwe Mueller, Doug Carlson, Scott Gainey, Bill Ransom, Skipper J. Phagan, Lucas Scott, Justin David Haines, Jim Varonfakis & Ernist Bassi.

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you very much to everyone who participated. I want to especially acknowledge the substantial response to my calls during these final several days before the drawing. You guys really came through for us! It makes me very proud to know we have so many loyal supporters out there.

The substantial response has prompted Richard Krimm and me to put up 3 ounces of the gold we are mining on the Klamath River this season for the next drawing prizes.

Here is the next drawing!

Any contributions received after noon on July 13th will have automatically been issued tickets in this next fund-raiser.

 2013 Season is Going Great!
Nuggets

Derek Eimer recovered a pocket of nuggets out of a single crack in the bedrock on K-23AA

Derek Eimer recovered a pocket of nuggets out of a single crack in the bedrock on K-23AA

We have so much activity centered around Happy Camp this season, the town almost looks like the bustling economy that it was in the 1980’s and 90’s!

There are some good gold strikes in play at the moment.  We have done 2 very successful weekend Group Mining Projects on our Mega-hole property at K-15A, with another planned for this coming weekend.

There have been a lot of members doing surface mining on the far side of the river, and a few in the river (finding nice nuggets), along our new A & D #3 property at K-23AA.  There is a New 49’er encampment there on the large pull-off along the side of Hwy 96.

There has also been quite a lot of action and excitement down on the new Middle Independence property at K-24A, where there is also a New 49’er encampment.

Gold Nuggets

Here are some beautiful nuggets Cliff & Sandy Jones have been recovering with their high-banker!

I am also hearing of extraordinary gold strikes happening up on Indian Creek. These are just the highlights.  There are members scattered all up and down our properties.  Most of them are doing surface mining activity. At last count, there were only 15 underwater suction mining programs on over a hundred miles of the Klamath River (hardly a statewide emergency).  My perception is that there are fewer now.  Some of those initial guys have immigrated up to Oregon to operate suction dredges.

I am a little late with the newsletter this month partly because we have been devoting our creative resources to legal, and because I have also been spending some time on the bottom of the Klamath River prospecting for high-grade gold.

After 6 weeks of part-time sampling on K-24A, Rich Krimm (my mining buddy this season) and I finally struck high-grade just a few days ago. We are using an underwater gravel transfer device. The following video sequence shows how my device transfers material to a shaker box on a floating platform.

wide close

In all this time, I could not figure out what the heck was wrong. I knew the gold path was traveling down the east side of the river. Yet, our samples were uncovering excellent bedrock traps under fantastic original streambed (never been mined before). Our best day was little more than a quarter ounce. While many would be happy with that, I have vivid memories of how good it used to be. It used to be a lot better! All I could figure was that Richard and I were sampling between pay-streaks. So we kept sampling. We went from the top of the property more than a mile to the bottom – and then to the top, again.

Moving equipment

Moving my platform back up to the top of the property for another try!

My old buddy, Al Copp, paid a visit just last week, and I took him on a boat ride, showing him all the places we sampled along K-24A. Al knows the property better than anyone, having recovered 800+ ounces of gold there during the “good old days” when we could use suction dredges. Al chuckled at my sampling choices, admitting that he made similar ones over the years — but it turns out that the high-grade gold path on K-24A is on the west side of the river (Hwy 96-side)!

Al told me if we just switched over to the west side of the river, we would be into high-grade gold right away. Rich and I swung our sucking unit over to the road side on the 4th of July, just after Siskiyou County decided we can continue suction mining out in the river. My first attempt found loose cobbles with sand around them under about 18 inches of hard-pack — probably from the 1997 flood. Those loose cobbles would have been from earlier dredging.

High grade gold sample

This gold came out of our initial sample, which was not much more than a pothole to see if we could reach bedrock!

Rich and I tried a second sample about 20 feet in front of the first. And while we found original streambed there, we had to eventually give up because the streambed material was too deep for us to reach bedrock. We devoted a full day to the effort.

Then we tried third sample 30 feet upstream and found bedrock in about four feet of material, the bottom two feet being original streambed. I’ll bet that streambed material has been there for 10,000 years! We spotted a nice nugget, maybe a pennyweight, as soon as we uncovered bedrock. Boy was that a game-changer! Our first two dives in opening this hole, maybe three hours of underwater time, nearly doubled the volume of gold we had recovered all season. There were 13 nuggets. We were seeing gold all over the bedrock. We even uncovered one pocket that the gold flakes just kept coming out of like a slot machine that was stuck in the bonus mode! It was fantastic! We recovered a half-ounce of gold just putting down a pothole!

Second gold sample

This gold mostly came from a single dive once we organized our hole so we could work it safely!

We put 2 dives (underwater suction mining) in our new discovery a few days later. It was the second day in this deposit. We needed to devote the entire first dive to just opening and organizing the hole to make it more safe. This was because all we did on the first day was make a pothole straight down in the material to see if we could find bedrock.

We devoted the second dive to processing Klamath River original material on bedrock. We are now seeing gold in the material and on bedrock, even as we push out in the direction of the faster water.  We recovered 3/4 of an ounce mostly from our second dive, which included 66 nuggets that were +10 in size. The largest nugget was just under a pennyweight. The following video sequence captured Rich and I talking about the excitement at this last week’s potluck:

It looks to me like this pay-streak is going to be good!  This is a strong demonstration of why it is so important for us to fight for the right to develop high-grade gold deposits which rest on the bottom of California’s waterways.  If Richard and I can do it, so can you.  And so can the generations of prospectors who will follow us.  We should not allow misguided government officials take these opportunities away from Americans.

It turns out after all that the high-grade is on the Hwy 96-side of the river on K-24A. I’ll make some adjustments to the claims guide.

Oregon News

Despite our strongest efforts, Senate Bill 838 has now been passed through the Oregon legislature and is waiting for the governor’s signature.  As I understand the law, it does not affect the present season, and the state agencies are continuing to issue suction dredging permits.  We have members dredging up in Oregon at this time.

The new law, as amended, will affect the next two seasons by reducing the number of permits issued, impose distances between suction dredges, impose operating hours, and even require that suction dredging equipment cannot be left unattended on Oregon’s waterways. For a closer look, you can find the language of the bill right here. 

My best guess is that there will be legal challenges to the new law since it is unlikely that the State of Oregon has the authority to dictate many of SB 838’s provisions on how mining is conducted on the public lands.

The prospecting associations in Oregon took the lead and did everything possible to kill SB 838. Thank you to everyone who participated in the effort to overcome this bad legislation.  While we were not able to completely kill it, we at least have managed some time to challenge it in the courts.

 

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our remaining events for 2013; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

Schedule of Events

 5-inch Dredge for Sale!

Speaking of contributions, two of our most supportive members recently donated a 5-inch Keene side-by-side triple sluice suction dredge, along with all of the extras, weight belts, wet suits, pry bars; even fuel containers – pretty much the whole package to get started.  The gear is in good running condition, and is available $3,500 (about 3 ounces of gold).  Please call Montine for more information: 530 493-2062.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, JUNE 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  6

Dave Mack

 

By Dave McCracken

highbanking fun Pan Sample

Lots of members are arriving to prospect along the Klamath River this year.  While some are attempting to dial in different kinds of underwater gravel transfer concepts, most are using conventional pick and shovel mining techniques.  There are a bunch of members working gold strikes on both the new A&D #3 and the new Middle Independence Properties.  We are seeing more cars parked along the side of the road on our other properties. It all reminds me of our very busy years in the early 90’s!

Mike Highbanking

 Our pot luck get-togethers these past two weeks have mostly been full.

People Working People Watching the Work

Somewhere around a hundred people were involved with our organized weekend activities several days ago. About half of them were beginners. We had ten experienced members out on our K-15A property demonstrating and critiquing sampling and gold panning techniques on the weekend:

Final GoldEveryone had a good time, and we recovered twelve pennyweights of beautiful gold while feeding three high-bankers for about three hours on Sunday morning.  This included nine nice gold nuggets.

These video sequences have captured how we demonstrate the entire prospecting process, from identifying naturally-formed streambed (hard-pack), gathering a proper sample, gold panning, to production, to final clean-up of the gold.  Our free weekend projects are the only organized events in the world which actually demonstrate gold prospecting from A to Z, allowing people to participate in every step along the way.

 Pretty girl Steve

California Fish & Wildlife officials were active during the early part of May, mostly checking on underwater gravel transfer systems to make sure they do not meet California’s definition of a “suction dredge.”  They don’t want to see a motorized suction system directing material into a sluice box.  To my knowledge, they did not find any violations. By all reports, the California officials have been very polite and courteous.

close smileThe U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has been mostly invisible during the past month.  However, unless we have an active fire season (which is definitely possible), I am predicting they will start to come around to visit with prospectors at some point.  I ask that you please review the suggestions that I provided in last month’s newsletter concerning our (your) relationship with USFS officials.  We still have three Internal Affairs guys on staff that are prepared to assist any members in the event that you are approached by USFS staff or other officials.  You can reach them by contacting our office at 530 493-2012.

