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!

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, January 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  1

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

 

This discussion began on our Internet Forum where I announced that we have recently acquired the richest dredging claim along the Klamath River near Happy Camp, which will also provide some fantastic surface and underwater crevicing opportunities because of the gentle slope of exposed bedrock which is extending off the side of the river where the gold path is located (more on the new claim below).

Suction Gravel Transfer image 1

Motorized underwater suction mining in California without a “dredge!”

In my announcement, I pointed out that there is nothing in California’s dredging moratorium that prevents us from crevicing underwater using a motorized hookah air system, or even using a water pressure nozzle to help blow gravel out of cracks. The question I posed to our forum members is how to get the gold up and into a catch container without using a suction dredge.

It would be one thing if we were just uncovering an occasional gold nugget or two. We would simply free those up with some hand tools and pick them out with a set of tweezers. But I have seen crevices on this particular mining property that were loaded with a zillion pieces of gold, much of it in fines and flakes. You have to suck that up, or you will be there all year with a pair of tweezers! The original claim owners were recovering six and seven-ounce days (sometimes more) in places along this claim. They were only in there a few years before they retired. Since they operated an 8-inch dredge, they remained towards the lower end of the property where the water is deeper and slower. There is at least a half-mile stretch of faster, shallower water on the upper portion of the claim that, to my knowledge, has never even been sampled. This is the area I believe will make for good above and below water crevicing.

In response to my question, one of our more informed members and longtime supporter, Jim Foley, sent me a copy of the California Department of Fish & Game’s (DFG) current suction dredge regulations which clearly state that “A person is suction dredging as defined when all of the following components are working together: (A) a hose which vacuums sediment from a river stream or lake; and (B) A motorized pump; and (C) A sluice box.” The regulations further state, “Every person who operates the suction nozzle of any suction dredge shall have a suction dredge permit in his or her immediate possession.” These regulations were formally adopted in California on April 27, 2012.

The existing moratorium in California prevents DFG from issuing suction dredge permits. We are strenuously challenging the moratorium in several jurisdictions. Until our challenges are resolved, it is unlikely that we can operate suction dredges as defined by the regulations without being cited. Since most of us don’t want to be in trouble with the authorities, we have been doing our dredging in southern Oregon for the past few seasons.

But looking closer at the California regulations, there does remain a way for us to go down on the bottom of California’s waterways and suction up the shallower, higher-grade gravels. This is because, as defined by DFG’s own formal regulations, as long as we remove the sluice box from our motorized suction system, we are not operating a “suction dredge.” Said another way, there is an opportunity to use a motorized suction system to transfer high-grade gravel from one place in the river or creek to another location where the gravel can be more-easily processed in a separate system.

I am in possession of written communication from a high ranking DFG official, the very person who was in charge of developing the current regulations, which acknowledges that underwater suction-powered gravel transfer would not be considered “suction dredging” as long as the sluice box is removed from the system. He also cautioned that there are water quality concerns and also streambed alteration considerations. So there would be some limits involved. I’ll discuss these more in a minute.

For now, let’s just get back to my original discussion about using a hookah and motorized pumping system to expose and recover gold from very shallow deposits out in the river. I’m not talking about shallow water. I am talking about shallow streambed material on top of underwater gold deposits.

Here is just one of several ideas: Please see Figure A above. If I completely remove the sluice box from my 5-inch dredge, I am left with a floatation system which supports twin 6.5 HP Honda motors and pumps with a hookah compressor. I could use a single motor & pump with compressor to power a 3 or 4-inch Hydro-Force nozzle jet. This special nozzle will allow me the option to blow off lighter gravel to expose cobbles, which I can then move out of the way by hand, just like we do in dredging. This will allow me to work my way down to the pay-dirt without having to suck up any gravel. Once I expose the pay-dirt, a Hydro-Force nozzle will allow me to suck it up and transfer it over to a catch container in shallower, slower water which is closer to the bank.

If there is some distance involved between where I am prospecting and my catch container, I can use my second engine & pump to provide power to a booster jet attached to a second 3 or 4-inch hose (See Figure B). Since the whole suction system would be underwater, I’m guessing that would give me a reach of fifty feet or more.  In case you are interested, Montine in our office can help you acquire Hydro-Force nozzles and booster jets for these kinds of systems – and maybe soon there will be baffled catch containers: 530 493-2062.

Suction Gravel Transfer System image 2

The catch container would need to be large enough to accumulate the amount of pay-dirt that I would suck up on a single dive. My suggestion would be to fabricate a baffle on the feed into the container so the material would be deposited there neatly. Otherwise the water flowing out of the suction hose might boil the material out of the catch container.

If you make smart use of the blower function on the Hydro-Force nozzle, you can really minimize the amount of gravel that you transfer by suction to the catch container; perhaps so little that you can work it all down and recover your gold between dives with just a classification screen and gold pan.

If there is more non-gold bearing material present than you can blow off with the Hydro-Force nozzle, you would always have the option of sucking that off separately and depositing it outside of your catch container.

Several experienced prospectors I have spoken to about this had other ideas. One suggested fabricating the catch container between the pontoons on his floating platform. Then he could just float it over closer to the bank to pan the material after each dive. Jim Foley, who has already experimented with the idea, says he successfully attached a 20-foot piece of PVC plastic tubing to direct the discharge into a catch container that was sitting up on the streambank. This took place in the fall of 2012. Jim was visited by local game wardens while doing the activity. And while they expressed reservations (“sure looks like a dredge”), he was not cited and the wardens did not return.

While I’m sure we will learn more as we gain experience, here are a few of my own thoughts on “underwater suction gravel transfer systems:”

1) Make certain to not have the sluice box from your original “suction dredge” anywhere in the vicinity of the program. DFG regulations prevent you from having a “dredge” within 100 yards of any active waterway. Therefore, that third component (sluice) should not be sitting up on the streambank or even in the back of your pickup truck, even if you are not using it. Leave it at home!

2) Do not direct the discharge of your suction system into some other type of recovery system that uses a sluice box. Using any sluice in combination with the suction system, all working at the same time, would likely meet the regulatory definition of a “dredge.”

3) There has been some suggestion that even sluicing the recovered gravels at some later time would fulfill the definition of a dredge. You guys can make your own decisions about this, but I’m not buying the theory. The language in the regulation defines the three components working together. So it would seem reasonable that you could shut your underwater suction transfer system down and then separately process the gravel in any normal way that does not violate water quality standards. Though I would not be using the sluice that I took off my suction dredge, or any sluice which could be attached to the suction system. Be advised that you will be on thinner legal ground as soon as you have any sluice as part of your program within 100 yards of the suction system. Personally, I am inclined to carefully suck up a lower volume of only the highest-grade material and use a gold pan to work that down between dives (more on this below).

4) I would not suck a bunch of silty material into a catch container that is sitting in dead water alongside the bank. That might provoke water quality concerns. This is why I suggest using the blowing option on the Hydro-Force nozzle to first free up material out under the moving water. Gold is heavy. It won’t blow away if you pay attention to what you are doing.

5) I also would not advise using this system to make large excavations out in the creek or river. That might provoke streambed alteration concerns. I would use this method to work shallow deposits much the way we do in high-banking. Having said that, it has also been pointed out that the existing suction dredge regulations clearly state that there would be no requirement for a stream alteration permit, and there would be no deleterious impact upon fish, from the use of 4-inch suction dredges in California’s waterways. So it would seem unreasonable for DFG to make a stream alteration argument if you are careful about not making large excavations.

6) I would advise the use of rigid pressure hose between the pump and nozzle jet(s) on this type of system. It is difficult enough to keep the kinks out of lay flat pressure hose outside of the waterway.

7) Since initially, DFG wardens may not be aware of their own formal definition of a “dredge,” I suggest you print out at least the first page or two of the regulations which include the formal definition of a “dredge,” and have them available if and when any officials come around to see what you are up to. Make sure to point out the complete absence of a sluice on your suction system. And whatever you do, never refer to this activity as “dredging.” Because it is not dredging! It is an underwater suction system used to direct small volumes of high-grade material into a catch container. Nothing more. If you tell the warden you are “dredging without a sluice box,” you will probably provoke a citation, the warden telling you to explain it to the judge!

8) If any citations are written for this non-dredging underwater form of prospecting, please get in touch with us without delay. We may want to become involved with your defense.

