Dave Mack

Here is an important note from Dave McCracken, President of The New 49’ers …

 

Most of the information on this web site was created over a long time span (since the early 1980’s) when, for a nominal permit fee from the State, Americans were free to prospect for gold and other valuable minerals in and around most of the waterways in California and Oregon. There were thriving prospecting industries all through the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. This activity did a lot to support rural communities.

The small-scale gold mining industry was very carefully regulated in both States to protect fishery resources. The most recent extensive study performed by Southern Oregon University concluded that the cumulative impact of all the in-stream mining in the State was so small that it could not be measured. In fact, while both States issue fishing licenses (license to kill or harm) by the thousands, there is no evidence on record that suction dredge mining ever harmed a single fish — even when those conducting studies attempted to harm fish using suction dredges. The fish were too fast. Fish eggs and juveniles were protected because the regulations did not allow suction dredging in the locations during the times of the year when they would be vulnerable.

In 2009, the California legislature passed the first State-wide moratorium on suction dredging. An honest look at the history will lead any reasonable person to the conclusion that the ban on suction dredging was/is politically motivated. Oregon passed it’s moratorium shortly thereafter. The moratoriums have been changed over the years, each time with the purpose of stopping more and more methods of prospecting.

As it is now in California, any mechanized device used to help excavate or process material for the purpose of mineral recovery within 100 yards of an active waterway is defined as a “gold dredge.” This would include something as small as a 12V bilge pump, or a hand pump, devices which are being used in most boats in the State. Mechanized devices for any other type of activity is allowed. It is only mining that has been signaled out. Suction dredging without a permit is against the law. California stopped issuing dredge permits in 2009.

In cooperation with other industry associations, we sued the State in California Superior Court. The lawsuits, in their various forms, went on for about 9 years and cost our industry around a million dollars. Ultimately, the Third Appellate Court of California unanimously found for our side, concluding that the State does not have the authority to impose regulation upon mining the public lands if such regulation would undermine the viability of a mining program. Shortly thereafter, San Bernardino District Court issued a Decision that the State was breaking the law by pursuing a scheme to end all mining in the State. Then the California Supreme Court reversed the Third Appellant’s Decision, basically stating that the State has the authority to weigh different factors and impose any amount of regulation over mining on the public lands.

Our first attempt to have the U.S. Supreme Court review our case made the final cut (they only accept around 5% of the cases sent to them), but ultimately our case was rejected.

Several years ago, some of the mining associations in Oregon pooled their resources and filed suit in federal district court against the Oregon dredging moratorium (JOSHUA CALEB BOHMKER, ET AL. v STATE OF OREGON). They lost in district court, and then they lost again in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

More or less, the legal question in Oregon is the same as in California. I’m not going to go into all the legal theories here. A brief explanation is that the federal mining law allows every American freedom to prospect for gold and other valuable minerals on the public lands. In the event that a viable mineral deposit is located, the prospector has a right to claim the deposit as his own property (just the minerals), and there is an automatic contract with the federal government allowing the deposit to be developed. There is ample controlling case law that has evolved over hundreds of years that prohibits the federal government from imposing rules or regulations that would unreasonably inhibit the development of a viable mineral deposit.

So our question to the courts is: How is it that we have a rock solid agreement with the federal government that we can develop the deposits we locate on the public lands through our own hard work and financial investment; and then a State can come in and prohibit us from mining?

The New 49’er Legal Fund has sent funds to the attorney in Oregon who will file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Oregon Decision. Other industry associations are also contributing. Several large law foundations will also submit briefs supporting our side. The draft for our Petition has already been completed. The outcome of this case is likely to affect mining on all the public lands in America, including those in California.

There is a reasonable chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will review the Oregon Decision. Besides being extremely important to future economics in America (all material wealth originates from raw minerals), when the Solicitor General recommended the Supreme Court not review our California case, his reasoning was that the Oregon case framed the legal question more clearly over federal supremacy on the public lands.

Therefore, until further notice, in California, we can only use hand methods to excavate or process minerals within 100 yards of an active waterway. Oregon’s regulations are more difficult to understand. The regulations basically prohibit mechanized mining in any waterway that has been designated as essential salmon habitat (ESH). Unfortunately, all or most gold bearing waterways in Oregon have been designated as ESH.