The days in Happy Camp have mostly been warm and sunny for the past several months, and it appears as though summer has arrived for good. The Klamath River has already warmed up to about 69 degrees, and climbing fast. The water in the river is already at summer lows and very clear.  I believe that we are going to have a very low-water year on the river.  This makes for easier prospecting and more access to otherwise difficult areas – where Mother Nature hides some of her richest treasures.

Morale is very high on the river and around the office. There is a wonderful sense of motivation and quiet determinism in the air that I have not witnessed along the Klamath River since the mid-90’s. Happy Camp is actually starting to look more like a bustling economy. I am told that the paid RV parks are already booked full for the season.  We are seeing more and more small camping communities springing up along our mining properties and in the roadside pull-offs alongside Highway 96. Things are lining up in Happy Camp like we are going to have a great season!

Pick miner Big smile

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our remaining events for 2013:  June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

Schedule of Events 

Better News in Oregon!

I want to thank everyone who responded to our Action Alerts to help overcome several anti-mining bills that were fast-tracking through the Oregon State Senate. If those destructive bills were passed into law, it would have put a complete end to suction dredging and all other forms of motorized gold mining within a quarter-mile of all or most waterways in the entire State of Oregon!

Those bills were being pushed by the very same anti-mining activists we are up against in California who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

The good news is that some of the bills now appear to have stalled.  Though SB 838 remains alive in the Joint Ways & Means Committee, and our adversaries are pushing very hard right now to have their supporters push the Rules Committee to pass the Bill.  Therefore, we are requesting one more hard push at the Oregon Senate to help kill that bill.  You can find all the important details right here.

Unless SB 838 gets passed into law, it appears as though Oregon will have a normal mining season this year.  Both Oregon State Lands and Department of Environmental Quality are presently issuing their standard recreational mining permits.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

Twenty-five prizes in all

We are nearly a month away from giving away three ounces of my personal gold nuggets, and hardly anyone has entered the contest!  I know you guys normally wait until the final month to participate.  Please don’t wait too much longer. I’m sure you don’t want me to have a heart attack worrying that we could have raised more money for the legal fund if we just sold the gold to a jeweler. Oh my! 

Grand Prize: 1-Ounce of Dave’s Gold Nuggets
Four ¼-Ounce Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets 

This drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday evening, 13 July 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking 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.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, May 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  5

Dave Mack

 

By Dave McCracken

Decision Document

I am very happy to announce that on April 19th, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) denied a recent Petition from the Center for Biological Diversity which attempted to expand the regulatory definition of “suction dredge” to include our new method of underwater suction mining. Had the Petition been approved, our new method would have been prevented by California’s existing state-wide moratorium on suction dredge mining.

Amongst other reasons for denying the Petition, DFW pointed out that the Karuks and their allies had plenty of opportunity to expand the regulatory definition when they participated in the multi-million dollar administrative process that was formally completed about a year ago.

The Decision is posted right here.

It is nice to win one every once in a while. This was a big one.  It now provides a green light for what is adding up to a very productive mining season in California!  More on this below.

 

Let’s Please Proceed Carefully!

All I can say is that we have not seen excitement levels this high since the early 90’s!  Lots of members have already arrived in Happy Camp.  Plenty more will be arriving.  With this in mind, I ask that everyone very carefully consider the following points:

1)  We have carefully developed very reasonable Operation Guidelines over the last 27 years.  Everyone should please review them.  You can obtain a copy from our office (530 493-2012). No member has ever received a citation from the authorities while pursuing their activities along our properties within these guidelines.

2)  We have recently included a section in our Operation Guidelines which addresses our new method of underwater suction mining.  These guidelines are the best we can do with an activity which is in its infancy.  Adjustments are likely as we learn more.  The California Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens are already out checking on the first members who are doing suction mining.  So far, so good!  Mainly they are looking to make sure that no sluice boxes are associated with motorized suction systems.

You should be aware that they have brought up an entirely new concept of “constructive dredging.”  This is where someone would use a motorized suction device to bring gravel to the surface, and then use a sluice somewhere else to process the material.  I have my own doubts that the “constructive dredging” concept would hold up in a contested court hearing.  But be warned in advance that there may be some risk in using any sluice to process gravel that is transferred by a motorized suction system.  There are other ways to concentrate material that do not require a sluice box.  Since volume levels will be low, I believe even traditional gold panning will work in many circumstances.

Underwater suckerOne member has already arrived with a catch container that shakes on the deck of his floating platform (automatic gold panning machine)!  He is using motorized suction to feed water and gravel to the bottom of the container.  Shaking allows the material to concentrate in his catch container. I’m sure others will arrive with other interesting innovations.

3)  Anti-mining activists are using Cal Tip as a way to lodge anonymous complaints against some members who are already prospecting on the river. Wardens say they intend to respond to each complaint. So far, the wardens have been very polite and courteous.  Let’s please respond in kind.  There is no reason to make the process more painful than necessary.  As long as you are operating within the guidelines, my guess is that they will only come out to take a look at you one time (because anti-mining activists are going to be keeping them busy).

Please be aware that if you are outside of the guidelines, you will likely receive a citation and create a bad reflection upon everyone else who is doing it the right way.

4)    Please review once again the Memo put out by our attorney concerning our (your) relationship with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).  It is important that you understand the legal limits of the roles that officials play.  Just so you know, we have circulated this Memo, and received acknowledgment that it is accurate, all the way to the top of USFS Minerals in WashingtonD.C.  The reason I say this is important is that anti-mining activists are broadcasting that the recent Ninth Circuit Court Decision changed USFS regulations regarding small-scale mining on the public lands – which is completely false.

Here it is as I understand it:  The mining laws allow all Americans free and open access on the public lands for the purpose of prospecting. There is no requirement of making any contact, getting any permission or providing any notice (NOI) of what we are doing to any authorities until such time that we believe our activities will create a significant surface impact.  I know this is kind of hard to believe in this day and age where Americans need permission from the government for nearly everything we do.  Take it from me on this one:  Asking permission to access the public lands for the purpose of small-scale prospecting will almost surely work against you these days!

Here it is: Under existing USFS regulations, we are only requested to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the USFS if we believe our prospecting may create a significant surface impact. Submitting a Notice is not a requirement. There is no penalty for not submitting a Notice.

Prior to the Ninth Circuit Decision, if we provided USFS with an explanation (Notice) of what we were doing, the local Ranger used to go through an internal process to assess if what we were doing was likely to create a significant surface impact. Now the Ranger will be required to consult with other agencies to perform this assessment.  That is likely to involve more time. A lot more time!  So providing a notice (Notice), or asking permission, or even providing an explanation of your prospecting method, is a sure way to get yourself stopped in your tracks, even if you are not required to consult with USFS in the first place!  

Welcome to modern America!

In thirty years on the Klamath National Forest, the Happy Camp, Scott and Upper Salmon River Rangers have never once considered that The New 49’ers, even as a whole group, were likely to create a significant surface impact.  Therefore, as an individual, I don’t know why anyone doing small-scale prospecting would believe any type of Notice or explanation would be necessary.

Here is the important catch:  There is no format to a Notice.  Therefore, a simple verbal explanation of your process could serve as a formal Notice, “I am using this motorized pumping machine to transfer small amounts of gravel from out in the river over to the side of the river where I can process it with a gold pan.”  That detailed explanation can serve as a Notice, which can then open the door for the Ranger to ask you to stop while he consults with multiple other agencies to decide if there might be a significant surface disturbance. “Thank you very much for your cooperation.  No good deed goes unpunished these days. Please stop what you are doing while we get a whole bunch of others involved.  Come back next year and we will tell you what we think…”

Here is the reality:  Prospecting processes are private, proprietary matters, much like the formulas which make up protected commercial products.  Your prospecting processes are nobody else’s business.  There is no requirement for you to disclose your methods and processes to anyone, especially the government. I don’t want my competitors to know my secrets.  I also don’t want them made available to anti-mining activists through the Freedom of Information Act.  There is no authority in the USFS regulations that allows the Ranger to demand an explanation of your prospecting process.  Though it doesn’t mean he will not ask for an explanation (verbal Notice). Anything you disclose to the USFS will certainly become part of the public record.  My understanding is that the USFS only has the authority to concern itself with the surface impact that you are (not) creating, and only if the impact is significant.  Nothing more.  They are welcome to look at the surface impact.  Your methods and processes are your own business. I strongly advise that you keep them private.

Let me say it a different way: There are several specific exemptions to the requirement of providing any Notice in the USFS regulations.  One important one is as follows:

“Sec. 228.4 Notice of intent–plan of operations–requirements. (a)(1) A notice of intent to operate is not required for: (ii) Prospecting and sampling which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance and will not involve removal of more than a reasonable amount of mineral deposit for analysis and study …”

Since no Notice has ever been required for the prospecting that we do, and there is no difference between Notice and an explanation, my own answer when asked what I am doing will be something along with the following:  “I am recovering very small samples for the purpose of analysis.  No further explanation is necessary under USFS regulations.  You are welcome to observe the surface impact for yourself.”  This would be cooperation to the fullest extent of the regulations.  Anything more is likely to be used against you in today’s America.

As long as you stay within our Operation Guidelines, I personally see no reason why the USFS should take very much interest in you.  They never have before!  Having said that, I also want to point out that our adversaries are putting a lot of pressure on USFS authorities to stop us.  These poor USFS guys are caught in the middle. They must follow up on complaints that are lodged.  So you should plan on them stopping by to see what you are doing.  My advice is, rather than explain your methods and processes, you welcome them to see for themselves what your surface impact is.  I hope you guys are listening to this.

