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By Dave McCracken

To recover finer gold more efficiently, it is necessary to direct finer-sized materials into more-shallow riffles, that require milder water flows to keep them functioning when filled with concentrated material.

Dave McCracken

 

In gold mining, when we talk about gravity-recovery systems (as opposed to chemical-recovery systems), we are basically talking about the creation of a suspended medium. A suspended medium is a condition of fluidity where materials are allowed to separate because of their relative weights.

Since gold is around six times heavier than the average of other materials which make up a streambed, if you pass raw streambed material through the right kind of suspended medium, you are able to drop the gold to the bottom, and direct the lighter materials off the top as tailings.

As an example of this, if you dropped some gold onto the hard ground, even though the gold is much heavier than the material making up the ground, because the ground is somewhat hard and compacted, it would probably take a very long time for the gold to work its way through to the bottom of the material in that compacted state.

But if you dug up all that ground (and gold), and dumped it into a raging river during a major flood storm, the material would all get churned into a liquid slurry as it is washed downstream in the river, and the gold would very quickly work its way down through to the bottom of the slurry. This is because the slurry is in a liquefied state of suspension, where heavier particles can easily penetrate downward, because gravity is pulling on them much harder than the lighter materials.

There are different ways to create suspended mediums so that gold can be recovered from streambed materials. Mechanical jigs create a pulsating medium within a chamber that keeps water and material in a state of fluid suspension. Oscillating sluices create a left and right movement (similar to panning) as material is washed over top by a mild flow of water. Shaker tables use a finely-tuned vibrating action, with a very mild flow of water, to separate material by weight. Because these systems use mechanics to help keep or create a suspended medium, we refer to them as “mechanical recovery systems.”

Most recovery systems on suction dredges use fixed riffles to trap gold out of lighter streambed materials as they are washed through a sluice box by a flow of water. Riffles are baffle-like obstructions, fixed in place along the bottom of the sluice box. They are designed and positioned so that there is a back-pressure created that sucks water and material behind the riffles from the flow over top. When the correct water-flow is directed over a riffle, the back pressure keeps the area just behind the riffle in a state of continuous fluid suspension. This creates a medium where the heaviest material (gold) is allowed to concentrate.

Gold recovery systems that use a flow of water over riffles are called “fixed recovery systems.”

Classification (sizing of material) is the key to fine gold recovery. This is true in both fixed and mechanical-type recovery systems. In general terms, this means that the finer (smaller) in size that you want to recover gold efficiently, the more closely the material must be sized, and the more finely-tuned the suspended medium must be to facilitate the separation.

As an example to put this in perspective, the water flow it would take to move a 5-inch (diameter) rock will likely be violent enough to wash away a fine particle of gold. And vise-versa: A suspended medium tuned so gentle as to allow fine particles of gold to efficiently separate from lighter streambed materials would be completely overwhelmed by a 5-inch rock.

The general idea is that if you want to efficiently recover finer-sized gold, you have to first separate it from larger-sized material. This is accomplished by screening. The process of screening is called “classification.” Classified material(s) can then be directed into a recovery system that has slower water and more gentle suspended medium(s).

What do I mean by a “gentler suspended medium?” In this discussion, I am mainly talking about the size of riffles. Because, the bigger (deeper) the riffle, the greater (and more violent) water-flow required to maintain a suspended medium of water and material behind the riffle.

Let’s talk a little about what happens behind the riffle in a sluice box. If you only run water over the box, it does not take very much water-flow to maintain fluid movement behind the riffle, because there is nothing solid to obstruct the flow. But the average streambed material (rocks, gravel and sand) weighs around 4 times more than water. This means water-flow and turbulence must be dramatically increased to keep material in a suspended state behind a riffle. The deeper the riffle, the greater the volume and weight of material which must remain suspended – so the greater the water force (and violence) needed to keep a riffle from packing up.

What is “packing up?” That is when you overwhelm a riffle with too much weight of material (rocks, sand, silt), and the suspended medium is lost. When the suspended medium is lost, most of the riffle will no longer concentrate the heaviest materials as they are washed over the sluice box.

Keep in mind that when a riffle is operating correctly, it will continue to concentrate the heaviest materials that are passed through the suspended medium.

At the beginning of a production-run, the specific gravity of the average material behind a riffle will be similar to the average specific gravity of the raw material found in the streambed. For the purposes if this discussion, let’s say this is around 4 times the weight of water. But as other heavier materials like iron (specific gravity of around 8) flow into the riffles, the heavier materials will displace lighter materials, and the materials behind the riffle (called “concentrates”) will become heavier. Each area is different, but it generally does not take long to accumulate concentrates in a sluice box that are around twice as heavy as the average raw material being processed. Heavier materials are usually associated with iron, and dark-colored by nature. These are often referred to as “black sands.”

The heavier the concentrate behind a riffle, the more water-flow and turbulence is required to maintain a suspended medium. The deeper the riffle, the more it will become overwhelmed by the increased accumulation of heavy material. So a deeper riffle requires a faster, more violent flow to keep it working as the concentrated material behind the riffle becomes heavier.

On the other hand, the shallower the riffle, the less water-force it takes to maintain a suspended medium behind the riffle. Less water force and violence will allow smaller particles of gold to settle.

But a shallow riffle also requires that the water flow be reduced. This is because a shallow riffle will not create enough protection behind it to prevent turbulent flows from boiling fine gold away. What do I mean by “boiling?” I mean that if you put too much water-flow over top of any riffle, the suspended medium becomes so violent that even the heaviest particles can be washed away.

Here is what I am saying: If you want to recover finer gold more efficiently, then it is necessary to direct finer-sized materials into more-shallow riffles, that require milder water flows to keep them functioning when filled with concentrated material.

But the problem with suction dredges is that we are sucking up a lot of rocks! Let’s just use the example of a 5-inch dredge. The nozzle-restriction will allow a 4.5-inch rock to be sucked up into the sluice box. And there must be enough water-flow through the sluice to keep the 4.5-inch rocks, and everything else that is being sucked up, flowing through and out as tailings. Otherwise, the material will build up on the dredge and sink it in very short order!

So initially, we are dealing with a water-force through the sluice box that will wash 4.5-inck rocks all the way through. That is a lot of force. And the force is turbulent.

Part of the reason why a rock is moved by a water-flow is because it is being pushed along by the water. A nearly-equal reason is that it is also being pulled along by the vacuum that is created behind the rock as the water flows around it. The vacuum behind a rock creates enormous turbulence that will affect anything it comes in contact with – including small particles of gold. The turbulence associated with the movement of a 4.5-inch rock is a lot, compared to the mild state of suspension necessary to allow a fine-sized particle of gold to settle behind a short riffle.

Since we must suck up rocks in dredging, the bigger rock we can suck up, the fewer we have to move out of the way by hand. Therefore, the first priority in the recovery system is to separate the big rocks away from where we want to recover the fine-sized gold. We do this by dropping the smaller-sized materials through a classification screen, and then directing them into slower-moving recovery systems. Sometimes, we are even able to screen two different sized products, and direct each into a separate recovery system, where the suspended mediums can be adjusted accordingly.

But the one mistake I often see is that the pre-sized materials are usually being directed into slower-moving recovery systems that are using deep riffles. As these riffles do not have enough water-flow directed over them to create the required suspended medium, they pack up and don’t work very well. What I mean by this is that most of the space behind a larger riffle can pack up. Sometimes it is only the surface area behind a big riffle that is working, while the rest of the area behind the riffle is packed solid.

Bigger is not better when it comes to riffles in a fine-gold recovery system. In fact, it can be worse.

Here is a substantial explanation of the system which we have developed to effectively recover more fine gold on our conventional suction dredges. It combines two classification screens to more-effectively separate material-feed into three size-fractions, each which is directed into a different recovery system. The smallest gold particles (which are most difficult to recover) are directed into low-profile riffles along the bottom of the sluice box which have long been proven to be very effective at trapping fine gold.

Here are some things to look for to get a better idea if a riffle is working for you:

  

 

1) The material behind a riffle should be visibly dancing during normal operation. You should be able to see that all of the material there is in a continuous state of vibration and movement. This can be deceiving, however. Because sometimes, only the surface of the material behind a riffle is in movement. Everything under the surface can often be packed up.

This is almost certainly the case; if after you shut down, you scrape behind the riffle and find that just below the surface of black sand, it is all packed up with lighter, blond-colored material. In this case, you will have to decide if you need to increase the water flow and violence (which will make it harder to settle fine gold) or shorten the riffle.

Shortening the riffle is usually the best solution.

Please don’t get me wrong here. I am not talking about the riffles that get big rocks passed over top of them. I am talking about the riffles where you direct pre-sized, smaller material.

2) Do some controlled tests at production-speed (meaning while someone is sucking material into the dredge’s suction nozzle or feeding material into a sluice), while feeding a pre-weighed amount of fine-gold into the system. You can either catch and test the tailings, or you can process the gold from the recovery system (or both), to evaluate how well your recovery system is working.

Here is where you can buy panning ore which contains fine gold.

If you are losing gold from a fixed recovery system, it will come down to either a screening system that is not working very well (to separate the fine gold from the big rocks that must be washed away using heavy force), or a bad relationship between the flow of water and depth of riffles in the fine-gold recovery system.

The answer is to just keep working at it until you get it right.

Okay; so, if bigger and deeper riffles are not the answer to recovering fine-gold from pre-sized material, how small and shallow should you go? Weight and shape-characteristics of the average streambed material in each area may be a little different. For example, crystalline, angular-type material requires more force and turbulence to keep it moving along. So there is not a fixed answer that will work perfectly in every single situation.

However, as a general guideline, I would say that the depth of a riffle should not be much more than the maximum size of material that is being directed there. In other words, if a 3/8-inch screen is being used to pre-size material, you probably don’t want to use riffles much deeper than 3/8-inches. Then you set the water-flow to keep those riffles fluid when there is an accumulation of concentrated material behind them. This is not a fixed formula. You will have to use your own best judgment to dial it in right based upon your local conditions.

Remember: If you use shorter riffles, you must slow down the flow over top of them to keep from boiling-out your fine gold. Slower water, and less violence, allows for finer particles of gold to settle – as long as a suspended medium is maintained behind the riffle. If you can keep the black sand in movement, without boiling out the riffles, you will have a great recovery system. Because gold is around 2.5-times heavier than iron, fine particles of gold will displace the iron behind the riffles, as long as there is movement there.

 

 

The New 49’ers Prospecting Organization

27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, CA 96039
(530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

U.S. Forest Service
Attn: Director, MGM Staff
Mailstop 1126
Washington D.C. 20250

6 July 2007

Comments on proposed clarification, 36 CFR Part 261:

Dear Sirs,

Our organization presently represents 1,300 active, concerned small-scale prospectors who utilize USFS lands for exploration and development of valuable minerals. While some of our members may submit their own comments, most of them look to our organization to provide comments on their behalf. We are aware that other prospecting organizations have already commented concerning the legalities of what you propose to do. So we will confine our comments to some practical concerns having to do with operations in the field. Thank you for allowing our organization to express the following comments:

1) While we do understand that district rangers desire to possess an enforcement mechanism to more-easily deal with some small percentage of mineral operators (or persons masquerading as mineral operators), we are worried that some districts will abuse the enforcement mechanism to make it even more difficult for legitimate mineral operators to prospect and develop valuable deposits on USFS lands.

Several years ago, when the Final Rule concerning Section 228 was adopted, we were promised by USFS Minerals Staff in Washington D.C. that there would be a very strong effort to ensure that only fully-trained minerals officers would be allowed to manage minerals operations, and such officers would be trained that existing laws instruct USFS to encourage mineral development on the public lands. We were assured that the abusive policies (against mineral developers) adopted by some district and regional USFS staff would be eliminated as a result of an internal push from Washington D.C., mainly through a well-organized educational program.

Years later, we still find ourselves at the hands of some USFS staff that are continuing a hostile management policy towards mineral developers. This is especially true in Northern California with management from the Orleans Ranger District, where the minerals officer (Leslie Burrows) has gone so far as to inform members of our organization that even the activity of gold panning would require a formal NOI which would take as long as 6 months to process before the activity would be “approved.” This, even though gold panning is specifically excluded from any NOI requirement! Miss Burrows and the Orleans District Ranger well-know that hand mining with a gold pan does not require any NOI or approval process from USFS, but they have clearly chosen a policy of discouragement (towards mineral developers), especially to new persons within our industry who are fearful of being in trouble with the authorities. Leslie Burrows is a bully towards mineral operators, and District Ranger, Bill Rice, has made it very clear to members of our organization that he personally has a policy of discouraging mineral operators, because his personal priority is to “protect” the needs of the Karuk Tribe. As part of this discouragement, the Orleans District has implemented a program of placing substantial barriers of dirt and gravel across the road access points to mining claims within the Orleans District where claim owners are able to camp on their own claims. I can send pictures if you would like to see them. Unquestionably, this district has adopted a deliberate and aggressive policy of preventing prospectors from camping upon their own mining claims!

I use this example of the Orleans District to show to what extent, in some places, that USFS district rangers and minerals staff will go to deliberately discourage mineral exploration on the public lands. While the Orleans District provides some of the best mining prospects within the Klamath National Forest, our organization has completely withdrawn all mineral exploration activity from the Orleans Ranger District because the existing district ranger there (William Rice) and his staff, as a matter of very firm policy, deliberately discourage mineral activity.

It would be naïve to believe that Orleans is the only district within the USFS system that has adopted a policy of discouragement towards small-scale prospectors. Providing these districts with a penal provision will allow them yet another tool to push legitimate prospectors out of their districts. This would not be beneficial to the public interest. While I am only guessing at this, I suspect the USFS staff that is pushing Washington Minerals the hardest for a penal provision, are the very staff that are opposed to mineral development within their districts!

With these comments, we are encouraging Minerals staff in Washington to carefully weigh and balance the costs and benefits of creating a penal provision as proposed. How many serious problems really do exist with mineral operators right now that cannot be managed with the civil remedies? Are there any at all? What are the cost of these problems to the surface and environmental values which the USFS is charged to protect? Would there be much additional cost in just continuing with the existing civil remedy, rather than with a penal remedy (where a violation of Section 228 must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt)? Do those costs outweigh the losses to future productive activity on USFS lands which are sure to result from abusive policies in districts which are hostile to mineral development?

Washington Minerals staff is well-aware of the problems small-scale miners have in districts which are hostile to mineral developers.

I would point out that it was the abusive discouragement policy of the Orleans District which brought about the Decision in McClure which undermined the penal provision in the first place. This is important to consider. Because, giving district rangers a penal provision within Section 261 to enforce the provisions of Section 228 will still not resolve the basic problem which some district rangers are trying to solve (which is to push miners out of their districts).

The penal provision was defeated in McClure in the preliminary hearing. Had that been overcome, the Orleans District still would have had to overcome the burden of proving that Mr. McClure was required to obtain an approved Operating Plan. They would have had to prove he was creating a substantial surface disturbance. We don’t believe Orleans would have won that case.

Sometimes, it seems like the Ranger believes that just writing the criminal citation is the solution that will solve everything. I am pointing out that had the McClure case gone to a hearing on the merits; there is a reasonable chance that the end result would have been worse for the Forest Service than the loss of your penal provision. If not from Washington Minerals, then some language will have to come from the Courts that mineral operators cannot be turned out of the forest just because district staff object to the activity!

Those of us that are aware of the intent of congress and the language of Section 228 believe that giving district rangers a penal solution to try and discourage mineral developers will only make the problem worse. The only thing that will solve this problem is better management and education of district rangers and minerals staff from Washington D.C. Perhaps this will only happen after more litigation and direction from the Courts.

Our suggestion: If you are going to provide districts with another tool which could be used to further-discourage mineral development, please also create some very clear language to help prevent abuse. Promises of more and better training and direction from Washington have not produced results! Rather, we would like to see some clear language added into the proposed clarification which makes it more clear that the penal provision cannot be used to prevent any legitimate mineral-related activity which does not rise to the level of a substantial surface disturbance (as clarified within Section 228) which the district ranger or minerals staff must be prepared to prove when prosecuting a criminal citation.

An answer that Section 228 already clarifies this is not good enough. Definitions and exclusions differ between Sections 261 and 228, which will most certainly cause confusion and conflict. We suggest, if Section 261 is going to include a penal provision as a remedy for unauthorized mineral activity or associated occupation, there also needs to be some additional language in Section 261 which clarifies that mineral and associated activity is managed under Section 228; that Section 228 defines when authorization is required; and that those definitions revolve around what constitutes a “substantial surface disturbance.”

This would help district rangers with a tool to more-easily deal with people who are not legitimate mineral operators, or those who need to be brought into a formal Operating Plan when their activities rise to the level of a demonstrable substantial surface disturbance. At the same time, such language will require district staff to possess some level of proof (of a substantial surface disturbance) before issuing a criminal citation.

2) It is necessary for some mineral operators to occupy the national forest, sometimes for extended periods of time. Placing an arbitrary time limit upon how long a mineral prospector may occupy the forest would be counterproductive to the intent of existing mining law. Imposition of a 14-day camping limit upon a prospector who is actively searching for or developing mineral resources in the forest would be an arbitrary and capricious management in context with controlling case law that directs USFS to encourage mineral development.

What happens after the 14 days are up? If the prospector relocates his camp, do district staff then take it to the next step and tell the prospector he can only remain in the forest for a total of 30 days during a year? This would be very unreasonable in the context of “encouragement.”

With today’s cost of fuel and private lodging facilities, forcing a prospector to travel and reside in private facilities while prospecting for valuable mineral deposits some distance away will create economic hardship that would discourage a substantial amount of mineral prospecting. Preventing mineral developers from occupying mining claims while actively working them can create security issues (theft and vandalism of equipment) which will discourage a substantial amount of mineral development. This is especially true, being that any other person would be free to occupy an active mining claim for 14 days without special authorization. Telling a miner that he must abandon his equipment, while others would be allowed to occupy the same location, would be a very unreasonable policy in view of the substantial investment required to develop mineral deposits these days!

If the USFS has a policy of allowing any person to reside within the forest for up to 14 days without special use authorization, what is the problem with allowing mineral prospectors to reside there for longer periods, as long as they are not creating a substantial surface disturbance through the combination of the camping and mineral activity? Once again, we are back to the definitions and clarifications provided in Section 228. A prospector must have the right to look after his or her investment!

While we understand that district staff need a mechanism to deal with problems which can become substantial (sanitation, trash, accumulation of junk, equipment or other belongings) when some prospectors stay around longer, we believe the “substantial” language in Section 228 already addresses this. Let’s please not impose arbitrary time limits upon prospectors whose personal imprints upon the forest are not adding up in this way.

Once again, we believe the “substantial” concept in Section 228, coupled with the penal provision, would allow district staff the necessary mechanism to manage problems which get out of hand, while allowing prospectors who are doing things neatly the freedom to keep prospecting or developing valuable mineral deposits with minimal cost and risk.

While Washington Minerals Staff might not have any intention of imposing a 14 day camping limit upon prospectors, I can tell you with clear certainty that some district rangers and staff certainly do! The Orleans District routinely informs prospectors that they must either leave after 14 days or obtain an approved Operating Plan (which the Ranger says will require at least a year to process). Prospectors in Orleans are routinely threatened with penal consequences (if they camp longer than 14 days), even though no penal provision presently exists!

So it is greatly important for Minerals Staff to make USFS policy concerning camping limits clear in language. Otherwise, it will surely have to be worked out in litigation. To not clarify the issue at this phase would imply that USFS is deliberately being ambiguous concerning how long a legitimate mineral operator may occupy the public lands. This would be an invitation for conflict.

3) About your proposed language in Section 261.10 (p) “Use or occupancy…without an approved operating plan when such authorization is required:”

Once again, we suggest there is need for further clarification in (p) that some types of mineral-related activity do not require either a special use permit or an approved operating plan; and that the distinction revolves around when the mineral-related activity rises to the level of a substantial impact upon surface resources as covered in Section 228.

Just as importantly, or perhaps even more so, we strongly encourage you to include some language which clarifies that special authorization is only necessary for the specific part of the activity which requires it.

As an example, if the USFS decides to assume a position that any camping beyond 14 days by mineral operators will require an operating plan or special use permit, you should not require the remaining part of the mineral program to be subjected to the operating plan requirement if no operating plan would be required if there was no extended camping. Case in point: A person who is using a metal detector to locate mineral specimens, under normal circumstances, would not even be required to provide Notice. Therefore, the person’s electronic prospecting activity should not be raised to the level of an approval process just because he or she desires to camp on the mining claim for an extended period of time. If USFS insists that extended camping will require an approved operating plan or special use permit, the approval process should only concern itself with the camping.