The bottom line is that we do not believe these moratoriums are rational or legal, and we will continue to fight on behalf of small-scale miners. Having said that, if you are caught by the authorities using mechanical devices to prospect for or process gold along an active waterway, you will be written a criminal citation and your gear will be confiscated. Then you will be prosecuted. Our Legal Fund has paid to defend several members. The outcome is that our attorney has been able to get the fines reduced on the condition that the prospectors pledge to the court that they will not do mechanized mining activity unless the law is changed.

Meanwhile, all our mining properties remain open to members; and to my knowledge, no prospectors are being hassled by authorities for using conventional pick & shovel hand mining methods like gold panning or sluicing. We are continuing Weekend Group Mining Projects during the summer months. These are free to all members. Each participant will share an equal portion of the gold we recover. Our long term camping areas remain open to all members. Our Internal Affairs guys remain active. And while the girls remain in our office and man the phones during normal business hours, (except that we close at 4 PM). Sometimes bad weather or other circumstances prompt our office to close early. So it is a good idea to call before you make the trip: 530 493-2012.

If you are a member in good standing, you do not need to visit our office before enjoying the properties we make available. We do request that all members inform our office where you are camping or prospecting on our properties. This can be done over the phone, or you can come into the office to sign in when the office is open. More than anything else, this is so we can find you if we receive a call from someone in your family that needs to contact you.

The great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest remain as captivating as ever! My advice is to enjoy the opportunities we have while we continue to challenge unreasonable laws or regulations that stand directly in the path of the national effort to make America great again.

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken, President

The New 49’ers

 
 
January 1, 2019

gold-rush-alaska-goldIn a wonderful gesture of generosity, Tamarand Campbell has donated two ounces of gorgeous natural gold that was recovered during Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” reality show on television!

This gold has been divided into 20 individual prizes. The drawing will include ten 10th-ounce American Gold Eagles; ten 1-ounce Silver Gold Eagles; and one 1-ounce American Gold Eagle as the grand prize!

The New 49’ers Mega Legal Fund-raiser: 4 ounces of beautiful gold!

Gold and Silver Eagles

There will be 41 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Twenty 1/10th-ounce bags of beautiful Alaskan gold
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place in Happy Camp, California at our office at the close of business on 22 February 2019. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
March 11, 2018

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 26 prizes in all:
Two Grand Prizes: 1/2-ounce American Gold Eagles
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on 29 June 2018 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
July 14, 2017

Gold and Silver Eagles

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on Friday 27 of October 2017 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
March 9, 2017

Gold and Silver Eagles

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at 3 pm on Friday, 23 June 2017 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
November 04, 2016

Gold and Silver Eagles

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place at 12:00 Noon on 24 February 2017 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
July 19, 2018

Gold and Silver Eagles

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

There will be 25 prizes in all:
Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle
Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc).

This drawing will take place in Happy Camp, California at our office at the close of business on 25 October 2018. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win.  There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

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

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing

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

Eagle

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

 

 
Dave Mack

“We are now motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional and that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

 

 
Dave Mack

 

Please make a donation to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

 

By Dave McCracken

As many of you will be aware, we have been going head to head against California State over-regulation of small-scale gold mining for more than ten years.  These battles have taken place in Siskiyou County, Plumas, Alameda and San Bernardino Superior Courts, the Third and Forth Appellate Courts and even the Supreme Court of California.

Last year, we made a major breakthrough when the Third Appellate Court Ruled unanimously that the State’s scheme of requiring gold miners to obtain a State permit, and then refusing to make such permits available, is an non-enforceable scheme which is preempted by federal law.  This Ruling is now being reviewed by the California Supreme Court.

We were given an even larger win by the San Bernardino Court this past summer when the Court issued a lengthy Ruling that the State does not have the authority to first pass a law the requires small-scale miners to obtain a State permit, and then pass a second law that forbids the issuance of such permits.

When we motioned San Bernardino Court to Order State agencies to begin issuing permits again; or in the alternative, stop harassing small-scale miners operating on the public lands without a permit, the judge refused to do so.  We are actively appealing this to the Forth Appellate Court.  Imagine a California court Ruling that State actions are unconstitutional, and then basically issuing a Ruling that continues to allow the unconstitutional activity.

Since we were not being provided meaningful relief from San Bernardino, early this past season, several brave individuals began suction dredging along the Klamath River in hopes of getting arrested by State law enforcement officials.  If the State arrests you, you have a right to be brought in front of an impartial judge within 48 hours, Sundays & holidays excluded.