Internal Affairs Staff

Internal Affairs Director, Rich Krimm, with his Deputies, John Rose (left) and Jim Foley (right)

If you are approached by any authority, please be careful to ask politely for the person’s name in writing, the department of government he or she works for and a phone number where the person can be reached.  Maybe the person has a business card. I suggest you immediately stop ongoing prospecting activity the first time any official visits you and contact our office with the details. I would be busy reclaiming any visual impact from my activity while making small talk with the person. Our Internal Affairs staff will be happy to help you to sort it out, though there is little they can do if you do not have contact details.

We have added two Deputies to our Internal Affairs team this season largely for the purpose of assisting you guys through these affairs.

One very important note:  There is not a lot we can do to help you if you create a visible surface impact that the Ranger might consider “significant.”  Please fill in your excavations behind you as you make them.  This is all outlined in our Operation Guidelines. 

The Season is Starting Early this Year!

People showing up

 

The days in Happy Camp have mostly been warm and sunny for the past two months. The Klamath River has already warmed up to near 60 degrees. Annual flow charts show the river is running lower, two months ahead of the last two years. My own guess is that we are going to have a low-water year on the river.  This makes for easier mining and more access to otherwise difficult areas – where Mother Nature hides many of her richest treasures.

Demo 1 Demo 2

A bunch of members were comparing different types of gold concentrating equipment  in front of our headquarters this past Friday afternoon.

Increased excitement is also bringing members around earlier than we have seen in many years.  Some members are already mining and prospecting.  There is a wonderful sense of motivation and quiet determinism in the air that I have not witnessed along the Klamath River since the mid-90’s. Members are coming together on their own to do equipment demonstrations at the office for everyone to see. Things are lining up in Happy Camp like we are going to have a great season!

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our planned events for the upcoming season:  June 1 & 2; June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

Schedule of Events 

Opposition to Oregon Senate Bills 838 and 401!

Several anti-mining bills have already been passed through the first (of two) important committees, and are now fast-tracking through the Oregon State Senate. If these destructive bills are passed into law, it will put a complete end to suction dredging and all other forms of motorized gold mining within a quarter-mile of all or most waterways in the entire State of Oregon!

These bills are being pushed by anti-mining activists who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

Just at the time when we have figured out how to do some underwater suction mining in California, this is not the time for us to lose all of Oregon!

If we do not all pull together and kill these bills right now, we will find ourselves devoting years trying to overcome them through expensive litigation. We must flood the Oregon senate with very vocal opposition right now!

You can find all the important details right here

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

Twenty-five prizes in allNuggets

Grand Prize: 1-Ounce of Dave’s Gold Nuggets

Four ¼-Ounce Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets

Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets 

This drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday evening, 13 July 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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.

Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49′ers, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here:

More Announcements

K-14A at Portuguese Creek is Lost:  I’m sorry to say that all the excitement I expressed in last month’s newsletter about our acquiring a new claim on the Klamath (K-14A) downstream of Portuguese Creek was for nothing.

We have been notified by the person who sold us the claim that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has allowed West End Prospectors to recover from a mistake which BLM had listed as final in their files. There is nothing we can do to reverse this.

It was never our intention to take the property away from West End. BLM records confirmed the property was available. We assumed they dropped it. We wanted to buy the property before someone else did.

The several members who were actively working the claim have been notified, and have since joined up with West End so they can remain there. West End has a Membership Drive going for $145 in case anyone is interested.

Our signs have been removed, and we have taken the property off our claims guides. I’m sorry about this, you guys. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often.

We are adding Google Earth kmz links to the Claims Guide:  Founding member, Mark Chestnut, has been investing a lot of time to placing our claims into interactive Google Earth links which will allow you to move around the properties from a bird’s eye view.  We have now posted all these links on the Lower Klamath River properties beginning with K-20, and extending through all of our existing properties downstream, Mark has also created a file that will allow you to look at all of our properties along the lower Klamath.  This makes for an excellent prospecting tool. We hope to have kmz links in place for all of our existing properties by the next newsletter. Check it out!

To view the content from these .kmz links  you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer. Download Google Earth

Services for Bill Stumpf:   Many of you know that Bill Stumpf passed away several months ago.  Bill was a founding member who helped manage The New 49’ers all the way through the 90’s.  As our daily tour guide, Bill took untold hundreds of beginners out, taught them to pan, and helped them find their first gold.  He ran the weekend group mining projects for many years.  Both of Bill’s sons also lived in Happy Camp and operated a commercial dredging program for many years on New 49’er properties.  Bill played a big part in helping our program get a strong footing.  He had a lot of friends from all over the world.  Bill was a strong supporter of our organization all the way to the end.

As the Klamath River was one of Bill’s favorite places, his family has scheduled informal services on Bill’s behalf to take place at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp at 2 PM on 25 May.  This will be a pot-luck get-together in honor of Bill.  Everyone who knew him, or even those of you who wish that you knew him, are invited to attend. Bill’s wife Jan will be there, along with his sons and their families.

No Potluck on June 8:  The Grange Hall is pre-booked for another event on Saturday on June 8.  Otherwise, we have booked the Hall for all of our other Saturday evening potlucks this coming season from 1 June through August 24.

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, April 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  4

Dave Mack

 

By Dave McCracken

 

 

Main image

 We are still on a roll, you guys!  After waiting 28 years, we have finally acquired the 1.25-mile stretch of Klamath River which connects to the downstream end of our K-14 property.  This will now provide us with a three-mile stretch of river extending from just up from the mouth of Fort Goff Creek all the way to the downstream side of Seiad.

K-14A Lower Port Crk Topo

This was one of the original mining properties I acquired when I first arrived on the Klamath back in 1984.  A representative of the West End Prospector’s Club (Los Angeles area) had asked me during 1985 if I would sell them a claim that would provide good river access, plenty of camping, and easy access to gold.  This property was ideally-suited for a mining association.  I was having second thoughts about selling the property, because I was having early thoughts about starting a mining association to be based in Happy Camp.  Since the guy traveled all the way to Happy Camp to buy the property, I set my personal reservations aside and went through with the deal.  But I have regretted selling that claim since the day I did it.

We started The New 49’ers a few months later, doing our first promotional event in Quartzsite, Arizona in January of 1986.  Shortly afterwards, several of our members made a very rich gold strike on the lower end of K-14, just upstream of the property I sold to West End.  Our members were recovering lots of beautiful gold nuggets off of shallow bedrock on the Highway 96 side of the river. There was a small gold rush in there, and it wasn’t long before the Stumpf brothers located a rich pay-streak further out in the river.  As far as I know, none of our members ever crossed the boundary line and pursued the continuation of those gold deposits onto the West End side.  We can do that now!

Our K-13 and K-14 properties just upstream have been excellent gold producers in the surface deposits. We ran successful weekend high-banking projects on both of those properties for many years.  I know the gold continues down across this new property, because some of the West End guys used to attend our weekly potlucks. They confided in me that they were recovering good gold both in and outside of the river.  The problem most of those guys were experiencing was the great distance they had to travel to arrive at this property.  Most of them were working jobs, so they could not spend much time along the Klamath River.  In fact, it was just a few West-enders that we ever saw on the extensive property.

CampgroundThe downstream boundary marker of this new property can be found near mile marker 56.10, just upstream from the USFS Campground at FortGoff.  This is an excellent (free) campground that includes picnic tables, BBQ pits and a toilet. My guess is that USFS will enforce a 2-week camping limit inside one of their own official campgrounds.

About a half-mile upstream on Highway 96 at mile marker 56.68, you will find an official USFS Portuguese Creek River Access. There are also some camping areas available there, along with an excellent boat ramp for launching gear into the river. Walking upstream just a short distance will bring you to some exposed and shallow bedrock along an extensive bar that extends the better part of a mile along the Highway-96 side of the river.  I’m guessing this is going to provide our members with excellent surface mining opportunities for many years to come.  Don’t be surprised if you find us doing the weekend group projects in this area.  This entire 1-mile stretch has bedrock showing here and there as it slopes into shallow river.  This will be a good place to pursue our new methods of underwater crevice mining.

Old streambed

There is also an extensive bar on the far side of the river towards the lower end of the property.  It would be hard to miss the very rough and irregular portions of exposed bedrock that are slanting into the river there (See image above).  Since we had substantial success a mile upstream both in and out of the river on K-14, and more substantial success both in and out of the river on K-15A about a mile downstream, I estimate it is about a 100% chance we will have great success in finding what we are looking for over there, as well.  In all the time I have been on the river, I have never seen anyone prospecting the far side of the river on this property.
One thing you notice on this new claim, more than in other areas along the river, is the workings left behind by extensive historical mining. There are piles of rocks everywhere, along with the skeletons of ancient streambed deposits which were too hard for the old-timers to work.

The upper end of this new property provides even more shaded camping.  There is an old road up there that extends all the way down to the river near the upper end of the property. The road is blocked to full sized vehicle travel at the moment.  ATV’s might make good use of the road.

To my knowledge, very little mining activity has taken place on this property. We have been waiting patiently to reacquire the long stretch of river for a very long time.  Now we have it! 

