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.

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

 

New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND  QUARTER, MAY 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 5

  Happy smiles Running high-banker

Successful gold mining on any scale must be accomplished in two separate steps.  The first is prospecting. We also call this sampling.”  We sample to try and find a high-grade deposit.  The idea is to not invest very much of your time into any given location until you find something that is going to pay off.  Once we find a good location through sampling, we switch gears into what we like to call “production.”  During the production phase, we try and process as much of the high-grade material as possible given our rather limited resources.

Nearly the entire focus of our Weekend Group Projects is on these two phases.  And it was no different on this particular project.  After reviewing the theory Saturday morning using a backboard demonstration, all 48 of us met after lunch out at our famous K-15A property, otherwise known as the “Mega-hole.”  While the theory is important, nothing can compare to actually doing it out along the river with experienced prospectors.

Once out on the river, the first thing we always do is provide a substantial demonstration on how to take a proper sample.  Sampling is not just about shoveling some streambed material in your pan.  You have to focus on gathering up targeted material.  Since we know that the gold on K-15A is concentrated directly on top of a special brown layer which is about a foot deep in the streambed, the best sample will be from filling our gold pan with that particular material.  We do this by first shoveling aside the material which is on top.  Once we get down to the target area, we carefully gather up the material which is in the contact zone between the two different layers.

Then we pan that material very carefully.  We need to be careful, because the sample is so small.  We cannot afford to lose a single speck of gold if we want to have an accurate look at how much gold is in the contact zone.  Sometimes a sample pan will just turn up a few specks.  Seeing those specks might prompt you to take a few more samples.  Then one of those additional samples might show a better result.  The better result might prompt you to process 25 or 50 buckets of the target material through your high-banker to see how good the area really is.  This is how high-grade deposits are found.

 Sample result Showing gold

After providing this group with a sampling and panning demonstration, we passed the pan around to show how much gold we recovered.  It was better than an average result.  Doing this provides newcomers a baseline in two important ways:

1)      They can compare how much gold they get in their own pan samples to what they saw me recover.  Then they have an idea if they are getting an acceptable result.

2)      They will be able to compare how much gold we get in our single sample pans to the amount of gold we recover when processing the same material in volume on the following day.  Tying the sample result to the production result gives a prospector judgment in what he or she is looking for during prospecting.

After seeing my result, this enthusiastic group spread out across the bar and started doing their own pan samples. Thankfully, I had eight experienced members helping me with this particular project.  While half of them were helping beginners with their panning techniques, the others set up our high-bankers for the following day. A “high-banker” is a gold recovery system which can be set up some distance from the waterway, which will process much more volume than a gold pan. This means pay-dirt does not have to be carried very far, or can actually be shoveled directly into the high-banker.

About half of the participants in this project were beginners.  So my helpers and I stayed out on the bar on Saturday afternoon until everyone out there was panning correctly.  Since many were recovering their first gold, which was theirs to keep, there were still plenty of people going hard at it when we departed.

Saturday night potluck at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp lured in most of the participants, along with plenty of other members who either live in the area or were doing their own mining programs.  There was more food to go around than we needed, and morale was very high – which always makes me happy.  We had a short meeting and ended with a prize drawing.  These weekly potlucks have been a New 49’er tradition during our busy months all the way back to our first season in 1986.

We were shifting over into a production mode on Sunday. So my helpers put their “Team Leader” hats on and split the whole bunch of people down into smaller, more efficient groups.  We started early, about 7 o’clock, so we could get most of the hard work done before the worst heat of the day was upon us.