The reason this is important is that gaining approval of an operating plan within an area where special concern species or other special designations exist usually requires consultation with other agencies. The process can take many years to complete (if ever). In fact, the consultation process takes so long to complete, that the requirement of an operating plan in many areas basically amounts to a prohibition of the mineral activity! I’m sure Washington Minerals staff is well-aware of this.

We are suggesting that it would be a bad idea to lump a mineral activity which is being allowed under a NOI into a full operating plan/consultation program simply because the operator wants to spend longer than 14 days camping on his or her mining claim (safeguarding expensive equipment) while developing an underwater gold deposit.

This same concern extends to the subject of special use permits for camping or other activities that are related to a mineral program. As an example, our organization has worked hard and long to adjust our cumulative mineral activities into a program which the Happy Camp Ranger allows under a NOI. But the Ranger has told us that if we want to charge money to teach prospecting in his district, we will need to obtain special use authorization which will trigger a full consultation process – even though none of the activity would rise beyond the level of what is already being allowed under our NOI. So the additional activity of teaching would undermine our entire program in the forest, even though it would not increase the environmental impact. Here is an example of where overlapping regulations can completely undermine an otherwise allowable and productive activity!

If encouragement of mineral activity is the aim, it would be a bad idea to impose a “special authorization” requirement upon mineral operators that will automatically trigger costly and lengthy consultation processes, simply because the mineral operator wants to camp on his or her mining claim for longer than 14 days or do something else with requires special authorization, but does not increase the level of environmental impact.

Once again, since USFS is managing the surface resources, when it comes to mineral operators, we encourage you to manage our impact upon the surface resources, rather than try and push prospectors out of the forest after some arbitrary time limit.

To avoid abuse and conflicts, we encourage you to clarify these important concerns with additional language inside of Section 261.

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken
President, The New 49’ers

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, OCTOBER 2020                              VOLUME 34, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

As most of you know, a lightning storm on September 8th, or the early morning of the 9th, sparked numerous wild fires, one in particular, called The Slater Fire, which turned into a very powerful monster and raced down Indian Creek, taking out everything in its path. The headwaters of Indian Creek start up near the Oregon border. Then the gold-rich creek winds itself down the mountain and meets with the Klamath River in our town of Happy Camp. Here we are a month later, and the fire is still only 72% contained.

It was the original gold prospectors that began down where the Klamath River meets the Pacific Ocean that gave Happy Camp its name because they found so much gold on Indian Creek. A lot of the gold still remains there today.

I am estimating that the length of Indian Creek, not counting its various branches, is about 30 miles. A lot of the upper portion of the creek has been rather inaccessible because of the thick underbrush (which might not be there anymore). New 49’er members have free access to Indian Creek starting upstream from the West Branch Campground (which is probably gone) and most or all of the portions of the creek that are not private property all the way down to the mouth where it reaches the Klamath River.

The creek eventually meets a beautiful valley which extends for several miles. There were some stunning horse ranches and homestead properties along this stretch, many or all which may now be gone. There are a number of Happy Camp families who have ties back to the original gold rush. Later generations of the very same families were present all through the extensive logging industry which supported as many as 5 operating mills, most which were still in operation when we started The New 49’ers in 1986. Some of those family homes have existed up Indian Creek for 150 years.

I cannot get an exact number yet; but am told that as many as 150 homes were lost to the fire with two people found dead so far.

Rather than repeat what I wrote to you several weeks ago, I will provide this link to the initial Action Alert that we sent out on the 9th of September. That was followed by a GoFundMe link on the 18th.

One might ask why it took 9 days after the fire started for us to send out a fund-raiser on behalf of our two administrative staff who lost their homes. The answer is that this juggernaut of a fire raced down Indian Creek with such force and speed with blistering heat that was generating thundering explosions. Dickey says there was so much noise from the crashing down of trees and homes, it felt like there was also an earthquake! The smoke was so thick that you could not see across the road. With so many local residents not knowing what to do, it took several days for second responders to set up places for people to go for safe support and shelter.

By “second responders,” I mean the US Forest Service fire-fighting teams, Cal Fire, the American First Cross, and so many more State and federal agencies to arrive on the scene from other places. Ours was not the only fire in California. That lightning storm also sparked other fires.

It was the Happy Camp Volunteer Fire Department, Karuk fire crews and local volunteers using heavy equipment that had the foresight to put up barriers and initiate back-burns that saved Happy Camp. These were the first responders. Local law enforcement and other volunteers, aware of the fire, went from house to house all the way down Indian Creek, and then all through the town of Happy Camp, warning people they had to evacuate.

This part of the Slater fire was stopped just on the edge of Happy Camp.

If it were not for our local first responders, all of Happy Camp might have burned to the ground.

Dickey does a good job down below explaining how shocking and horrendous the situation was once the community realized an angry monster was already upon the town.

Mostly thanks to Dickey, working closely with local law enforcement and other officials, it took several days to locate our office staff, our local members and close supporters and visiting members who had signed into our log book in the office (so we have the ability to reach out to them). In doing this, we discovered that everyone was safe, but two of our very loyal office girls had lost their homes to the fire.

Dickey chose to not evacuate. He said as the fire came close to Happy Camp, he could feel the searing heat of the fire. He was telling me today that it was the screeching noise and volcanic explosions, maybe large propane tanks exploding, that prompted him to put his dogs in the car and motor over to the other side of the river. From a vantage point over there, He watched the fire burn into the night. He says this was an angry mother earth on the level of typhoons, earthquakes and tornadoes.

When it became clear that we were not going to lose our building, and our staff had lost homes, I put out a request to our long subscriber list for anyone who was willing and able to create a GoFundMe link on the Internet. We simply cannot keep The New 49’ers functioning without our administrative staff.  The number of details they take care of in our office are so many, it boggles the mind. I am very serious about this!  In fact, they were working on the September billing on the 9th of September when an officer came into the building and ordered them to evacuate.  Christina and Victoria took off immediately. They both had homes up Indian Creek.

Dickey and Teyaw delayed long enough to shut things down as best they could. The power was already out (when the power is out, you cannot remember all the things that were turned on). They locked up the building.

Teyaw’s home is down by the river, Dickey’s is in the middle of town, two blocks away from our building. He says that after closing up our building, he walked out front and the entire area from the grocery store to Highway 96, and all the upper Happy Camp parking lots, were full of people and vehicles and total confusion. Panic was everywhere. He said there was an enclosed horse trailer that was banging and smashing around like there was some kind of wild beast inside. The owner finally opened the doors and let his horses out.

Dickey says the horses were so upset that they were screaming wild noises that were like out of a horror movie.

Other horses were running around in the parking lots, adding to the confusion. Maybe the ranch owners just had to open the gates to their pastures and let them run for it. People did not know which way to go. Most were watching the overwhelming flames of the fire just on the edge of town. The magnitude of the force was absolutely shocking! Dickey says the whole nightmare was something that will haunt him for a long time to come.

In any event, I made it my personal mission to raise enough money to get our staff members back in comfortable homes once the emergency was over, so we could get back up into action as soon as the authorities would allow people back into town.

From the notice we put out to our long list of subscribers and members over the Internet 9th of September, I was immediately contacted by Paula and Curtis ‘Oro’. They are longtime, supportive New 49’er members who have had previous experience in setting up these GoFundMe sites.  It took several days; because a lot of the information had to come from the girls who were being moved around in Yreka. I gather that all the hotels were full. The American Red Cross was setting up rooms for those in need. But they had to check out every day; go back to the Red Cross, and submit another application.

Whatever! It’s better than sleeping in a car!

Banking information was needed. Some back history on both girls was needed, images, etc. To my surprise, most of this was accomplished in short order by the girls and Paula, with Dickey overseeing the progress in Happy Camp where the smoke was so thick, he was having trouble breathing. I called Dickey several times to check on how he was doing. His voice sounded very odd. He explained that if he laid down on the floor and put his mouth right on the floor, he could get a better breath of air.

Dickey is very close to his dogs. I could hear them also breathing into the phone. What a guy!

The thing that delayed the GoFundMe site the longest was in capturing images of what was remaining of the girl’s homes. This proved difficult; because a substantial security force was now in place all over the Happy Camp area. I gather that during disasters like this, officials are charged with making sure there is no looting. They are also looking for the remains of those who did not survive. They were making sure it would be safe to allow residents back in. Indian Creek Road was barricaded shut!

It took a while, but Dickey finally got hold of Gabe Garrison. Gabe is a local Sheriff’s’ deputy who has always been cooperative and supportive of our program. I know of at least one local member who has gone way out in the wildlands with Gabe in search of Bigfoot. He is a cool guy that also takes his job seriously.

Dickey asked Gabe if he would please go up Indian Creek and get some images of the girl’s burned out homes.

Once we had those images, Paula activated the GoFundMe site, and I believe it was she and Curtis that put up the first contribution. Dickey put up the second. Then I added in my contribution. There was further delay; because once that first money was directed into the GoFundMe site, I wanted to be absolutely certain that our girls were going to be able to collect all of the money. What is it? ” Trust but verify!” I needed to be certain before I sent the link out to you guys. That took a few days.

As soon as Victoria confirmed they had access to the money, I sent out notice to our Internet subscriber list. The contributions started flowing in immediately.

It was really heart wrenching to watch how many supporters we have that are willing to reach into your pockets in our time of need.

Our girls have good jobs. But nearly everyone has costs that take up most or all of the money we make. This is true for nearly everyone; it is difficult to build up savings when you have children to take care of, a car to keep running, a home to keep comfortable during the summer and winter, telephone, electricity, insurance, and the list goes on and on. We all know how this is.

My realistic task was to raise enough money to get both our girls back into comfortable homes, and back to work. Paula came up with the goal of raising $20,000 to split between the girls. This sounded right with everyone who was on the program. So, we went for it!

This is to announce that in 3 weeks to the day, I was informed this morning that we brought in $16,455 through the GoFundMe site, and $3,600 in the mail. Every dollar went to the girls, who split it evenly.  That adds up to $20, 055 on my calculator.

So, I am hereby announcing that this fund-raiser was a complete success!

I have asked Paula to de-activate the GoFundMe Site and am suggesting the fund-raiser is finished.

Both girls are now living comfortably in Happy Camp and back at their jobs. The September newsletter and billing went out late. It was mostly completed by Dickey while the girls were getting settled back into town and Teyaw was answering a thousand phone calls from our concerned supporters. This newsletter will go out a week earlier, and we will work our way back towards the beginning of the month, which is normal.

This is my personal heart-felt thank you to everyone who helped in our time of need. I love that we have so many friends and supporters out there. We are truly lucky!

Members have already begun prospecting and mining again along our extensive properties. New members are arriving and going out with some of our more experienced members. Our doors are back open between 9 AM and 2 PM, Monday through Friday. Our phone (530 493-2012) is being answered until about 4 PM. There is an answering service if nobody picks up.

All or most of the normal business establishments in Happy Camp have reopened and will be happy to greet visitors.

While it will take some time for our support team in Happy Camp to fully recover from this terrible experience, they are in good spirits and feeling lucky to belong to this magic collection of wonderful people we have gathered together that are associated with our gold prospecting association in one way or another. The girls will be fine.

The purpose of this newsletter is to put an end to the emergency for you guys.

We asked for help. You provided it. Thank you so very much! So now let’s get back to gold prospecting!

I will end this newsletter with short messages of thanks from Christina and Victoria, and some very meaningful expressions coming from Dickey who is only in the beginning of unwinding from two weeks of absolute hell on earth. When I heard Dickey coughing for air on the floor of his home, I encouraged him to go take some shelter in my office inside our building. By then, the power had been turned back on. There is an air conditioner. Certainly, the air quality would have been better in there.

We have a security system on the building that notifies me over the Internet every time the alarm is turned on or off, or is (god forbid) set off by a burglar or fire inside the building. So, I saw exactly when Dickey took me up on my suggestion. Then 45 minutes later, I saw that he departed the building. So, I called him back. His answer was that he just needed to catch his breath for a while. He felt like he needed to be out in the disaster zone in case there was anyone else that he could help. Dickey is a very special guy!

Before I close my own comments about this fire misadventure we have been through, I must acknowledge the extremely valuable work that Curtis ‘Oro’ & Paula Hutson contributed to the fund-raising effort. They are the ones who volunteered to set up the GoFunMe site. I’m certain that they invested a lot of effort to gather the necessary information in the middle of all that confusion. They set it up so that every single dollar that was contributed went directly to our girls.

Nobody knew how effective the site was going to be until I sent out the email with the link to our list of supporters.

When our fund-raising site had already taken in $6,755 within 4 hours of sending out my email, I knew we were going to meet our objective.

What a relief in my world! If you want to see the list of contributors, you can find it by clicking on the green “See all” link on the bottom-right side of the page.

office-staff

This image was captured in the office yesterday. I asked our crew to kind of give me a smile, but don’t cover up the way you are really feeling. The image about sums it up! From left to right: Victoria, Teyaw, Dickey and Christina. Stop in and see them. They will be happy to visit with you!

Let me please wrap this up with a few messages from our staff:

From Christina: As we were driving into Happy Camp, I felt a Bone Crushing Sadness over the loss of not only my home but the home of my Best friend and Coworker Victoria. We were escorted to our house via police escort due to hazardous material all up and down Indian creek. I don’t know what I was hoping to find…Possibly any one of the 3 Dogs we lost to the fire. I had been shown the pictures but nothing compared to driving up our driveway…walking through what used to our front gate and staring in a daze at what is now the remnants of what used to be our Home.  My knees buckled and I cried. There was nothing of value remaining! The hopeful beginnings of our young Family Dream were now Gone.

Now we are taking it day by day. Gathering much needed items such as blankets, clothing, and food.  What we have to do is becoming clearer every day; and due to the very generous donations that we have received from who I call my “New 49er Family.” My Fiancé Brandon, my two Daughters and their new Puppy Bear and I are now living in a travel trailer. It is located on the property of some very dear friends of ours, right along the Klamath River.

My sincerest thank you to all of you. I am now able to go back to doing what I love here at the Office of The New 49ers. My Daughter Lileigh can go to her school and see her friends. Violet gets to be at her home away from home, playing with her new playmate Bear on the river without a care in the world… Without The New 49’ers, none of these things would be possible. You have given us not just a helping hand but hope of rebuilding what was lost and starting over here in Happy Camp where it all seemed to end, only to begin again. Thank you so much!

Sincerely, Christina Johnson

From Victoria: Please accept our sincere thank you to everyone for your donations to our GoFundMe, and also for your caring and thoughtful prayers.

The last few weeks have been very tough for us as we try to gain back some normalcy as a family.  As everyone knows, we lost everything in the Slater fire. Your donations have eased the pain and stress for us financially at this time.

It is not easy for us to ask for help. If it were not for The New 49’ers and Paula & Curtis, not only would we not have done it, but we would not have had the emotional wherewithal to pull something together. This has been a mind-numbing experience.

Just know that even the smallest donation has helped us in such a big way. It’s not only about money. It’s the realization that there are so many of you out there who care about us!

We cannot thank everyone enough. Please keep us in your thoughts as we navigate through this difficult time.  I hope to meet you when you visit our office, or when you call on the phone.

Thank you,  Victoria & our entire McAbier family 

From Dickey: It was 5 am on Sept 8 2020, just another normal morning for me. I was sitting in my cabin drinking coffee, looking at my dog Silvie on the couch, and Loki on the floor in front of me. They are Karelian Bear dogs, around 85 lbs., and a handful of energy. We love each other dearly. They are much more than dogs to me. 

I finish my coffee, feed the dogs and chickens, and then see my neighbor in the street looking up towards Slater Butte. He says, “There’s a fire up there.” You can see the lookout from my house, and we could just make out a little column of smoke towards the lookout.  I heard sirens and saw some fire trucks heading up Highway 96. 

So, I am at the New 49er office a while later at 9 am. Our very capable office manager, Teyaw, has everything up and running, Christina is on the phone with a customer and I notice some commotion outside. As I open the door and look around, there is a strange feeling as I see cars going faster than normal. People are yelling back and forth in an excited fashion. I see them pointing towards the north. 

So, I step out away from the building and see a massive column of smoke rising as high as I could see. Holy cow! 

I tell the girls and we are now all standing in the parking lot looking at huge columns of massive black and gray smoke billowing high over the trees up Indian Creek and behind the 49er building. The power goes out as we are taking all this in. At that point we are told, “No one can go up Indian Creek,” and we now can see vehicles blocking the road. 

Christina looks at me and says, “My dogs!”  I see in her face the reality of what is happening and what they are about to lose. That is a moment in time I will never forget. 

Christina gets information that her fiancé Brandon is helping his sister get out of her house as the fire is already upon them. It is an intense few minutes until Christina sees Brandon pull into the store parking lot. She runs to him then says to me, “I have to go get my kids.” (Lileigh at school, violet at sitters.) Christina gives me a hug, I say “love you” she says, ” love you too.” I don’t see her again for two weeks. 

At 10 am, Victoria pulls in next to where I’m standing. I walk over to the passenger door. Her three kids are in the back. Her youngest, Lance, leans forward and says, “What about our cat and our chickens?” Victoria has both hands on the wheel intently looking in the direction of her home. Victoria looks at me and says she has got to go. I say “love you,” she says “love you too.” Again, a moment in time I will never forget. I don’t see her for two weeks. 

I go back into the office. Teyaw and I are closing up when we are told that everyone must evacuate Happy Camp. As I say goodbye to Teyaw, she gives me a tight hug. I say “love you,” she says “love you too.” I don’t see her again for eight days. 

As I’m going to my jeep, I see cars rapidly driving around much too fast for the circumstances. A truck pulling a large horse trailer pulls into the parking lot. The horses are noticeably agitated, sounding more like screams than normal horse sounds. People were loudly shouting directions and information back and forth. The, fire department was rolling out hoses, shouting directions to each other.  Official-looking vehicles were going house to house telling everyone to evacuate. 

As I’m going to my house, I get a call from my wife from our other home in Depoe Bay Oregon informing me that I can’t get there as they are in danger of being overrun by fire and they are evacuating Lincoln city. She tells me all routes there are closed. 

It was just unbelievable that both of our homes, three hundred & sixty miles apart, were in danger of burning down at the same time!

 I decided to stay in Happy Camp. My dogs don’t do well around other dogs, and I really had nowhere to go.  I knew if I had to, I could cross the Klamath River and go up China Grade Road towards Yreka. 

That night around 12:30 am, the house felt like it was vibrating.  It was actually shaking like in a mild earthquake!  I ran to the door and saw what seemed to be right close to me were flames as high as I could see. There were huge explosions from propane tanks with roaring jet sounds! It was like jets were dropping bombs; it was a complete war zone!! 

I grabbed the dogs, drove to the other side of the river and went up China Grade. Looking at the scene from over there was equal to any pictures I have seen from when Mount Saint Helens blew its top. Huge flames lit up the night. There was just a dark spot where Happy camp was. 

The next few days were bad with smoke. No wind and so thick you couldn’t see the road even in the daytime. My carbon monoxide alarm was going off in the house.  I already took the battery out of the smoke alarm. I went to the 49rs office several times to catch my breath as the smoke wasn’t in there, yet. The next week was like being in an apocalyptic movie. No one allowed to go anywhere. Still, dead quiet, dark at mid-day, and no one around. 

Fortunately, our cell phone service was still working. I kept in contact with the girls, and it was a big help to me when they would call to check on me.  You really realize the value of close friends during times like that. 

Fast forward to Sunday October 4th. Christina and Brandon lost three dogs in the fire. That was really hard on them, and especially their kids. So, they decided to get a seven-week-old German shepherd puppy. I volunteered to pick it up all the way over on the coast. The drive did me a lot of good. I was driving the three-hour trip home with this beautiful puppy in my lap, loving on me, thinking of the new normal in all our lives. 

I’m very sad that the old normal is gone, maybe never to return. 

But I have been able to witness the most awesome outpouring of human compassion anyone could ever hope for. I am really glad for that. 

Now back in the office, things are getting caught up, again. Miners are coming in showing off the beautiful gold they are getting, and even some new people are coming in. Some didn’t even know we had a fire. Isn’t that something? 

I’m feeling a little better, but it’s going to be a while before my sleep returns to normal. 

Dickey 

This hopefully is the last of our wild ride on the fire monster as far as these newsletters are concerned. Let’s put this behind us and get back to prospecting!

Several groups of very experienced members have worked out two new ways of prospecting this season that I am eager to tell you guys about. I know of several who were/are recovering $100 in just a few hours of work. The gold nuggets are quite exciting. This is all happening in places all along our properties where we never thought to prospect before, both inside and out of the water.

On top of that, once all the smoke clears, we are going to want to go up and see if there is now better access to the upper portions of Indian Creek. The loss of ground vegetation will create a lot of erosion if we get some strong rain this winter (likely). That will replenish hot spots that we already know about.

So, we will move forward and try to find the new opportunities!