Opposition to Oregon Senate Bills 838 and 401!

Several anti-mining bills are now fast-tracking through the Oregon State Senate. If these destructive bills are passed into law, it will put a complete end to suction dredging and all other forms of motorized gold mining within a quarter-mile of all or most waterways in the entire State of Oregon!
These bills are being pushed by anti-mining activists who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

Just at the time when we have figured out how to do some underwater suction mining in California, this is not the time for us to lose all of Oregon!

If we do not all pull together and kill these bills right now, we will find ourselves devoting years trying to overcome them through expensive litigation. We must flood the Oregon senate with very vocal opposition right now!

You can find all the important details right here

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our planned events for the upcoming season:  June 1 & 2; June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

U.S. Supreme Court will not Take up our Petition

The U.S. Supreme Court chose to not accept our Petition to overturn a recent Ninth Circuit Decision which directs the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to pursue an endangered species (ESA) consultation before allowing mining under a Notice of Intent (NOI). In case you didn’t know, USFS had opposed our Petition to the Supreme Court based upon the argument that the Ninth Circuit’s Decision did not really change anything important in the way they do business.

Now that the Ninth’s Decision is final, the focus will turn to the way USFS does business concerning small-scale mining and prospecting on the public lands. Early on, a suggestion was originated by anti-mining activists that any use of a motor on the public lands would now require an ESA consultation. We do not believe there is any merit to that idea. That suggestion seems to have quieted down for the moment. But I will not be surprised if our enemies file another lawsuit to challenge the way USFS does business concerning small-scale mining. This is the way our enemies do it. Step by step, they attempt to chip away at our freedoms and opportunities.

Being that there is some ongoing confusion over what existing USFS regulations are concerning small-scale mining activity on the public lands, I asked our attorney to provide us with a summary of the important points, particularly on the subject of operating small motors.

Here is the Memo. The purpose of the Memo is to provide you with an accurate explanation that you can rely upon. If there is anything you are uncertain about, please make contact with our Director of Internal Affairs. He can be found on our Contact page.

Here it is as I understand it:  The mining laws allow all Americans free access on the public lands for the purpose of prospecting. There is no requirement of making contact, getting permission or giving notice (NOI) to any authorities until such time that we believe our activities will create a significant surface impact.

We are only requested to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) if we believe our prospecting may create a significant impact. Filing an NOI is not a requirement. There is no penalty for not filing an NOI.

Once (if) an NOI was filed, the USFS Ranger used to go through an internal process to assess if what we were doing was likely to create a significant surface impact. Now the Ninth Circuit has decided the Ranger will be required to consult with other agencies to perform this assessment.  That is likely to involve more time.

In thirty years on the Klamath National Forest, the Happy Camp, Scott and Upper Salmon River Rangers have never once considered that The New 49’ers, even as a whole group, were likely to create a significant surface impact.  Therefore, as an individual, I don’t know why anyone doing small-scale prospecting would believe an NOI would be necessary.

As long as you stay within our Operation Guidelines, I personally see no reason why the USFS should take any interest in you at all.  They never have before!  If you are approached by any authorities, please be careful to ask politely for the person’s name in writing, the department of government he or she works for, and a phone number where the person can be reached.  Maybe the person has a business card. If you contact our office with those details, our Internal Affairs staff will be happy to help you to sort it out.

The Season is Starting Early this Year!

We have an early spring in progress this year.  The days have mostly been warm and sunny for the past month. Leaves are budding out on many trees. Flowers are popping out of the ground everywhere.  Water in the Klamath has warmed up into the low 50’s already.  It is running a bit high from snow runoff.  Visibility is about three feet as I write this, though it changes from day to day.  My own guess is that with so much of the water running off early, we are likely to have a low-water year on the river.  This makes for easier mining and more access to otherwise difficult areas – where Mother Nature hides many of her richest treasures.

Increased excitement is also bringing members around earlier than we have seen in many years.  Some members are already mining and prospecting.  I was posting signs on all the new properties just a few days ago and came upon three members who were using a wheeled cart to move an underwater suction machine into place towards the upper end of our new K-24A property.  There was a sense of motivation and quiet determinism in those guys that I have not witnessed along the Klamath River since the 90’s.  I’m seeing that same kind of personal determinism in others who are in the office.  It is wonderful!  Things are lining up in Happy Camp like we are going to have a great season!

More Announcements

We are adding Google Earth .kmz links to the Claims Guide:  Founding member, Mark Chestnut, has been investing a lot of time to placing our claims into interactive Google Earth links which allow you to move around the properties from a bird’s eye view.  We have now posted all these links on the Lower Klamath River properties beginning with K-20, and extending through all of our properties downstream, Mark has also created a file that will allow you to look at all of our properties along the lower Klamath. Check it out! This makes for an excellent prospecting tool.

To view the content from these links  you will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer. Download Google Earth

Services for Bill Stumpf:   Many of you know that Bill Stumpf passed away several months ago.  Bill was a founding member who helped manage The New 49’ers all the way through the 90’s.  As our daily tour guide, Bill took untold hundreds of beginners out, taught them to pan, and helped them find their first gold.  He ran the weekend group mining projects for many years.  Both of Bill’s sons also lived in Happy Camp and operated a commercial dredging program on New 49’er properties for many years.  Bill played a big part in helping our program get a strong footing.  He had a lot of friends from all over the world.  Bill was a strong supporter of our organization all the way to the end.

As this was one of Bill’s favorite places, his family has scheduled informal services on Bill’s behalf to take place at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp at 2 PM on 25 May.  This will be a pot-luck get-together in honor of Bill.  Everyone who knew him, or even those of you who wish that you knew him, are invited to attend. Bill’s wife Jan will be there, along with his sons and their families.

No Potluck on June 8:  The Grange Hall is pre-booked for another event on Saturday on June 8.  Otherwise, we have booked the Hall for all of our other Saturday evening potlucks this coming season from 1 June through August 24.

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, March 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  3

Dave Mack

 By Dave McCracken

 

Note from Dave:  This short story was sent to me by one of our longtime members who is so excited about this new underwater suction mining concept we have come up with, that he started working out a gravel transfer system in February, and is already recovering a substantial amount of gold, especially while being hampered by cold water. Oh my; it is starting already! 

Since coming out with this new idea, I have received queries from people about what our Club rules are regarding underwater suction mining along our extensive properties. So we have published a set of Special Underwater Suction Mining Guidelines further below. My answer is that as long as your device does not meet the regulatory definition of a “suction dredge” (motorized suction through a hose into a sluice box), and you stay within our simple guidelines, you are more than welcome to come with your inventions and keep all the gold you can find!  

I know people are working on different ideas.  I have an idea of my own and am expecting to have my most productive underwater mining season ever on the Klamath River this summer.  It’s certainly going to be an interesting season!  You guys (and gals) are all invited. Montine in our office will work it out with nearly anyone to become a member of The New 49’ers. Please call her at 530 493-2012. 

Having said that, I thought you might be interested to know that we already have members getting started.  Here is John’s personal story:

Suction Mining Has Already Started on the Klamath River!

 

John Rose  gold

Field Report from John Rose:  This device was meant to be as simple and economical as possible, and something that I could use without a partner. It began as just a crude system I put together to see if my idea would even work. Basically it is just a larger milk crate with most of one end cut out and a 1 1/2″ crash box mounted on top with a grizzly and some inner tube attached.  I added the crash box and inner tube to try and cut down on the boiling of the water going into the bucket.  It seems to work okay with just one person so long as I go slow and watch not to fill the bucket too full.

I started with some diamond-shaped screen to use as a grizzly but I am constantly removing rocks from the screen. This subtracts from the work I’m getting done at the nozzle. So I will next experiment with some round splines to see if they allow oversized rocks to slide off better.

gravel-transfer-set-upI am using a 5-gallon square bucket that slides perfectly into the milk crate when stood on end.  I found that adding some rubber on the sides of the splash box down to the grizzly helps to direct the material onto the grizzly then into the bucket without loosing very much smaller material.

The water was very cold when I began this experiment in February.  Now that we are into March, I am able to put my hands into it without gloves, which was not the case just a few weeks ago. I am mining along this section of exposed bedrock that slopes out into the river. The river fluctuates higher and faster, and then drops again, depending upon how much rain we get.  I’ll be able to do better once the water warms up even more and I can reach out further into the river.

I am only using a 2.5 horsepower pump and mini suction nozzle.  It has plenty of power when I submerge the catch container out in deeper water.  This is difficult to do at the moment because water currents can capsize my catch container and take away all the fruits of my labor.

The biggest cost to my “thingamajig” was the $80 crash box.  The rest was just scrap that I scrounged from around the shop.  I will leave my thingamajig down at the New 49’er office when I’m not using it so people can look at it as they come in.  Montine says she will begin stocking crash boxes and other items so other prospectors can make up similar gravel transfer systems.

Here is a video segment which shows me testing out the system in the creek just down from where I am camping:

The good news is that I recovered 3.4 pennyweights of nice gold (about $250) during my first week, which is not bad considering I devoted a lot of time doing modifications. I know I lost some gold from too much water boiling in my initial bucket – which was shorter.  The cold water is also limiting what I can get done.   So with some more fine tuning I think this system might really do the trick!