 Connie People digging

All of the gold we recover on Sunday goes into a common bucket.  Everybody who helps will get an equal share at the end of the day.  The production focus on Sunday switches to volume of the target material.  We want to fill buckets with as much pay-dirt as we can, and process it through the high-bankers.  Having said this, there are three important points that we stress:

1)      Processing volume is most-effectively accomplished by reaching way out and dragging a bunch of material into the hole.  We call this a “top cut.”  Once in the hole, it is easy to remove oversized rocks from the loose material and shovel the remainder into buckets. Then we do the same thing again with a “mid cut.” The wider you are making the top cut, the easier it is to take apart the puzzle of rocks that are wedged together.  This method is much faster than just working one rock loose at a time, a practice we refer to as “nitpicking.” Here are some demonstrations from me of how to use a hand-pick to get optimum results:

 

 Richard, 2 buckets Three guys

2)      It is important to not fill the buckets with low-grade material.  By this, I mean loose sand or gravel on the surface seldom have enough gold to justify being processed through a high-banker.  But because beginners want to feel productive, sometimes we really have to impress upon them to stop filling buckets with non-producing material.  Since we will be feeding the high-bankers at full capacity, every bucket of worthless material will subtract from a bucket of pay-dirt.  This will directly affect how much gold we will recover at the end of the day.  The same principle applies to the material which is below the contact zone.  The amount of gold we will recover is directly related to how much of the target material that we process. Here is Ray Derrick’s explanation of the way we like to do it:

Feeding high-banker

3)      To get the most out of a high-banker recovery system, you must supply it with a steady feed.  Dumping a whole bucket in there at once will overwhelm the system, and some of your gold will wash right out into the tailings.  You can tell where maximum capacity is by watching to make sure the riffles do not get overwhelmed and pack up. Here follows Richard Krimm’s explanation of the proper way to feed a recovery system:

We normally do not break for lunch on Sunday.  It is understood that everyone will take breaks whenever they need them.  Otherwise, we just try to keep the high-bankers running.  When they run out of fuel, it gives us an opportunity to clean out a front portion of the recovery system from one of the high-bankers.  We work this down in a pan and show the gold around to all the participants.  This goes a long way to convince everyone that their effort is adding up to something good.  It also always motivates another 150 or 200 buckets of pay-dirt after we refuel.  The following video segment captured the mid-day look at how we were doing:

Pan of goldIt starts getting pretty hot out on the bar by about noon.  So that’s normally about the time we are shutting things down and going into our final clean-up stages.  By clean-up,” I mean removing the gold and other heavy concentrated material, mostly iron, from the recovery system, and going through a step-by-step process to reduce it all the way down to just the gold.  We begin this process out on the bar; but the final part, and the gold split is completed in Happy Camp.

The main purpose of these Weekend Projects is to expose our members to all of the essential parts of a successful small-scale gold mining program.  It begins with sampling. Then it switches to production. And then we go through the final clean-up, separation, weighing and gold split.  All participants are invited to participate in every step.

In all, we recovered 285.5 grains of beautiful gold. That’s about 6/10ths of an ounce, or about $1000 at today’s gold value.  Not too bad for less than four hours of production work.  There were also 23 natural gold nuggets.  There were a lot of smiling faces as we split the gold evenly amongst the participants.

Final gold

High-banking in California this Season

While Oregon is more user-friendly towards suction dredging; our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, Our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2012 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: June 2 & 3; June 23 & 24; July 14 & 15; August 4 & 5; August 25 & 26. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is invited to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

New Legal Fund Prize Drawing

On behalf of The New 49’ers and some individual members, our attorney filed a legal challenge to California’s new dredge regulations last month in concert with a “takings” claim against the State of California. If we cannot overcome the incredibly-restrictive regulations, then we will force the State to buy all of the mining properties which have been rendered valueless. Defending the rights of small-scale miners, this now places us in three separate litigations, in three separate jurisdictions. Since costs are mounting, we greatly appreciate your participation in our legal fund drawings!! 

Gold Eagle Coins

We will be giving away 15 prizes in our new legal-fund raiser:

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

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday, 7 July (2012).

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

2012 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while camping, prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment.  The policy has a $100 deductable.  It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2013.  This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found 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, APRIL 2012                                VOLUME 26, NUMBER 4

Clean UpDiggers

I have been managing these weekend group mining projects for the past 26 years. All this experience has taught me that every single group has its own chemistry.  There are probably a lot of different things that contribute to this; the different personalities, the weather, how the bigger world is doing at the moment, and perhaps even how I am feeling.  But every group is different.