Conclusion: I can process material through a “suction dredge” about as fast as anyone I know. Yet, my tailings do not amount to much at the end of my dives. This is because most of the underwater work has to do with freeing and moving oversized material out of the way (rocks that are too big to suck up). Depending upon the size of the suction nozzle, perhaps as much as 95% or more of the volume has to do with rolling rocks behind me. I would normally suck up the other 5% of material into my sluice box if I were “dredging.” That volume over my sluice box gives me a substantial amount of heavy concentrates to process – which takes quite a bit of time.

But with this underwater gravel transfer system, I can easily visualize how I can blow the lighter material out of my way and only suck up the pay-dirt. This would dramatically reduce the amount of material I will need to process out of my catch container. While the underwater process may not be as fast or efficient as “dredging,” I might make up for it by having fewer concentrates to process.

Please note my words in bold just above. They are perhaps the most important words I have said here. This is because if you suck everything into your catch container, it will soon fill up with low-grade material which may not be worth the time to process further! The whole idea in this new system is to get the low-grade material out of your way out in the river, and only suck up the very small volume which is directly associated with a gold deposit. Gold deposits are nearly always located in a contact zone. This means either on the bedrock, between storm layers, or on top of the upper layer of hard-pack. There is an entire education about this in the articles at this link. If you still need help understanding this, you should attend one of our weekend group mining projects and allow us to show you exactly what you are looking for!

Using this system to discriminate carefully about what you suck up will accomplish two important objectives:

A) You won’t find yourself up on the bank most of the day panning a bunch of gravel that doesn’t have much gold in it.

B) You will only use the suction system to recover a very small volume of material – only that which contains the gold. Using this as a small volume tool to help with your crevicing program will give anti-mining activists less to complain about.

There has been quite a lot of debate about this “underwater suction gravel transfer” idea on the Industry Internet forums since I have gone public with it; and finally, someone asked Mark Stopher of DFG for the straight scoop:

Here are the official answers (2 January 2013):  “I carefully read (today) the information that McCracken provides on his website. I believe Dave McCracken’s description of the legal requirements and application of the regulations is accurate. If practiced as he describes, this is not a violation of the moratorium and is not prohibited.

There is no specific permit required and no seasonal restrictions. Since this is not suction dredging, neither the moratorium or our adopted regulations for suction dredging apply. It’s essentially a loophole in existing law. However, as McCracken notes, Fish and Game Code section 1602 could apply if the streambed alteration is substantial, that is, you create a big hole. My guess is that such a system will be less efficient, and less excavation will occur, than if you were using a suction dredge since there is no sluice box and miners will need to use some other system to sort through the material.”

Mark Stopher
Habitat Conservation Program Manager
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001

This new idea will at least allow us access to some of the submerged gold deposits that otherwise would be out of our reach until the “dredge” moratorium is lifted in California. How’s that for good news?

We Have Acquired One of the Klamath River’s Richest Gold Properties!

 

K-24A

Happy New Year, you guys!  At long last, we have acquired the main stretch of gold-bearing river just downstream of Independence Creek. This Middle Independence Claim (K-24A in our Claims Guide) is located between our existing K-24 and K-25 mining properties, about 12 miles downriver from Happy Camp. This is a very rich gold property! The reason is because it contains three separate lines of high-grade gold: (1) Independence Creek has been depositing a steady line of larger, crystalline gold into the river for about a million years.  One of Siskiyou County’s richest pocket mines is located about a mile up the creek. This gold has more of a crystalline texture to it; it is very unique!  Over the years, we found a bunch of it on our K-25 property about 1 ½ miles downstream from the mouth of the creek. Some beautiful specimens were found down there!  I am predicting that the best is yet to come off the east side of the river on this new property. (2) One of Siskiyou County’s richest hydraulic mines, “Bunker Hill,” directed its tail races into the Klamath River just upstream of this property.  I personally have seen others recover 6 and 7-ounce days mining redeposited gold on the lower end of this property. The gold was resting directly on top of the bottom strata of original streambed. I am also predicting that the best is yet to come from redeposited gold in the shallower stretches of river on the upper portion of this new property. (3) The original streambed out in the river is rich, rich, rich!  Most of it remains in place. It is going to be interesting to see if we can get at that with our suction gravel transfer systems in the upper, shallower deposits.

The reason I know so much about this property is because it is where the original gold dredging strike was made on the Klamath during 1984 which motivated me and others to emigrate over from the Trinity River.  This property is where it all started!  The strike was made by two of my dredging buddies that went over there ahead of me from the Trinity.  They were just supposed to be on a sampling trip.  I went looking for them when they didn’t return and found them on the lower end of this property.  They had tapped into the redeposited gold resting on top of the original streambed.  That was, by far, the most gold I ever saw in the four years that I had been dredging!  Me, Eric Bosch, and about 30 of my students all picked up and moved over to the Klamath on the following day, and we never went back!  We started The New 49’ers a few years later.

My two friends filed a mining claim on this 1.1-mile stretch of river, and it has been in private hands ever since.  They recovered enough gold to retire within just a few years.  Then they sold the property to a company of private individuals, most who did not do any serious mining there.  Several of the more serious guys worked the lower portion of the claim with commercial dredges and did very well.  The property has been sitting idle for many years.  The owners never allowed others to crevice or high-bank the extensive reaches of exposed bedrock and shallow gravel bars which line the east bank of the river.  That is the side from which both the hydraulic mine and Independence Creek have deposited their rich golden treasures into the river.

K24A The east side of the river has extensive exposed bedrock and shallow streambed along one of the stronger gold paths.

While there has been some serious commercial dredging activity on the lower end of the property out in the middle of the river (most of the middle still remains untouched), I have never seen anyone do anything with the shallower sections of water on the east side (right side of the river on these images).  The upper half of the property has faster water, making it more difficult to operate larger sized dredges.  That’s why it remains relatively untouched. That presents us with an extraordinary opportunity with these more portable “underwater suction gravel transfer systems” that I have outlined above!  There is also extensive opportunity for crevice mining on the surface (vack mining), and some normal high-banking activity.

A note on this:  Even though the two original owners were dredging out in the middle of the river, they confided in me that one of their wives was recovering incredible gold in the shallow deposits on the east side of the river, including the crystalline nuggets from Independence creek – and that was a mile downriver from the sources of the gold!  I have also never seen anyone do any shallow dredging or surface mining along the bottom end of this extensive claim.  Though, several of our members had extraordinary success just downstream on our K-25 property! Extensive bedrock gently sloping off the east side of the river will make this perhaps the best above and below water sniping and crevicing area along the Klamath River!  The opportunities are endless.

Once again, I find myself looking up to the stars and wondering what we did to deserve such a gift from the heavens!  This property is going to make our members happy for many years to come.  Once the dredge moratorium is lifted, I can guarantee you where my dredge is going to go.  Meanwhile, I plan to be out there this season with an underwater suction system as described above.

K24A-AThere is access to the east side of the river at the upper end of the property, just downstream of Independence Creek.

We will provide more images and information about access in the coming newsletters.  You don’t see them this month because the entire area around Happy Camp took on about two feet of snow just a few days before Christmas.  Happy Camp is still digging out!  Meanwhile, here it is on Google Earth. With the exception of a short portion of the river between Independence Creek and the bridge just upstream, we now hold nearly three continuous miles of this very rich stretch of river!

12-20-12 snow storm my house 028Happy Camp during Christmas of 2012!

In advance, I can tell you that the best line of gold for surface mining and underwater crevicing is going to be on the far side of the river (from the road).  There is going to be some rather easy access towards the upper end. This is because a bridge there will allow us to reach the other side, park our vehicles and walk down.  Access further down this very extensive property will require a boat.  There are several slow sections of river that will allow relatively easy crossing (small boat with motor).

This new K-24A is only one of several very rich properties we have recently acquired along the Klamath. As long as everything firms up the way it looks at the moment, I hope to announce miles of excellent new high-banking and underwater crevicing ground over the coming winter months, in addition to this new property at Independence.  These new acquisitions could actually change the location of where we will conduct our Group Mining Programs this coming 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.

New Oregon Legislation Pending

Our attorney, James Buchal, has provided us with a legal analysis of LC 2125. James says, as the proposed bill is presently written, it will not affect the suction dredge activities which are already being allowed in Oregon. Having said that, James also points out that we need to be concerned that the existing language could easily be changed on its way through Oregon’s legislative process.