My best wishes to everyone,

Dave McCracken,

Founder and General Manager of The New 49’ers

  

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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Email sent to members on 09/18/2020:

Dear Fellow Prospector,

To be brief, let me just say that conditions in Happy Camp have been very difficult since the 
wild fire swept down Indian Creek on September 8th. Nearly all residents of Happy Camp were 
evacuated. Our acting General Manager, Dickey Melton, defied mandatory evacuation orders and 
stayed behind. I have remained in daily communication with Dickey. He was able to locate our 
office staff members and remained in regular communication with them. They and their families 
were housed in hotels in Yreka, I believe by the American Red Cross. Christina has family in 
Yreka.

Since the fire, and up until 2 days ago, security in Happy Camp by authorities was very strict. 
One of our local Karuk New 49'er members, Dan Effman, attempted to open his Deli to feed anyone 
who was hungry at no cost. But he was immediately shut down by the authorities and warned that 
he would be arrested if he opened again.

Hunger aside, Dickey said the largest problem in Happy Camp was air quality. He was on the verge 
of passing out for day after day while he courageously remained in touch with our staff members, 
helped others in need, managed to secure some images, and checked the status of our building every 
day.

We have confirmed the following: (1) The homes of Victoria Armstrong and Christina Johnson were 
completely destroyed. Both girls are vital to our office team in Happy Camp.There is more information 
about each gal, along with some before and after images, in the GoFundMe link down below. To 
stay as brief as possible, I will not repeat their stories. I will say that both girls are as 
loyal as can be to The New 49'ers and they are an important part of our administrative team. 
(2) Our office manager, Teyaw Chatneuf's home is closer to the river, so her house survived the 
fire. Though her water system that originates up the mountain was taken out by the fire. People 
are working on replacing that now. (3) Dickey Melton's home is in the center of  upper Happy Camp 
and survived the fire. Our building sustained no damage. (4) Neither Victoria or Christina had 
any fire insurance. While this might sound unusual, our area of California is considered a 
"high risk fire area" by the insurance companies. Therefore, insurance costs are priced outside 
of a normal person's ability to pay. Just as an example, the insurance broker who has covered 
our building for the past 35 years with never a claim of loss (cinder block construction, 
metal roofing) informed me last year that fire coverage would be $18,000 per month with a very 
high deductible. He shopped around for a better rate and this was the best he could do. This 
was shortly after a wildfire near Mount Shasta took out a large portion of the town of Weed 
several years ago. (5) Victoria and Christina remain in Yreka where they and their children have 
a place to live. I gather they do not have acceptable options right now in Happy Camp. 
(6) The work load in our office is overwhelming. The phone answering service is swamped; a huge 
pile of  (two weeks) of mail was delivered today; the September billing that was being worked on 
when the evacuation was ordered remains unfinished; the phone is ringing off the hook with members 
and supporters asking for updated information. I'm sure you get the idea. (7) Teyaw was able to 
catch up on unpaid bills today, while Dickey devoted the entire day to folding and stuffing September 
billings in envelopes.

In my notice about the fire to all our supporters two weeks ago, I asked if anyone would volunteer 
to create a GoFundMe site for Victoria and Christina. We need to get them back on their feet and back 
in our office! My prayer was answered by Curtis & Paula 'Oro' Hutson on the 10th of September. This 
was not an easy task, because they needed to obtain the personal stories of our two girls, both who 
were suffering from the numerous issues surrounding their circumstances (Dickey helped a lot with this). 
We also needed images of where their homes used to be. With no travel allowed around Happy Camp, 
Dickey was able to get one of our sheriff's deputies to go up Indian Creek and take some images. 
Banking details were needed. All of this happened very fast without even my knowledge. Then, we still 
had to test the GoFundMe system to make certain that every dollar of donated money was going to go to 
our girls. Money is being directed to a savings account held by Victoria. The girls will evenly split 
the donated money.  Dickey placed the first donation of $100 several days ago. An anonymous person also 
donated $50. As the girls were running low on money, Paula downloaded those donations into Victoria's 
account two days ago. Meanwhile, I donated $1,000.

We just received confirmation today that the full initial $150 has arrived in Victoria's account. 
This is what I have been waiting for, before sending this email to our list of members and supporters. 
One hundred percent of money donated to the following link will reach our girls. I wanted to be 
certain.

So here is the GoFundMe link:  Happy Camp Survivors Link  (https://gf.me/u/yy2xz8) The link includes 
a short personal account of their very close encounter with this fire, some personal history, along 
with some images. You have my personal assurance that their stories are true. I am requesting as many 
of you as possible to donate something, even if you can afford only a small amount, to help our girls 
get back on their feet. We really need 
them to keep our program going!

If you cannot use a bank card, you can address your contribution to: 
Victoria Armstrong, C/O The New 49'ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039.

As of now, Dickey and Teyaw are manning the office between 9 am to 4 PM. The front door to the 
office will be open starting this coming Monday between 9 am and 1 pm. While there is still some 
haze in the air, which changes with the wind, conditions are much more like normal in Happy Camp. 
I understand all the normal business enterprises except the bank have reopened.  We believe the 
bank will open on Monday. The authorities are allowing people to travel back to Happy Camp and our 
mining properties along the river.

I know that many places in California, Oregon, Washington and other states within the western U.S. 
have been, and continue to, get slammed by wildfires. I have seen other GoFundMe appeals from people 
in some of those communities. This appeal for help is only being directed to our email subscription; 
to those of you who support our gold prospecting program.  Miners, and those who support us, have 
always been a tight knit group of special people. While times can be difficult, we always try to help 
each other, and we never leave our friends behind. Thank you very much for being there. The GoFundMe 
site lists the donations and who they are from (unless you choose to remain anonymous). We can all watch 
this appeal to help two of our most important staff members progress and get a read on how much support 
we truly have at this time.

Note: you can click on either Victoria or Paula as Teammates on the GoFundMe page. The money will go 
to Victoria's account either way.

Thank you for everything you guys do to help keep our program going!  Despite COVID, or perhaps because 
of it, this has been our most productive year since 2009. There still remain a few months of nice weather 
ahead of us.

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken

Founder of The New 49'er Pros
 

Dave McCracken

 

A Message From Dave McCracken General Manager

Everyone is aware of how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting America and the rest of the world. This is only about how the ongoing pandemic will affect our upcoming season. Please allow me to explain it with some bullet points: 

  • First; I don’t see The New 49’ers ever going out of business. The reason is that we completely own all of our hard assets. All or most of our mining properties are owned by loyal members who have leased them to our collective in exchange for gaining access to all of our other properties and collection of 10% of all commercial mining revenues. Therefore, as long as we can continue to make our annual property tax payments and perform assessment requirements to hold the claims, we will continue to make the properties available to members so long as the mining laws are not changed (far less likely under republican leadership). This arrangement has worked flawlessly for the past 35 years.  The future has never looked better than now for the value of gold.
  • As long as you are able to get to our properties, nothing has changed in regards to your being free to keep all the gold and platinum you can find. You can camp along our properties in conformance with our longstanding Operation Guidelines. There is no better place in America to practice “social distancing” than along the Klamath River and its tributaries.  On that note, our mining properties are legal property and every member is provided with a license to live and work on them.  This Mining License in founded in longstanding California law.
  • While gold did not make the critical mineral list, platinum group metals did.  The federal guidelines for essential workers includes critical mining workers. We recover platinum group metals along with gold out of the Klamath River. So you do have a right, under existing circumstances, to continue your mining activity along our extensive properties.
  • If you need a copy of your license and/or membership card, please contact our office.
  • Please be mindful that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has closed all of its formal campgrounds and toilets along the river. My guess is that you will not see many USFS people along the rivers and creeks this coming season – which is not much different than before. They are usually too busy dealing with wildfires across the American west.
  • Please also be more mindful than ever that sanitation and trash disposal are your responsibility and a very important concern. My advice is to bring something with you (even if it is a 5-gallon bucket with small trash bags) to contain your waste. I believe the Happy Camp disposal site will remain open as an essential service.
  • The nature of the way you prospect and mine for gold, other than what is written in our Operation Guidelines and Claims Guide, is between you and the State and Federal governments. Said another way, if you keep your impacts to a minimum (fill in your excavations behind you and keep your camp sites clean and organized), you should not encounter any problems.
  • Our Internal Affairs have talked with law enforcement officials with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. They say that they will be enforcing the law forbidding the use of mechanized mining gear within 100 yards of an active waterway. Mainly this means motorized high-bankers and suction dredges. I don’t for a minute believe that these forms of wealth recovery will be off limits forever. The reason is that they were banned for purely political reasons which had nothing to do with science or good management.
  • OFFICE HOURS: The front door to our office and store is normally open between 9 AM and 2 PM, Mondays through Fridays. But this can change with weather and other conditions. So it is a good idea to call in advance if you have business in the office.
  • Our telephone number is: (530) 493-2012. There is a voice mail system. We will return your calls.
  • If you encounter problems of any kind, we do have Internal Affairs staff on duty all of the time. Richard Krimm can be reached at (510) 681-8066. Please be mindful that they also both have personal lives. So it really needs to be a problem for you to call them. Like perhaps you are being harassed by someone (almost never happens). Or you want to report a mess that has been left behind on our properties.
  • Please note that the function of our Internal Affairs has nothing to do with the poor showing of gold you might be finding. We all have those days! We normally resolve member difficulty in finding gold with our weekend group projects. This is a free service we provide members to show you how to find gold using your personal creative skills. It is not as hard as a person might believe. Our whole program is based on the concept that we provide you with endless opportunities. But how well or poorly you do will be your own responsibility. We will start hands on projects up again as soon as we are able.
  • Internal Affairs has more to do with protecting your right to mine the valuable deposits when you find them.
  • The exception to this is that if you need or want further clarification concerning these points, please call our Internal Affairs guys during normal business hours. I’m sure they will be happy to talk with you.
  • Please either call in or email in (new49ers@goldgold.com) the location of where you are actively mining or camping on our properties. Our staff will log this in the office. This helps us with our annual assessment work to maintain the mining claims. It also makes it easier for us to find you in the case of an emergency–like someone from your family trying to reach you.
  • Here is the one that really pains me: Because of the COVID-19 non-gathering and social distancing requirements in California (as of now, even after you have been fully vaccinated), we are hereby cancelling all weekend projects and Saturday evening potlucks for the upcoming season. This COVID situation will be the first time since 1986 that we will not be able to join together in some shared adventure, hands on experience, fun and enjoy a nice meal together. All I can say is that we will appreciate these events all the more once we are able to get them started again.
  • Since the courts are mostly closed down, and there is a reasonable financial reserve in place, and no doubt nearly everyone is struggling with the existing realities, The New 49’er Legal Fund will suspend fund-raising activities until further notice. If anyone has contributed to The Legal Fund since our most recent drawing, tickets have already been issued in your name for the next drawing when it happens. If that is not acceptable, please contact our office and ask for a refund.
  • While we do have an exciting video-enhanced story about ready to go, it feels inappropriate under the existing very sobering circumstances (thousands of American deaths and counting) to be sending out fun and exciting stories. So we will just go with important updates until the bad situation is behind us.

In closing, I am just as shocked as anyone about how quickly this “pandemic” has shut down America’s booming economy, not to mention the rest of the world. I could voice some opinions (there are plenty going around); but I am not truly knowledgeable about “the whole story,” and my opinions don’t really matter here. Some things are just so large, we have to adjust to the realities.  But we should be prepared to object if the politics go sideways on us!

I will voice one opinion: With the help and support of many friends, I have worked for myself and created my own prosperity through a lifetime of pain and gain since departing the military. So I have learned a few important things. Real freedom is achieved in a society by allowing people to use their ingenuity and skills to generate services and goods, using their human energy to exchange with others to create more that they consume (profits) which allow them to climb the ladder of personal success. Under normal circumstances, government takes a portion of profits to pay for the public services which they provide.  But this all is based upon the foundation that wealth must be created (not printed) by personal effort outside of government in the first place.

America’s founding principles make government employees our servants; not our rulers. A lot of this has been forgotten over the years, especially by government employees.

The present situation is completely backwards. We now have the government supporting nearly all of the private sector – which effectively turns the government into our boss. Sorry; I don’t know what type of government this is; because perhaps it is the first time in history things have been this way?

But hear me out:  The government does not create any wealth or tangible substance. So where will the substance come from? Answer: It will all have to be paid for through past and future private business! The substance that our country, and the world, is consuming right now, and for the foreseeable future, must be created by someone. There comes a point where the cost becomes too much. This is why socialism does not work. End of story!

There are only a few meaningful sources of income to the government: taxes on private sector profits (which have all but dried up because the government to a substantial degree, has shut down most of the economy); tariffs or duties on imports (which have slowed to a crawl because other governments have also shut down their economies); borrowing (who is buying U.S. government bonds right now, China?); or printing money. Printing vast amounts of money causes inflation; because it creates a greater number of dollars chasing, in this case, a shrinking number of products and services. The only saving grace is that the U.S. Dollar is the world’s reserve currency. But It will not be for long if our government continues to abuse the status. There is always a consequence.

Perhaps this pandemic leaves no other choices. I really am not in a position to know. I am glad I am not the one who has to make perhaps the most important decisions our country has ever faced!

On the subject of how the economy will be opened back up, if our civil liberties and America’s constitutional fundamentals are important to us, we must object strenuously to left leaning aggressive intentions to force socialism upon us. Here is a short YouTube link which presents the concern better than I can. Please watch it with an open mind! In my view, this concern is substantially larger than the COVID 19 pandemic in the first place!

When I joined the military during the Viet Nam war, I swore an oath to defend America’s founding principles. Those did not include socialism!  There is a very wise fundamental that we should all review: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!”

America hangs in the important balance right now.

Note that if I have learned nothing else in more than 10 years of litigation at a cost of around a million dollars in California (thanks to your support), there is no doubt that the State has been completely taken over by the left. We will not find any justice in the California Courts, especially in the California Supreme Court. So we will need to be prepared to appeal to the federal government at the highest levels (many parts of the mid and lower levels remain manned by leftists). We can thank Mr. trump for a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court! Without that, our country would be lost.

I’m just saying that the longer term consequences of shutting down the free market economy and printing money to try and keep the entire private sector afloat is certain to have staggering impacts to the wellbeing of America for a long time to come. It is just a matter of time before the price of gold will reflect this.  If a person only had some extra money, now would be a good time to buy gold or silver (not paper metals), if you can find it!

It is possible that we will see the day when it will be possible to support ourselves with a gold pan and sluice! Perhaps by that time, we will have the freedom to use modern methods again.

We will get through this. But the world will never be the same as it was. It actually might be better. But this will be up to us.

Thank you very much for your kind support, and I hope to cross paths with you out on the river again.

Dave McCracken, General Manager

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2020                              VOLUME 34, NUMBER 2

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Everyone is aware of how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting America and the rest of the world. This is only about how the ongoing pandemic will affect our upcoming 2020 season. Please allow me to explain it with some bullet points: 

  • First; I don’t see The New 49’ers ever going out of business. The reason is that we completely own all of our hard assets. All or most of our mining properties are owned by loyal members who have leased them to our collective in exchange for gaining access to all of our other properties and collection of 10% of all commercial mining revenues. Therefore, as long as we can continue to make our annual property tax payments and perform assessment requirements to hold the claims, we will continue to make the properties available to members so long as the mining laws are not changed (far less likely under republican leadership). This arrangement has worked flawlessly for the past 35 years.  The future has never looked better than now for the value of gold.
  • As long as you are able to get to our properties, nothing has changed in regards to your being free to keep all the gold and platinum you can find. You can camp along our properties in conformance with our longstanding Operation Guidelines. There is no better place in America to practice “social distancing” than along the Klamath River and its tributaries.  On that note, our mining properties are legal property and every member is provided with a license to live and work on them.  This Mining License in founded in longstanding California law.
  • While gold did not make the critical mineral list, platinum group metals did.  The federal guidelines for essential workers includes critical mining workers. We recover platinum group metals along with gold out of the Klamath River. So you do have a right, under existing circumstances, to continue your mining activity along our extensive properties.
  • If you need a copy of your license and/or membership card, please contact our office.
  • Please be mindful that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has closed all of its formal campgrounds and toilets along the river. My guess is that you will not see many USFS people along the rivers and creeks this coming season – which is not much different than before. They are usually too busy dealing with wildfires across the American west.
  • Please also be more mindful than ever that sanitation and trash disposal are your responsibility and a very important concern. My advice is to bring something with you (even if it is a 5-gallon bucket with small trash bags) to contain your waste. I believe the Happy Camp disposal site will remain open as an essential service.
  • The nature of the way you prospect and mine for gold, other than what is written in our Operation Guidelines and Claims Guide, is between you and the State and Federal governments. Said another way, if you keep your impacts to a minimum (fill in your excavations behind you and keep your camp sites clean and organized), you should not encounter any problems.
  • Our Internal Affairs have talked with law enforcement officials with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. They say that they will be enforcing the law forbidding the use of mechanized mining gear within 100 yards of an active waterway. Mainly this means motorized high-bankers and suction dredges. I don’t for a minute believe that these forms of wealth recovery will be off limits forever. The reason is that they were banned for purely political reasons which had nothing to do with science or good management.
  • OFFICE HOURS: The front door to our office and store is open between 9 AM and 4 PM, Mondays through Fridays.
  • Our telephone number is: (530) 493-2012. There is a voice mail system. We will return your calls.
  • If you encounter problems of any kind, we do have Internal Affairs staff on duty all of the time. Richard Krimm can be reached at (510) 681-8066. Please be mindful that they also both have personal lives. So it really needs to be a problem for you to call them. Like perhaps you are being harassed by someone (almost never happens). Or you want to report a mess that has been left behind on our properties.
  • Please note that the function of our Internal Affairs has nothing to do with the poor showing of gold you might be finding. We all have those days! We normally resolve member difficulty in finding gold with our weekend group projects. This is a free service we provide members to show you how to find gold using your personal creative skills. It is not as hard as a person might believe. Our whole program is based on the concept that we provide you with endless opportunities. But how well or poorly you do will be your own responsibility. We will start hands on projects up again as soon as we are able.
  • Internal Affairs has more to do with protecting your right to mine the valuable deposits when you find them.
  • The exception to this is that if you need or want further clarification concerning these points, please call our Internal Affairs guys during normal business hours. I’m sure they will be happy to talk with you.
  • Please either call in or email in (new49ers@goldgold.com) the location of where you are actively mining or camping on our properties. Our staff will log this in the office. This helps us with our annual assessment work to maintain the mining claims. It also makes it easier for us to find you in the case of an emergency–like someone from your family trying to reach you.
  • Here is the one that really pains me: Because of the COVID-19 non-gathering and social distancing requirements in California, we are hereby cancelling all weekend projects and Saturday evening potlucks for the 2020 season. This will be the first time since 1986 that we will not be able to join together in some shared adventure, hands on experience, fun and enjoy a nice meal together. All I can say is that we will appreciate these events all the more once we are able to get them started again.
  • Since the courts are mostly closed down, and there is a reasonable financial reserve in place, and no doubt nearly everyone is struggling with the existing realities, The New 49’er Legal Fund will suspend fund-raising activities until further notice. If anyone has contributed to The Legal Fund since our most recent drawing, tickets have already been issued in your name for the next drawing when it happens. If that is not acceptable, please contact our office and ask for a refund.
  • While we do have an exciting video-enhanced story about ready to go, it feels inappropriate under the existing very sobering circumstances (40,000+ American deaths and counting) to be sending out fun and exciting stories. So we will just go with important updates until the bad situation is behind us.

In closing, I am just as shocked as anyone about how quickly this “pandemic” has shut down America’s booming economy, not to mention the rest of the world. I could voice some opinions (there are plenty going around); but I am not truly knowledgeable about “the whole story,” and my opinions don’t really matter here. Some things are just so large, we have to adjust to the realities.  But we should be prepared to object if the politics go sideways on us!

I will voice one opinion: With the help and support of many friends, I have worked for myself and created my own prosperity through a lifetime of pain and gain since departing the military. So I have learned a few important things. Real freedom is achieved in a society by allowing people to use their ingenuity and skills to generate services and goods, using their human energy to exchange with others to create more than they consume (profits) which allow them to climb the ladder of personal success. Under normal circumstances, government takes a portion of profits to pay for the public services which they provide.  But this all is based upon the foundation that wealth must be created (not printed) by personal effort outside of government in the first place.

America’s founding principles make government employees our servants; not our rulers. A lot of this has been forgotten over the years, especially by government employees.

The present situation is completely backwards. We now have the government supporting nearly all of the private sector – which effectively turns the government into our boss. Sorry; I don’t know what type of government this is; because perhaps it is the first time in history things have been this way?