We always begin with a morning of theory on Saturday.  This gives me an opportunity to size up the participants and the group-chemistry, organize things with my experienced helpers and provide a presentation of the long-proven procedures that we have developed to find gold.  We call this a  sampling plan.

These days, we do the initial meeting and the morning presentation at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp.  Nearly everyone was already present there when I showed up at about 9 AM.  And I knew even before I got out of my car that this was going to be a lively bunch.  They were already having a lot of fun.  This is all good; because my seasoned helpers and I know how to direct all that enthusiasm into the hard work which would be necessary later in the day, and especially on Sunday.

After going over the weekend plans and covering the theory on sampling, I always take time to answer everyone’s questions before we break for lunch.  But this time, I had to cut it short with this lively group or we would not have had time for lunch!  I know the participants are really into it when they are asking all the right questions.

DiggingRich Krimm

Saturday afternoon found us all up at k-15A, otherwise known as the Mega Hole.  This is one of our more popular high-banking areas.  By high-banking, I am talking about mining up out of the water.  We also have a very popular camping area at K-15A.  This makes it convenient for participants to just walk down to the gravel bar where we are doing the project.  K-15A is quite a long mining property.  Over the many years, we have done plenty of weekend and week-long mining projects there, on both sides of the river.  The property has been very productive for us, and we are lucky to have it.

On this particular project, we were up towards the upper-end of the property.  We have been doing these weekend events there, because boats are not required when we have larger groups, and because there is this very distinct brown layer which is usually only a about a foot deep into the gravel bar.  We get lots of nice gold right off the top of that layer!

I am lucky to have a bunch of experienced members who enjoy coming out and helping me to organize these events.  With their help, we split the larger group into smaller ones, each with one of my helpers as a team leader.  The team leaders went out and did some sampling in advance on Saturday morning, while the rest of us were still busy at the Grange Hall.  So, when we showed up out on the gravel bar on Saturday afternoon, my helpers just pointed to several hot-spots where I could provide a sampling and gold panning demonstration.  It’s always better if I turn up some gold in the sample.  This gets everyone motivated to find more gold!

Participants get to keep any gold they find on Saturday afternoon. So after seeing the gold from my sample, this group went right to work.  It wasn’t long before people started showing me the gold in their pans.  For many, these weekend projects provide the first gold they ever found.  “First gold” is always the most precious!  I still remember my first gold. It didn’t come this easy!  But it was still a very magic moment. So I enjoy this part as it unfolds, sharing the “first gold” moments with others, watching for the sparkle in their eye at the first moment of realization.  I love my job!

 RestingUSA Scarf

Really, we were just going through the motions out there on Saturday afternoon.  My helpers had already confirmed where we were going to dig on Sunday.  So we devoted the afternoon assisting beginners to dial in their gold panning techniques. It’s not that panning is difficult.  It just takes a little practice to teach your body the correct motions.  This bunch was catching on fast!

As the afternoon progressed, we set up the high-bankers close to the places where we would dig pay-dirt.  We wanted everything to be ready for an early start on Sunday morning.  This is because we like to get most of the physical work done before the summer heat of the day sets in.

A high-banker is a portable sluicing device, like an aluminum trough with baffles (called riffles) along the bottom edge. Since gold is 5-to-6 times heavier than normal gravel and sand, it gets trapped in the riffles, while the lighter material is washed through by water. Because water is pumped to it, the recovery system of a high-banker can be set up close to the dig-site.  This eliminates the need to pack the pay-dirt closer to water.

After getting everything set up, my helpers and I left to go get set up for the evening meal.  There were a bunch of participants lagging behind out there still panning for gold.  Some of them probably stayed until dark!

Nearly everyone met up back at the Grange Hall that evening to participate in our Saturday evening pot-luck.  These pot-lucks are a tradition that dates all the way back to 1986 when we started The New 49’ers.  Mostly, they are just get-togethers.  Lots of members come.  We have a great meal, enjoy each other’s company, exchange helpful information and do a prize drawing.  Mostly we just have a good time.