I’ll tell you; it’s really exciting to see the gold add up so fast! 

We Have Acquired Another Rich Klamath River Gold Property! 

Elliot Bar

We are on a roll, you guys!  At long last, we have acquired the 1.7 mile stretch of Klamath River which connects our Coons Creek and Cottage Grove Properties. This is approximately twenty miles downriver from Happy Camp.  This will now provide us with a continuous stretch of river in that location which is more than 3.3 miles long.

Elliot Bar Map

This is another area of the river where I personally have some early history dating back to 1984.  In fact, this is the first place that I put a dredge into the Klamath River.  I had five or six of my very first students with me, and I was going to show them how to sample.  We started in an area just downstream of the huge bar on the upper half of the claim (towards the upper end of the river in the image above). Digging a small hole on the edge of the river exposed cemented gravel inside of a bedrock crack.  It took us a while; but we picked the hard material out of the crack and found nuggets and chips of gold on the bedrock.  But the going was very slow, so we turned our attention to the river.

Floating my 5-inch dredge just out into the river, we started a sample hole between the stream bank and a section of faster water.  I was used to the much smaller and tamer Trinity River; and frankly, I remember being overwhelmed by the size, depth and ferocity of the Klamath.  The boulders were larger than I was used to; there seemed to be no bottom to the streambed material, and the river was so wide compared to what I was used to, it felt like we were just an ineffective needle in a haystack.  There was also a nagging feeling in me that there was not going to be much gold in the Klamath River.  We didn’t have enough experience there to know any better, yet.

The key moment was when I considered pushing on out to the edge of the fast water towards the middle of the river.  I crawled out there underwater and took a look.  The water was faster and deeper out there, but I could have done the sample, and it looked like I could get to bedrock in that place.  I remember deciding there was not going to be any gold out there.  These are the exact decisions we make that change our fate forever!  Had I done that sample, I cannot even imagine how differently the world would have gone. In fact, I might not even be writing this newsletter right now!  This was a good lesson, amongst many others I experienced over the years, why it is better to not give up hope too quickly.

One of my students offered to buy the claim. He was excited that we found gold nuggets so easily under the cemented gravel along the edge of the river.  It was actually a group of ten claims.  Having acquired plenty of other property along the Klamath, and always in need of financial capital, I decided to sell him that stretch of river.  That guy was a good student!  After he finished my class, he went out and dredged the sample I neglected to do further out in the river. That is exactly where he struck it rich within the first hour!  He ultimately dredged hundreds of ounces of gold from that single location!  Selling those claims was something I have regretted doing ever since.

Unfortunately, my ex-student died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. The property has been held in private hands ever since.  The owners have refused to allow any outsiders access to the property.  To my knowledge, no mining or prospecting has been done on this very extensive property beyond the original strike.  I have been waiting patiently to reacquire the long stretch of river for the past 30 years.  Now we have it!

Img_0167Besides the extensive underwater suction mining opportunity remaining on this property, there is also enough surface mining potential on both sides of the river to keep our members busy for the rest of our lives.  This is a huge property! There are extensive ancient hydraulic workings on the far side of the river which take up the lower half of the property.  There may be some really good electronic prospecting opportunity over there!

This is another property where there are very large roadside pull-offs for camping and parking.  Access poses a bit of a challenge because Highway 96 is elevated above the river for some distance along the claim.  It is a bit easier up towards the private property.  There is an access road towards the bottom of the claim that will get you most of the way to the river.

Important note:  The upper portion of the river area on this property is landlocked by private property.  Our mining claim takes in the river which flows around the private property.  This is shown in this diagram on Google Earth. There is some kind of private fee camping area there that we don’t know anything about.  You may be able to work something out with the owners.  Otherwise, the upper portion of the claim will only be accessible by boat.

Special Rules for Underwater Suction Mining

We explained the need for these Rules on our Internet forum. So I won’t go into it again here.

1)  Suction mining in the active waterway, or within 100 yards of the active waterway, must not use a “suction dredge” as defined by California’s regulations (motorized pump generating suction through a hose to feed a sluice box) unless the operator possesses a valid California suction dredge permit. Read this for a more thorough discussion of the difference between a “dredge” and a motorized suction system.

2)  No suction nozzle with an intake restriction ring larger than 4-inches in diameter may be used within 100 yards of an active waterway on New 49’er-controlled properties.

3)  No excavation into the stream bank of an active waterway is allowed.  Bedrock cracks along the edge of a waterway can be worked.  But the bed material (rocks, sand and silt) which rises up from the bedrock and creates a structure that holds the waterway in its path must be left alone.  This means the stream bank may not be undermined or destabilized in any way.

4)  Boulders and woody debris along the stream bank of an active waterway must be left alone.

5)  Underwater suction mining without the use of a “dredge” is only allowed on our Klamath River properties between the Scott and Salmon Rivers on a year-round basis, and only up the Klamath from its confluence with the Scott only from the 4th Saturday in May through September 30. Underwater suction mining is only permitted along our creek properties and the Scott River only from July 1 to September 30. Underwater suction mining is only permitted on the Salmon River only from July 1 through September 15.

6)  Underwater suction mining may not be pursued in any way that violates Water Quality standards, or exceeds Streambed Alteration standards.  These are addressed in our Surface Mining Guidelines. 

Legal Fund Prize Winners

We did the drawing for our most recent legal fundraiser at our offices in Happy Camp at the close of business on 7 March. Ray Arnsen drew all the tickets. He is not a member and not related to any of this. The winners of the are as follows:

One-ounce American Gold Eagle: Fred Rehfield

Quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles: John Moir, Terry White, Dorothy Leet and William Tipton

Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Buell Meyer, Phillip Osborn, Gregory M Beenken, Wes St Clair, Howard Charleboix, Dorothy Leet, David LeFevre, David Eddleman, Brad Hinman and Gilbert Reynolds

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you very much to everyone who participated. I want to especially acknowledge the substantial response to my calls during the final week before the drawing. It makes me very proud to know we have so many loyal supporters out there. It also prompts me to come up with more of my personal gold nuggets for the next fund-raiser! 

Any contributions received afterwards will have automatically been issued tickets in our next fund-raiser.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

Dave Mack's Gold Nuggets

Since it generated so much participation last time, I am allowing three more ounces of my personal gold nuggets to be used as prizes in this new fund-raiser!

New Fund-raiser, 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-Ounce of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets
Four ¼-Ounce Bags of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday evening, 13 July 2013. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

We greatly appreciate your support in these fundraisers! 

Opposition to Oregon Senate Bills 115, 370 and 401!

Several anti-mining bills are now progressing through the Oregon State Senate. If these destructive bills are passed into law, it will put a complete end to suction dredging and all other forms of motorized gold mining in the entire State of Oregon!

These bills are being pushed by anti-mining activists who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

Just at the time when we have figured out how to do some underwater suction mining in California, this is not the time for us to lose all of Oregon!

If we do not all pull together and kill these bills right now, we will find ourselves devoting years and years trying to overcome them through expensive litigation. We must flood the Oregon senate with very vocal opposition right now!

You can find all the important details right here

2013 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment. The policy has a $100 deductible. It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2014. This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found here

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our planned events for the upcoming season:  June 1 & 2; June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

With the launch of Extreme Prospector, I have started up a blog which broadens the context to ongoing adventures and other important news and issues that we are all facing today.  These include discussion and links to informative information about the economic realities of our time.  Important stuff!

My latest blog released the news about the success John Rose is having with this new motorized underwater suction mining concept weeks before you are seeing it in this newsletter.  I provide updates in the blog as soon as I am aware of them.

If you are interested in up-to-date news, along with stories about extreme prospecting adventures (not just mine), I invite you to visit my Facebook page at facebook/DaveMackExtreme and follow me on Twitter @DaveMackExtreme.  There is a “Free eBook” tab on my Facebook page where you can download Chapter 10 of Extreme Prospector. 

I hope a bunch of you guys and gals will join me up there and encourage all of you to join in the discussion and “Like” my page to share with your friends. 

Lost Treasure Hunters on Youtube!

For any of you guys who missed our first episode of Lost Treasure Hunters on Animal Planet, it is now playing on Youtube.  Check it out!

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, February 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  2

Dave Mack

 By Dave McCracken

 

Jim & James & Alan & Bob

Bridge View Good gold

Story by Jim Yerby

Alan Mash and I had been biting at the bit to go have a look as soon as I heard that our new mining property near Independence Creek is the richest mile of the Klamath River.  We live in Medford, Oregon, normally only about two hours away.  But it had been a cold, wet January in northern California and southern Oregon. Alan and I were prepared to dig through a little snow to get to the pay-dirt; but doing it in the pouring rain didn’t sound like that much fun.  So we patiently watched the weather forecasts on the Internet and waited for the first good chance.

Because of our close friendship and their substantial prospecting experience, we invited two other New 49’er adventure buddies to come along by the time the weather cleared.  Bob Johnson has been prospecting for gold so long; he actually put himself through college by dredging for gold during the summer months.  James McCarville also was part of this team.  Everybody knows that James dredged up a 4-ounce gold nugget on the Rogue River this past season, the largest on record, I believe. We decided to make full a day of it.  Prospecting guru, Alan Mash, brought his cameras along and is responsible for the images and video segments in this month’s newsletter.