The analysis points out numerous reasons why the proposed bill should be opposed altogether. I have been in contact with all or most of the industry leaders inside and outside of Oregon, and I believe there is unanimous consent that we should do everything in our power to defeat the bill. It looks like the Oregon mining associations will take the lead on this.

Since the Oregon legislature goes back in session in February, you can expect to hear more about defeating LC 2125 in the weeks and months to come. 

Progress in the U.S. Supreme Court!

Here is some good news: The U.S. Supreme Court is impressed enough with our Petition (to overturn a recent 9th Circuit ruling that discourages small-scale mining on the public lands) that they have Ordered the Karuk Tribe to submit a response.  This at least means our Petition is being given very serious consideration.

New Legal Fund Prize Drawing

coin for fund-raiser
Here is a link to our new legal fundraiser. We will be giving away 15 American Gold Eagles on 8 March 2013.

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.

We greatly appreciate your support in these fundraisers!

Only About 50 Special Editions Remaining!

Extreme prospector by Dave Mack

As far as I know, this is the first and only adventure book ever written which brings to light the incredible excitement of discovering high-grade gold deposits – for real.  I’m pleased to say that initial reviews of the book are quite good! The book includes my very best adventures and some of my best-kept secrets, including several adventures during my time in the U.S. Navy SEAL Team.

I only signed 500 hard cover Special Editions. As a special promotion, we are making these available at the very same price of the soft cover version ($19.95).  The girls in our office have been taking phone orders for several months: 530 493-2062. There are only around 50 Special Editions remaining, available on a first come, first served, basis.

“Extreme Prospector,” is also available as an ebook from Amazon for half the conventional book price ($9.95). As an Internet download, most of the images come through in color (about 250 of them) and the hyperlinks work. You can find the ebook, along with normal soft and hard cover versions of the book, right here.

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 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 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

 

By Dave McCracken

Suction mining underwater without a “dredge!”

Dave Mack

Let me begin this by informing you that I am not a licensed attorney. Therefore, I am prohibited by law from providing legal advice. So the material here should just be taken as my own opinion based upon the factual material which I will present to you.  You guys are free to form your own opinions and take responsibility for your own actions.  Having said that, I will also inform you that our attorney has reviewed the following explanation and agrees that government officials are bound by the very language that they enforce upon us – and that my reasoning here is sound.

This discussion began on our Internet Forum where I announced that we have recently acquired the richest dredging claim along the Klamath River near Happy Camp, which will also provide some fantastic surface and underwater crevicing opportunities because of the gentle slope of exposed bedrock which is extending off the side of the river where the gold path is located.

We have actually acquired several very rich properties, but I will save that for the coming newsletters.

In my announcement, I pointed out that there is nothing in California’s dredging moratorium that prevents us from crevicing underwater using a motorized hookah air system, or even using a water pressure system to help blow gravel out of cracks.  The question I posed to our forum members is how to get the gold up and into a catch container without using a suction dredge.

It would be one thing if we were just uncovering an occasional gold nugget or two.  We would simply free those up with some hand tools and pick them out with a set of tweezers.  But I have seen crevices on this particular mining claim that were loaded with a zillion pieces of gold, much of it in fines and flakes.  You pretty much have to suck that up, or you will be there all year with a pair of tweezers! The original claim owners were recovering six and seven-ounce days (sometimes more) in places along this claim.  They were only in there a few years before they retired.  Since they operated an 8-inch dredge, they remained on the lower, slower portion of the claim.  There is at least a half-mile stretch of faster, shallower water on the upper portion of the claim that, to my knowledge, has never even been sampled.  This is the area I believe will make for good above and below water crevicing.

In response to my question, one of our more informed members sent me a copy of the California Department of Fish & Game’s (DFG) current suction dredge regulations which clearly state that “A person is suction dredging as defined when all of the following components are working together: (A) a hose which vacuums sediment from a river stream or lake; and (B) A motorized pump; and (C) A sluice box.” The regulations further state, “Every person who operates the suction nozzle of any suction dredge shall have a suction dredge permit in his or her immediate possession.” These regulations are current now, having been formally adopted in California on April 27, 2012.

The existing moratorium in California prevents DFG from issuing suction dredge permits.  We are strenuously challenging the moratorium in several jurisdictions.  Until our challenges are resolved, it is unlikely that we can operate suction dredges as defined by the regulations without being cited.  Since most of us don’t want to be in trouble with the authorities, we have been doing our dredging in southern Oregon for the past few seasons.

Suction Gravel Transfer image 1

But looking closer at the California regulations, there does remain a way for us to go down on the bottom of California’s waterways and suction up the shallower, higher-grade gravels.  This is because, as defined by DFG’s own formal regulations, as long as we remove the sluice box from our motorized suction system, we are not operating a “suction dredge.”  Said another way, there is an opportunity to use a motorized suction system to transfer high-grade gravel from one place in the river or creek to another location where the gravel can be more-easily processed in a separate system.

I am in possession of written communication from a high ranking DFG official, the very person who was in charge of developing the current regulations, which acknowledges that underwater suction-powered gravel transfer would not be considered “suction dredging” as long as the sluice box is removed from the system.  He also cautioned that there are water quality concerns and also streambed alteration considerations.  So there would be some limits involved.  I’ll discuss these more in a minute.

For now, let’s just get back to my original discussion about using a hookah and motorized pumping system to expose and recover gold from very shallow deposits out in the river.  I’m not talking about shallow water. I am talking about shallow material on top of underwater gold deposits.

Here is just one of several ideas:  Please see Figure A above. If I completely remove the sluice box from my 5-inch dredge, I am left with a floatation system which supports twin 6.5 HP Honda motors and pumps with a hookah compressor.  I could use a single motor & pump with compressor to power a 3-inch Hydro-Force nozzle jet.  This special nozzle will allow me the option to blow off lighter gravel to expose cobbles, which I can then move out of the way by hand.  This will allow me to work my way down to the pay-dirt without having to suck up any gravel.  Once I expose the pay-dirt, the Hydro-Force nozzle will allow me to suck it up and transfer it over to a catch container in shallower, slower water which is closer to the bank.  Or for that matter, I could just drop it in a small pile in the shallower water along the edge of the river.

If there is some distance involved between where I am prospecting and my catch container, I can use my second engine & pump to provide power to a booster jet attached to a second 3-inch hose (See Figure B).  Since the whole suction system would be underwater, I’m guessing that would give me a reach of fifty feet or more.

Suction Gravel Transfer System image 2

The catch container would need to be large enough to accumulate the amount of pay-dirt that I would suck up on a single dive. My suggestion would be to fabricate a baffle on the feed into the container so the material would be deposited there neatly.

If you make smart use of the blower function on the Hydro-Force nozzle, you can really minimize the amount of gravel that you transfer by suction to the catch container; perhaps so little that you could work it all down and recover your gold between dives with just a classification screen and gold pan!

If there is more non-gold bearing material present than you can blow off with the Hydro-Force nozzle, you would always have the option of sucking that off separately and depositing it outside of your catch container.

Several experienced prospectors I have spoken to about this had other ideas.  One suggested fabricating the catch container between the pontoons on his floating platform.  Then he could just float it over closer to the bank to pan the material after each dive.  Another who has already experimented with the idea says he successfully attached a 20-foot piece of PVC plastic tubing to direct the discharge into a catch container that was sitting up on the streambank.  This took place in the fall of 2012.  He was visited by local game wardens while doing the activity.  And while they expressed reservations (“sure looks like a dredge”), he was not cited and the wardens did not return.

While I’m sure we will learn more as we gain experience, here are a few of my own thoughts on “underwater suction gravel transfer systems:”

1)      Make certain to not have the sluice box from your original “suction dredge” anywhere in the vicinity of the program.  DFG regulations prevent you from having a “dredge” within 100 yards of any active waterway.  Therefore, that third component (sluice) should not be sitting up on the streambank or even in the back of your pickup truck, even if you are not using it.  Leave it at home!

2)      Do not direct the discharge of your suction system into some other type of recovery system that uses a sluice.  Using any sluice in combination with the suction system, all working at the same time, would likely meet the definition of a “dredge” in the regulations.

3)      There has been some suggestion that even sluicing the recovered gravels at some later time would fulfill the definition of a dredge.  You guys can make your own decisions about this, but I’m not buying the theory.  The language in the regulation defines the three components working together.  So it would seem reasonable that you could shut your underwater suction transfer system down and then separately process the gravel in any normal way that does not violate water quality standards.  Though I would not be using the sluice that I took off my suction dredge, or any sluice which could be attached to the suction system. Be advised, though, that as soon as you have any sluice as part of your program within 100 yards of the suction system, you will be on thinner ground. Personally, I am inclined to be careful about sucking up a lower volume of only the highest-grade material and use a gold pan to work that down between dives (more on this below).