Workers High-banker

Almost everyone was out on the bar ahead of me on Sunday morning.  The team leaders had everyone organized, and Rich Krimm informed me that two or three hundred buckets of pay-dirt had already been processed.  This was good!  Man, there was a lot of productive activity going on.  The enthusiasm was infectious. I’m not sure I have ever seen so many people having so much fun playing in the dirt! Here are some explanations of what was going on:

Since most of the work gets done before lunch on Sunday, we just encouraged the flow of material from off the top of that brown layer, into buckets, and through the high-bankers.  The harmonious sound of picks, shovels, rocks being tossed out of the way and material being poured into the high-bankers is like music to my ears.  There was a lot of laughing and joking going around.  Morale was high out there.  This always makes me feel good!

We don’t normally shut things down for lunch on Sunday.  People just take breaks when they are ready.  We usually only stop when the water pumps run out of fuel.  This also gives us an opportunity to clean-up one of the high-grade portions a one of the high-bankers.  A “high-grader” is a smaller portion of the high-banker that recovers perhaps about 50 percent of the gold.  Because it can be cleaned up fast, you can get a good idea how an area is producing when you run production samples.  A few hundred buckets is a pretty substantial sample! 

Nuggets Onlookers3

Rich made quick work of recovering the gold from one of the high-graders. Then he made sure to take it around and show everyone out there on the work site.  You would have thought we were at a sports event the way everyone was cheering.  The hard work was really paying off!  

We actually do this on every project so everyone can see how their physical energy is being converted into Mother Nature’s most-favored treasure – gold!  This always motivates at least another few hundred buckets once the pumps get fueled up.  But on this day, the group never stopped filling buckets even while we were preparing for a second run.  They only stopped digging when they saw that others were cheering over the gold! The following video sequence captured how jacked up this bunch was: 

So that we can be completely finished by dinnertime on Sunday, with everything put away and the gold split up, we like to end off on the dig by about noon.  This was a real struggle with this group, because they just wanted to keep digging.  I imagine some of them would still be out there digging if we didn’t shut the high-bankers down!

Le Trap Onlookers

After cleaning out the high-banker recovery systems, we ran the concentrated material over a special “Le-Trap” sluice that we use to reduce the amount of iron with no loss of gold.  It is always a treat to watch the gold accumulate in the riffles.  Some of the participants were wondering where the ice cold beer was!  But that would have to come later, since we were not yet finished with our day.  Here are two video sequences which captured a Le Trap demonstration, and also the fun we were having during clean-up:

After back-filling the holes we had dug out on the bar, we made plans to meet back up at the Grange Hall where we would finish the clean-up and split the gold.

Let me just say that this is real mining.  The participants get to assist in every step along the way.  In addition to being part of the process, the experience rubs off on all the participants, allowing everyone the knowledge to do it on their own.  I demonstrate the process exactly how I do it in my own mining programs.

Final gold Onlookers2

Once we got it all separated and cleaned up, our work from several hours of hard work that morning produced 290 grains of gold, which is 6/10ths of an ounce.  That’s around a thousand dollars, and it would have bought us plenty of beer.  And pizza, too!  There were also 21 nuggets, the largest being 6 grains.  We split it all up evenly between the 43 participants, and I’m not sure I have ever seen a happier bunch of people!

High-banking in California this Season

While Oregon is more user-friendly towards suction dredging; our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, Our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2012 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: June 2 & 3; June 23 & 24; July 14 & 15; August 4 & 5; August 25 & 26. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is invited to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

New Legal Fund Prize Drawing

Gold Eagle Coins

We will be giving away 15 prizes in our new legal-fund raiser:

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

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday, 7 July (2012).

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

We greatly appreciate help from you in regenerating our legal fund!