But hear me out:  The government does not create any wealth or tangible substance. So where will the substance come from? Answer: It will all have to be paid for through past and future private business! The substance that our country, and the world, is consuming right now, and for the foreseeable future, must be created by someone. There comes a point where the cost becomes too much. This is why socialism does not work. End of story!

There are only a few meaningful sources of income to the government: taxes on private sector profits (which have all but dried up because the government has shut down most of the economy); tariffs or duties on imports (which have slowed to a crawl because other governments have also shut down their economies); borrowing (who is buying U.S. government bonds right now, China?); or printing money. Printing vast amounts of money causes inflation; because it creates a greater number of dollars chasing, in this case, a shrinking number of products and services. The only saving grace is that the U.S. Dollar is the world’s reserve currency. But It will not be for long if our government continues to abuse the status. There is always a consequence.

Perhaps this pandemic leaves no other choices. I really am not in a position to know. I am glad I am not the one who has to make perhaps the most important decisions our country has ever faced!

On the subject of how the economy will be opened back up, if our civil liberties and America’s constitutional fundamentals are important to us, we must object strenuously to left leaning aggressive intentions to force socialism upon us. Here is a short YouTube link which presents the concern better than I can. Please watch it with an open mind! In my view, this concern is substantially larger than the COVID 19 pandemic in the first place!

When I joined the military during the Viet Nam war, I swore an oath to defend America’s founding principles. Those did not include socialism!  There is a very wise fundamental that we should all review: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!”

America hangs in the important balance right now.

Note that if I have learned nothing else in more than 10 years of litigation at a cost of around a million dollars in California (thanks to your support), there is no doubt that the State has been completely taken over by the left. We will not find any justice in the California Courts, especially in the California Supreme Court. So we will need to be prepared to appeal to the federal government at the highest levels (many parts of the mid and lower levels remain manned by leftists). We can thank Mr. trump for a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court! Without that, our country would be lost.

I’m just saying that the longer term consequences of shutting down the free market economy and printing money to try and keep the entire private sector afloat is certain to have staggering impacts to the wellbeing of America for a long time to come. It is just a matter of time before the price of gold will reflect this.  If a person only had some extra money, now would be a good time to buy gold or silver (not paper metals), if you can find it!

It is possible that we will see the day when it will be possible to support ourselves with a gold pan and sluice! Perhaps by that time, we will have the freedom to use modern methods again.

We will get through this. But the world will never be the same as it was. It actually might be better. But this will be up to us.

Thank you very much for your kind support, and I hope to cross paths with you out on the river again.

Dave McCracken, General Manager

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, DECEMBER 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 7

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

We organize weekend group gold prospecting adventures during the summer months. All active members are encouraged to participate. There is no charge for active members. We appreciate it if you call ahead with your plans so we can plan in advance for how many people will attend.

The initial purpose of these projects is to provide hands-on learning experience under the guidance of multiple experienced members in hopes that it will improve your own ability to go out and find high-grade gold. This has been an important part of our successful operating basis for more than 30 years.

Opening image gold Nuggets on a scale

More recently, because the State of California has forbidden small-scale gold miners the use of motorized systems within 100 yards of a waterway, The New 49’ers, with our substantial resources, have the capability to increase gold recovery because we can fabricate specialized gear, we have intimate knowledge of where the gold is traveling in, and to the sides of the river, and because we are fortunate to have a dozen or so very experienced members who come out and help manage the program. Everyone who participates on Sunday receives an equal share of the gold that we recover.

This was the final weekend project of last season. About 70 members participated, including at least ten experienced helpers. We used my jet boat to ferry participants almost directly across from a primitive river access downstream from the very large parking and camping area on our very popular Wingate property.

Normally, myself with several helpers, verify in advance that the gold deposit we will work is going to produce well for the group project. Once we are sure about the area, a day or two before the project, we pull a larger group of members together and move all our gear to the site. If the area is somewhat difficult, or if it is on the far side of the river, we drop the gear off at an easier access point and use my boat to move the gear to the site. If the floating sluice is being moved, we can transfer everything to a new location in three boat loads.

The gold is plentiful all along the extensive Klamath River properties and side tributaries which we make available to our members. High-grade gold it is generally, but not always, more plentiful and easier to find if you can get across the river. This is, in part, because fewer people have prospected on the other side. There is also something mysterious about the nature of raw gold in that the best deposits usually are located in the places that are more difficult to reach.

This prompted us many years ago to buy a variety of different kinds of watercraft to help us move people and gear across the river; or sometimes, to places along the river that you cannot reach without a boat. Diane Helgesen captured Craig Colt and I hot-dogging it a bit on the river. This is extreme adventure at its best. Though we normally do not run around like this when we have project participants in the boat:

In addition to the increased access which the boat makes possible, adding some boat voyages along the river adds more substance to the outdoor adventure for everyone involved. We also use the boat to help disabled members gain easier access by picking them up and dropping them off at the closest developed river access where vehicles are able to reach the river. In this case, there is a semi-developed campground and river access about a quarter mile upriver from our project site.

Having fun Having fun
Exposed bedrock

This rich gold discovery turns out to be a massive area of exposed and shallow bedrock on the far side of the river.

Special mention should go to the dozen or so very dedicated helpers who contribute their valuable time to devote an occasional weekend helping less-experienced prospectors learn, and to help me make sure that the projects come out well on Sunday afternoon. This means minimizing any accidents (once in a while, someone will take a fall on the rocks), making sure participants are digging the best pay-dirt we have discovered at the site, and watching closely to make sure we are not feeding the recovery system too fast or losing gold in some other way.  We could not put on these weekend projects without our volunteer helpers.

We did not need to sample this site in advance of this particular project. This is because we were out on the same site with a group earlier in the season. Once again, Dr. Gold made the discovery by bringing down a bunch of beautiful gold nuggets that he was picking right off the bedrock. I wrote that story up in our August newsletter.

While expanding on Dr. Gold’s discovery, we realized that there appears to be a vast area of exposed bedrock which has gold lying all over it. Some areas have some shallow streambed on top of the bedrock which is also producing gold. The area is perfect for crevicing and non-motorized mining. Most importantly, we discovered on this project that it appears the historical miners decided to work the gold deposits on an upper plateau and throw their tailing cobbles down the hillside on top of virgin, shallow bedrock Virgin streambed” is stream bottom that has never been mined before. This is a very important development, because we seldom find virgin streambed up out of the water where the historical miners were able to reach. Check this out; you can see it for yourself:

sample

Some of the sample pans were looking like this or better!

We always begin these projects on Saturday morning in a classroom setting in Happy Camp where we can do introductions and start building the team spirit which will flourish as soon as we begin recovering gold out of the ground. Then I take until lunch to present a simple talk on how to follow an organized sample plan, step by step, into high-grade gold deposits.  Other than relying upon luck alone, the sample plan is a proven method of following the positive signs to discover the path that gold is following down the river and its banks, and what particular layer in the streambed contains the concentrations of gold. This information becomes more meaningful when we get out in the field and begin sampling.

Saturday afternoon is meant to be light duty. Mainly, we are trying to pinpoint the places where we will dig on Sunday. We also want to make sure everyone knows how to effectively manage a gold pan. Learning to pan for gold is the first important step in the learning curve. Said another way, if you cannot pan streambed material without losing gold, you cannot do a proper job of sampling. Sampling is the whole key to finding rich gold deposits.

We were getting some of our best samples by digging the gold right out of the bedrock
person digging close up of digging

There was already a member out there who had set up his own hand-sluice in the shallower water near the edge of the river. He showed us the gold he had recovered on the day before.  It looked really good! Here it is on video:

gold in pan

Gold one member recovered with his hand-sluice!

We don’t like to push it too hard on Saturday. This is because some people will not be used to this sort of physical activity during the hottest part of the day. But when you start uncovering gold in your pan, it’s a real challenge to not turn up the steam! Often, the ones who overdo it on Saturday don’t show up on early Sunday morning. Sunday is when we all pull together as a team to recover as much gold as we can in several hours of steady work. Everyone who is out there helping on Sunday is entitled to an equal share of the gold we recover.

Nearly every pan was producing a good showing of gold. There were only a few people on this project that needed some help with their panning. So we were only on the far side of the river for less than two hours. I was seeing some nice gold, including nuggets.

To get a head start on Sunday morning, my helpers and I carefully moved our floating sluice out into the river and set the water flow for optimum gold recovery. This is a larger sluice recovery system that we float right at the water’s surface. We can adjust how deep the front of the sluice dips into the moving water to set how fast our pay-dirt will be washed through the recovery system. Here was some of the action on video:

Fortunately, the boat landing was almost directly across the river from where we would be prospecting. Participants were following a primitive path to and from their cars.

I started bringing people back across the river at around 4 PM on Saturday afternoon. It took maybe ten trips to move about 70 people across the river. It all happens pretty fast because my helpers fit everyone into a life preserver before I return for the next load. There was plenty of time remaining for everyone to freshen up and pull something together for our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp.

Potluck was more than a full house of enthusiastic members. There was a large variety of food; plenty for everyone. I guess because I was so pleased during the previous potluck because someone brought a full plate of nicely-cooked beef, someone brought me a fat, juicy steak that was cooked rare, just the way I like it.  I ate the whole darn thing!

We try to keep these potlucks short so people can get plenty of rest and sleep to be ready for the real action that will take place on Sunday morning. We start early so we can finish the physical work before the heat of the day reaches the project site.

Cooking for potluck Senior Citizens Hall

I arrived down at the landing at 6 AM exactly on Sunday morning. This turned out to be a mistake; something I don’t remember that we ever encountered before. Because we were in the later part of August, it was still nearly pitch dark out on the river. I have been driving boats on the Klamath River for so long, I can do it in the dark! But that’s when there is enough water in the river to float the boat.

Sometimes late in the summer, the authorities fluctuate the amount of water discharging from the first dam upriver. These important changes either increase or decrease the speed and depth of the river.  Out there in the dark, I did not see that the river had dropped by four or five inches overnight.

Oh Oh!

I didn’t realize the danger until we encountered the first of several aggressive sets of rapids. Late in the summer when the water in the river is low, there often is just one way through the shallow rapids. My challenge is to speed through the deeper water that lies between the shallow bar (all rocks) on the road side of the river and the truly dangerous fast water that is flowing over and around huge boulders on the far side. The margin for error is very close. Going downstream, I doubt that the boat will survive getting caught up in the boulders on the far side.

It is pretty easy for me to power the boat down the safe path when I can see where it is.

It was impossible to determine the safe path through the rapids because the river had dropped and changed all the flow dynamics. In the dark, the river was taking us downstream too fast to figure out the safest path. I knew we were in trouble. There is no changing your mind once a powerful river is washing you down through angry water. You just have to make the best of it – which means being prepared to abandon ship if the boat gets flipped over.

I will trade a few more dents on the bottom of my boat any day rather than take a chance on sinking it with a full boat of disabled passengers! I think my passengers believed that this was just a normal part of the adventure – until we started bouncing over rocks…

With five disabled people in the boat, since I could not see the slightly deeper slot out in the middle, I decided it was better to err on the shallow side of the river where the rocks are smaller.

Boom! Slam! Smash!

I cut the corner too close; and the boat was slamming over the rocks as we were swept downriver by the extremely fast, shallow water. Even though we were bumping rocks in the shallow water, I used the powerful motor to keep the boat pointed down river and away from the dragon tooth boulders that were looking to eat us for breakfast. Luckily, we made it through without doing any serious damage to the boat. By “serious,” I mean the engine will not run, or the boat is sinking. Serious damage would put an end to the Sunday program on the far side of the river. Fortunately, none of my passengers were hurt, though they were shaken up a bit. So was I!

Work partyWe rounded the next bend to find the entire landing site crowded with people out there standing in the dark. Talking about dedication; everyone showed up early! The landing site was not in direct view of where the boat stumbled over the rocks. So they did not see our rocky ride. But they heard the noise of our collisions from about a quarter mile away. They said it was quite loud and sounded like we met our end. But that was not enough to keep the first bunch from putting their life preservers on and being ready to board the boat!

Thirty minutes later, we had the entire crew over on the other side of the river. Our project helpers organized everyone into teams, working several different locations that produced nice gold nuggets on Saturday afternoon. Some people were digging. Others were carrying half-filled buckets down to a large classification screen which is designed to split the pay-dirt into two sizes: (1) the material passing through a quarter-inch mesh screen, and (2) the larger sized material. Everyone was busy. Enthusiasm was everywhere. That’s saying a lot for first light on a Sunday morning! It was a cold August morning out there!

View of screenAs the pay-dirt was run over the screen, others were filling buckets with the screened material. That’s the normal material that we feed into our recovery system. We usually don’t do anything with the oversized material that does not pass through the screen. But in the previous project we did in this location, we recovered dozens of nuggets – some which appeared too large to pass through a quarter-inch screen. We are not accustomed to digging in places which have so many gold nuggets.

When we were doing that earlier final clean-up, it occurred to me we should be panning the oversized material. So we started doing that on this project. One helper recovered four nice gold nuggets in just the first two buckets of oversize that he panned! Diane captured some video of my explanation and demonstration about the importance of processing larger-sized material when you are digging in a gold deposit that is producing nuggets. As long as things are going smooth, we do joke around a little bit to keep the mood upbeat and fun:

Another problem we have been struggling with as these projects are becoming more popular is that the participants can dig more pay-dirt than our recovery system can process. I’ll bet we left 25% of the pay-dirt we dug just sitting there on the bank during the previous project. Some participants were so jacked up to process the pay-dirt we left behind that they skipped the gold split altogether and swam over there with their gold pans!

Separating  Separating closeup

We reduced the volume of pay-dirt by allowing the river’s flow to wash away most of the lighter fine particles.

This time, we tried something different. The dry, screened material was put into buckets which were submerged in shallow water. Swirling the material around caused the lightest material in the bucket to wash out. Gold is far too heavy to wash out of a bucket in this way. This method reduced the ultimate volume of pay-dirt to less than half. In this way, we were able to process all the heavier pay-dirt that we dug. Here we caught this on video:

Diane

Diane Helgesen

Diane Helgesen is one of our most loyal and supportive members. She never misses a New 49’er event. She is designated as the “Gold Girl” during these projects. The Gold Girl keeps a plastic bucket with locking lid. Every time someone comes up with a nugget, or a handful of nuggets, or a good gold pan, Diane is right there on Sunday making sure all the gold ends up in the bucket. She also takes over the camera when I am going to give an explanation or demonstration.  We have a lot of fun with the camera. Some of our fun usually is not appropriate for these newsletters. If you believe I went too far this time, drop me an email and let me know.

During the summer months, there is usually a steady stream of rafters floating down the river. These days, they are all mostly friendly. It didn’t always used to be like that. When we first began on the Klamath River in 1984, we were pretty-much the first modern day gold miners along the river. We were newcomers to long-established rafting companies who were not accustomed to sharing their river experience with us. But that was so long ago, we have now been on the river longer than most of today’s rafters. If we have gold to show, we always invite them over to have a look. Most of the rafting guides these days appreciate that our gold mining activity creates more interesting things for their customers to see. Here is some of that on video:

In fact, just in the last two years, I have noticed that there appears to be some kind of Renaissance happening that is lightening up the mood of our members, and even the people outside of our association. I say this because I have devoted nearly my entire adult life to helping others find gold – which is a very emotional activity. Especially when someone is not finding any! Diane captured the following video as I summarized what was happening further up the hillside and then got off on a sidetrack about how much more friendly people seem to be getting. We decided to not edit out my joking around to demonstrate that I have a lighter side even though it is not always visible:

Craig Colt is a longtime loyal friend and helper who is perhaps the best prospector I know (except for Dr. Gold).  He was up the hillside near where the handfuls of nuggets were recovered on the previous project. And sure enough, several guys who were following Craig’s direction were recovering nuggets off the bedrock one right after the other. I snapped off one image of a bunch of nuggets in one person’s hand!

Craig led a team to the pay-dirt where one guy was recovering nuggets that could be picked off the bedrock!

Hand full of nuggets Craig having fun

We have been doing these group projects every season since 1987, so we have the program dialed in pretty well. Though we continue to learn more each time we do it. As overall project leader, I am down to two nagging worries that are not entirely under my control. The first is the possibility of someone getting hurt out there.  We are walking around on uneven ground with loose rocks. There have been some falls over the years; none worse than the falls I have taken. Still, the possibility of someone slamming his or her head into the rocks is an ever-present concern. We insist that all participants wear shoes or sneakers to try and avoid as much of this as possible.

With more than 70 miles of gold properties available to our members, there are no shortage of places where we can find plenty of gold.

My second worry is that we will not recover enough gold to split amongst all the participants. This happened several times during our early years when we were not as familiar with our mining properties. These days, we have year-around members present that do nothing but prospect on our properties. In turn, they whisper to me about the hot spots they have found that can be worked on these projects.

While individual prospectors only need a small pull-off on the side of the road to park their car, and can dangle a rope to get up and down a steep embankment; these projects require lots of parking area, a rather easy trail down to the river, a toilet that is not far away; and using the boat if necessary to get back and forth to a river access where we can launch gear and recover it later.

Numerous members have made good discoveries along our Wingate property. With only one or two exceptions, our members have access to the entire Klamath River from below Wingate to well above Happy Camp. This is about 15 miles. That’s 30 miles if you count both sides of the river, just in this single stretch! The area is so vast, just this one stretch will not be adequately prospected during our lifetimes. There is a perfect landing site for the boat, lots of camping and parking, and plenty of room for participants to process pay-dirt.

Work site Here is some video we captured of how participants were doing out there on an early Sunday morning:

When I saw the nuggets being recovered, and the gold in the sample pans, my worries about not finding enough gold were nothing to be concerned about on this day. Here is what we were recovering from the average bucket of screened material:

This was the average amount of gold we were recovering out of a bucket a screened pay-dirt!

Once I was certain the program was completely under control, I took the boat back upstream to make certain I was going to be able to get through the rapids that surely added a few dents on the bottom of my boat that morning. Besides the darkness, we were also going through a period where the river level was dropping. There comes a point where it is too shallow to drive the boat through. Before driving several disabled members through that danger zone, I wanted to be sure we could make it with minimal risk. In the daylight, it was no problem to drive the boat through there. Whew!

Still, when it was time to go, I noticed there were two missing from the group of disabled persons. They likely decided their chances of staying alive were better by getting some help climbing the path to where the cars were parked. I can’t say that I blame them! But I will say that it turned out to be a piece of cake to drive the boat up to the developed river access.

On this note; because the river is shallow, I must go up through a set of rapids at full power. This keeps the boat shallower in the river. Here; Diane positioned herself on the side of the river and captured us as we flew by:

Boat in fast water

If I can make the time, I also like to step up the adventures for some of our younger members by allowing them (closely supervised) to drive the jet boat up and down through a set of rapids. Here we caught some of the fun on video:

We called it quits at around noon. By this, I mean it was time to stop digging for the project so we could finish processing all the pay-dirt. Holes needed to be filled in, and tools all placed in a single location so I could boat them up to the landing once all the members were transferred across the river. We made plans to meet at our facility in Happy Camp later in the afternoon to do the final clean-up.

Adventure for all ages Landing boat

Something important to know about operating motor boats on a river is that the motor must be kept out in the deeper water. Therefore, when launching, you have to push the boat backwards out into the river so the motor does not get caught up in rocks, sand or gravel closer to the edge of the river. Otherwise, the river’s current will push the back of the boat into shallow water and the jet boat will suck in rocks or vegetation and cause the motor to stall. It is not good when this happens, especially when just up river from shallow rapids! Here is some video showing us recover from one of these very situations:

After all the pay-dirt had been processed, we pulled our floating sluice up into a calm, shallow area, disassembled the recovery system, and washed our final product into a large tub. There was a lot of gold visible in the sluice box. Cool!

This image is of our concentrates as we cleaned them out of the recovery system. If you look close, you can see the gold.

These gold recovery systems are designed to trap the heaviest material that is washed through them. Gold is the heaviest stuff out there, it being about 19 times heavier than water. Iron is around eight times heavier than water, but it is much heavier than the average material found in most streambeds. The weight of average material differs from one location to the next; but on the Klamath, average gravel weight is around four times heavier than water.  So a typical recovery system will recover all or most of the gold, along with a bunch of iron sand – called “black sand.”

We could see a lot of gold in the recovery system. The entire contents went into the Gold Girl’s bucket and Diane asked me to put it safely away in the boat. I took careful control of the gold bucket through the remainder of the day.

We all met at our facility later in the afternoon to do the final clean-up and gold split. We do this in the shade of a tree that adjoins our picnic area. By “final clean-up,” I mean separating all of the gold from all of the black sand and other impurities. Over the many years, we have developed a process to accomplish this without the use of any chemicals.