The result was that several of our members were arrested. Mining gear was seized from these guys and from others who were not arrested.  Even though Dyton Gilliland was arrested and held in jail, rather than being brought in front of a judge according to the law, he was eventually kicked out of jail with no further explanation. Individual stories can be found in the Declarations below, and in the briefing documents.

Now the State has filed criminal charges against two of our small-scale miners in Siskiyou County.  The first hearing is scheduled for November 5 at 8:30 am in the Siskiyou County courthouse in Yreka, California.  We hope you will pass the word around so we can flood the courthouse with Americans who want to see the insanity put to an end.

We see this as a hugely important case.  To a large extent, this case is very similar to the Rinehart case several years ago which won our industry a unanimous win in the Third Appellate Court — the very same place this case will likely end up!  The difference here is that we have several additional important wins which have supported our side since Rinehart was decided.

The really important matter at stake here is whether or not State officials, who swear an oath to support and defend the constitution in order to become State officials in the first place, are going to be allowed by the judicial system to continue to enforce unconstitutional laws upon the people.  This case has ramifications far beyond small-scale gold miners.  It has more to do with whether or not we live in a totalitarian State where the people no longer have a civil remedy against the unlawful actions of the ruling class.

These ongoing legal challenges have raised another important question:  What is the use of devoting 10 years in the court system, and over a million dollars in legal fees, if State authorities are going to completely ignore the outcome if it does not support their side?

Here follows the initial briefing to Siskiyou County Superior Court:

 

 
Dave Mack

“Here is a short summary of  ongoing legal affairs”

 

Please make a donation to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

 

By Dave McCracken

California recently passed a new water bill (SB 637) which, I believe, goes into affect in January. It says there will be no use of motors to excavate or process material within 100 yards of the active waterway. If allowed to stand, this reduces us down to hand sluices, gold pans, underwater crevicing (with or without hookah systems) and perhaps gravity water systems where possible.

We will be working out a strategy with our attorney to challenge the new law.  Since we have not really been getting any meaningful relief in State court, I’ll likely be pushing for a federal challenge.

We are also looking into what is required to submit an application to the Army Corps for a water permit that covers all the properties we control. Such a permit should allow us the use motors to process and even suction dredges, again.

All of the ongoing litigation in State court is in kind of a holding pattern. The next hearing in San Bernardino happens in January.

We are still waiting for the 4th Appellate Court to respond to our Appeal of San Bernardino Superior Court’s refusal to grant us relief from the unconstitutional actions of State officials. We expect this will likely go our way.

The California Supreme Court’s review of the Rinehart case seems to be in a holding pattern. There is more than a reasonable chance this will turn out in our favor.

The California Supreme Court or 4th Appellate Court may hand us a win(s) that will help us overcome the new water bill in California. Any reasonable federal judge would easily see that the State has a long, consistent history (scheme) of trying to eliminate small-scale mining on the public lands. The new water bill is just another example that proves a long period of misconduct.

Two mining associations in Oregon have taken the lead to file a legal challenge in federal court to overcome Oregon’s suction dredge moratorium. The New 49’er Legal Fund has offered to contribute as needed. They have a very strong case.

The Siskiyou County District attorney has decided to prosecute Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland for dredging in California without a permit. Both are New 49’er members who were dredging in the wake of San Bernardino Superior Court’s Order that California’s dredge moratorium was not enforceable. The Legal Fund is supporting their defense. I’ll post the briefs as soon as they are filed. We see this as an important test case to determine if others will be prosecuted or equipment will just be returned.

If any of this disappoints you, I advise you to not let your spirits get down too much. We are going to win in the end. All we need is to watch the current national election cycle to see that America is finally starting to wake up.

I can see a lot of members turning towards underwater sniping supported by motorized hookah along our very extensive properties, especially with the use of these newer pulse induction metal detectors that look right past hot rocks as if they are not even present. I was given a demonstration by Whites Detectors about a month ago and was surprised at the capability and the lower costs.

The Legal Fund needs money!! We are giving away 2 ounces of beautiful gold nuggets and a bunch of other goodies in less than 2 weeks. The new Paypal link makes it very easy to contribute. Please check it out right here:

Legal Fund Raiser

Thanks for anything you guys can do to help!

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