2012 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while camping, prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment.  The policy has a $100 deductable.  It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2013.  This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found 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

 

WEEK-LONG GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS: Experienced gold miner and New 49’er founder, Dave McCracken, personally supervises week-long group prospecting projects during the mining season, where each participant shares in the work to be done and the gold that is recovered. While the primary purpose of these projects are to prospect and mine for high-grade gold deposits, these organized prospecting programs are an excellent way for members and guests to gain valuable prospecting experience and have a fantastic outdoor adventure at the same time. No prior experience is necessary. Some group projects are with the use of motorized sluices and vacuum-mining machines (prospecting out of the water). Other mining projects are with dredges.

Dave often uses rubber rafts or boats to carry fellow participants into otherwise inaccessible gold-bearing areas along the Klamath River. These areas are where few prospectors have gone before, so the potential for awesome success is higher than normal.



The New 49’ers provide all of the dredges, motorized sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. Participants will need to have their own wet-suits (for those who will dredge) or other protective clothing and footwear, a dive mask and transportation. Participants provide their own lodging and nourishment.

Please contact our office or click here for more details, rates and the schedule of any upcoming group prospecting projects.
A schedule of this year’s Group Projects and participation costs can be found at this Schedule link, and is also freely available by contacting our office. Please phone us at 530-493-2012 to request a copy.Week-long group projects are limited to a certain number of paying participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific week-long project. A nonrefundable deposit is necessary to secure your position in advance for a project.

 

By Dave McCracken
Getting pinned solidly to the bottom by a huge hunk of bedrock that
Crumbled off the Side of the River!
Dave Mack
It was a judgement call. Obviously I made it wrong because it almost killed me. But it was the first time I had ever run into this sort of situation before. I was not sure what to do about the fractures in the bedrock wall that was hanging over me. Should I have put the chisel edge of my five-foot pry bar into it to see if it’s loose? I finally decided that might loosen it up even further and make it more unstable if I was not able to break it loose using the bar. This was a guessing game. I knew it, and I guessed that the bedrock wall would hold together if I left it alone. I simply guessed wrong this time, that’s all.goldIn dredging for gold, there are a lot of things you are not sure of, so you have to use your best judgment to make a guess.It all started several years earlier when we discovered a very rich pay-streak on the Klamath River in northern California near the confluence of Thompson Creek, about 10 miles upstream from the town of Happy Camp. We were performing a sampling contract for a company out of Salt Lake City. They were looking for a special type of gold deposit, mainly very consistently high-grade for long term production. This particular deposit did not qualify because it did not produce at least a pound of gold every day. It did produce a pound on some days though, sometimes as much as two pounds. But there were also quite a few two and three ounce days which disqualified the deposit as far as the principals were concerned. So we moved on to sample in other locations for the remainder of that season, and we located several other semi-rich deposits which we left behind in our hunt for the real motherlode.

Several years then quickly passed by while the deposits we found during the sampling program could not be touched, in case the company which paid for the sampling decided to exploit the deposits according to their option. They were waiting for the gold prices to skyrocket as we all have been waiting. But instead, the price just slowly kept edging downward. The company finally dropped its lease. So several seasons ago, my partner and I went to work at the head of the deposit where the amount of gold is more inconsistent, but pays quite handsomely in the pockets. Because of other commitments we both had, my partner and I were only able to dredge on a part-time basis, but the deposit did appear to be getting better as we dredged forward. We were getting more excited, and trying to squeeze more and more time in as the season went on.

The biggest problem we had was the huge boulders! We were working in an average of ten feet of tightly packed virgin hard-packed streambed material. The bottom had a layer of boulders most which we were able to shift around to dredge the gold off the bedrock. But there were occasional huge boulders up in the material, sometimes sitting right on top, just waiting to fall into the hole on top of us. It was a very dangerous hole!

The gold was coming from the bottom two or three feet of virgin hard-pack, and on bedrock if it was rough and irregular. To make the gold really add up in our recovery system, all we had to do was move the volume through and uncover a bunch of the bottom layer. When the bedrock was right for it, we would get a handsome bonus. Sometimes the pockets contained so much gold, we could stir our fingers in it! The bonuses were getting more often as we moved on, and we were really synchronizing our effort to move the material. We were also working really hard!