This is accomplished by classifying the concentrates into several specific sizes and passing each size over ever-slower, more refined recovery systems. We begin by screening the concentrates through an 8-mesh screen. This is usually done out on the river after we have removed the concentrates from the recovery system.  Gold nuggets are picked off the screen and put inside our gold bucket. These gold nuggets a are cause for a lot of excitement!

When we meet later in the day, the first thing we do is classify our concentrates through a 10-mesh screen (close to window screen). The material which stays on top of the screen is spread out in a gold pan and the nuggets are picked out with tweezers. This is fun, because the pieces of gold are also rather large and exciting.

Feeding LeTrap Concentrates in Le Trap

The material that passes through the 10-screen is slowly fed through a Le Trap gold sluice. This is a very well-engineered plastic sluice box which provides nearly perfect gold recovery while reducing the volume of concentrates to about a handful. Craig Colt, then pans the tailings from the Le Trap so all the participants can see how effective the recovery system is. If we find one or two flecks of gold, they are added to our remaining batch of concentrates.

Gold in Le Trap Group watching

After a while, my assistant, John Rose and helpers came out with all the nuggets we recovered in a small, metal finishing pan. It was a lot of nuggets! All of the participants were excited about that!  Participant excitement is like the sound of beautiful music in my world!

 Pan full of gold nuggetsThe remaining concentrates are then washed over a smaller, more refined recovery system called a “Gold Extractor.” This is a small sluice with very low profile riffles. If not fed too fast, the Gold Extractor will reduce the volume of concentrates down to about the volume of a tablespoon or two – with zero loss of gold. Craig also pans the tailings from the Gold Extractor to demonstrate to the group how effective this recovery system is. Craig did not find a single speck of gold in the tailings. The following video captured most important parts of the final clean-up:

We transfer the final concentrates into the small, steel finishing pan with the nuggets, and then I dry the final concentrates over a butane stove. Note that anytime gold is heated up, the process should be done outside in a well ventilated area. We are only heating the concentrates enough to dry them out.

Then the dry concentrates are passed through several different mesh-size screens. Each size is placed on clean sheets of paper inside on a secure table (no chance of it falling down or getting knocked over), away from the wind, dogs, and especially kids that are horsing around. This includes grown up kids!  I’m serious about having tight control over the final clean-up steps; because this is the time when some participants really start getting wound up. Sometimes we all get wound up!

We use a magnet to remove perhaps half the remaining concentrates (magnetic iron sand). Then, light blowing over each size easily separates the gold from the remaining impurities. We invite participants to join in this final process.

All of this part is done in the shop-portion of our facility with the large outside doors open so people can come and go as they please. There was a lot of excited chatter as most people gathered around to watch us turn the remaining concentrates into raw gold.

I was really hoping we were going to meet our goal of recovering more than an ounce of gold. But as the blowing process was finishing up, I could see we were not going to make it.  It is easy to be fooled into predicting a higher end result when the black sand is adding to the volume.

Final goldIn the end, to my surprise, we recovered a little less than 3/4 of an ounce. It should have been more. The reason I say this is that I watch all or most of the sampling that happens on Sunday morning. We take occasional samples out of the buckets being directed to the floating sluice. We take samples of the raw material people are putting into buckets up on the hillside. The sample results on this project were as good as I can remember. Plus, there were the nuggets.

We are very careful to capture all the gold and keep it secured in our gold bucket – which remains under very tight control throughout the project.

So are we just over-estimating how much gold we are recovering because we are getting more larger-sized flakes and nuggets? Or are we losing gold in some part of our process? The only place this could have happened in our process is when we were removing fine material from our buckets out in the river or when we washed the pay-dirt over our floating sluice.

As I ponder over this, it occurs to me it is very possible that we fed the sluice too fast. We removed most of the fine sand before processing the pay-dirt. Therefore, the material would have been quite a bit heavier than normal. In some cases, so much fine sand was removed that the pay-dirt was reduced by about 80%. As I think back on it, the final pay-dirt was mostly black-colored like a set of concentrates. We could see gold in with the dark sand.

If you feed a sluice too fast, especially with heavy material, you can overload the riffles to the point where there is no recovery system at all, and the pay-dirt will wash right through into tailings, gold and all.

For example, we could never feed the floating sluice as fast as we do with concentrates out of a recovery system. The riffles in the sluice would become overwhelmed with black sand almost immediately. Perhaps this new method of removing lighter material from our pay-dirt will require us to slow down how fast we are feeding the floating sluice. We will need to be more mindful of this in the coming season.

In the end, there were enough nuggets that everyone ended up with at least one. Some got two. In addition, everyone received a portion of the remaining gold. The shares looked good. Everyone expressed gratitude to me and my helpers. I think most people were happy that the weekend project was finally over. Most people, including me, are not used to the physical activity required in gold mining.  Bur if the State would allow us to suction dredge again, I would be back in shape in a matter of weeks!

Recovering gold is very satisfying. But there are other benefits to going out with us on these weekend prospecting adventures. Happy Camp and the Klamath River provide some of the most spectacular Pacific Northwest scenery and wildlife that you will find anywhere.  Something about the golden adventure pulls participants together in friendships that will last a lifetime. I caught some of the feelings that members take away with them in the following videos:

But the day was not yet over. Since this was our final weekend project of the season, we pulled all of our gear and the boat off the river after we ferried all the participants across. All that gear had been backed to the rear door of our facility. We were asking for help packing it up the stairs where we have safe, dry storage.  There were so many helpers, most people did not need to pack gear upstairs more than once.

Then, with lots of thankyou’s and hugs, everyone went away and left me to enjoy a quiet Sunday evening. This was another very productive mining season for me, and I was thanking my lucky stars for the way I make my living. I consider myself to be very lucky! 

2020 Schedule of Events 

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

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

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

2020 Schedule of Events: June 20 & 21; July 18 & 19; August 22 & 23. 

Planned Office Hours for the Time Being

The upcoming holidays will have our offices closed on December 23, 24 & 25 for Christmas, and January 1 for New Year’s Day.

Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects.

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends).  

Industry Legal Situation 

As many of you know, we have been fighting for more than ten years to overturn the California and Oregon moratoriums on suction dredging. We struggled all the way up through the California Supreme Court – and lost there by a unanimous decision – even when all of the existing law is on our side. Sadly, a substantial portion of America’s judicial system favors the progressive agenda (socialism).

We have struggled to petition the U.S. Supreme Court twice to settle mining right differences on the federal lands between the federal and State governments. The problem is that the Supreme Court only agrees to take up around 5% of the cases requesting a final Decision. In today’s troubled politics, the Court chose other cases which it deemed more important to all of America.

Therefore, until the laws or regulations are changed to our favor, we are not allowed to use any mechanized system to extract or process minerals within 100 yards of any waterway in California and most of Oregon.

We will have another opportunity to obtain a hearing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is just a matter of when.  Think of it: The bottom of (many) California and Oregon waterways are loaded with gold. Gold is raw wealth. It is the world’s most important and longstanding financial currency. The gold is there for the taking.

We proved in every study (many) over 40 years that when suction dredging is done according to reasonable regulations, we have never harmed a single fish. But those who have the power to regulate us at the State level do not care. They just want to put an end to us. Truth and justice have nothing to do with it.

For a while, I had strong hopes that the Trump Administration would adopt federal rules which would shield us from the anti-mining interests that are controlling State governments. But “the swamp” may have turned out to be more prevalent and invasive than even Mr. Trump anticipated – and they have, to a large degree, kept him bogged down and distracted by baseless (but serious) accusations during his first three years in office.

At the moment, it is looking hopeful that Mr. Trump and his team could turn the tide on the swamp creatures who have been attacking him. Their addenda is to turn America into a socialist country. We can forget prospecting for gold and most of the other personal freedoms that made America great if the democrats succeed in winning the presidency in the upcoming election. If Mr. Trump holds office for another term, I predict there is a reasonable chance that we will see mining reforms which will limit State authority over federal mining projects (prospecting and mining on the federal lands).

I personally thank all members who have been supporting us with dues payments. The New 49’ers Prospecting Association is doing just fine.

But Legal Fund contributions have dropped off dramatically this past year. We need to encourage more participation if we want to maintain the non-profit status of The New 49’ers Legal Fund. This is important, because the non-profit is basically the only way to raise money for legal matters. Trying to do this through a for profit private company will get us in bigger trouble than we are trying to resolve in the first place!

In case you did not see this, the winners of our October 18 legal drawing are as follows:

Ten 1-Ounce American Silver Eagles: Carol Hatley, Scott McGrosso, Robert Maytum, Bill Jarrell, William White, Stephen Keenan, Brent Harshbarger, Patrick O’Brien, Phillip F. Myska and Robert Rackley.

Ten 1/10th-Ounce American Gold Eagles:  Phillip F. Myska, Matt Cottrell, Robert Maytum, Larry Sharpe, William White, Richard Culley, Patrick Matheny, Paul Fender, Walt Morrison and Tom Chambers.

Four 1/4th – Ounce American Gold Eagles:  Lenny Rock, David Barna, Joseph Sawyer and Phil Robinson

The Grand Prize: 1-Ounce American Gold Eagle:  Christopher Newman

If your name is on the list above and you have not heard from our office, please give our girls a call: 530 493-2012.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this legal drawing!

The problem is that we are only attracting enough contributions to equal the value of the prizes.

Here is my sincere request for you to continue supporting our political and legal efforts at least until we see what the national political landscape is after the elections this November. I am talking about only three more legal fund-raisers: 14 February and 19 June and 16 October, 2020.

All of America will be substantially affected by the results of the coming election. 

Thank you for sticking with us by helping as you are able! 

Note: This is not about The New 49’er Mining Association which has thousands of members and makes more than 70 miles of gold-bearing mining properties available to our members.  This is about the non-profit fund-raising apparatus that is fighting for reasonable regulations that will allow us the use of mechanized gear and suction dredges so we can regain access to the richest gold deposits – which are mostly at the bottom of existing waterways.

 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).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on Friday, 14 February 2020, 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:


  $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 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.

The New 49’ers Legal Fund,

Happy Holidays to all you guys out there!

Dave McCracken

President, The New 49’ers, Inc.

 

 

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, AUGUST 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

Dr Gold! Gold Nuggets!

Mike and Lynda Leamy are longstanding, very supportive New 49’er members who are super-wonderful to have around. Lynda, because she always has a smile on her face and possesses a wealth of good will and a depth of wisdom which seems to have no bottom.

Mike is perhaps the most talented gold prospector that I have ever met. During a Weekend Group Project last season, Mike located a very rich line of gold down along our Wingate property that had so much shallow gold, he was bringing me handfuls of golden flakes that he was just picking up off the bedrock! That’s something that never happened before. It was during that project that we changed Mike’s name in The New 49’ers to “Doctor Gold.”

Diane Helhesen

Diane Helhesen never misses a New 49’er event!

Even though he is perhaps the very best prospector we have in our association, even when he is digging up remarkable discoveries, I have never seen any sign of personal ego. I do see that he experiences pleasure from making the rich finds, and he takes joy in watching all the excitement that his discoveries generate with all the others on these projects.

We have a special bucket where all the gold found on Sunday goes. There is a locking lid so we don’t make any mistakes in dropping gold on the ground. There is always one very trusted person who keeps the “gold bucket” close to hand so we don’t lose track of it. On this event, our “Gold Girl” was one of our most dedicated members, Diane Helgesen. Diane also captured most of the images and video in this newsletter.

Back to Dr. Gold, I watched closely how, as soon as the gold he found was in good hands, his greatest joy was in returning to is discovery to uncover more gold. I have devoted nearly my entire adult life to mining gold. All I can say is that Mike Leamy is a true gold prospector all the way to his core.

And that’s one of the reasons I was so happy during this most recent Weekend Group Project. Mike and Lynda were going to join us. With Dr. Gold on the project, it was a sure thing that we were going to recover a bunch of gold!

This project began with 70 people, including myself. We always devote Saturday morning over at the air-conditioned Happy Camp Senior Citizen’s Hall and start with introductions. It is always interesting to find out where people come from and hear a little about their personal stories of how they came to be members of our organization in Happy Camp. Some members provide very colorful introductions. This all contributes to the special teamwork experience we will enjoy during the weekend.

smiling couple

And then, for the benefit of those who have not listened to my talk about how to pursue a sampling plan, we devote several hours to carefully explaining the most important fundamentals of gold mining – which have to do with locating high-grade gold deposits in the first place. We call this a “sampling plan.” The sampling plan is something that me, my mining partners over the many years, and thousands of New 49’ers have worked out by hard work and the pursuit of truth.

Truth? Yes; if you think about it, if you don’t already know where the rich deposits are, you have to find them through the process of digging small samples in multiple locations, and compare the different results to figure out where there is more gold. Then you continue to sample along the strongest line of gold until you discover a concentration of raw wealth. Concentrations accumulate during very large storms. Sampling is always about what you are actually finding (truth), as opposed to what you would prefer to find.

We allow everyone an hour to get some nourishment and pull their gear together once my talk is finished. Then we drive to the location where we will devote the rest of the weekend. We were back down on our Wingate property on this project. But we were going to be on the far side of the river where several members reported finding “good gold,” with some larger flakes and small gold nuggets. These reports were coming in from longtime members Craig Colt, Derek Eimer, Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman, all who live in Happy Camp and devote most of the winter months prospecting along our very extensive mining properties.

panning lessons

These guys are such good prospectors.  They fully understand the requirement that we must do these weekend projects where there is plenty of gold to be found. They are so supportive of our association, if any of them report a good gold location, it is not necessary for me to confirm the place in advance with my own sampling. This is saying a lot about the prospecting ability and personal integrity of these wonderful members. I would normally confirm a deposit before bringing 69 members there to prospect for gold. This is because I have some uncomfortable experience in splitting just a little gold up between an aggressive group of members.

I never want to do that again!

At around 2 pm on Saturday afternoon, I led the way downriver about 9 miles from Happy Camp. I was towing my jet boat which would be used to transfer everyone across the river. There were so many cars behind me, I could not see the end of the line even on the long, straight stretches of Highway 96!

Everyone was directed to park alongside the road a short distance downstream of Wingate. There are paths to the river down there that would place everyone closer to where we would be on the other side of the river. I launched the boat at the Wingate boat ramp and brought along several members whose physical disabilities were not going to allow them to take the pathways.

There were several fairly large groups of excited members waiting alongside the river by the time we arrived there with the boat.  I’m guessing it took perhaps a dozen back and fourths to transfer nearly everyone to the far side of the river where we would be prospecting. Out of an abundance of caution, every passenger in my boat wears a life jacket. I drive the boat slow and easy when it is full of people.

Racing up the river Dave racing the boat

having fun

But I drive the boat as fast as it will go when returning by myself for the next load. My whole life has been centered around water adventures and boats. Here is a video that captured of one of my return trips:

While transferring people across the river, I found out that Dr. Gold parked his car along the side of the road, stepped out, and spotted a quarter-ounce gold nugget just lying there in the dirt. The nugget was mostly flattened out – like it had been run over by about a million cars and trucks. Come on?  Who does that? Dr. Gold is the only one I know! I’m sorry to say that I was so taken back by this unexpected discovery that it never occurred to me to capture an image of the nugget. Too bad! Take it from me: It was big and beautiful!

This early discovery was a sure sign that we were going to find plenty of gold during our group project!

Saturday afternoon on these projects is largely about familiarizing everyone with the location where we will do a group production mining (very small scale) project on Sunday morning. Everyone scatters over the area doing pan samples. We want to locate the most productive places possible. Beginners are taught how to pan for gold.

Panning is not difficult. But you do have to train your body to perform the correct motions. I believe there were only 2 participants who had no prior panning experience. Experienced members were giving them a hand. I could hear part of this in the following video sequence:

ladies panning Learning to pan

 

Typical sample

We would consider this a good sample.

I loved the water and boats before I joined the U.S. Navy at 19 years old. Back in those days, we were coming close to the end of the Viet Nam war. Needing to get my life on track and become an adult, I enlisted on the condition that I would be able to try out for the Navy SEALS. I put everything on the line; because if I failed in the training, I was going to spend the remainder of my 4-year enlistment chipping paint on some ship.

That was the most difficult and brutal training in the world at the time. Dropout rates were as much or more than 90% of the people who tried. In fact, nobody graduated from the class that followed mine. Though it was extremely difficult, I graduated into the SEALS with six others out of a beginning class of 57.

Making it into the SEAL Team put my whole life on track. It changed my outlook in many important ways. It also brought me warmly into a fraternity of very special people. While we might not always agree on everything, there is nothing that could undermine the respect we have for each other.

I don’t need to know an active or former SEAL to provide him with friendship and support on almost any level. This is why I am so pleased when SEALS or other special forces veterans join The New 49’ers. It happens every once in a while. We would have more of these guys if we could get motors back and regain access to the rich gold deposits on the bottom of the river.

On this particular project, Former SEAL, Steve Posey, brought his son, Travis, along for his first time. Steve has joined us in the past, bringing other special forces men along. Whenever we get visited by special forces guys, I go out of my way to accommodate them. Besides the camaraderie we share, these guys make up the tip of America’s spear. They risk everything so that America can remain free. Here is some video I captured of Steve and Travis:

floating sluice

Here is our floating sluice in action!

While all the panning activity was going on, several others and myself moved our floating sluice out into the faster water and set it all up for the following day. This floating sluice was constructed in our shop using an extra recovery system from a Proline 6-inch dredge. We mounted that on 2 large pontoons. The support frame is designed so we can lower the sluice deeper into the river so that the proper flow of water passes over top of the riffles. Diane captured the following video that will give you a better idea:

Riffles are gold-catching obstructions which rest along the bottom of the “sluice box.”  Because gold is around five times heavier than the average gravel we process, the gold will settle behind the riffles while most of the lighter sand and gravel passes right through. We have locking poles on each corner of our floating sluice to keep the platform steady and dialed in the way we want it. In this way, we are able to process volume amounts of hand-dug pay-dirt without the use of motorized pumps.

Boating across riverI ferried everyone back across the river after a few hours. We don’t want people out for too long during the hottest part of Saturday afternoon. This is because the real action and excitement of the weekend takes place during the cool hours of Sunday morning.

During these weekend projects, we always meet at 6:30 pm back at the Senior Citizens Hall for a Saturday evening a potluck dinner and short meeting, mainly to confirm our Sunday morning plans. We encourage everyone to bring something to contribute to the meal, and bring what they prefer to drink.

There were so many members at the potluck that there were not enough chairs to seat everyone! Nobody seemed to mind, though. The roar of enthusiastic chatter was a great way to end the first day. There were all sorts of wonderful food dishes.

stuffing envelopes

Volunteers who came into the office and packaged up all the letters to be mailed out.

We are presently encouraging everyone to write a letter in support of a Petition being directed to federal land management officials to help get California and other state agencies out of the business of mining on the Federal lands. You can find a more thorough explanation about this in last month’s newsletter. I took the opportunity of having so many members present at the potluck to provide them with paper and pens. We collected a healthy batch of hand-written letters. Then we organized volunteers to come into the office the following week so that each letter could be copied to the 10 additional officials who are listed on the Petition and placed into addressed and stamped envelopes. We ended up with around 300 letters in all. These are being mailed in batches every day. Very cool!

Sunday morning is when we all work together to dig up and process as much of the better pay-dirt that we found out there on Saturday afternoon.

We met out at the Wingate property at 6 am on Sunday morning. The idea is to get all the physical work completed before the heat of the day reaches the work site. When I arrived downriver with the boat at exactly 6 am, it looked as though the entire crew had already arrived. I had 6 disabled members in the boat. So they were first to reach the work site.

We are very lucky to have around a dozen or more very loyal, very experienced members who volunteer as “helpers” on these projects. There is no way that I could manage so many people without the help of others. We usually bring about half the helpers to the other side of the river first. They will help participants safely step out of the boat. They will also distribute hundreds of buckets to the locations where we were finding more gold on the day before. The other helpers usually remain on the road side of the river to help me land the boat in the right place, get participants into life jackets, and help them into the boat so nobody slips and falls.

Beautiful river scene

Is this place beautiful or what?

Once we transferred everyone over to the other side of the river, and everyone was lined out on what parts they were going to play, the whole bunch slipped into high gear; and it was like one big human engine of productivity out there. Diane captured some video of the site just as I finished bringing the whole crew to the other side of the river:

My own first focus was on making sure the floating sluice was dialed in to perfection.  Here is the floating sluice on video:

I don’t believe longtime member and local Happy Camper, Mark Turner, has ever missed a weekend project or any other type of activity when we have asked for helpers.  Mark has constructed a large quarter-inch classification screen which will effectively screen dry pay-dirt at a speed of around six seconds per half-bucket. This is much faster than using the standard-sized round classifiers that we sell in the store. We only fill the buckets of dug material half way. Otherwise, they are difficult to carry over the uneven ground.