4)      I would not suck a bunch of silty material into a catch container that is sitting in dead water alongside the bank.  That might provoke water quality concerns.  This is why I suggest using the blowing option on the Hydro-Force nozzle to first free up material out under the moving water. Gold is heavy.  It won’t blow away if you pay attention to what you are doing.

5)      I also would not advise using this system to make large excavations out in the creek or river.  That might provoke streambed alteration concerns.  I would use this method to work shallow deposits much the way we do in high-banking.  Having said that, it has also been pointed out that the existing suction dredge regulations clearly state that there would be no requirement for a stream alteration permit, and there would be no deleterious impact upon fish, from the use of 4-inch suction dredges in California’s waterways.  So it would be pretty unreasonable for DFG to make a stream alteration argument if you are careful about not making large excavations.

6)      I would advise the use of riged pressure hose between the pump and nozzle jet on this type of system.  It is difficult enough to keep the kinks out of lay flat pressure hose outside of the waterway.

7)      Since initially, DFG wardens may not be aware of their own formal definition of a “dredge,” I suggest you print out at least the first page or two of the regulations which include the formal definition of a “dredge,” and have them available if and when any officials come around to see what you are up to.  Make sure to point out the complete absence of a sluice on your suction system. And whatever you do, never refer to this activity as “dredging.”  Because it is not dredging!  It is an underwater suction system used to direct small volumes of high-grade material into a catch container.  Nothing more.  If you tell the warden you are “dredging without a sluice box,” you will probably provoke a citation, the warden telling you to explain it to the judge!

8)      If any citations are written for this non-dredging underwater form of prospecting, please get in touch with us without delay.  We will likely want to become involved with your defense.

Conclusion:  I can process material through a “suction dredge” about as fast as anyone I know.  Yet, my tailings don’t amount to much at the end of my dives.  This is because most of the underwater work has to do with freeing and moving oversized material out of the way (rocks that are too big to suck up).  Depending upon the size of the suction nozzle, perhaps as much as 95% or more of the volume has to do with rolling rocks behind me.  I would normally suck up the other 5% of material into my sluice box if I were “dredging.”  That volume over my sluice box gives me a substantial amount of heavy concentrates to process – which takes quite a bit of time.

But with this underwater gravel transfer system, I can easily visualize how I can blow the lighter material out of my way and only suck up the pay-dirt.  This would dramatically reduce the amount of material I will need to process out of my catch container.  While the underwater process may not be as fast or efficient as “dredging,” I might make up for it by having fewer concentrates to process.

Please note my words in bold just above.  They are perhaps the most important words I have said here.  This is because if you suck everything into your catch container, it will soon fill up with low-grade material which may not be worth the time to process further!  The whole idea in this new system is to get the low-grade material out of your way, and only suck up the very small volume which is directly associated with the gold deposit.  Gold deposits are nearly always located in a contact zone.  This means either on the bedrock, between storm layers, or on top of the upper layer of hard-pack.  There is an entire education about this in the articles at this link. If you still need help understanding this, you should attend one of our weekend group mining projects and allow us to show you exactly what you are looking for!

Using this system to discriminate carefully about what you suck up will accomplish two important objectives:

A)    You won’t find yourself up on the bank most of the day panning a bunch of gravel that doesn’t have much gold in it.

B)    You will only use the suction system to recover a very small volume of material – only that which contains the gold.  A small volume tool to help with your crevicing program will give our enemies less to complain about.

I thought you guys might be interested in an official position. There has been quite a lot of debate about this “underwater suction gravel transfer” idea on the GPAA forum since I have gone public with it; and finally, someone asked Mark Stopher of DFG for the straight scoop:

Here are the official answers (2 January 2013):
“I carefully read (today) the information that McCracken provides on his website. I believe Dave McCracken’s description of the legal requirements and application of the regulations is accurate. If practiced as he describes, this is not a violation of the moratorium and is not prohibited.

There is no specific permit required and no seasonal restrictions. Since this is not suction dredging, neither the moratorium or our adopted regulations for suction dredging apply. It’s essentially a loophole in existing law. However, as McCracken notes, Fish and Game Code section 1602 could apply if the streambed alteration is substantial, that is, you create a big hole. My guess is that such a system will be less efficient, and less excavation will occur, than if you were using a suction dredge since there is no sluice box and miners will need to use some other system to sort through the material.”

Mark Stopher
Habitat Conservation Program Manager
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001

voice 530.225.2275
fax 530.225.2391
cell 530.945.1344

Underwater Mining Seasons on New 49′er Properties:  Underwater suction mining without the use of a “dredge” is allowed  on our Klamath River properties between the Scott and Salmon Rivers on a year-round basis, and up the Klamath from its confluence with the Scott from the 4th Saturday in May through September 30.  Underwater suction mining is permitted along our creek properties and the Scott River from July 1 to September 30. Underwater suction mining is permitted on the Salmon River from July 1 through  September 15.

This new idea will at least allow us access to some of the submerged gold deposits that otherwise would be out of our reach until the “dredge” moratorium is lifted in California.  How’s that for good news?

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, DECEMBER 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER  12

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

 

Jim Yerby sent these images several days ago.  He says the Rogue River was perhaps as much as 20 feet higher than normal summer flows, even in the wide section of the river.  A flood of this magnitude can only help redeposit the kind of higher-grade gold deposits we are looking for during the summer months. Storm flows will also wash away the last of the sediments which migrated down from behind the dams that were removed two years ago. It’s all good.  I’m already getting excited about the 2013 season!

storm waters flood water on the Rogue

 New High-banking Properties Along the Klamath River!

Merry Christmas, you guys!  We are quietly confirming acquisition of several new mining claims along the Klamath River.  As long as everything firms up the way it looks at the moment, I hope to announce miles of excellent new high-banking ground over the coming month or so.  Once we resume dredging in California, one of the properties contains some of the richest underwater mining along the Klamath, much of it remaining untouched.  Extensive bedrock gently sloping off the far side of the river will make this perhaps the best above and below water sniping and crevicing area along the Klamath River!

I’ll provide more explanation once all our confirmations are complete.  All I can say right now is that there is reason to be very excited.  Once in a while, the sun really does smile on us!  These new acquisitions could actually change the location of where we will conduct our Group Mining Programs this coming season.

The only reason I am not including some initial images with this newsletter is that, due to the recent storms, all of the new high-banking areas are presently underwater.  The Klamath River is also busy re-concentrating high-grade gold deposits! Way to go!!

What to do with Days, Deadman & Myrtle Creeks?

As some of you may recall, our property acquisitions last year were all on the South Fork of the Umpqua River drainage in southern Oregon.  Here is the map. It began with miles and miles of new properties along the South Umpqua.  To supplement the river with some creek properties, we also acquired claims along Days, Deadman & Myrtle Creeks in the vicinity of our new river properties.

It was all very exciting until the Ninth Circuit sided with anti-mining advocates with a Decision that made it much more difficult to start up a group mining program on the U.S. National Forest.  We are now appealing this Decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, our new mining properties along the South Umpqua are in a state of limbo.  There still remain miles and miles of proven dredging property on the South Umpqua available on the State Lands.  Those areas are shown on our South Umpqua Access Guide.

Our new properties on Days, Deadman & Myrtle Creeks are located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands, which are not affected by the Ninth Circuit’s Decision.  Unfortunately, the reports we have received in the office from members who spent time on these creeks last summer were that prospecting results have been poor-to-terrible.

I hate the idea of getting members all excited about going to places where they cannot find enough gold to make the effort worthwhile.  Since these properties were only meant to supplement what we acquired on the South Umpqua, and the South Umpqua properties will not be available until we win in the U.S. Supreme Court, we are considering dropping the new claims on Days, Deadman & Myrtle Creek.

Therefore, this is a query to our members to determine if there are any objections, or if anybody had some fruitful prospecting experiences along these creek properties that we are unaware of?  Comments should be directed to me at davemack@extremeprospector.com

Since the Ninth Circuit Decision has slowed our effective expansion into other areas, we will now focus our resources in the short term into acquisition of more high-grade properties along the Klamath River in the vicinity of Happy Camp in northern California. Please stay tuned for the good news!