Since we were not using a winch at the time, it was a constant challenge to move the boulders out of the way safely. The two of us together could roll many of them out of the hole. This would allow us room on bedrock to roll the really big ones. When a big one was uncovered in the top layer, which we knew we would not be able to move once it was dropped into our hole, we would try and safely make room for it on the bedrock so we could undercut the boulder and drop it on a spot where the gold had already been dredged. This is a very dangerous method of dredging which I do not generally recommend. It requires you to be constantly on guard; and even so, your life is on the line all the time!

Still, underwater mining can be a dangerous business. Sometimes where you find the richest gold deposits prompts you to take personal risks. You find yourself in situations where every decision you make can directly affect the final outcome.

Dredging under a five-ton boulder (underwater estimated weight) and trying to calculate just how much you can take out to loosen it up enough to roll, without taking so much that it rolls in on top of you, is also a dangerous game. We call these boulders “Loomers.” It is a very high-risk job, because it is difficult to tell what material is holding up the boulder, or what affect the current is having on the boulder or the face of your excavation. You can never take your eyes or some part of your body off the boulder even for a split second. You have to be poised to jump out of the way at any given instant; because sometimes, the boulder will come crashing down with no warning whatsoever!

But the worst part of this type of dredging is cleaning the bedrock when there is a loomer hanging over you way up in the material. It is another judgement point (guessing game) as to how much of your “working face” (side of the hole that you are dredging) that you can dredge without undercutting the boulder too much. Most of the time, my partner and I were managing this with me running the nozzle deeper in the hole, and my partner watching the boulder while holding onto my shoulder, ready to pull me out of the hole quickly if the boulder started to move. Needless to say, this was very high-stress for both of us, and confirms the sensibility of a winch.

With a winch, you simply hook onto a boulder before it becomes a “loomer” and you pull it down and out of your hole.

Needless to say, we went home feeling queasy at the end of nearly every day we were working this pay-streak without a winch. I was having nightmares about not being able to move out of the way fast enough, or taking my eyes off a loomer at the wrong moment…

It was becoming apparent that my partner thought I was crazy to take such chances! Actually, I was being very careful; we did not have any near misses. But I knew it was just a matter of time. The odds were against us.(me)

We could have moved to any number of other mining properties if we wanted to. But the gold was so rich on this property, I decided to assume the calculated risks that were involved.

So I did not have my full attention on the state of the bedrock wall that was hanging over me. I noticed that it was fractured and the cracks were big. The problem was that we were dredging under a cave-like overhang of bedrock on the side of the river. We just had our best production days right behind us. I was watching out for big rocks on the working face, and I was paying a lot of attention to the gold I was seeing on the bedrock!

There had never been any time in the past where a bedrock wall had collapsed into one of our dredge holes!

It was time to take another cut off the top-front of our working face; and as I took material off the top six or seven feet, I noticed (again) that I was removing support from the hanging bedrock wall. The thought crossed me that I should do something about it, but what? Perhaps try prying on it to see if the bedrock was loose? It was hanging menacingly right over where I was dredging. I also was keeping my eye on a good sized boulder up in the material that I was going to have to do something about pretty soon.

After we moved the loomer, we were down in the hole underneath the cracked bedrock overhang watching the gold go up the nozzle. Then we uncovered a “two-roller” sitting on the bedrock. A two-roller is a rock that takes two persons to roll. Just as we finished rolling the rock to the back of the hole, with no warning, the bedrock slab came down on top of me in two pieces! The first hit me on the back and shoved me forward, ending up on my right leg. The second piece landed on top of the first and drove my foot hard against the bedrock.

The pain was almost unbearable, but was quickly replaced by panic as I realized that I was pinned solidly to the bottom. The hunks of broken bedrock on top of me had me pinned face down on my cobble pile, and I was not able to turn around to see how big they were; this was terrifying! And it hurt real bad which added to my severe discomfort. My first impulse was to try and pull myself free; and there was no way. This just sharpened the pain as the movement caused the heavy weight to settle more firmly on my foot.