Mark Turner Screening in volume

Proper classification of pay-dirt (“sizing”) is a very important part of gold recovery. Here is some video we captured of Mark demonstrating his production screen:

Lady Smiling smiling gal

people having funAll I can say is that there was so much digging going on out there, it wasn’t long before nearly all the buckets were full of screened pay-dirt. As is normal, our participants, in all their enthusiasm, were generating pay-dirt about twice as fast as our floating sluice could effectively process it. By this, I mean that if you feed too much material into a sluice box at once, the riffles (gold traps) will be overwhelmed (buried), and the pay-dirt will be swept through and take some of the gold with it out into the river.

Here is a video that Diane captured on Sunday morning high above the river where we could view the entire program as I provided an explanation of what was going on:

It wasn’t enough that Dr. Gold stumbled upon a quarter-ounce gold nugget the day before up by the road. His magic touch carried right over into Sunday morning. I was down near the boat capturing images with the camera when Dr. Gold processed his first pan of material. There was only a single small fleck in the pan. Without any sign of disappointment, he shrugged his shoulders and headed back to the area he was digging.

Just a while later, Dr. Gold’s second pan produced two small flecks and a small flake of gold. This was nothing to get excited about. Most of the pan samples from the day before were more fruitful. Then off he went again. “Gold mining is not always the same,” is what went through my mind.  “Sometimes you make a great strike; and other times you find very little.” But it was still too early in the day to rule out Dr. Gold’s magic ways…

Meanwhile, our buckets of pay-dirt had mostly been filled, screened, and were waiting their turn to be processed. This allowed everyone out there to back off a bit, take a seat on the rocks, enjoy the spectacular surroundings, and get to know each other better. Over the many years, hundreds of life-long friendships have been formed in just this way. These projects are not only about work. They are also supposed to be fun. We do have a lot of fun; and once in a while, something extraordinary happens to create wonderful adventures for everyone out there.

Seeing that she was relaxing on a rock waiting for another bucket, I took the opportunity to interview Lynda Leamy with the video camera rolling:

dr gold 1 Gold nugget

pointing at gold in scoop

Dr Gold

Dr. Gold was scraping out some bedrock crevices.

Just as if the event was scripted, as we were all mostly in a relax mode, Dr. Gold walked down to our processing site with a small plastic dust pan which was only holding about a handful of material. He was being closely followed by a small group of others who had been digging in the same area. There was a really nice flake-like nugget sitting right on top of the dirt. He suggested someone pan the material, “because there was more gold that we could not yet see.” Jim Bear panned the material, only to expose one of the best pans of gold I have seen in a very long time! This was an amazing lot of gold from what was only around a quarter of a medium-sized gold pan of unscreened dirt. Fortunately, I was right there to capture the excitement on video:

You will see in the videos that I joke around with Dr. Gold about having a secret jar of gold that he uses to salt the gold that he finds during our projects. This is just in fun. It’s my way of acknowledging his magical prospecting abilities. I’ve never met anyone who can stumble into gold like he does.  I also have never met anyone who is foolish enough to throw large quantities of beautiful raw wealth onto the ground so he can find it again, and essentially give most of it away to others.

The truth is that there are too many others looking on for someone to secretly remove gold from a bottle or plastic zip lock bag and pour onto a dig site. Someone would certainly see that. Besides, it is a physical impossibility to place gold underneath hard-packed streambed. Only god has the power to do that.

Others were also finding nice big gold flakes and some nuggets. Here are some images of Jim Bear showing off his excitement. Jim, by the way, can be found on youtube at yellowbottom prospecting:

thumbs up! gold nuggets in pan

I encouraged several others to go up and dig closer to Dr. Gold. They went up there just to watch, because we were all waiting for buckets.

gold gold nuggets
gold in pan

This sample came from about a handful of unscreened material!

Just a little while later, Dr. Gold came back down with a bunch of others who had been looking on. He was still using the small plastic dust pan. There was perhaps just a little more than a handful of unscreened pay-dirt in the dust pan. Right on top, there were three nice gold nuggets peeking out of the dirt. Once the material was panned, a fantastic line of nuggets and large flat flakes were exposed. Unbelievable! The Gold Girl was right there to capture it in our special gold bucket with the lid screwed on tight. I was there again with the video camera:

At this point, maybe about 10 am, a bunch of us started joking that we should leave Dr. Gold out there to finish the day while the rest of us went back to Happy Camp to relax for the rest of the day. We actually could have done that; because we had already dug and screened more pay-dirt than we were going to have time to process.

pay dirt in buckets

Pay-dirt that was dug and screened, but we left behind for lack of time to process it!

Travis driving boatNormally, when we have more pay-dirt than we can process during the project, once we stop feeding the recovery system, I invite anyone who wants to take a bucket of pay-dirt back home, or to their camps, to process on their own. Lots of participants were excited about this idea.

We always make an effort to make these events good for any children or young adults who participate. Even if they don’t appreciate the events while they are happening, the experiences we share out in the great outdoors are personal adventures that they will strongly appreciate later in life

Since we were in a wind down mode, I asked 12-year old Travis if he wanted to take a shot at driving my jet boat up through a set of rapids. No hesitation; he was ready to go! His dad caught the action on video:

looking in sluice happy group of people

I called it quits shortly after about 10 am and carefully moved the floating sluice over into shallow water where we could safely remove all the gold and concentrates from the recovery system. As we removed the screens and riffles from the sluice, everyone broke out into joyful cheers as a bunch of gold came into view. The rubber matting along the bottom of the sluice was loaded with fine gold. There were nice big golden flakes and nuggets all throughout the upper portion of the sluice. This was the best clean-up we have seen in years! We were all betting that we recovered at least an ounce of gold. All the sluice concentrates and gold were poured into our special gold bucket. Here is some video which captured the final part of the sluice clean-up:

    

By “concentrates,” I mean that these gold recovery systems are designed to capture and concentrate all of the heaviest material that is fed into them. Concentrates normally consist of the gold and a bunch of black sand (iron) and small iron rocks.

rideing in boat

Bringing disabled members up to the boat launch through some very turbulent rapids!

The day was going by fast, and we still had to separate the gold from about a third of a bucket of concentrates. I immediately used the boat to start ferrying everyone across the river. The time was around 11 am The heat of the day had still not reached the other side of the river where we had been working. My helpers were last to go. This is because they were making sure all the gear had been properly stowed, that any dangerous holes were filled in and that no trash had been left behind.

We never turn anyone away on these projects unless they are so disabled that there is no reasonable way for them to participate. Sometimes we get participants who have disabilities which will not allow them to hike up and down the trails to and from the river. But they are able to contribute once they arrive at the work site. As long as they are up for taking a ride both ways through some pretty serious rapids, we help them into and out of the boat and give them a ride that they will never forget. The water in the river is quite low this year. This dramatically increases the chances that we will slam into rocks as we race through the rapids and other shallow areas. But we didn’t hit any rocks on this day. Here it is on video:

We all agreed to meet back at our office to begin final clean-up at 2 pm. This allowed several of us some time to remove my jet boat from the river and bring it home. Diane is a big help on these projects. With the gold bucket firmly in hand, she remained with me until we arrived at the office. It is an important matter of personal duty to keep all the gold safe and secure until it is properly cleaned up and everyone is given their share. We are very serious about this!

I expected to have to pull all our final clean-up gear out of storage and set it up in the shade of our outdoor picnic area near the front corner of our office building. But when we drove into the parking lot, Diane and I were delighted to discover that John Rose already had all that gear set up and ready to go. Very cool!

John has been Assistant Manager of The New 49’ers for about as long as I can remember. It is because he loyally takes on these responsibilities that I become free to depart Happy Camp during the winter months so I am able to look for golden adventures abroad.

Dave McCracken boating

Boating is my favorite activity in the whole world!

Due to some good fortune that has come my way, I now have a 56-foot luxury motor yacht in the Philippines. Close friends and I have converted this 800 HP platform into a fantastic dive boat. I now devote the winter months voyaging around the Philippines, which is mostly water, doing spear fishing and underwater exploration. This is a lifetime dream come true for me.

Under John’s management, our Happy Camp program runs as smooth as can be. I am able to manage legal matters and compose newsletters anywhere on the planet that I have an Internet connection. The boat provides an Internet connection through a satellite uplink.

With the assistance of my experienced helpers, we made short work of the final clean-up steps with everyone looking on. There was a lot of gold! I bet Craig Colt a dollar that we were just short of an ounce. Then, to hedge my bet, I wagered a dollar with someone else that we recovered more than an ounce. It’s all in fun, and fits in nicely with all the excited chatter from the participants. All debts were promptly paid as soon as we weighed the gold on our scale.

gold nuggets in metal pan people watching

The real value in this clean-up was in the 200 gold nuggets that we had recovered. Granted that most of the nuggets were small. A piece of gold is technically a nugget if it will not pass through a 10-mesh screen.

In the end, the scale weighed up 19 pennyweights (20 pennyweights equals a troy ounce of gold). We were a pennyweight short of making our target of a full ounce. Perhaps if we processed the remaining pay-dirt that had already been dug and screened, we would have more than met our target. But how could I know?

The spot price value of the gold we recovered on Sunday morning added up to $1,360. I made an offer to keep all the gold in exchange for throwing a big pizza party with all the beer or other beverages to make everyone happy. “All in favor?” Not a single participant was in favor of that idea. They never are!

There were 53 people at the split that had been present out on our dig. Divided into 455 grains (about 19 pennyweights), the weight of the individual splits was around 8.56 grains each. Normally, individual splits on these projects are between 6 and 7 grains. I cannot remember the last time the individual splits were above 7 grains. This, along with all the nuggets, gave everyone something to cheer about.

Four of the gold nuggets weighed more than 8.56 grains. One beautiful gold nugget was a pennyweight and a half!  To keep things fair, we all agreed upon a drawing system that would allow the lucky four to pick their nuggets. Boy were those some happy people! Those were some really beautiful gold nuggets!

Then we needed to recalculate the remaining weight against 49 people. From there, I measured out just under 8 grains for each additional split. This is still at least a five-year record. Maybe ten years!

With John and several other members providing support, it did not take long to distribute the individual shares. It was challenging to make it happen through the roar of excitement being generated by the participants. This roar of excitement is all the payment I personally need in order to keep managing these weekend projects.

After a bunch of us packed the gear up the stairs in our building and put it where it belongs, everyone went off to experience more adventure in their lives. I was told that the big pile of pay-dirt we left out on site had been fully processed before dark on Sunday. I heard that some people even swam over there to get their share of what we left behind. 

2019 Schedule of Events

Our first two weekend Group Mining Projects of the season went very well. One of the stories is published above. The other project will make for some excellent video-enhanced storytelling once we complete this latest effort to win our industry back.

The remaining 2019 weekend event will take place in just a few weeks:  August 17 & 18. Otherwise, our numerous properties are available to all members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for you to do your own prospecting adventures. That is, unless there is some emergency that closes the forest down, like a dangerous wildfire. We have not had any serious wildfires this year so far, so the air is nice and clear.

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

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

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

Action Alert: We Still Have an Opportunity to Open Suction Dredges on the Federal Lands!

Action Alert by Tom Kitchar, President of Waldo Mining District

Now that we have the attention and support from Trump administration officials, the next step forward for us has been to draft a Petition to the Department of Interior (DOI) to perform an official Rulemaking process to change the federal regulations in a way that prevents States from interfering with mining on the Federal Lands, to do away with duplicative and unreasonable regulation, and to prevent the States from prohibiting mining on the federal lands.

The Petition was submitted in mid-June. This is an industry-wide program which enjoys support from all or most mining associations. There have also been letters of support from several county governments that have sustained serious economic harm because of the misguided policies against mining by some State agencies.

The petition has landed home where it needs to be. It is being taken seriously. Now, if we can just please take it to the next step: We need to encourage supportive messages from as many people as we can. This is the moment of truth! Notwithstanding any other opportunities that could arise in the future, this is, to a large extent, our last opportunity in the foreseeable future to regain the use of our mechanized equipment and gold dredges.

To assist you with this, we are attaching the Petition. This needs to either be linked to emails or included with hard copies of support:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Miners-Petition-6-18-19.pdf 

We are attaching a link which provides most of the contact details for the officials that we want to reach at this time: https://www.goldgold.com/contact-information-for-petition-recipients.html

We are also attaching a simple article which describes what a suction dredging is:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/What-is-a-Suction-Dredge.pdf Perhaps you want to enclose or attach this information in tour message.

There is an additional link which provides some talking points to help if you want some assistance with your messages:  www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/petition-talking-points.pdf

If you please send your messages to each person on the list, especially the two top DOI officials listed at the beginning of the Petition, and also to Mr. Trump; we could find ourselves in a federal Rulemaking process that will finally allow us to defend against the false claims being made against us by the radical extremists who are doing everything within their power to undermine the economic wellbeing of America.

We are thanking you with all sincerity for any and all help you can provide in this effort!

Planned Office Hours for the Time Being

Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s final Weekend Group Projects:  August 17 & 18. Our final Saturday evening potluck will also happen on August 17. 

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

The New 49’ers Legal Fund-raiser!

Gold and Silver EaglesThere 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).

This drawing will take place at 2 pm on Friday, 18 October of this year, 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
,

Our most sincere thank you to everyone who is supporting our efforts to win our industry back. There is good reason for hope at this time.

Best wishes,

Dave McCracken

 

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 2

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

One of the important benefits to becoming an Associate or Full Member of The New 49’ers is that you are able to participate for free in all of our organized Weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.

Gold mining on the Klamath River Beautiful Gold Sample

We have sponsored these projects every season since 1987 when we realized that many or most members needed some direct exposure to successful gold mining projects so they could go out and find gold by themselves on our extensive gold properties along the Klamath River and its tributaries in northern California.

Reading about how to prospect for and develop rich gold deposits sets a good foundation. But there is no substitute for going out with a group of very experienced prospectors and participate in a successful mining project. Actually seeing how the techniques and processes work is very valuable to progressing through the learning curve. But perhaps the most important part of these projects is that everyone gains the objective reality and confidence that there really are high-grade gold deposits to be found if you just stick to a basic sampling plan.

Fortunately, we have quite a few experienced members who like to come out on the weekends with us and help less experienced members learn the basics as we aggressively sample for a valuable gold deposit. We try to find one that is close to the surface so we don’t have to dig very deep. Then we join together in about three hours of hard work to recover as much gold out of the deposit that we can.  We had about 45 members on this particular project, including 10 or more volunteer helpers.

I thank my lucky stars for the volunteer members who join us on these weekends. There is no way I could manage projects with so many people on my own. I believe the largest weekend group we ever had was around 207 members. That’s not a group. It’s an army! Even with plenty of helpers, I had to buy a megaphone to communicate with so many people out alongside the river!

This project was planned on our Sluice Box property which takes in around 4 miles of the Klamath River just downstream of the small town of Seiad. That is about 20 miles upstream of Happy Camp where our headquarters is located.  We have been making the Sluice Box property available to members since the late 1980’s.  The property is always producing well for streamside mining. This is because it replenishes its shallow gold deposits every winter from high storm flows. We have sponsored quite a few group projects on Sluice Box, both with suction dredges, and by digging the shallow gold alongside the river.

Over the many years, there have been numerous gold rushes to Sluice Box both in and outside of the active waterway. As shown below, the property continues to produce good results. This is true even in the very same places that we have mined in the past. No kidding!

The reason we chose Sluice Box for this particular outing is that the most recent gold rush I was aware of happened towards the top end of the property during the 2017 season, and extended into the beginning of the 2018 season.

In 2017, there was so much energy in the group of members that made the strike, when I went up there to have a look, I got the clear impression that I would make a bunch of good members upset if I directed dozens upon dozens of new members nearby to do a weekend project. Gold has this effect on just about anyone. If you have not had “gold fever” yet, it is only because you have not found a rich enough gold deposit. It is only reasonable that if (when) you locate a rich deposit of pure wealth; you want to recover as much of it for yourself as you can. Most often, you don’t want to share the deposit with the whole world.

The only time I get the cold shoulder from a group of members out on the river is when they have found something really good and do not want a whole bunch of others moving in on them. We have rules that protect the deposits members find so they can take their time developing the site and not have to worry about others jumping in right on top of them.

As manager of The New 49’ers, I have to abide by our rules more than anyone else.  Still, because it is good for other members, and helps keep our bills paid; it is in my personal interest to figure out how to introduce as many members as possible to high-grade gold deposits when they are discovered. Therefore, occasionally some members conspire to keep newly-found rich gold deposits a secret (which is impossible to do). To find them, we just have to watch where a bunch of members flock to along our extensive gold properties.

The thing is that high-grade gold follows a continuous path down more than 100 miles of the Klamath River. So when a rich discovery is made, I can usually organize an experienced sampling team to locate an extension of the very same high-grade by sampling further up and downstream along the very same path, down to the very same layer in the streambed material that is paying. If we cannot do this without stepping on the discoveries made by other members, we have plenty of other places to go.

I knew about the small gold rush at the top end of Sluice Box towards the end of the 2017 season. Myself and a few helpers launched my boat to go take a look at what they found, and to see if it would be practical to do the final weekend project a respectable distance downstream of the strike. As it turned out, there was a long stretch of river available downstream of the strike. But the vibes I was getting from the active members upstream was that at least some of them would be unhappy if we moved in there.

Having been managing The New 49’ers for about 35 years, I have learned that it is never a good idea for me to organize mining projects, or do my own mining, in close proximity to an active strike where all or some of the existing members are emotionally jacked up over the gold they are finding. Therefore, we did something else on our final project that season.

Sample pan

All of our sample pans were looking good, and the gold was coming right off the surface of the streambed!

With the 2018 season upon us, we returned to Sluice Box and only found a few members mining along the road-side edge of the river near the top end. As I said, there is a long stretch downstream of the original strike that has yet to be sampled or mined. These members were as friendly as can be, and actually encouraged us to do the project up there any place we desired. They showed us the gold they were recovering out of very shallow streambed material along the edge of the river and even out into the river as far as they could reach. The gold was quite good!

When we launched my boat and all the gear to support this project, all or most of the members who were already at Sluice Box helped us pack gear to the site and set it up. They went so far as to show us the gold they were recovering, and the exact streambed layer that was producing the gold. This was great! It meant that we already had a gold strike even before we began the project!

We do a Saturday morning meeting to introduce everyone, especially the project helpers. Then I devote the morning to a blackboard demonstration about how gold deposits in waterways and how to follow a simple sampling plan to, step by step, walk yourself right into high-grade gold.  Then, after lunch, we go out to the site and devote the afternoon doing gold pan samples to confirm the gold deposit we will all work together for several hours on Sunday morning.

John Rose

John Rose has been our project manager for quite a long time.

There are two objectives on Saturday afternoon on these projects. The first is to make certain that everyone is able to pan gold correctly. The reason for this is that if you cannot pan gold without losing any, you cannot sample for rich gold deposits. Sampling is the process you go through to locate and develop rich gold deposits. So gold panning is pretty-much the first important step in the learning curve. The second objective on Saturday afternoon is to confirm a rich gold deposit that we will all work together on Sunday.

It wasn’t long on Saturday afternoon before nearly everyone was recovering a good showing of gold in their pans. Our helpers dedicated themselves to helping beginners with their panning skills.

Putting on these projects requires me to delegate nearly all of the management duties to our helpers. John Rose takes charge of the entire outdoor program. This frees me to capture some images and video so I can tell the adventure story in a monthly newsletter at some later time.

Dicky Melton Dicky feeding sluice

Dickey Melton takes pleasure in feeding pay-dirt to our main gold recovery system.

Dickey Melton mostly takes charge of our floating recovery system, and makes sure that all the pay-dirt will be fed at the proper speed. By this, I mean as fast as we can without overloading the riffles (gold traps in the recovery system) and avoid losing gold that everyone has worked so hard to dig up. Here is some video we captured of Dickey showing how it’s done:

Diane Peirce is designated as our “gold girl.”  She places all the gold we recover on Sunday inside of a good plastic bucket with a twist-on, locking lid. The thing about gold is that if you do not handle and take careful control of it as soon as it is recovered from the ground, the gold will find some way to get lost.  This is absolutely true!

Diane Helgesen is a longtime supporter who never misses an opportunity to volunteer herself on any and every New 49’er event.  You never met a happier or more loyal person. She also adds humor and fun times to the collective group chemistry. She took on the “gold girl” responsibility on this project. She also works with me in capturing images and video. When you see me slip off my more serious demeanor on camera and break out into a smile (sometimes I even laugh), you know it is because Diane is there behind the camera adding fun to what is otherwise a serious activity for me.

Happy ProspectorThere are several reasons that I personally take these projects very seriously, even though they are mostly fun and entertaining for everyone else. Part of this is because there are rules we must follow to avoid problems with local officials. Also, with so many people out there on the rocks and in the water, accidents do occasionally happen – which is never good. This normally has to do with someone losing balance and taking a fall on the rocks.