Passing of Bill Stumpf

I am sorry to report that long time New 49′er founding member, Bill Stumpf, recently passed away from a six-month battle with cancer. He was 73.

Many of us remember Bill as the long time tour guide to the New 49′er mining properties. He freely shared his knowledge of dredging, high-banking and mossing with many hundreds of miners, families and friends. His knowledge of the Klamath River area and his ready helpfulness will be missed by many.

We actually started The New 49′ers in early 1986 with a meeting in Bill’s house in Quartzsite, Arizona.

Bill and his wife at the time, Marcy, also helped start the Pro-Mack Mining Supply store in Happy Camp during 1987. They played a very big part in organizing and managing The New 49ers all the way through the late 1990′s. Bill managed all of the weekend mining projects for many years while I was busy on other things.

Bill was one of the most loyal friends I have had in this life. We went through a lot together, through thick and thin. I could write a whole book on just the adventures (and misadventures) we went through together. Bill was a very kind person. He had a lot of friends.  We will miss him a lot.  He leaves behind his wife of many years, Jan Stumpf, 1115 Dakota Avenue, Medford, OR 97501, and his two sons, Danny & David, who were very active commercial gold dredgers (both winter and summer) in the Club during the early 90’s.

Special Sneak Preview of Lost Treasure Hunters!

Lost Treasure HuntersI just got word that Animal Planet is tentatively planning to air a sneak preview of Lost Treasure Hunters at 11 PM on 23 December.  The producer says that people should check with their local channel listings, because all of this is subject to change.  I gather that our show is supposed to follow the new season premiere of “Finding Bigfoot.” The producer also said that the international networks in Asia and Europe have picked up our show.  It’s all good news.  Now let’s hope for some good ratings!  For those of you who go to bed early like me, don’t forget to set your DVR’s!  I’ll be very interested in your comments on my Facebook page (see below).

Only 200 Special Editions Remaining!

Extreme Prospector by Dave MackAt long last, my new 512-page book “Extreme Prospector” has been delivered from the printer. The book includes my very best adventures, all rewritten to include plenty of detail and some of my best-kept secrets, including several adventures during my time in the Navy SEAL Team. As far as I know, this is the first and only adventure book ever written which brings to light the incredible excitement of discovering high-grade gold deposits – for real.  I am pleased to say that initial reviews of the book are quite good!

I only signed 500 hard cover Special Editions. As a special promotion, we are making these Special Editions available at the very same price of the soft cover version ($19.95).  The girls in our office have been taking phone orders since we put out the October newsletter: 530 493-2062. The first 300 have already been committed. The last remaining 200 Special Editions are now available on a first come, first served, basis.

“Extreme Prospector,” is also available as an ebook from Amazon for half the conventional book price ($9.95). As an Internet download, most of the images come through in color (about 250 of them) and the hyperlinks work. You can find the ebook, along with normal soft and hard cover versions of the book, right here.

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

Since this is a New 49’er newsletter, with a very rare exception, I try and keep the news on track with the things that are happening with our organization, and with the larger issues which directly affect us.  We also try and keep our Internet Forum  mostly on mining-related subjects, though we do allow a little more leeway there.

But 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!

Just as an example, my latest blog outlines the startling truth that all of these budget battles going on right now in congress about how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in January is largely about trying to lessen the pain of an automatic cut from the federal budget of 109 billion dollars for each of the next 10 years, while overspending is still projected to be 10 times that much. Yes; the big fight is over only 10% of overspending!

The truth is that there is no real fiscal responsibility being promoted by either political party. Even if the sequestration budget cuts begin in January, our federal government is still going to be running us another trillion dollars or more in the hole every year! So what is all the noise about? The truth is that we are being fed a line of BS by our politicians and the press while America’s ship is sinking by the day. What good is bailing 10% of water that is flooding in to sink the ship? The big fight is over 10% while nobody is doing anything about the bigger problem!  This is the reality which we are all facing!  Looking out ahead, the major “fiscal cliff” is still to come.  This means we should be planning for big trouble ahead. It also means gold has nowhere to go but up, up, up!

If you are interested in these types of affairs, along with news 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.

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.  Just as we go to press with this newsletter, we have our attorney analyzing a new bill (LC 2125) in Oregon which looks on its face to be something we must fight.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.

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

FOURTH  QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER  11

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

 

The drawing for three ounces of my personal gold nuggets took place at closing time in our offices in Happy Camp on 9 November.  Because she had no personal interest in the outcome, we asked Connie Rasmussen from the gift store next door to draw the tickets. At least six members made the trip to Happy Camp to be present for the drawing. Here are the winners:

One ounce of gold nuggets: Judy Shirey

Quarter-ounce of gold nuggets:  Michael Wong, Kenneth Vieu, Patrick Hanley, Dennis Scharosch.

One pennyweight of gold nuggets:  Bradley Hughes, Scott Gainey, John Otto, Steve Gottwald, Bill Frese, Gary J Zentner, Robert Eastman, Keith F McRobert, Robert F Carter, John R Smith, Jan Nelson, Bruce Greenan, Mark Cutler, Clifford Wiggins, Gerald R Fawcett, Nate Crawford, Les Martin, Gene Oliver, Tom Stull and John Laffey.

Dave Mack's Gold Nuggets  Legal drawing

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fundraiser. I was really getting worried, because there did not seem to be very much interest up until the last several days. Perhaps everyone was focused on the election. The girls in the office said the phone started ringing off the hook with supporters calling in contributions as soon as the election results were announced! We can count this fundraiser as a winner for everyone.

Congratulations to all the winners. Those beautiful nuggets of gold are yours now. I hope you appreciate them as much as I did. I feel very fortunate that they have been invested into such a worthy cause.

Any contributions received after the time of the drawing will automatically generate tickets for our next prize drawing, which will be for 25 Gold Eagles.  Our next drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 8 March 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, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here:

Just so you guys will know where your legal contributions are going, I asked our attorney to write up a summary of all the legal cases we are involved with in support of small-scale miners.  That has been posted right here: 

USFS Opposes our Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court!

Many of you will be aware that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists that have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of California since 2003. It all started with their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a substantial surface disturbance.

Several months ago, after years and years of litigation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Karuk Tribe.  USFS declined to appeal that Decision.  As the last remaining party in the case, The New 49’ers were the only organization that had standing to file a Petition to the Supreme Court. I talked more about the important ramifications of this case to America’s mining industry in our September newsletter, so I won’t repeat most of that here.

Our Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the misguided Ninth Circuit Decision was filed on August 29, 2012.  Our fundraisers (above) are an effort to keep up with these and other legal fees defending the rights of small-scale miners.

Supreme Court

After devoting nine years defending this case in federal court against anti-mining activists, the Justice Department (Obama Administration) declined to appeal the Ninth Circuit Decision to the Supreme Court. So we should not be surprised that they have just filed a brief in Opposition to our Petition; even if it is totally unbelievable that we are appealing the Decision that they lost!  Here is our Reply.


Now the Good News:
  Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has filed a brief supporting our Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the recent Decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which discourages prospecting on America’s public lands. The brief was filed on behalf of PLF, Waldo Mining Association (Waldo), and Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA).

Pacific Legal Foundation is another very influential, national property rights foundation which takes a lot of cases to the U.S. Supreme Court. PLF’s brief in support of our Petition argues how the Ninth Circuit Decision is already discouraging prospecting on the public lands as a direct contradiction to the will of Congress.

PLF’s brief also points out that the erroneous Decision by the Ninth Circuit would basically place an overwhelming regulatory burden upon any and every private activity (not just in mining) in which the federal government has an oversight interest, even when the federal government determines that no regulation applies.

We appreciate it very much that our brothers and sisters at EOMA and Waldo are supporting our efforts to get this terrible Ninth Circuit Decision overturned. PLF’s supporting brief, along with the supporting brief filed by Mountain States Legal Foundation on behalf of the Northwest Mining Association (see our October newsletter), increases the chances that the Supreme Court will accept our case. NWMA’s brief presents supporting arguments (to our Petition) why the Supreme Court must overturn the misguided Decision of the Ninth Circuit, or there will be dire consequences to America’s mining industry, and also nothing to prevent extremist environmental organizations from challenging private enterprise in any area where the federal government has an oversight interest – which is just about everywhere these days.