Since we were going down for a look, Dave Mack asked if we would capture some images and video of an additional (exciting) new mining property The New 49’ers just acquired around nine miles downstream from Happy Camp (see below). Dave also wanted images of two other extensive properties that we are not even allowed to talk about, yet.  We got that bit of business out of the way before turning our attention onto the new property at Independence.

The Klamath is running a little high at the moment, though the water is quite clear.  I had my hands in it while doing some panning.  It’s cold; but I’m not sure that it is much colder than the warmest the Rogue River in Southern Oregon ever gets during the summer months. The Klamath is only going to get easier to mine as we evolve into the spring months just ahead.  Makes me excited just to think about it!

As long as we were going to the property, Dave asked us to cross the bridge near the upper end, cross Independence Creek, and walk downstream until we could find some bedrock alongside the Klamath River.  He wanted us to do a pan sample or two. This was just a formality; because everyone with any experience along the Klamath knows the Independence Mining District is super rich.

Getting across Independence Creek was easier than I anticipated.  It was only flowing about 18-inches deep in the pools. It was just a few inches deep down near the mouth of the Creek. We ran across four other New 49’er members in just the short time we were on the claim. This did not surprise us, because Montine in the office told me there has been a lot of interest in this new property. She said some members were out there sampling through the snow, even while it was raining.  Well, we almost did that, too!

But I’m really glad we waited. We could not have picked a better day. The sun was out and the Klamath River canyon was at its best.  We sure are lucky to live in an outdoor wonderland!

Bedrock Crack  Panning a sample  Sample results

Bob turned up a pretty good pan out of a sample hole that someone else had already started in an open crack in the exposed bedrock.  At first, I thought he was just fooling around when he said he uncovered a piece of gold sitting right of top of some brown-colored material.  But I went over to look; and sure enough, there was a piece of gold just sitting there!  Leave it to Bob to make the first strike.  First strike is that very moment when everyone’s emotional juices get fired up!  There are few other experiences in life quite like it.  It is something like that moment of disbelief when you hit the jackpot on a slot machine.  But it is better, because in gold prospecting, we are finding raw wealth!

We paused for a moment, finding it pretty amazing that piece of gold was visible in a place where someone else had already been digging. It made us wonder what the earlier prospector found that prompted him to leave in such a hurry.  Here follows Bob’s explanation:

James and Alan also made a preliminary strike further up the bar. They were digging through about a foot of streambed sitting right on top of bedrock.  By the looks of it, bedrock is going to be easy to find down near the river, and especially out into the river. The following video sequence captures James and Alan explaining their sampling program and showing off some of the gold.

While those guys were sampling, I walked further downstream along the bank to get a better look at the shallow part of the river. That’s really the reason I went down there in the first place. My own interest is in the underwater crevicing opportunities on this new property. I’d like to get out beyond the reach of where the average surface miner can go.

I could see plenty of irregular and jagged bedrock extending quite a ways out into the river, and then drop off into deeper water. The exposed bedrock has the very same kinds of open cracks and traps like what Bob was digging out on the surface. I dream about the gold that might be in those very same cracks out there under the water!  It looks to me like there is an unlimited opportunity to do shallow underwater crevicing on this property using this new method of motorized underwater suction gravel transfer that Dave Mack outlined in last month’s newsletter.

Looking over the new property from the Highway 96 side of the river, it appears that there is a full mile of shallow bedrock on the north side of this claim.  And for that matter, the shallow bedrock just continues right on down the north side on our adjoining K-25 property just downstream!  I don’t believe anyone has done any underwater crevicing down that way, either.  This whole idea of sucking out underwater cracks in exposed bedrock is brand new.  Frankly, I’m surprised we never thought of it before!

I’m so excited; I can hardly stand to wait until spring to get started!

The thing to keep in mind is that all four of us on this particular sampling team have always been serious underwater gold miners.  We were all dredging on the Klamath until the moratorium in California came about three seasons ago.  Then we moved north to Oregon; all the while, itching to get back onto the Klamath.  What makes the Klamath so interesting is that the high-grade deposits can actually fill up jars of gold once you tap into them!

While we agreed to do a few pan samples for Dave Mack, we were really down there to survey the more serious opportunities which remain below the water’s surface.

Claim view

Dave confided in me that with the history he knows about this new property, along with this new method of motorized underwater gravel transfer, he believes there is a strong chance that he can recover more gold this coming season than during any other season in his career.  All you have to do is read his new book to know that Dave doesn’t joke around about this sort of thing.  In fact, when it comes to mining, he is the most serious and dedicated guy I know. Because of Dave’s other responsibilities, he only gets to mine part time.  So, in my mind, Dave must know where there is an awfully rich stretch of river on this new property!  He is staying tight-lipped about where he intends to begin the upcoming season.

I admit that we spent a lot of time looking over the river to see if there was an obvious location where Dave Mack plans to start.  The problem is that a mile takes in a lot of river!  There is a lot of diversity on this property, fast and slow areas, along a continuous, slow bend which should put the richest gold line between the center of the river and the north side.  While we picked out plenty of places we would like to sample inside the river, I have to say that this entire property looks fantastic!

We finally gave up on trying to figure out where Dave Mack’s secret spot is.  I guess we will just have to wait and see!  I have already volunteered to help him launch his gear when the time comes…

 

We Have Acquired Another Exciting High-banking and Crevicing Property Along the Klamath!

Lots of bedrock

More good news, you guys!  We have acquired another excellent mining property along the Klamath River 9.3 miles downstream from Happy Camp.  This is another area we have had our eyes on for many years, mainly because of the extensive stretches of exposed bedrock and high-banking opportunity on the far side of the river.  There is also a sizable pull-off area along the side of Highway 96 for parking and camping directly on the property.

Pull-off

Claim Map

Click Image for Larger View

This is a rich mining property which has been held in private hands since before I arrived on the Klamath River in 1984.  The owners did not allow anyone to mining on the property, save for one old-timer that has been camping in the roadside pull-off, paddling a canoe over the far side of the river, and digging the gold out of exposed bedrock cracks every summer since at least 1984.

Now I am happy to say that the ¾-mile property belongs to us.  It will be logged on our Claims Guide as A & D #3 Gold Claim (K-23AA) as soon as we can get it up there.This property is not far upstream from our Wingate Property (K-23A), and we all know how good that has been for us, especially on the far side of the river!  Here it is on Google Earth.

If you are planning to work this property, I suggest bringing a small boat, perhaps with a small motor.  The best gold deposits will likely be found on the far side of the river.

This is yet another property where we may find ourselves conducting our weekend Group Mining Projects!

 

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our planned events for the upcoming 2013 season:  June 1 & 2; June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

2013 Schedule of Events

New Anti-Mining Legislation Introduced in Oregon

Oregon Senator Bates (Ashland-Medford District) and others have submitted several anti-mining bills to the Oregon legislature.  If these destructive bills are passed into law, it will put a complete end to suction dredge and all other forms of motorized gold mining in the entire State of Oregon!

These bills are being pushed by anti-mining activists who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

Just at the time when we have figured out how to do some underwater suction mining in California, this is not the time for us to lose all of Oregon!

If we do not all pull together and kill these bills right now, we will find ourselves devoting years and years trying to overcome them through expensive litigation. We must flood the Oregon senate with very vocal opposition right now!

You can find our Action Alert right here

 Progress in the Legal Arena

As many of you are aware, all of the civil litigation surrounding the California suction dredge moratorium has been transferred to San Bernardino County.  This was a big win for our side, because we did not believe we were getting an impartial hearing in Alameda County.  The multiple cases surrounding the existing moratorium create a complex set of issues.  But they are all inferior to our Supremacy claim – which basically argues that the State of California does not have the authority to prohibit mining on the public lands.  There therefore is a strong possibility that the judge may resolve the Supremacy issue as a first priority.  If we win on this issue, there is a reasonable chance that the entire moratorium and freeze on suction dredging in California will be tossed out.  That would be really good for our side!

A similar Supremacy defense is being made in a completely separate case on behalf of a suction dredger who was criminally cited last season for suction dredging without a permit.  On the one hand, the State passed a law that says we must have a permit to operate a suction dredge in California.  And on the other hand, the State passed a law prohibiting the Department of Fish & Game from issuing any dredging permits.  If that does not add up to a prohibition, I don’t know what does! There is some very persuasive case law from the Supreme Court which says that the State of California does not have authority to prohibit mining on the public lands.  Since this is a criminal case, it may be resolved first.  If it is resolved in the miner’s favor, there is reason to believe we will be able to suction dredge without permits until the State finally issues some reasonable regulations.

Since the State apparently is not able to make a reasonable argument against the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, they have actually lowered themselves to an argument that the miner may not have a valid mining claim. Talking about trying to change the subject! I see this as a pretty good sign. All of this is moving towards a resolution pretty fast. We have been waiting for three years.

Meanwhile, as we wait for these important issues to be resolved, I remind you that we have figured out a way to do motorized underwater suction mining in a way that requires no permits and does not violate California’s moratorium on suction dredging. 

Legal Fund Prize Drawing – Last Chance!

Gold EaglesHere is a link to our legal fundraiser. We will be giving away 15 American Gold Eagles on 8 March 2013.  That is only a month away, so this is your last chance!