Perhaps the main reason I take these projects serious is that the final clean-up steps and gold split on Sunday afternoon is my responsibility. Everyone works hard out there. Most people by Sunday afternoon have gained enough exposure to the processes we employ are already aware that prospecting is a hit or miss program. There are times when you don’t recover very much. I have been told endless times over the years that participants are happy with the education and exposure to gold prospecting, and really don’t care about how much gold they get as their share of what we recover.  But I know from long experience that it is much more satisfying to everyone if they go away Sunday afternoon with a nice share of gold to show for their effort. While other very dedicated helpers contribute to this, the ultimate responsibility to make it happen falls squarely upon my shoulders.

Gold in pan

When we are capturing this much gold in a single pan of the material we are processing, I don’t need to worry about how the splits are going to come out at the end of the day!

There are numerous regular helpers on these projects; too many to name here. But I must acknowledge Craig Colt and Derek Eimer who are perhaps our most serious gold prospectors. Also, Laura Bagley and Scott Coleman are local members who do prospecting nearly every day of the year, unless the snow is too deep to allow access to the streambed material. Nancy Aberg never misses a weekend project even though she has to travel perhaps 100 miles each way over windy roads to join up with us. Ray Derrick, now living in Arizona, also joined us on this project. Many years went by when Ray never missed a single weekend project.

We end off rather early on Saturday afternoon so we can freshen up and prepare for a potluck at the Grange Hall which begins at 6:30 PM. The gold panning was so productive on this Saturday; a bunch of the participants were still hard at it when I returned to Happy Camp. For some participants, the gold they recover on Saturday afternoon is the first gold they ever recovered. Some people never do break away from the gold adventure on the river and make it to the potluck. Instead, they go get flashlights to assist with their panning activity late into the night.

Even so, our potluck at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp was a full house. There was plenty of scrumptious food to go around. The roar of exciting conversations was so loud; it took some doing to quiet the room so I could tell everyone that dinner was ready. We have a bunch of local members who have either moved to Happy Camp altogether, or at least spend the entire summer seasons there. Many of these folks have already done the weekend projects, so we only see them around the office when they come in, or at the Saturday potlucks. All active Members are invited to join our group dig on Sunday morning.

We begin the group dig early on Sunday morning; usually at around 6:30 AM. The main reason for this is to complete the physical labor before the heat of the day reaches the site where we are working. When I arrived at Sluice Box, nearly everyone else was already hard at work. Everyone already knew at what layer in the streambed the gold was coming from.  This time, the pay-dirt was directly on top of the streambed. So digging was going to be rather easy.

We had already set up and dialed in our floating recovery system on Saturday, so Dickey was ready for the first bucket of pay-dirt as soon as he arrived.

Classification of pay dirt Screened pay-dirt

Our group helpers quickly organized participants into teams to perform the necessary functions to produce a continuous flow of pay-dirt to the recovery systems. Under John’s watchful eye, participants are sorted into diggers who fill plastic buckets about half way to keep them from becoming too heavy to pack over the rocks to a staging point. This is where the material will be passed through a classification screen.  Longtime supportive member, Mark Turner, created a volume ¼-inch classifier that we use on these projects.  In this way, we remove larger sized material (mostly rocks) that do not need to be fed into the recovery systems. Here it is on video:

Another team does the screening so that the classified pay-dirt drops into some large plastic tubs. Then others fill buckets with classified pay-dirt and walk the material down to where it can be passed out to our floating recovery system. Others gather up the empty buckets and distribute them back to the diggers. We captured the following video of how Sunday morning got off to a good start:

John feeding hand sluiceWe discovered on earlier weekend projects that when the pay-dirt is close to the surface, a group project can generate rich pay-dirt faster than our floating recovery system can process it. If you feed any gold recovery system too fast, the gold traps become buried and some portion of the gold will be lost with the tailings. Not good!

So, to take some pressure off Dickey, John and Scott set up a large modified hand sluice in the river so even more pay-dirt could be processed.  Here is some video I captured from up on the gravel bar:

Then I went out into the water to capture the pan samples Scott was turning up. All I can say is “Wow!”  I did not stay out there for long because the diggers were so intent on filling buckets that the camera was getting splashed from the rocks they were throwing into the river:

As it was, the production crew produced more pay-dirt than both recovery systems could keep up with. It is not unusual on these weekend projects to have so many buckets of pay-dirt that there is not enough time to process it all. When this happens, we invite participants to take what they want to process for themselves at some later time.

Helping hands Sample gold

Here is a typical pan that Scott Coleman showed me of the material that was being sent to the recovery systems.

Scott, Craig and Derek mostly devote themselves to running pan samples of the material which different participants are digging. This is to dial in the pay-dirt we process to the richest material we can find out there. As busy as they were, I did not see a single sample of material that was not worth processing. This is better than normal. Check out this video I captured of a pan sample dug by Scott. This was the very same material that was being fed into the buckets:

We are rather informal on Sunday digs in that as long as we are producing more pay-dirt than we will be able to process, participants are encouraged to take breaks whenever they feel the need, consume some nourishment and fluids, and pretty-much not overdo it. Here is my summary of what was taking place out there on Sunday morning. As you can see, things were going so well, I was in a light-hearted mood. Diane was also pulling my strings; we were having some fun out there!

We stopped the production team at around 11 AM. There remained at least an hour of processing pay-dirt which had already been dug. While the processing continued, the production team reclaimed the areas that had been disturbed. They moved rocks, gravel and tailings into the holes to return the gravel bar to the natural contours that were present before we got started. I gathered up about a dozen helpers to fill in a fairly large excavation that someone else had made downstream and did not fill in. That actually took us about an hour!

Members are supposed to reclaim their excavations when they are done. But sometimes fairly large excavations are left behind when members (or perhaps nonmembers) depart. When this happens, the rest of us must do the reclamation so we can stay off the bad list of local officials.

Clean-up of the floating sluice was really something to behold!  There is a section of punch plate over top of the initial recovery traps. So there is no way to see how well we are doing until we clean out the whole system after all the pay-dirt has been processed. My trusted helpers were present when we cleaned out the floating recovery system, along with some of the participants.  Check it out right here on video:

Gold concentratesDirecting a controlled flow of water over the concentrated material in the floating recovery system allowed the lighter material to be washed away while the much heavier gold lagged behind. Seeing all that gold in the recovery system was truly a sight to behold! Any worries I had about having enough gold to do a good split were evaporated from my mind as I watched the water concentrate millions of small flakes of pure wealth as we washed them into a large plastic tub. It was quite a show that reminded me of earlier days when we were allowed to suction dredge out in the river!

The Gold Girl was right there with her special plastic bucket to take possession of the very valuable gold-laden “concentrates” from the recovery system.

With just a little work, all remaining gear and tools were secured and put away safely.

Everyone was allowed some time to relax and freshen up. Then we at met at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp later in the day.

With all or most participants present at the Grange early on Sunday afternoon, we demonstrated the final clean-up functions using gravity methods. This is without the use of any chemicals.  It is extremely important if you plan to do gold prospecting to learn how to do the final steps to separate all remaining impurities from the gold that has been recovered. By “impurities,” I’m mainly talking about heavy iron sands and small iron pebbles which also become trapped in the primary recovery systems.

Over the many years, we have perfected this procedure and have demonstrated it to thousands of participants on these weekend projects. The entire process takes a few hours, mainly because we go slow to explain what we are doing, and to avoid losing a single speck of gold.

The entire final clean-up process would only require an hour or so if I was working on my own concentrates.  The reason is that I am not worried about saving every speck of gold, no matter how small. When allowed, I go for filling up bottles of gold (raw wealth) rather than allow my focus to be on a few (or many) tiny specks that don’t add up very well on a scale.  But this was not my gold. So I invested the extra time to make certain that nothing of value was lost.  This requires more time.

We allow project participants to participate in these final steps. Everyone is allowed to watch. This is not one of those programs where we take the concentrates into a hidden room and then come out later with a share for everyone. This is real small-scale gold mining where participants are allowed to be present every step of the way.  The value in getting direct exposure to these processes cannot be understated.  In my early days, I had to figure out most of these processes on my own. There were plenty of painful lessons along the way. As far as I know, The New 49’ers is the only mining association in the world that demonstrates all of the required steps necessary to become a successful small-scale gold miner.

Final goldIn all, we recovered 292 grains of gold. This is a little more than 12,1 pennyweights (20 pennyweights equal one troy ounce). This was about $800 at today’s gold price – all in about 3 hours of work.  I made an offer to keep all the gold for myself in exchange for all the pizza and beer necessary for all participants to celebrate our successful day. But not a single person was interested in that. They all wanted their shares!

So we split 6.4 grains by weight to each of the 45 participants that remained. Needless to say, making 292 grains of raw gold come out evenly between 45 people presents a challenge all in itself. It is easier for me because I have made these splits come out hundreds of times in the past. More importantly, I had to endure the personal embarrassment several times when we came up short on the final shares. True to my word, I had to make up the difference out of my own gold collection (ouch!).

The most difficult part in all of this is to keep order as we give the gold shares away. The noise of enthusiasm in the Grange Hall becomes almost deafening. During my early years, I used to try (and failed every time) to keep all this noise under control. It was impossible!  After a while, I realized this was the enthusiastic response that we wanted to generate. We just had to learn how to work around it  You have to accept thankful forms of appreciation however it comes to you!  Looked at in this light, I am very thankful that I have devoted my entire adult life to small-scale gold mining and the wonderful people who are attracted to it.

By around 5 PM on Sunday, we had cleaned up behind ourselves and put the chairs and tables away at the Grange Hall. There were plenty of sincere “thank yous” and other kind acknowledgments as I slowly worked my way, with our clean-up gear, to my car. Then I retreated to my own quiet home space and poured myself a well-deserved cold one or two… “Whew; another successful weekend project!”

Here was one more time that we sent a bunch of enthusiastic members off with the confidence and knowledge that high-grade gold is available for the taking if you just work at it.

Being able to locate and recover your own gold, and stashing some away, provides you freedom from the misguided dictates of governments that have lost their way. Gold is the ultimate currency which has a fair exchange value wherever you go in the world – as long as you can manage your affairs so that the bad guys don’t take it away from you.

On that note, I suggest that if you are free enough to put true wealth away in the form of gold, you are already much smarter than those whose only opportunity to acquire gold is to take it away from others.

2019 Schedule of Events

 June 22 & 23; July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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

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

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

Schedule of Events

Planned Office Hours for Upcoming Season

 We shall monitor walk in traffic at our headquarter office in Happy Camp as we progress into the 2019 season.  Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects:  June 22; July 20; and August 17. 

If business is slow, sometimes the girls will close the office at 2:30 PM on Tuesdays. This won’t likely happen during the summer months. Still, we advise you to call the office in advance to make sure the doors will be open if you need to get inside to take care of business: 530 493-2012.

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

Most Recent Legal Fund Prize Drawing Winners!

Our office staff have informed me that all of the prizes have been sent out to the following winners from our most recent Legal Fund drawing which took place on February 22, 2019:

Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles:  William Frese of Cincinnati, OH; Kim Ellison of Hayward, CA;  Steve Perris of Eureka, CA;  Eric Hansen of Happy Camp, CA;  Cliff Leidecker of Rogue River, CA;  Ronald Mathews of Peyton, CA;  Chris Johnson of Talent, OR;  Van Wilhite of West Point, CA;  Michael Tietz of Proberta, CA;  & Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR.

Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Mark Newhagen of Hanover, MD;  Steve Perris of Eureka, CA;  Randol Thrasher of Atwater, CA;  Kim Ellison of Hayward, CA;  Russell Barrett of Redding, CA;  Rebecca Parrish of Seattle, WA;  Rodney Gunderson of Eatonville, WA;  Ed & Diane Tillotson of Lake Havasu City, AZ;  Stephen Perfetto of Menlo Park, CA;  & Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR.

Twenty 1\10th-Ounce bags of beautiful Alaskan gold:  Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA;  Manuel Alcantar of San Jose, CA;  Stephen Perfetto of Menlo Park, CA;  KMS Electric Co. Inc. of Palm Harbor, FL;  Micro Sluice Gold Products of Chetek, WI;  Hank Fender of Chandler, AZ;  Clifford Robinson of Oakland, CA;  Charles Herren of Marion, IN;  Marvin E. Duncan of Happy Camp, CA;  Ronald Copenhafer of Malibu, CA;  Donald Esch of Salem, OR;  William Sowell of Sidney, NE;  Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA;  James Goularte of Paradise, CA;  Mark Newhagen of Hanover, MD;  Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR;  Jeffery Palme of Prescott Valley, AZ;  Charles Rosebery of Cordova, AK;  Matt Cottrell of Galt, CA;  &  Cheryl Lee of Klamath Falls, OR.

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:  William Frese of Cincinnati, OH

Congratulations to all the winners!

Words alone cannot adequately describe the feelings of appreciation we feel for all our supporters who send in your contributions to The New 49’er Legal Fund. Without you guys, our small-scale gold mining industry would have been a thing of the past many years ago.

As it is, we remain in the fight to regain our freedoms with a very important legal challenge that has been placed on the doorstep of the now right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court (Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018)).

If you have not done so already, we are asking all supporters to send a letter to President Trump, his Solicitor General and several other officials, asking for them to help put attention on Bohmker v. Oregon, and encourage the Supreme Court to review this case. For your convenience, there is an Action Alert below which links to a sample letter from which you can copy and paste to create your own letter. The timing to send in your letter is perfect right now! This is because our official Reply to California’s Opposition is due to the Court in early April.

We should also place some hope and faith in the Trump administration.  Now that the 2-year cloud (hoax) has been lifted off of Mr. Trump, he and his team should be able to invest more resources into saving the once very productive resource development industries which supplied most of America’s continuous need for raw materials (timber, energy, minerals) from our federal lands.

In large part, Mr. Trump won the presidency on his platform of “draining the swamp” which definitely exists within American politics and continues to hold down a substantial portion of the American economy.

It is now becoming clear that the deep state (those very well connected individuals who are dedicated to turn America into a socialist country) organized a nation-wide all-out effort to bring down our president even before he won the 2016 election – all or mostly based upon a false narrative.  It is a sobering realization of how powerful the deep state is when the President of the United States, even with all the resources at his disposal, can be brought to his knees for a matter of years all because of a false narrative perpetuated by perhaps half or more of all of America’s politicians, newscasters and political activists.

Our industry has been brought to its knees by, more or less, the very same powerful bad actors or their affiliates who have perpetuated a hoax that in-stream mining is harmful to fish, even though the many studies have proven otherwise.

This very same tactic was used to kill America’s once thriving timber development industry.  Now, for lack of any reasonable sustainable development, we have vast reaches of public lands in America that have become severe fire hazards.

With a fair hearing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe we will be able to prove that the very same tactics by the very same or affiliated institutions, have succeeded in disallowing modern gold miners the use of any mechanized device to locate and develop America’s abundant gold deposits (true wealth) within 100 yards of any active waterway (Oregon and California, with other States not far behind).

This, when there is no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate that we have ever harmed so much as a single fish!

We are committed to keep fighting until either there is no hope remaining, or until we win back our most basic freedoms. As things are, perhaps we are closer than we have ever been to winning our industry back in full. My fingers are crossed on both hands!

Thanks for all you guys do to support our efforts! 

Upcoming Legal Drawing Will Have 3 Ounces of Gold & 10 Ounces of Silver Coins!
gold and silver eagles

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 on Friday, 21 June 2019 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.

All contributions are tax deductible. You can find more information about the drawing right 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. 
 Action Alert: We need to Push as Hard as We Can to Encourage the U.S. Supreme Court to Review Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018)

This case originated in Oregon and has been supported along its way mostly by prospecting associations based in Oregon up until the present. The case is challenging the State of Oregon’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands.

Many of you will recall that we made the final cut in the previous session of the High Court just this past year in Rinehart v. California. The Rinehart case was challenging the State of California’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Rinehart was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court largely because of the Solicitor General, who has the authority to provide “yes” or “no” advice to the High Court as to which of the final cases should be reviewed. The Solicitor General advised the Court to reject Rinehart largely on the grounds that this Bohmker case would soon be along, and it frames the very same arguments in a more straightforward manner than Rinehart.

The New 49’er Legal Fund made an initial substantial financial contribution to help get the Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court drafted, finalized and submitted. Other people and mining associations are also contributing. This is an industry-wide effort. Here is the Petition:  https://www.goldgold.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Petition-for-Writ-of-Cert.-1-21-19.pdf

I won’t go into the legal arguments here because of time and space. Let me just say that 150 years of case president supports our side. We believe that the existing High Court will also see it our way. The challenge is to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review Bokmker. After 9+ years of painful and expensive litigation, this is the industry’s final ongoing attempt to win our mining rights back.

Since the Solicitor General advised the High Court to reject Rinehart, our attorney is requesting we make an all-out industry-wide effort to encourage Mr. Trump to become involved, along with the existing Solicitor General and other officials who have an active interest in mining activity on the federal lands. Upon competent advice, we have added the Supreme Court to the list.

This is a letter writing campaign (postal mail). I have attached a sample letter  which can be cut and pasted into a letter of your own – or you can just add in the correct date at the top, your name and address at the bottom, an original signature; and mail the letter to Mr. Trump. It would be very helpful if you copy your final letter and send it to each of the officials listed at the bottom of the letter, especially the Solicitor General.

Tom Kitchar, who has been President of the Waldo Mining District in southern Oregon, and who was already fighting for small-scale miners 30+ years ago when I started The New 49’ers, has taken the lead role in organizing the Petition, encouraging other mining interests to file supporting briefs, and keeping the industry informed of ongoing developments. I have granted Tom a free hand to post updates on our Internet forum. You can read Tom’s latest assessment right here:  https://www.waldominingdistrict.org/

Our attorney believes that hard copy letters in the mail are likely to have a greater impact than email. I agree that perhaps only a single aid might view an email, while letters from a lot of people must be opened, handled and put into a location where they will stack up for many to see.

I won’t say that this is the end of our road, because there are dozens of other lawsuits between the Trump administration and various States over who has the controlling authority over the federal lands. The outcomes of those cases will perhaps affect us in a positive way. But this Bohmker case is the crown jewel for us; because it directly addresses the special status and property rights afforded to miners when we make valuable discoveries on the federal lands. Other resource developers on the federal lands do not possess these rights. Over a century of controlling case law confirms that mineral development is the priority use of the federal lands.

This is my strongest request for you guys to support this final effort by our industry to win our rights back. For as long as we have been fighting, and all the money we have spent over the past 9 or 10 years, it has all come down to this: We need to push as hard as we can to get Bohmker in front of the U.S. Supreme Court!

My sincere thanks to each of you who support this final effort!

Sincerely,

Dave McCracken

New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2018                              VOLUME 32, NUMBER 5

Dave McCracken

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

transporting the sluice  gold across letrap

Having obtained pretty good results during the first two Weekend Projects of the season along our Sluice box property up near the town of Seiad, we decided to try something new this time. Longtime supporters, and always present to help, Scott Coleman and Laura Bagley had been telling me of a place that was producing good gold for them on the far side of the river down on the lower part of our Wingate property. This is about seven miles downstream from Happy Camp.

We only have a limited amount of time on these projects to confirm good pay-dirt. This is done using gold pans on Saturday afternoon. Then we will devote the cool hours of Sunday morning to process as much of the pay-dirt as we can.

Because we have so much mining property available to our members, sometimes it’s challenging just to decide where to go. To reduce the chances of not recovering very much gold on Sunday, it is common these days for us to pull a team of members together in advance to make sure the pay-dirt is actually present in the place where we will do the project.

There have been many times in the past that I found what appeared to be a valuable gold deposit because I recovered one or two good pans – only to return afterwards and discover that the place I recovered the gold was the only place it existed in volume. We made this mistake on a project many years ago and only recovered enough gold on Sunday that each participant just got a single flake of gold. While the members were gracious about it, because it is the nature of gold mining to not find good gold everywhere; I was terribly embarrassed to have gathered so many people for a group dig and we hardly found enough gold to spread around. Some mistakes you only need to make once in your life. This was one of them!

There are multiple reasons why all of our projects produce plenty of gold to go around these days. One reason is that we know the river a lot better. Another reason is that we have members like Scott and Laura that prospect every day and share the information with us. And the most important reason is that we pull a team together in advance of nearly every project and do enough sampling in the targeted area to be certain the gold deposit is large enough to sustain a group project.

boating people across the riverThis took place in August. The river was really running low. So low, that we had to push my boat off the trailer at the boat ramp at Wingate. There have only been a few times over the years that we had to do that. Here it was on video:

This location below Wingate was ideal because there was plenty of parking up by the road, a well-developed path down to the river, and just a short distance over calm water for us to ferry participants to the worksite. There was also a nice sand beach where we could land the boat and help people in and out of the boat.