As far as I know, we are the only organization solely representing small-scale miners that has taken a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, at least since I have been involved with mining.  The final result of this case will have very important consequences upon America for the foreseeable future.  All of you who support our efforts should feel some pride that we are standing up to do the right thing for the future of our country.  We should also be gratified that the bigger players, Pacific Legal Foundation and Mountain States Legal Foundation, have joined in our cause.

Special Edition of “Extreme Prospector” is now Available!

At long last, my new 512-page book “Extreme Prospector” has been printed!

Extreme prospector by Dave Mack

I have devoted a full year of my creative energy into this project! The book includes my very best adventures, all rewritten to include plenty of detail and some of my best-kept secrets, including several adventures during my time in the U.S. Navy SEAL Team. As far as I know, this is the first and only adventure book ever written which brings to light the incredible excitement of discovering high-grade gold deposits – for real.  I am pleased to say that initial reviews of the book are quite good!

I started working hard on this book as soon as Discovery Network confirmed that several of my prospecting buddies and I were going to cast in a reality show (coming soon). I view the expanded exposure as an opportunity to raise interest in small-scale prospecting, and to raise awareness that it is big government in concert with widespread financial shenanigans that are suffocating all the life out of the American Dream.

I only signed 500 hard cover Special Editions. As a special promotion, we are making these Special Editions available at the very same price of the soft cover version ($19.95). We will be delivering the book during the third week of November.  The girls in our office have been taking phone orders since we put out the October newsletter. The first 200 have already been committed. The last remaining 300 Special Editions are now available on a first come, first served, basis.

Lost Treasure Hunters“Extreme Prospector,” is also available as an ebook from Amazon for half the conventional book price ($9.95). As an Internet download, most of the images come through in color (about 250 of them) and the hyperlinks work. You can find the ebook, along with normal soft and hard cover versions of the book, right here.

Since I mentioned the Animal Planet reality show above, I should also let you know that they have now placed a 5-minute video promotion on line. Check it out; it will give you some idea how the show is going to play out!

 

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

Since this is a New 49′er newsletter, with a very rare exception, I try and keep the news on track with the things that are happening with our organization, and with the larger issues which directly affect us. We also try and keep our Internet Forum on mostly mining-related subjects, though we do allow a little more leeway there.

But 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!

Just as an example, An American friend of mine and I took a drive down to Bataan about a week ago. That is Bataan, as in the “Bataan Death March,” which began on 12 April, 1942. My understanding of the history is that we were not able to hold off the invasion because there was no replenishment of supplies and reinforcements. This was because the Japanese took out our Pacific fleet in Hawaii on the same day they invaded the Philippines. After months of fighting against overwhelming odds, 76,000 American and Filipino soldiers finally surrendered to the Japanese army on the 9th of April, 1942. Yes; I got that number right!

While the story is heartbreaking, we should also be inspired and reminded that no matter how bad things can get, there always remains hope that we can come back and win the day. While we are going through difficult times in America today, we have come back from much worse situations. It’s not over until it is over!

If you are interested in these types of affairs, along with news 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.

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.

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH  QUARTER, OCTOBER 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER  10

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

Once again, longtime supportive member, Alan Mash, broke another personal gold record this past season while suction dredging on the Rogue River in southern Oregon.  Alan was out there working hard nearly every day. He knows as well as anyone how to find the gold deposits along the upper portion of the Rogue.

Here is a video segment I captured out on the river with Alan explaining how he did it:

Alan Mash  Rogue River Gold Nuggets

Alan:  “I decided to dredge a bit different this year. Rather than popping all around looking for smaller higher-grade pockets of gold like I have done the past two seasons, I sampled for larger stretches of medium-grade material so I could just work larger areas for an extended period of time. More time dredging, less time looking. 

During the course of the season, I found two medium-grade deposits on the river, each that were about 150-feet long by 30-feet wide. There was gold between those two stretches, but I found it was more productive to keep my focus on the areas that were paying better. 

Dredging underwater

I recovered my first four ounces of gold from my first excavation. In places, there was a really hard layer of compacted streambed down on the bottom of the river. The trick was to suck up everything that my suction nozzle would pull apart.  When the material was too hard to pull apart with my suction nozzle, I used my blaster nozzle to break more of the material free.  I found that the really hard conglomerate layer on bottom was so slow to get through; it did not produce the same results.  So to be more productive, I left that behind, and I just mined the top two layers of hard-pack. 

It always paid better when I was able to expose bedrock at the bottom of my excavation. It was exhilarating every time I found gold there pounded into the cracks and crevices. I blasted those out and sucked them up. What a rush!” 

Here are some of Alan’s self-made video sequences of the underwater action:

Besides being a really good prospector, Alan always goes out of his way to help other prospectors on the river.  He helped set foundations in place for James McCarville to find that incredible 4-ounce nugget that we featured in the September newsletter.  Others out on the Rogue talk about all the friendly support and encouragement that they get from Alan and other New 49’er members.

Alan Mash Gold Nugget Display

I captured the following video segment showing off some of Alan’s gold just before the end of his season. Listen to him talk about others out on the Rogue who have been recovering more gold than him, with one prospector now having two 20-ounce seasons under his belt:

I don’t know about you guys; but I am already preparing my own dredge for next season!

More Support for us at the U.S. Supreme Court!

Supreme CourtMany of you will be aware that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists that have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of Californiasince 2003. It all started with their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a substantial surface disturbance.

Several months ago, after years and years of litigation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Karuk Tribe.  USFS declined to appeal that Decision.  As the last remaining party in the case, The New 49’ers were the only organization that had standing to file a Petition to the Supreme Court. I talked more about the important ramifications of this case to America’s mining industry in our September newsletter, so I won’t repeat most of that here.

Our Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the misguided Ninth Circuit Decision was filed on August 29, 2012.

The good news this month is that a supporting brief was just filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the Northwest Mining Association (NWMA). This organization is a 117-year-old, 2,000 member trade association based in Spokane, Washington.  Representing many larger mining interests along with small-scale miners throughout America and Canada, NWMA is recognized as an innovative and proactive leader in addressing the needs of an increasingly global mining industry. Their influence is quite substantial.  NWMA’s supporting brief was largely written by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), a nonprofit, public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and free enterprise system. MSLF is one of the most influential property rights legal foundations in America.

NWMA’s brief presents supporting arguments (to our brief) why the Supreme Court must overturn the misguided Decision of the Ninth Circuit, or there will be dire consequences to America’s mining industry, and also nothing to prevent extremist environmental organizations from challenging private enterprise in any area where the federal government has an oversight interest – which is just about everywhere these days.

As far as I know, we are the only organization solely representing small-scale miners that has taken a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, at least during the past 35 years that I have been involved with mining..  The final result of this case will have very important consequences upon America for the foreseeable future.  All of you who support the effort should feel some pride that we are standing up to do the right thing for the future of our country.  We should also be gratified that the bigger players, Northwest Mining Association and Mountain States Legal Foundation, have joined in our cause.

Winning this case is so important that I have consented to allow three ounces of my own beautiful gold nuggets to be given away in a prize drawing.  I am hoping you guys will join in and help.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

This is the last newsletter you will receive from us before we give my beautiful gold nuggets away.  Therefore, you find me here biting my nails hoping I haven’t made a mistake!  Honestly, we need more response than we have been getting on this so far.

Dave mack's Gold
Twenty-five prizes in all:

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

The drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 9 November 2012. 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, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here:

“Extreme Prospector” is now Available!

At long last, my new 512-page book “Extreme Prospector” has been printed!Extreme prospector by Dave Mack

I have devoted a full year of my creative energy into this project. The book includes my very best adventures, all written to include my best-kept secrets, including several adventures during my time in the U.S. Navy SEAL Team. As far as I know, this is the first and only adventure book ever written which brings to light the incredible excitement of discovering high-grade gold deposits – for real.

I started working hard on this book as soon as Discovery Network confirmed that several of my prospecting buddies and I were going to cast in a reality show (coming soon). I view the expanded exposure as an opportunity to raise interest in small-scale prospecting, and to raise awareness that it is big government in concert with widespread financial shenanigans that are suffocating all the life out of the American Dream.

I have been telling you guys for years that I would let you know when I was ready to start making big noise about what is happening in America.  “Extreme Prospector” is my shot across the bow of the voracious machine that is eating away the last of America’s freedom and prosperity. This shot is the absolute best I can do from my position in the world. I hope the message will resonate with you guys, and I especially hope you will spread the word on all of the social media networks. More on this below.