My partner was not hit by the falling bedrock, but was obviously very upset about my situation. He told me later that he thought my leg must have been crushed into pulp by the sheer impact of the slabs when they came down. Both our heads had been in the same position as my leg only seconds before. If the slabs had come down on our heads or backs, we would have been killed instantly. We were both stunned by this reality.

I gave my partner the sign that I was O.K. and signaled for him to try and lift up on the slabs so I could pull my foot out. I still had no idea of how large the slabs were, but was getting a better idea when my partner was not able to even budge them when he put his full weight into it. This added to my panic. I knew we were towards the end of a three hour dive and there was not much gas left in the dredge. The pain in my foot was killing me! I was not prepared to wait while he went up to gas the dredge; I wanted out from under the slabs now!

There is also some risk to gassing up a dredge while it is running. We have caught a few dredges on fire that way! Shutting down a running engine creates a situation where you might not be able to get it started, again. There was only a minute or so of air reserve for me once the dredge shut down. So gassing it up while I was pinned to the bottom was very risky! But what if the dredge ran out of gas while I was pinned?

I signaled to my partner to go get the 5-foot pry bar. Neither of us knew exactly where it was. We had been allowing two other New 49’er Members to dredge in the outside of our hole, but they had taken the day off. They had used our 5-foot pry bar the day before and we had not seen it all day. My partner went off to look for it. As my partner went off to look for it, I really started feeling trapped like I was close to the very uncomfortable end of my life, and it was out of my hands. Very few times in my life have I been in a position where I certainly was going to die within a very few minutes if someone else did not perform exceptionally well! I still had no idea if the slabs were so big that even the 5-foot pry bar would not budge them. The full weight of the slabs were slowly crushing my foot flatter and flatter to the bedrock.

My partner’s airline was tangled in mine. So, as he reached the outside of our dredge hole, his line pulled against mine. He spotted the bar outside of our hole, on the very outside edge. He felt his airline go tight against something; but in his panic to get to the bar, he lunged forward against the tug on the line. When he lunged, it yanked the regulator right out of my mouth! This really panicked me. With all my might, I pulled him back by our airlines. I had no idea he had even located the bar, much less gotten that close to it. When he came back, he did not have the bar; my foot felt like it was being crushed off; and he thought I was certainly dying by the violence with which I had reeled him in. In desperation, I had him try and lift the rock off me again even though I knew it wasn’t going to work! I guess I was starting to get a little delirious in my pain and panic. This time, I tried pulling my leg out with all my strength. The resulting pain was excruciating! Man, was I pinned solid!

There was no alternative. I gave my buddy the signals to first untangle our airlines, and then continue to look for the bar. You don’t know what patience is until you have had to wait for someone under this condition! All I could do was wait and hope. It did not take long before he was back with the bar. I set the point of the bar, myself, to make sure in his own panic, my partner did not get my foot between the bar and the slabs. My whole beingness was in a state of hope that the pry bar would give the necessary leverage to move the slab enough that I could pull my foot free. There was one sincere voice from somewhere telling me that the slabs were too big and heavy even for the pry bar.

Once the bar was set, I positioned myself to pull with everything I had, to break free and gave the signal. He pried; I pulled; and my leg came smoothly free. What a wonderful relief! Then I grabbed my foot to get an assessment of the damage. Possibly a bad bruise, maybe a mild break, I was thinking. My partner misread the action, grabbed me around the waist, and was going to help me get to the surface. I signaled him that I was okay, and then gave him the signal to please go gas up the dredge. I was going to remain down to dredge for awhile longer.

I sincerely believe that if it is at all possible, it is best to stay in the immediate vicinity of a location in which you have suffered severe injury or fear until the immediate shock wears off. I feel the body and mind will heal itself faster, and I also don’t like to leave right away because it leaves me feeling like I am running away. I could see by the look in my partner’s eyes that he did not approve, but I insisted.

So we dredged for a few more hours directly in front of the slabs. They were too big to move, so we dredged around them. I made it a point to make sure they were left well behind in our cobble pile before knocking off for the day, even though my foot hurt and I was not able to put very much weight on it. As it turned out, nothing was broken except my boot. The steel tip was crushed so tight that I could barely squeeze my toes out! This was further confirmation of the value of steel tipped boots! Without the steel tip, I surely would have lost some toes or perhaps my whole foot!