This is all in an effort to raise money to support our challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court of a recent Ninth Circuit Decision which discourages small-scale mining on the public lands — and also to support our efforts in defending multiple cases in the California court system.

Because we have given so much attention to our exciting new mining property acquisitions, and the new method of underwater mining, there has been almost zero participation in this latest legal fund-raiser.   This is making me a little nervous, because it would be a disaster to bring in less money than the value of these beautiful gold coins!

You guys have always been there for us in the past, so I am hoping for some strong support this month.
We greatly appreciate your support in these fundraisers!

Contribute to our Legal Fund! 

2013 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment.  The policy has a $100 deductible.  It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2014.  This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found here: 

Lost Treasure Hunters on Youtube!

For any of you guys who missed our first episode of Lost Treasure Hunters on Animal Planet, it is now playing on youtube.  Check it out! 

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

With the launch of Extreme Prospector, I have started up a blog which broadens the context to ongoing adventures and other important news and issues that we are all facing today. These include discussion and links to informative information about the economic realities of our time. Important stuff!

If you are interested in up-to-date news, along with stories about extreme prospecting adventures (not just mine), I invite you to visit my Facebook pageat facebook/DaveMackExtreme and follow me on Twitter @DaveMackExtreme. There is a “Free eBook” tab on my Facebook page where you can download Chapter 10 of Extreme Prospector.

I hope a bunch of you guys and gals will join me up there and encourage all of you to join in the discussion and “Like” my page to share with your friends.

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

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  We are already putting out industry-wide Action Alerts to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

 

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

 


By Dave McCracken

“There were rice-sized pieces of gold lying everywhere! In three years of dredging on the Trinity River, I never saw a deposit that rich. In that very moment, I realized that the whole world had changed.”

Dave Mack
Middle Independence Gold Claim is the richest section of the entire Klamath River!

Middle Independence Gold Claim is the richest section of the entire Klamath River!

Two friends and I began dredging for gold on Josephine Creek in southern Oregon the day after Christmas in 1979.  We should have waited until the spring thaw, but we were young and full of motivation.  Conditions were miserable, and we paid a heavy price going out every day in 35-degree water. We didn’t have a clue about how to trace down high-grade gold deposits.  We were sleeping in a 5-man summer tent.  It was cold, cold, cold!  We had to thaw out our dry-suits in front of a campfire in the morning to keep the rubber from breaking and causing leaks.  Our camp got fully flooded by the river in the middle of the night because of heavy rain.  A lot of things went wrong. We only found a little gold. But none of that deterred us.

My two buddies and I immigrated over to the Trinity River in northern California in mid-February of 1980. This was because someone told us there was a major gold rush going on over there.  People supposedly were just picking big gold nuggets right off the stream banks.  But we didn’t find anybody doing any mining over there during the winter months. The river water was 34 degrees!  While our dry-suits more or less kept the cold water out, face exposure to the freezing water gave us headaches so bad that we wanted to vomit. Hand exposure made our fingers burn just as if we stuck them in the campfire! It was absolutely miserable. My partners gave it up before the spring thaw.  They believed there were much easier ways to make a living; and of course, they were totally right!

We had met other guys on the Trinity that were supporting themselves from the gold they dredged during the summer months.  They actually lived in houses!  They were talking about sampling for hard-packed streambeds. They were talking about lines of gold and pay-streaks.  This was music to my ears! Encouraged about their stories of recovering multiple ounces of gold per day in the river, I stuck it out in the forest, living by myself in a tent about a mile below the small community of Del Loma on the Trinity River.  It was pretty rough.

Lazy riches Mine

It was all about basic necessities in those days!

I had figured out enough by the spring of 1980 that I was just barely supporting myself with a 6-inch dredge.  I say just barely, because I had virtually no expenses except for the food I was eating (which was plenty), fuel for my dredge and motorcycle, and some minor upkeep.  It didn’t take much gold to keep me going.  My living space eventually evolved into a larger timberline tent made of canvas, including a wood stove for heat during the winter months.  That was a huge upgrade in my standard of living!

I dredged by myself through the summers and winters of 1980 and 1981.  There were times that the water in the Trinity dropped to 33 degrees.  It was absolutely miserable! But by then, I had figured out how to trace down the lower-grade gold deposits, and I was building up a savings in gold which I kept in a safety deposit box at Bank of America in the nearby town of Weaverville.

I didn’t allow myself the luxury of an automobile until the fall of 1981.  It was a pretty used up Jeep Wagoneer that had an oil leak which I never was able to repair, as many times as I tried.  Anytime I got the car going faster than 50 miles an hour, all at once, the oil would drain from the motor out the rear main seal.  So I drove slowly, and I brought plenty of extra oil along. The Wagoneer was better than the motorcycle during the winter months.

My older brother took an interest and came to dredge with me during the winter months of 1982.  That was just when I was getting pretty good at finding higher-grade gold deposits.  We found a lot of gold that winter, though conditions were absolutely miserable.  I have to give my brother credit for sticking it out.  Not many people would have done it! You can read about those days in my book, Extreme Prospector.  By then, Eric Bosch had showed up on the scene, and we were working together at times.  But even Eric, tougher than me, was not dredging the Trinity River during the winter months.

With my gold savings, along with contributions from Eric and my two brothers, we bought a beast of a Dodge Power Wagon and devoted the summer of 1982 to dredging for gold in British Columbia and Alaska.  This is a very exciting story that is also told in the most detail in my book, Extreme Prospector.  We struck it rich up there in Canada.  But the authorities ran us out of the country and basically invited us to never go back.  I decided the seasons in Canada and Alaska was too short to support my mining career, anyway.

I devoted the summer of 1983 back on the Trinity River dredging side-by-side with Eric Bosch.  He had a 5-inch dredge. I had a 5-incher and my 6-incher.  We were knocking out the ounces of gold.  But Canada had spoiled us.  We wanted to get back into pounds of gold!  While the Trinity was good, it was not delivering up the high-grade we were looking for.  There were also a lot of serious guys dredging on the Trinity during 1983; perhaps a hundred guys.  The place was crowded, and I was not seeing much of a future there.  I only owned a single mining claim.  Other places I wanted to dredge required me to make deals with the owners.  In 1981, the standard deal was 10% of the gross recovery to the owner.  By 1983, the owners wanted 20%.  I got knocked out of the best deposit I found on the Trinity by a competitor who came in and offered the owner 25% if he could take my place.  It was a pretty cut throat environment.  Ten percent to the owner is a fair deal when the dredger does all the work on the risk that he might not ever find anything worth mining. You have to be careful about the deals you make, or you can set the foundations to undermine your personal integrity.

One of the dredgers I got to know over there was a guy by the name of Alan Copp (Al). He was a nice guy and a hard worker. Al had more mining experience than me, having dredged on the Yuba, Salmon, Scott & Feather Rivers, and even did a mule-pack trip to Virgin creek up off the New River the year before I met him. He had been around. I, on the other hand, had more determination than anyone on the river. Nobody else was braving the winter months out there, but me!  Al and I both were looking ahead, trying to figure out something better than the Trinity.  We were looking for somewhere to carve out something valuable for ourselves. I had already ruled out Alaska because I didn’t want to get reduced to a two or three month season.

The image at the beginning of this story presents a pretty good profile of how determined I was in those days.

It was Al who was suggesting in that we go over and look at the Klamath River.  We made a few trips over there for a look.  My first impressions about the area were not good ones.  The river was huge compared to the Trinity.  It never appeared to run clear. There was not a single dredge that we could find operating on the entire 100-mile stretch of river we looked at during 1983. That was a bad sign.  You would think if there was any gold in the river, at least someone would be over there mining it!  And the place was absolutely wild in those days!  There were so many logging trucks racing up and down Highway 96, you took your life in your hands just driving down the road.  I’ll never forget this guy in a pickup truck weaving all over the road, going about ninety miles an hour, passing us just as Al and I pulled into Happy Camp the very first time (for me).  We pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store to buy something cool to drink.  There were a bunch of menacing-looking guys out front when we went in.  When we came back out, two of them were having a knife fight right in front of Al’s truck.  We didn’t hang around to see who won the fight.  The place was wild, man!

Al had spent time there during earlier years.  He was telling me the mining history of Siskiyou County was better than the Trinity.  We went around and looked. There were some very serious dredging programs happening on both the Scott and Salmon Rivers.  But those guys did not appear welcoming or friendly in any way, and those rivers were claimed solid at the time. No openings!

Al had history with several old-timers along the Klamath River.  One of them was a guy by the name of Bud Woodworth who had already passed away.  Before dying, he confided in Al about rich gold deposits in the Klamath below Horse Creek, and others in the Happy Camp area.  Al and I went around and looked at those places.  There was not a single dredger around.  But I believed what Al was telling me.  That is to say that I believed that Al believed the stories. It was a beginning.

Note:  We found out years later that all the places Bud Woodworth told Al about were rich, rich, rich!

So when we returned to the Trinity, I doubled my efforts at recovering gold from the lower-grade gold deposits I had already located there.  I was known in those days as “Ounce-a-Day Dave,” because I would invest as many hours that I needed to recover at least an ounce of gold every day, most days not returning to my tent until after dark.  Then I took a risk and hired another friend of mine by the name or Harlan Cockcroft, otherwise known as “Red,” to move over to Yreka and research for open mining property along the Klamath River.  Yreka is the county seat of Siskiyou County. I was paying Red $300 a week, plus $100 for every mining claim he could locate on my behalf.  This was going into the fall of 1983.