I have just signed 500 hard cover Special Editions of the book. As a special promotion, we will be making these Special Editions available at the very same price of the soft cover version ($19.95). We will not be delivering the book until mid-November. But the girls in our office will now begin taking phone orders for the Special Editions until they run out: (530) 493-2062.  First come, first served!

“Extreme Prospector,” is also available as an ebook from Amazon for half the conventional book price ($9.95). As an Internet download, most of the images come through in color (about 250 of them) and the hyperlinks work. You can find the ebook right here.

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

Since this is a New 49’er newsletter, with a very rare exception, I try and keep the news on track with the things that are happening with our organization, and with the larger issues which directly affect us.  We also try and keep our Internet Forum on mostly mining-related subjects, though we do allow a little more leeway there.

But with the launch of Extreme Prospector, I have started 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 economic realities which none of the Candidates are really talking about.

Just as an example, I just posted a blog you might find interesting about the two (ex) Navy SEALs who were killed defending our consulate in Libya a few weeks ago. Contrary to what is being reported in the news, it turns out these two heroes were not assigned to the consulate security detail at all. They were not even in the consulate when the assault began.  They were in Libya on other business. When the attack on the consulate started, they heard all the noise from someplace else. The noise prompted them to sprint over to help defend in what became a two-hour pitched battle against overwhelming odds. Taking weapons from the retreating security detail that was actually assigned to defend the consulate, these two extremely courageous men held the line against the attackers while twenty embassy staffers managed to get out alive!

If you are interested in these types of affairs, along with news 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. 

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.

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD  QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER  9

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken

 

Longtime supportive New 49’er members, James and Denise McCarville, discovered a beautiful gold nugget weighing just short of four ounces just a few weeks before the end of this year’s dredging season on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.  By all accounts, this is the largest gold nugget ever recovered out of the upper Rogue River.

 

New 49’er members, James and Denise McCarville

James says he came close to missing the beautiful piece of gold altogether because it was initially covered by a thin film of mud. The nugget was so large, it didn’t even occur to him that it was gold until he picked it up off the bottom of the river and felt the weight of it.  He says he is still coming to terms with the reality that he recovered such a large nugget of pure wealth.  We captured James’ personal account of finding the nugget in the following video sequence:

This incredible gold nugget is so precious, just holding it in your hands is enough to make your hands start sweating!  Together, with the rest of the gold James found, he and Denise have had a great season.  They are already making plans for next year.

Rogue River - 4oz. Gold Nugget

You might find it interesting that one of my own dredging buddies and longtime New 49’er supporter, Jim Yerby, had intended to dredge in the very same location this season where the nugget was discovered.  But when other life-situations delayed Jim’s dredging program, he decided to turn his idea over to James, and helped him move his dredge to the location.  Mark Chestnut and Alan Mash also helped James get his dredge tied off and into position.  One thing that stands out very clearly along the Rogue River is how strongly New 49’er members go out of their way to help each other!  Here follows Jim Yerby’s account of how he turned his own “secret place” over to James:

James McCarville

The rest, according to James, was mostly a matter of spending the hours out on the river and getting the work done. While the streambed material was mostly less than a foot in depth over bedrock, James says his main struggle was with the water movement in the river. The water was mostly about waste deep, perhaps neck-deep in some places. Here follows an explanation given by James right out where he found the nugget:

I want to acknowledge that James and Denise have believed in the Rogue River from the very beginning.  They were part of our original sampling team to the Rogue several years ago when The New 49’ers decided we needed to find a place to dredge in Southern Oregon due to California’s temporary moratorium on suction dredging.  Here is a link to that video-enhanced story. Note that James and Denise were finding nuggets back in those days, also.

In addition to performing my routine New 49’er business, I personally devoted a big part of this season to completing my best work ever, an adventure book, in time for Animal Planet’s release of  “Lost Treasure Hunters,” a new reality show which will feature several prospecting buddies and me looking for riches in exotic and dangerous places around the world. I will announce the play schedule for the first five episodes of the reality show as soon as I have them.  I’ll talk a little more about my adventure book below.

However, I did make time to visit the Rogue River with my boat several times this season and spend some time with members who were dredging out there.  There was a lot of activity.  We counted 36 dredges within direct view of  just one location during mid-summer!  Most New 49’er members we spoke with were doing pretty well.  I captured enough video from those conversations to keep our newsletters interesting through the winter months.  Please stay tuned in!

Hello to the U.S. Supreme Court!

Supreme Court PapersMany of you will be aware that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists that have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of California since 2003. It all started with their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a substantial surface disturbance.

This entire case was upside down from the beginning, because it presumed the USFS is providing some kind of “approval” for small-scale mining activity to proceed in the first place – which is not true.  All of the laws which congress has passed concerning mining on the public lands provide free access for all Americans to pursue mining activity.  The USFS is only granted authority to become involved once the mining activity creates a substantial impact upon surface resources.  And even then, USFS does not have authority to disapprove the mining activity.  They are only allowed to work with the mining program in an attempt to minimize unnecessary disturbance.  If they don’t have the authority to disapprove mining activity, then it only seems logical that there is no authority to “approve” it, either!

Our anti-mining adversaries have based their objections on a misperception that when USFS reviews the kind of small-scale mining activities that we do, and they make an internal assessment that no substantial surface impact is being created, the internal process amounts to an “approval” process – which would require them to first consult with multiple other government agencies. In other words, anti-mining activists are insisting upon a multi-agency approval process upon insignificant private activities when no approval process is allowed within the law in the first place. The final result of this case will affect small-scale mining on every national forest in America.  It also has much further consequences that reach out to every part of America where federal agencies review private activity.

Believing that it was a bad idea to allow USFS and anti-mining activists to fight between themselves over the rights of small-scale miners, The New 49’ers intervened in the litigation from the very beginning. The history of this case can be found here:  We defeated the Karuks in Circuit Court, and then we defeated them again in the first round of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, several months ago, the Karuks succeeded in having the full Ninth Circuit overturn our wins. Here is the full Decision. Here is also a short summary from our attorneys about the Decision.

All I can say is that it was a good thing that we intervened in this litigation; because after all this way, the USFS has decided to not Petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s misguided Decision.  So much for depending upon government to protect the rights of Americans!  If anyone is wondering why less than 90% of Americans trust our government, you would not have to look any further than the way they have managed this case!

In any event, our Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the misguided Ninth Circuit Decision was filed several days ago.  You can read our Petition by going here:  I’ll keep you informed as things move along.

We pay for all this through contributions from our supporters.  Our supporters mostly are people who read these newsletters.  Winning this case is so important that I have consented to allow three ounces of my own beautiful gold nuggets to be given away in a prize drawing.  I am hoping you guys will join in and help us pay the lawyers.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!
Dave Mack's Gold
Twenty-five prizes in all:

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

The drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 9 November 2012. You need not 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, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or you can do it online by clicking here:

“Extreme Prospector” is now Available!

Extreme-Prospector by Dave Mack

At long last, my new 512-page book “Extreme Prospector” is at the printer. It is still a while before we will be delivering in conventional book format. I’ll make that announcement when we are ready to start taking orders.

Meanwhile, a lot of people these days are downloading new books from the Internet and reading them on special electronic readers or their personal computers. My new book, “Extreme Prospector,” reads really well as an ebook from Amazon, because all the color images come through in color (about 250 of them), the hyperlinks work, and it sells for half price as an ebook ($9.95). “Extreme Prospector” as an ebook can be found right here.

You do not need to buy anything new to read an ebook. Amazon has a free download that will allow you to read the book on your personal computer. You can find that right here.

There is also a download right here for Apple devices and computers.

I have devoted a full year of my creative energy into “Extreme Prospector.” The book includes my very best adventures, all rewritten to include plenty of detail and some of my best-kept secrets, including several adventures during my time in the SEAL Team. I have weaved in lessons about the importance of hard work, risk taking and personal integrity — and how success is built upon the foundations of honorable behavior. I have included some thoughts about whom and what institutions we owe our loyalty to during these troubled times.

I have tied these important concepts together with a compelling explanation of why America and the West are failing, and I have outlined the only solution that will get us back on track. There is only one solution. It is not all that complicated, though the impending consequences hanging over America are deadly serious. This is all from a perspective that I am not hearing from people in the news or on the campaign trail.  It is time we looked beyond the sound bites of the day and take an honest and realistic look at where things are going if we do not step hard on the brakes!