And now? I have dropped back on the pay-streak and have incorporated a floating winch into my dredging program.

My partner of that time quit shortly thereafter. The experience, I believe, was harder on him than it was on me. When I told him to go gas the dredge after the accident, I could see that he knew in his own mind that he was not going to dredge along side me, no matter how good the gold was.

And now? I watch out for the bedrock! What am I going to do next time I find a fractured overhang like that? I’m not sure. But one thing I won’t do is turn my back to it!

Here is where you can buy a sample of natural gold.

Here is where you can buy Gold Prospecting Equipment & Supplies.

 

“…Our Group Mining Programs offer something you can’t get anywhere else, and these are some of the most important services we make available to members and our guests.”

 

LEARNING BY EXPERIENCE: Hands-on experience is a very important part of The New 49’er program. It is our ongoing group mining programs (along with our abundant property reserves) which distinguish us from other prospecting organizations. We believe that the future of small-scale prospecting could largely depend upon how effectively we as an industry pull together in a responsible way to meet the challenges which we will face together. Much of this effectiveness and dedication is contingent upon gaining exposure to existing operations which are already effective. This is because, generally, the more skilled you are as a gold prospector, the better your chances of realizing your expectations, ambitions, and goals. Moreover, it is generally true that if you are successful, you radiate your success to others and our entire industry flourishes and grows.

Certainly, proven mining property is also an important key. But gaining exposure to effective mining and prospecting techniques by actually doing it with others who are more experienced is vital since a less-inexperienced person can do poorly even on very good mining property. Most of our programs consist of direct hands-on experience in the field, where you can gain direct exposure on how to do it right through group mining projects where all the gold is split amongst all of the participants.

Yearly, we are proving that our group mining ventures help create successful, invigorated prospectors who are excellent examples to others. Others then become interested, participate in group projects, become successful, and our organization and our industry prospers and expands.

ORGANIZED GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS OUT OF THE WATER: We sponsor weekend group prospecting projects for members on a continual basis between June and October. These valuable projects allow participants direct exposure to prospecting for gold through panning, motorized sluicing, vacuum-mining, sampling techniques, and important information about how and where to find gold on our properties. These projects consist of an exciting, fun-filled, and information-packed outing along the Klamath or Salmon Rivers. This is a interesting and (always) exciting group surface prospecting operation (out of the water) where participants each receive an equal share of the gold recovered.

WEEK-LONG GROUP PROSPECTING PROJECTS: Experienced gold miner and New 49’er founder, Dave McCracken, personally supervises week-long group prospecting projects during the mining season, where each participant shares in the work to be done and the gold that is recovered. While the primary purpose of these projects are to prospect and mine for high-grade gold deposits, these organized prospecting programs are an excellent way for members and guests to gain valuable prospecting experience and have a fantastic outdoor adventure at the same time. No prior experience is necessary. Some group projects are with the use of motorized sluices and vacuum-mining machines (prospecting out of the water). Other mining projects are with dredges.

Dave often uses rubber rafts or boats to carry fellow participants into otherwise inaccessible gold-bearing areas along the Klamath River. These areas are where few prospectors have gone before, so the potential for awesome success is higher than normal.



The New 49’ers provide all of the dredges, motorized sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. Participants will need to have their own wet-suits (for those who will dredge) or other protective clothing and footwear, a dive mask and transportation. Participants provide their own lodging and nourishment.

Please contact our office or click here for more details, rates and the schedule of any upcoming group prospecting projects.

Week-long group projects are limited to a certain number of paying participants. Scheduling in advance is strongly advised to ensure a position on any specific week-long project. A nonrefundable deposit is necessary to secure your position in advance for a project.

A schedule of this year’s Group Projects and participation costs can be found at this Schedule link, and is also freely available by contacting our office. Please phone us at 530-493-2012 to request a copy.