Someone had told me that if we hike up the hill some distance, we would come upon the place where the Old-timers stopped mining. Supposedly, there is exposed bedrock there, and the ancient streambed is exposed directly on top of it. I’m told the pay-dirt is extremely rich. So this is where I assumed we were going when I first arrived over there and made the following video. So I was surprised when Laura and Scott stopped about half way up the hill and started sampling:

The place Scott and Laura had made a good discovery was up the hillside along a pretty good path.  So that’s the first place Scott, Laura and I went. Each of us got good pans, and the flakes of gold were larger than we have generally encountered this season. Here is their explanation of the gold discovery and Scott’s single, unscreened pan on video:

Still, it was going to require all the pay-dirt to be packed in buckets some distance to the river. This is something to consider when evaluating any discovery: How much of your labor is going to be subtracted from digging and processing pay-dirt? In this case, I would guess that it would take only about half the time to fill buckets, than it would to pack the buckets to the river. But the gold was good enough that we still could have made it come out alright.

Scott Gold from Scott

The flakes of gold were larger up the hillside.

Sure enough, the gold in Scott’s, Laura’s and my sample pans all had good gold for the small volumes of gravel we processed. Some of the pieces were mid-sized flakes. This is important because bigger pieces of gold weigh up on a scale better than even a good showing of fine (small pieces) gold. We have been fooled many times in the past turning up a good showing of fines, which added up in the recovery system on Sunday looking like we broke the all-time record of two ounces on one of these projects. Then, once we separated all those fine particles of gold from the other heavy minerals, the final result was much less than what we were hoping for. So there is a lot to be said about finding deposits that are made up of more than fine gold.

Craig's gold

This is a good pan sample considering the small amount of streambed material that was processed!

The big surprise of the morning was when Craig Colt started recovering the best results of the day by digging into compacted sand that was being held together by a root structure of dead grass.  This was right down by the river much closer to where we were going to process pay-dirt on Sunday.  Here it all is on video:

Several others on the team were also turning up good gold down closer to the river. Derek Eimer found a gold nugget using his gold detector, and then lost it. Then he found it again! Finding even small nuggets in a gold deposit is always a sign that more will be present.

Craig moved slightly further up the hillside and attacked the packed sand again, this time finding a thin layer of brown compacted streambed resting over rough bedrock. His sample results from the natural streambed were the best yet!

Good sample pan We made our strike

See the thin layer of natural streambed on the bottom just over bedrock?

We really don’t go out on these confirmation projects to mine gold. We just want to do enough sampling to be certain there will be enough gold to support a successful project.  If the location is good, we will return the day before the project and use the boat to transfer all the gear to the site. Here was the moment when I decided we had accomplished our purpose:

Happy Guy Voyage down river

In any event, everyone on our small team was finding good gold in their samples at this new location; so we called it a day. In all, we devoted about an hour to confirming the location. That’s the advantage of having an experienced team of gold prospectors!

Our jet boat is a really important part of our infrastructure to support these projects. Without the boat, we would mostly be confined to the road-side of the river.  The jet boat will allow us to go just about anywhere on the river. When we have large groups, sometimes we break out our large Colorado River rafts and tow whole groups of members up and down the river. Talking about adding a thrill to a prospecting adventure!

The truth is that besides developing rich gold deposits along the bottom of a river, there are few things that please me more than playing with boats on any kind of water. Here is some video that captured how much access the boat provides for us, and our gear, even moving our 300-pound floating recovery system up through several sets of rapids:

As group digs go, this one only had around 45 people. We are used to twice that many or more. But the terrible wildfires over the past several years have often made the air quality along the river so uncomfortable that there would be no fun in being there. The year before, the smoke was so bad that we were forced to cancel two of our Weekend Projects.

We were lucky on this particular weekend. The breeze was blowing smoke away from our work site. We could even see blue sky!

We always devote Saturday mornings at an air conditioned hall where everyone can sit down and relax. After introductions, I give a talk about the history of The New 49’ers which include some entertaining stories about events that happened along the way, and some of the colorful personalities who have been along for the ride – or took us for a ride, depending upon how you want to look at it. Then I make a presentation about how to follow a sampling plan to, step by step, work your way into high-grade gold. It’s not that difficult to make rich discoveries if you just stick to the plan! But it is human nature for beginners to stray from the plan and become discouraged. So I do my best to present the importance of following a sampling plan when looking for high-grade gold deposits.

The whole reason we do these weekend projects is to demonstrate to members that the gold deposits really do exist, and there is a very simple method (sampling plan) for finding them.

Saturday afternoon is all about teaching beginners how to pan for gold. We do this after lunch out on the discovery site. It took maybe 5 or 6 trips with my boat back and forth to get everyone over there.  Providing the boat ride to these projects adds more color to the entire outdoor adventure.  Here is some of the boat action on video:

We have done some projects where we had to tow everyone in through several sets of rapids to gain access to the work site, and then tow them down through two more sets of rapids to get them back to the road-side of the river!  That was a lot of adventure; pretty-much the limit of what I am willing to put people through.

And to think in all these years, we only flipped over a boat full of people just one time….  Thankfully, nobody got hurt. No; I was not driving the boat; I was not even in the country!

Therefore, I do all or most of the boat driving these days!

There were only several beginners who needed some help with their panning skills on Saturday afternoon. Everyone was finding gold in their pans. This was a good place!

We don’t like to stay out very long on these hot Saturday afternoons. The main reason is that once the participants begin seeing the gold in their pans, they get jacked up and sometimes overdo it. Then they are too tired to come out on the cool Sunday morning when the real action is taking place. I’m sorry that there was some wind getting in the way of the audio on the following video, but you can still get the idea of how things were going out there:

But some of the members were so pleased with the gold they were finding, it was difficult to get them back into the boat. We talked several into filling buckets with pay-dirt so they could pan the material on the other side of the river.

 One time, a member was so determined to keep on panning, he insisted that he would swim back across the river before dark!

We also do a potluck dinner and short meeting at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening. All members and their friends are invited to attend. These events are a lot of fun. People get to know each other in this setting. Many life-long friendships have been brought to life during our potlucks. I follow the meal with some instructions about when and where we will meet on Sunday morning.

Screening

Longtime supportive member, Mark Turner, built a fairly large screening device that makes it more efficient to remove the larger rocks from the pay-dirt.

As uncomfortable as the alarm is sounding off at 5 am on a Sunday morning, the discomfort is nothing compared to attempting a serious group dig in the heat of an afternoon in August!

We meet down at the river access Sunday morning at around 6:30 am.  It’s actually cold out there during that time of the day.  By the time I went over in the boat for the last bunch of members, everyone had arrived. Normally I have to go back after a while and bring over a few stragglers. But not this time. These guys were jacked up to get some work done!

We could not sponsor these projects if we did not have around a dozen experienced members who volunteer their weekends to help out and be part of the fun. Even before I transferred everyone over the other side of the river, our experienced team had all the participants busy digging in the hotspots we confirmed the day before, filling buckets (half full) with the pay-dirt, running the material through a classification screen to eliminate the larger sized material; and then transferring the buckets of pay-dirt to the recovery system. I captured some of the action on video:

Building bridge

As this was a new place for us, it took a bit longer than normal to set up our floating sluice recovery system. This is a 6-inch modified dredge recovery system that we have set up on floats. There are adjustments to lower the front of the sluice just below the surface of the river’s moving water. The water then washes pay-dirt through the sluice. Gold, being around five times heavier than the average material we are processing, easily gets trapped in special gold traps (called “riffles”) along the bottom of the sluice.

Since it takes some skill to feed the pay-dirt into the recovery system at the right speed, we always allow Dickey Melton to do this job. He is very good at maintaining the balance of feeding as much pay-dirt as possible so we can recover more gold, while not overfeeding so much that the gold traps along the bottom become overwhelmed. If you feed too fast, the gold will never get exposed to the traps, and it is likely to run right through the sluice into the river. So Dickey probably has the most important job out there.

As it turned out, the water flow in this location was near perfect, because it was smooth, swift water just ahead of a set of rapids. The challenge turned out to be building a bridge of sorts, or at least a stable step, so that buckets of pay-dirt could be safely passed out to the recovery system. Here’s some video of when we were just getting things started:

By the time Dickey was satisfied the sluice was operating correctly, there were so many buckets of pay-dirt stacked up, there was no way he was ever going to catch up with the digging crew! This is the way we like it; never a moment when pay-dirt is not flowing through the recovery system! Here is the way it turned out on video:

River view Dickey feeding sluice

Dickey carefully feeding the recovery system. How about that view of the river; is that beautiful or what?

It was particularly cool on this August morning. Shoveling pay-dirt on a nice cool morning is rather easy. There was a lot of happy chatter out there on the side of the river. My sidekick, Diane took a moment to capture me on video providing an overview of what was going on:

Craig devoted some time going around and taking samples of the material people were shoveling into the buckets. Some samples were better than others; but everyone was digging in gold. If everyone is digging in gold, and we are producing enough pay-dirt to operate the recovery system at capacity for about four hours, I am always confident that there will be plenty of gold to go around when it comes time to split it up.

Group working Work area

Here are some overall views of our work area; a very nice place to spend a Sunday morning!

The sun reaches the gravel bar along that portion of river at about 11 am. The heat of the day begins after noon. Since we still have to separate the gold from all the impurities back in Happy Camp and split the gold, we like to have everyone back across the river at around noon on Sunday afternoon. We give everybody some time to freshen up and usually meet for the final clean-up between 1:30 and 2 pm.

When we removed the riffles (gold traps) from the bottom of the sluice box to recover the material we had accumulated, there was a strong showing of gold present. We always get a good thrill out of that! Here is some video of Craig cleaning out the floating sluice:

The material we clear out of our floating recovery system out on the river is a mix of gold and mostly other heavy material. There is always plenty of black iron sand and small iron rocks. These also get trapped in the recovery system because they are heavy. We call this material “concentrates.”  These other impurities must still be separated from the gold before we do the split.

We usually bring the final concentrate back to one of the meeting halls in Happy Camp for final processing. But wildfires in the vicinity had those all tied up for places to support the fire-fighting crews. So we did the final cleanup and split in the shade of a tree next to the picnic area along the side of our building.

Dave feeding letrap Letrap with gold

Our final clean-up steps begin with a Le Trap sluice box. This is a green plastic recovery system with low-profile riffles (gold traps) that recovers all our gold, but reduces about half a bucket of concentrates down to about a double handful. Final cleanup is always one of the most exciting parts of a successful gold mining program, because you get to see the thousands of pieces of gold add up in the recovery system. Here is a short video of my feeding the Le Trap:

Gold Extractor

Here is our final cleanup in the Gold Extractor.

Our concentrates are passed through a #8 screen before we run them across the Le Trap. Then we run the smaller amount of concentrate over a Gold Extractor. This is an even smaller sluice with much smaller gold traps. When set up properly, neither the Le Trap or Gold Extractor will lose a single piece of gold no matter how small, unless there is some anomaly – like the gold still remains attached to a piece of rock. We captured some video of the Gold Extractor working, and then when that part of the process was complete:

For the benefit of anyone’s doubt, both Craig Colt and Derek Eimer carefully pan the tailings from both devices and show the results to the onlookers. There were no losses on this project!

The Gold Extractor reduces the concentrate down to about a tablespoon volume of gold and impurities.

All material that remains on top of a #8-sized screen are taken by our project supervisor, John Rose. Under his supervision, several participants use tweezers to pick out all the small nuggets. The nuggets are placed with the remaining concentrate and heated up in a small metal pan just hot enough to dry them.

Once dry, the concentrates are passed through a series of different sized (opening size) classification screens. Between the use of a magnet (to remove magnetic iron sands), and some light blowing, each size-fraction of the gold is finally separated from all the impurities.

It is very important to witness these final clean-up steps. It’s already challenging enough to locate and develop a high-grade gold deposit. But reducing the concentrate to where you have the finished product of just gold is something that requires some practice.

Final goldEvery gold deposit is different in the size ratios of gold particle size. Perhaps because most members were cleaning out bedrock cracks alongside the river, we recovered an unusual number of small gold nuggets – 37 in all. This was an amazing number of nuggets to find on one of these projects. Here is John Rose on video, who was so excited by the number of nuggets, that he was compelled to go outside and show everyone even before he was finished:

The final split was between 31 participants, so everyone received at least one nugget. To put this in perspective, even though we recovered more gold during other earlier weekend projects at Sluice box, I believe we only recovered a single gold nugget between those two projects.

The total weight we recovered at Wingate amounted to 264 grains – which amounts to about 11 pennyweights – just over half an ounce. While the volume of gold was less than during the earlier projects, the number of people out there digging was much smaller. This afforded everyone with a share weighing 8.5 grains. The usual split amounts to around just over 6 grains each. So we actually broke a record for the number of people on the project! Everyone seemed more than happy with that.

With another successful Weekend Project behind us, we all said our farewells and broke up at around 4 pm on Sunday afternoon. 

Cherished Member, Alex McCrone, has Moved on at 11 Years of Age

The following is shared with us from his loving dad, Paul McCrone:

Alexander McCroneAlexander Paul Julian McCrone:  9/15/2006 – 7/27/2018

Alex was born on September 15, 2006 in the wake of a tornado…. literally…a Nebraska tornado hit the day after he was born. The devastation was bad enough that Baby-Alex and his family were evacuated.

Alex rested gently in the loving arms of Jesus on Friday, July 27, 2018. But the tornado of Alex’s spirit will live on in all of us who knew him and continue to love him.

There are few people who have faced life’s trials as gracefully and courageously as Alex did. Diagnosed with cancer at age four, he triumphantly beat the cancer monster twice and continued to live his life fully, infusing each moment with his family and friends with all the love possible.

A free-spirited philosopher well beyond his years, Alex taught us how to love, how to say, “I’m sorry,” and how to forgive. Alex wanted everyone to get along and appreciate one another. He loved to be active, playing baseball, swimming, doing karate and sharing his Pokémon cards with anyone who would play.

During his final days, Alex spoke words of wisdom to share far and wide: “A world without love is impossible.”

Every year during his time in school, Alex received well-deserved awards and recognitions including the Loyalty Award in second grade and the Character Quality Award in fifth grade. He enjoyed karate at the Fierce Tigers Martial Arts in Salinas.

Alex loved mining for gold!  It was something he asked me, “Dad, when are we going MINING again?” He loved the glint of gold, and he always lit up whenever he got some.

Alex lit up a lot; he was better at panning than his Dad is! He seldom came away without some gold. Alex has the McCrone family record for finding the largest gold nugget.

Alex was in love with the Klamath River and the beauty of the Happy Camp claims, out of the town, in the forest, watching animals; the entire outdoor experience.

We loved going to the New 49er Saturday potluck meetings, with good food and friends, sharing what happened, listening to the tales. Those were truly some magic times we shared that I will never forget!

Note from Dave: Many of you who have attended our weekend prospecting projects during recent years will remember Alex.  There was a long stretch there when they never missed a single outing. 

Keeping the secret of Alex’s condition to themselves, there was never a time when I saw anything but a gracefulness between father and son and genuine kindness and gratitude towards the rest of us. 

As I find myself getting older, I am losing more and more of the people I care about. I often feel a twinge (or in some cases, a lot) of guilt for not making my encounters as good as they should have been if I had known they were coming to an end.  Finding a way to adjust to these losses is one of my own greatest challenges. I will miss Alex a lot!

Legal/Political Update

I ended off my September comments basically with the following:

Here is my prediction: If the Trump agenda manages to move forward, the Trump Team will ultimately overcome the stranglehold which America’s domestic enemies (inside all levels of government) who are determined to burn America’s forests down (and now entire rural communities), rather than return to sustainable forest management that creates wealth and prosperity for all Americans. This management approach will include us as small-scale gold miners who recover true wealth for America, remove mercury, lead and other toxins from the country’s waterways, and create prosperity for rural communities.

Even though the Republicans have lost their majority in the House of Representatives, as long as the Democrats do not succeed in wrestling away control of the U.S. Senate through the election shenanigans going on in several States, my prediction above remains the same. All of the important endorsements required to appoint federal judges and top level officials (like Attorney General) originate out of the U.S. Senate where it appears that the republicans picked up several seats.

There was not any meaningful mining law reform legislation moving through congress anyway. With the Senate and House split between republicans and democrats, and Mr. Trump remaining in charge of the Executive branch of the federal government, we can be certain that new laws at the federal level that will be harmful to working class Americans are unlikely to go anywhere.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump will continue to move his “Make America Great Again” agenda forward by reforming and reducing the negative impact upon us from federal agencies through executive order, much like Obama did when he could not get cooperation from the Republicans in congress.

I do predict that the democratic-controlled House of Representatives is going to do everything they can to make Mr. Trump’s life even more uncomfortable, along with the closest supporters on his management team.  Little or none of this should materially interfere with the Trump Team’s efforts to reform the federal agencies. None of this should affect ongoing litigation between some States and the federal government over who ultimately controls resource development on the public lands.

The democrats may begin impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, because this just requires a majority in the House. However, the trial would take place entirely by the republican-controlled Senate, and would require a finding by 2/3’s majority of high crimes and misdemeanors. The chances of this happening are about zero. Impeachment proceedings, while distracting, may be the fastest way to get the past two years of Russia Collusion allegations finally resolved in Mr. Trump’s favor.

I saw on today’s national news that Mr. Trump is blaming the federal agencies in a very big way for the wildfires that are ravaging the west. This would seem to be a sign that new management policies are coming that will perhaps return to multiple use management, rather than conservation. If and when this all ends up in front of the existing U.S. Supreme Court, it really should go our way. Why burn entire forests and communities down, when the alternative is to sustainably develop them while creating wealth and good jobs?

On another note, we should not be surprised that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against miners in the BOHMKER v OREGON case in which the miners are challenging a State’s authority (in this case, Oregon) to prohibit mining on the federal lands.

The New 49’er Legal Fund has offered to help with the costs of Petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for Review.

Now we can only hope that the Trump Team has been busy replacing the Obama officials in the justice department who review the thousands of cases sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our Rinehart case, which basically raised the same question over who ultimately controls the federal lands, made it to the final list several months ago.  But it was rejected mainly on the grounds that this BOHMKER v OREGON case was better suited for the high court to review. Let’s all collectively cross our fingers on this one!

While we wait, it appears that the California Water Board intends (perhaps intended) to adopt a Statewide water quality permit that will (perhaps) allow suction dredging under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. I discussed this in my last newsletter. Nothing on this has changed, except it would appear that they have fallen behind schedule. Last I heard, they were going to put out a public disclosure in early October. I have yet to see anything. Several other industry leaders have been sending them queries; but so far, there have been no answers. 

Legal Drawing Winners

 

Legal drawingHere is the winning list from the legal fund drawing 10-26-18

Veronica Rasmussen was our helper on this drawing.

Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles:  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Donald Hill of Vallejo, CA;  John Willett of Porter, ME;  Gradley Hughes of Riverside, CA;  Jolynn Ruedas of Vacaville, CA;  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Kenneth Parchinski of Alford, FL;   John Stewart of Canton, CT;  Bill Dimmett of Redwood Valley, CA; &  Tracy Seeger of Puyallup, WA

Ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles:  Jerry Rady of Escondido, CA;  Ken Wilson of Australia;  Terry & JoAnne McClure of Quartzsite, AZ;  Ernest Nelson of Imperial, CA;  Karl Leabo of Florance, OR;  Dennis Zander of Klamath Falls, OR;  Ralph Wiser of Reno, NV;  Richard Davis of Valley Center, CA; Michael OConnell of Crescent City, CA;  & Steven Gonzales of Burlingame, CA

Four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles:  James Steffens of Las Vegas, NV;  Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA;  Steven Eichman of Portland, OR;  & Molnar Peter EV Budapest, Hungary

Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:  Matt Cottrell of Galt, CA

Congratulations to all the winners.

Thank you to everyone who is helping us to preserve small-scale mining in America! 

Next Legal Drawing will Have Alaskan Gold Prizes!

In 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!  We have received the gold. We will follow soon with an image.

This is very cool!

This gold will be divided into multiple prizes, along with 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 one-ounce Silver Gold Eagles in our latest Legal Fund drawing which will take place on 22 February 2019!

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.

2018-19 Winter Office Hours

Unless there is some kind of emergency like a wild fire, our mining properties are always open to New 49’er members 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

To conserve financial resources during the winter months when there is so little walk-in traffic, we have reduced walk in office hours to 9 am through 4 pm, Monday, Tuesday and Friday. These new office hours will begin on 1 October.

There is a phone message service if you call at a time when the phone is not being answered.

Reminder that we have an emergency Internal Affairs telephone connection that works all of the time by calling Rich Krimm at (510) 681 8066. Please do not use this number in an attempt to discuss routine matters! It is for emergencies only. 

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New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012
www.goldgold.com

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