While I don’t have all the answers, I am not running for political office, and I am not trying to win any popularity contests.  Political parties are more interested in winning elections than fixing the country. I have no agenda other than hoping America will start winning again.  It is only the truth that is going to get us back on the right track; something politicians have to dance around (at best) if they expect to win an election.  I do my best to tell the truth in this book.  I’ll warn you in advance that facing the truth is not very comfortable.  Most of the adventures in my book are not comfortable.  But I’ll bet you find them interesting!

I started working hard on this book as soon as Discovery Network confirmed that several of my adventure buddies and I are going to cast in a reality show (coming soon). I view the expanded exposure as an opportunity to raise interest in small-scale prospecting, and to raise awareness that it is big government in concert with widespread financial shenanigans that are suffocating all the life out of the American Dream.

While we continue to fight, my bet is that the only lasting solution to resolving the legal and political problems our industry is facing is to fix the bigger problems which are destroying our whole country. “Extreme Prospector” is my shot across the bow of the voracious machine that is eating away the last of America’s freedom and prosperity. This shot is the absolute best I can do from my position in the world. I hope the message will resonate with you guys, and I especially hope you will spread the word on all of the social networks – and especially place reviews on Amazon.

I have been telling you guys for years that I would let you know when I was ready to start making big noise. Now is the time! “Extreme Prospector” is the beginning of that! Now we will see what the bigger world does with my message. The bigger world begins with you guys, my 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.

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD  QUARTER, AUGUST 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER  8

Dave

By Dave McCracken

 

I recently teamed up with Discovery Network and four other specialists to participate in an adventure-packed expedition to locate the famous Golconda diamond mines of India. Lost for maybe 250 years, the world’s most famous diamonds originated from these very same mines, including the Hope Diamond.

India Diamond Crew Dave Mack

The (very) challenging project forced our team to overcome a myriad of obstacles, including extreme weather, treacherous locations on land and in water, venomous snakes, crocodiles and language barriers, all within a culture that is rife with superstition and an unshakeable belief that anyone who attempts to find the lost mines would be cursed.

Pro-Mack Diamond Dredge

We constructed and shipped a very special suction dredge to India from Happy Camp,California to support this project.  While you will have to watch the show to see how it all plays out, I believe you will be pleased with the expanded exposure to suction dredging as a means to uncover fortune and economic opportunities.

Here is a 5-minute preview of Lost Treasure Hunters.  The full reality show was originally scheduled to begin on 24 August. But Animal Planet decided to push the show back to early 2013. Here is their press release which introduces the show and the cast members. Fellow cast member, Steve Newbery, has posted summaries for each of the initial five episodes right here.

I personally believe a big part of moving the legal and political realities more in our favor is to increase awareness broadly about what we do. Surveys show that most people like the idea of being able to go out and discover fun and fortune. The Discovery specials on suction dredging in Alaska are also helping a lot with this.

It is with this in mind that I have devoted a big portion of this last year pulling my very best prospecting stories together in a new adventure book titled, “Extreme Prospector.”  This is now available on Amazon as an ebook for half price at $9.95.  Conventional printed books will be available in November.

Extreme Prospector Book Cover

2012 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 just substantially increased annual filing fees to hold mining properties. So we thank you for your support on this!

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.

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD  QUARTER, JULY 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 7

Dave

By Dave McCracken

We did the drawing for our most recent legal fundraiser on 7 July at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp. Thank you very much to everyone who participated! Congratulations to the following winners:

One-ounce American Gold Eagle:  Tom Stull.
Quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles: Dave Siegrist; James Rocha; Jerry Keith & Uwe Mueller.
Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Vern Breitenstein; Mike Regan; Gilbert J Reynolds; Donald W Flickinger; Gary Thurston; Jim Yerby; Tom Stull; Joe Martin; Wesley Wright & Randol Thrasher.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

Dave's Gold Nuggets

We do not have much time remaining to raise money to support a Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a recent Ninth Circuit Decision that is making it more difficult for small-scale miners to prospect on the public lands across America, including a big portion of our new properties along the South Umpqua River in southern Oregon.

Therefore, I am allowing three 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’s Gold Nuggets
Four ¼-Ounce Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave’s Gold Nuggets

The drawing will take place at our offices in Happy Camp on Friday afternoon, 9 November 2012 (you need not be present to win). But please do not wait to send in your contributions; because we must file the Petition in about 30 days!

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, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or 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, because you can immediately click directly to many of the subjects which we discuss; because the on line version is in full color; because we link you directly to locations through GPS and Google Earth technology; and because you can watch the free video segments which we incorporate into our stories.

 

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, JUNE 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 6

Many of you will recall that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists who have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of California since 2003.  It all started with their lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a significant surface disturbance.

USFS regulations do not require a prospector to provide an NOI to the local District Ranger unless the prospector believes his activity might cause a significant disturbance.  Once the Ranger receives an NOI, if he believes there is likely to be a significant disturbance, he has 14 days to inform the prospector that a formal Operating Plan is required.  In that event, the regulations provide authority for the Ranger to stop the mining activity until the Operating Plan is approved.  Depending upon the circumstances, it can take a long time to gain approval of an Operating Plan.

USFS regulations do not provide the Ranger authority to require a prospector to file an NOI.  Therefore, NOI’s are mainly a voluntary formality which prospectors normally do to cooperate and coordinate with USFS.  Under existing regulations, the Ranger’s only authority is generated by his “Decision” that a mining or prospecting activity is likely to cause significant surface disturbance.  In 27 years on the Klamath National Forest, this has never happened with our program.

Believing that it was a bad idea to allow USFS and anti-mining activists to fight between themselves over the rights of small-scale miners, we intervened in the litigation from the beginning.  We defeated the Karuks in Circuit Court, and then we defeated them again in the first round of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the Karuks succeeded in having the full Ninth Circuit overturn our win. Here is the full Decision. Here is also a short summary from our attorneys about the Decision.

This new development affects all USFS lands in America!

From my own perspective, since it is only required that an NOI be filed if the prospector believes there may be a significant impact, and the Ranger has no authority to require an NOI, this Decision has pretty much eliminated NOI’s from the ongoing relationships between prospectors and the USFS.  Said another way, based upon the existing USFS regulations, it looks to me like prospectors can proceed with our mining programs as before; and just like before, the Ranger only has the authority to step in and require an Operating Plan if and when he decides there is likely to be a significant impact.

The word “decide” has important legal implications as a result of this Ninth Circuit decision. Case in point:  Since the Ninth Circuit has determined that a District Ranger does not have the authority to make a “Decision” concerning the lack of a significant disturbance without first consulting with multiple other agencies, it also places doubt on the Ranger’s authority to “Decide” that a significant disturbance may occur (triggering the requirement of a formal Operating Plan) without also doing consultation with other agencies.

We have been in communication with the Mineral Officers within the several USFS Districts where we have mining property. They are still waiting for direction from USFS in Washington DC.  So it is still too early to know how this new development will affect our program, if at all.  In our case, in 27 seasons along the Klamath River, there has never been a Ranger that has required us to file a formal Operating Plan.  We have filed annual NOI’s as a volunteer, cooperative formality.  My guess is that we will probably have to stop doing that.

As a precautionary measure, I strongly suggest anyone planning to attend our scheduled weekend group mining events to register in advance with our office: 530 493-2012.

Now we must raise funds to appeal this terrible Decision to the Supreme Court!  It does not appear that USFS will file a Petition.  However, my guess is that they will submit supportive briefs if we file the appeal.  We have also been encouraged by two substantial conservative legal foundations that mostly take up property rights cases, suggesting they will also file supporting documents.

Since The New 49’ers is the only private organization defending the rights of small-scale miners in this particular litigation, besides USFS, I believe we are the only ones with standing to file the Petition with the Supreme Court. Going to the Supreme Court is not going to be cheap. Therefore, I am encouraging everyone to please support our ongoing legal-fund raiser. The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday, 7 July (2012). So there is very little time remaining before we will be giving away 15 American Gold Eagles:

Gold eagles

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

The girls in our office automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution that 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. Contributions can be called in to our office at 530 493-2012, or they can be mailed to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.  Or you can do it on our web site by going here:  Make a Donation

Participation in this drawing so far has been so poor that we have not even raised enough money to cover the value of the gold.  This is not good. So I am hoping a bunch of you guys will jump in and give us a hand during the next several weeks.  Thank you for anything you can do! 

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.

 

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