The problem was that nearly the entire Klamath River was unclaimed; and it did not take long for me to become indebted to Red from all the $100 bonuses I owed him.  I finally had to lay him off!  After all, how many mining claims does a guy need?  Besides, the fact that there was so much open river there cast a shadow over the gold potential.  If the river had gold, where was everybody?  Maybe they were all over on the Trinity River!  I found out later that there was a full-on gold rush happening on the Rogue River in southern Oregon.  But at the time, Al and I knew nothing about that.

I started my 1984 season on the Trinity, because I still had proven gold deposits to mine over there.  That was my first year using an 8-inch dredge.  I crewed it up with several motivated guys, including Eric Bosch.  By now, I had several books published and my first video on the market. It was the only video which showed newcomers how to dredge for gold, how to sample, and all the important stuff.  So I had already begun making a name for myself.  Around thirty people had signed up at $300 per week to dredge near me so I could give them some help and guidance on their own dredges.  I moved into a house that summer, along with my dredge crew, and allowed my students to camp in the yard. With the extra income from my students, I was pretty comfortable over there mining lower-grade deposits on the Trinity.

Al and Doug setting up the dredge

Al and Doug getting started on the Klamath River

Al decided to give the Klamath River a try during the season of 1984.  He teamed up with one of his longtime friends, Doug Gunning.  Those guys were airline mechanics.  They had a sweet deal where they could contract their services whenever they wanted to.  They were able to make good money during the winter months. But their real passion was dredging for gold.  In all, they dredged together for more than 14 years. This speaks strongly about the character and integrity of the two guys that made the original dredging discovery on the Klamath.  This is because volumes of pure wealth would  tear any normal relationship to shreds!

I can tell you this is the case with anyone whoever has dredged up high-grade gold deposits.  There is something about finding and recovering pure wealth that gets in your blood.  Uncovering raw gold on the bottom of a river, which is yours to keep, sparks deep passions similar perhaps to winning big in a poker game and raking in all those hundred dollar chips.  It produces feelings of exhilaration that few other life experiences can generate.  Finding high-grade gold deposits is about as good as it gets.  Once you have done it, I don’t think you can ever get completely out of your system your deep desire for the next high-grade gold deposit.

The days of 1984 were before mobile phones and the Internet.  We didn’t even have a phone in the house where we were staying.  So there was no way to keep in touch with Al and Doug when they went over to the Klamath.  I figured they would return to the Trinity if they didn’t find any gold – and I admit that I expected them to return.  Even though I had invested so much money on mining property over there, the claims came so easy, it was hard for me to believe any high-grade was going to be there.  That would have been too good to be true.

My own dredging program, and looking after a bunch of students, kept me more than busy along the Trinity during the first half of the 1984 season.  We had not heard a single word out of Doug and Al.  My best guess was that they called the season quits and went back to aircraft work.  Finally, on just a notion, I made a day-trip over to the Klamath to see if I could find them.  I spotted their dredge on the river about thirteen miles downstream from Happy Camp.  Their dredge was running when I got there.

Independence claim 001

Their dredge was running when I arrived on the scene.

Doug and Al operated their dredge differently than Eric and I on that particular day. They were mostly taking shifts with one guy down at a time and the other on deck knocking out plug-ups and keeping an eye on some change they had made on their recovery system. Those were the early days where we had already worked out standard underwater teamwork procedures for two or more guys working underwater together to get more work done.  We could really tear it up!

Doug was on the deck of their dredge when I arrived.  Wearing just my shorts, I swam out to their platform.  It was anchored to something out in the river.  Doug was happy to see me. He said they were doing pretty good.  I asked if I could borrow the second set of diving gear and go down for a look.  Doug helped me gear up, and I went down the ladder.  That’s when it really hit me how warm the water was.  We were wearing full wet-suits on the Trinity.  The water temperature in the Klamath reaches the high-70’s by mid summer. You don’t even need a wet-suit to dredge there!  Not wearing a wet-suit jacket is like being liberated from a straightjacket!

Those guys clearly had invested a lot of hard work in this dredge hole.  There was a large tailing pile behind the dredge.  I found Al in about seven feet of water taking a top cut off the front of his dredge hole.  He recognized me when I got down there and gave me a big thumbs up.  I started moving cobbles out of his way as he continued sucking off the top-front portion of his hole.  The top material was kind of a semi-packed brown color.  It was not very impressive.  There was about five feet of it.  Then Al showed me where this brown layer made contact with a very hard-packed layer of gray material; something I never once saw on the Trinity.  This was original, ancient streambed that had never been mined before.  I saw a beautiful rice-sized piece of gold sitting right on top of it, and pointed it out to Al, thinking I was showing him something special.  Al waved that off and signaled for me to be patient.  Then he uncovered a larger swath off the top of the gray layer and the whole thing looked better than the best Christmas morning I ever experienced.  There were rice-sized pieces of gold lying everywhere!  In three years of dredging on the Trinity, I never saw a deposit that rich.  There had to be more than an ounce of gold just in the small swath that Al uncovered for me!  In that very moment, I realized that the whole world had changed.

8 oz day 001 (2)The feeling was like being late to the party!  Even though that was just the beginning of the bigger party.

After sucking up that gold, we went up on the dredge to have a talk.  When they shut down the dredge, I could see their sluice was piled up with gold; maybe five ounces, maybe more.  They didn’t have to tell me the deposit was rich, rich, rich.   It was a sharing kind of experience.  Gold mining is kind of like fishing or hunting.  You really do want to share your successes with your friends.  I’m not talking about sharing the gold.  I’m talking about sharing the enthusiasm and appreciation for a super rich discovery.  The only thing better than that would have been if the discovery was mine!

 

3 oz independence nugget

They recovered this 3-ounce nugget about the time I arrived on the river!

Al and Doug had long-since filed a mining claim on their discovery, taking up a little more than a mile of the Klamath River, starting just downstream of the confluence of Independence Creek.  They figured that was more than they could dredge in a lifetime. They were more than right about that, and actually mined just a fraction of the claim before they retired from dredging four or five years later.

Al and Doug expressed no reservations about me moving over to the Klamath with my crew and students. I wasted no time getting back over to the trinity that afternoon!  Then I contacted all the students who had signed on to spend time with me that summer, offering their money back if they did not want to go with me to the Klamath.  Everyone wanted to go!  It took us a day to get all our existing gear together and move out of the house.  The guy I was leasing from was nice about our sudden departure, and has actually stayed in touch over the years.

About a dozen guys and I arrived on the Klamath just two days after I found out that Al and Doug had struck it rich over there. It took us a few weeks to make it happen, but we all ended up in a rich deposit about fifty miles upriver.  Our best day on my 8-inch dredge that season was twenty-four ounces.  The largest nugget we found weighed more than a pound! After all my students and crew departed for the season, Eric and I located a second deposit further downriver just upstream from Savage Rapids, a place we later named the “Mega Hole,” and we recovered one hundred ounces of gold in just two weeks of hard work.  When you get into high-grade on the Klamath River, the gold adds up very fast!

Al Copp was totally correct in his early predictions.  The Klamath River provided much better high-grade dredging opportunity than the Trinity.  We were very fortunate to be the first ones over there!  So I hired Red back on to finish up his research and pick up more mining property along the Klamath River and its tributaries; enough to start a mining club!  That turned out to be a move that would forever change my life, and alter the paths of thousands of others.

240 oz 001 (3)

Here is an image Al shared with me of just some of the gold they stacked up dredging in that one area. There are around 250 ounces in this picture.

As many places as we discovered high-grade over the years, we never found any mining property as rich as the original mile that Doug and Al claimed.  In fact, I have never seen any place in my whole career that was so consistently rich.  Doug and Al, for the most part, remained in that single high-grade deposit during their entire time on the claim.  The area they mined is just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall size of the property.  They did not mine the faster water areas, and they did not even sample the shallower areas further up the property, much closer to the sources of all that gold.  They did little or no high-banking or crevicing on the exposed and shallow bedrock areas that extend the full length of the property.  And they did not allow others to mine on their gold claim.  They were the first there, and they kept that property to themselves as they watched with some level of amusement as I started The New 49’ers a few years later and flooded the river with a new generation of miners.

Al Copp and I remain in touch these days.  He is a dear old friend that was present just as I was getting my life in gear.  We made the important transitions together. You never forget friends like that. These days, Al reminds me of how good it was during those early years.  He is right, too; it was great!

But the best days are still ahead!  I have been waiting 28 years to put my own suction nozzle into the section of river just below Independence Creek where nobody has gone, yet!  We just acquired that property after all this time.  Full circle; we are now back to the place where it all began! I’ll be in there with an underwater gravel transfer system this summer.  I can’t wait!

Al Copp  Doug Gunning

Al Copp and Doug Gunning

I generated a gold rush over to the Klamath River when I founded The New 49’ers in 1986.  But it was Al Copp and Doug Gunning who went over there ahead of me and made the first rich discovery of our generation.  If they had not done that, there is no telling where you and I would be today.  But it is certain that you would not be reading this bit of history!