FIRST  QUARTER, JANUARY 2012                                     VOLUME 26, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack

By Dave McCracken General Manager



Mark with GroupGold in Pan

We had 80 enthusiastic members join up with us on this Weekend Group Project. That fortunately included six experienced helpers. Otherwise, I would have really had my hands full organizing so many people. I am glad to say that Mark Chestnut (along with his lovely wife, Terri) is back on the scene. Mark is a founding member of The New 49’ers. He did a lot to help me get it started over 25 years ago. Seems like a lifetime ago! Mark and I have teamed up on a bunch of mining projects over the years, including one fantastic adventure we did together in the remote jungles of Borneo.

LayersBesides getting everyone out on a fun weekend, we have two objectives on these weekend projects. The first is to show participants how to sampleproperly. This usually takes up most of the first day. On this particular weekend, after reviewing some theory on Saturday morning, we all met out on our famous “Mega-Hole” property at K-15A. The Mega-Hole is verylarge mining area with a consistently-productive gravel bar towards the upper-end.

A big part of sampling is being able to identify the different hard-packed storm layers in the streambed. This is important, because nearly all of the high-grade gold you are going to find will be located in the contact zones between these different layers. It is usually not nearly as productive to process the bulk material which is between the contact zones. The following video sequences caught me presenting the group with some important hands-on demonstration on sampling in a contact zone shortly after we met out on the bar:


Another important part of sampling is being able to process material in a gold pan without losing a single speck of gold. It’s not that this is difficult to do. But beginners need to practice a bit to get the two separate movements dialed in. The first movement is a vigorous left and right shaking underwater. This moves lighter material to the top of the pan. The second movement is dipping water into your pan to wash the top layer out. This two-step process is continued until you get down to the heaviest material at the bottom of the pan. That’s where the gold will be. Once I dug a proper sample, I then provided this group with a carful lesson in gold panning:

Big smilesOne of the reasons we like K-15A so much is that one of our most popular long-termcampgrounds is right there on the property. This makes it more convenient for memberswho want to camp near the area where we are going to work.

The other reason we like this property is because all you have to do is start processing material out of a shallow contact zone and the gold immediately starts adding up in your gold pan. In most places, the pay-dirt is sitting right on top of a distinct brown layer which is located about a foot or so into the streambed.

After my panning demonstration, everyone scattered out across the bar to find their own gold. Participants in these weekend projects on the first day get to keep all the gold they can find. So everybody got real busy!

We hold a pot-luck get-together in Happy Camp on Saturday evenings during the summer months, and we had better than 150 members there on this Saturday night. People were there from all over the world. The food was great, and it was clear that everyone was having a great time.


Happy CoupleThe second objective on these Projects is to organize the group with it in mind to recover as much gold as we can. Everyone gets an equal split of the gold at the end of the project. So Sunday morning found this enthusiastic crew back out on the bar. Even before I arrived out there, Mark and my other experienced helpers had people organized into an efficient team. There were people shoveling the pay-dirt into buckets. Others were screening bigger rocks out of the material. Some were carrying half-filled buckets to the high-bankers. Ahigh-banker is basically a gold-recovering device which can process a greater volume of material than a gold pan. Several people were working a steady feed of material from the buckets into the high-banker. Once you get things going like this, it is all just a matter of processing volume-amounts of  pay-dirt to make the gold add up.


Clean-up GoldGold in Sluice

We could actually see the gold adding up in the recovery system!

Just to get an idea of how we were doing, we cleaned out the high-grade section of one of the high-bankers about mid way through the day. The gold was definitely adding up! This spurred everyone to work just that much harder. Mark asked the group if they wanted to take a break, but everyone wanted to keep the high-bankers running non-stop. People were just taking their individual lunch breaks whenever they were ready. Mostly, people were out there having a great time! The following video sequence captured some of the ongoing activity:

All smilesI always like to send everyone away on Sunday afternoon with a healthy share of beautiful gold which they helped recover. In order to make this happen, my helpers and I emphasize over and over during Sunday how important it is to only fill the buckets with the right kind of material. In this case, we were only processing material which was above a distinct brown-colored layer.

You can dig gravel all day from the wrong places in the riverbed and not recover very much gold. So we watch pretty closely out there to make sure everyone is digging in the right kind of material. This bunch was dialed in just right. Quite a few of them were already experienced prospectors. Here are two video sequences which captured some of the action:

We have been managing these Weekend Group Projects now for 25 years, so we have them pretty dialed in. Success is nearly assured. We try and strike the balance between working hard, but not so hard that we kill everyone off. Since we cannot control how hard people are going to work, we know is time to quit when people start slowing down out there. It usually comes out to about three hours of actual digging and processing. Here follows my explanation of how the day was going. This was just a little while before we switched gears into the final gold clean-up:

Final GoldThumbs Up

With a little organized teamwork, it did not take us long to finish back-filling our excavations out there on the bar and put the gear away. Then we returned to the Grange Hall in Happy Camp with the concentrated material from the high-banker recovery systems. There, we followed the step-by-step final clean-up procedure and ultimately weighed up just short of three-quarters of an ounce of rich, natural gold, which included seventeen beautiful nuggets. There were plenty of smiling faces at the end of the day when we passed out the shares. And that’s what I always like to see!

2012 Weekend Projects

Our Weekend Group Mining Projects are scheduled for the upcoming 2012 season as follows: June 2 & 3; June 23 & 24; July 14 & 15; August 4 & 5; August 25 & 26. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is invited to attend. Pleasecontact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

We are Giving Away 3 Ounces of Gold!

Here is a reminder that there is not much time remaining in our ongoing legal fund-raiser. This drawing is going to be for three ounces of the beautiful gold which I personally dredged along the Rogue River during this past mining season. The drawing will take place on 9 March, 2012.

The girls in our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution that we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets, etc). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Contributions can be called in to our office at (530) 493-2012, or they can be mailed to The New 49’ers, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Or you can do it on our web site by going here: Make a Donation

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

Other Announcements

Ten More Miles of Dredging in Southern Oregon: We have identified more than ten miles, in 19 separate locations, along theSouth Umpqua River in the vicinity of Roseburg, southern Oregon. The South Umpqua is a smaller, slower, warmer waterway than the Rogue River where many members have been dredging for the past 2 seasons. There is also a lot of exposed bedrock showing. Local miners have told us this is a sniping and underwater crevicing paradise! This will be a much easier place to work, especially for beginning-dredgers. Stay tuned; because there will be more exciting news about this in the coming months!

Ongoing Logo Contest: For any of you artists out there, we are in the process of developing a logo for a new program that we are working on (to be announced soon). We will be giving away three American Gold Eagles to the contest winners. Everyone is invited to participate in this contest. Details about the contest, and what we are hoping for in the logo, can be found here:

Rebuilding our Web Site: Long time supportive member, Jason Inks, with the help of another very experienced Internet specialist, have now invested several months of long hours into rebuilding our entire web site from the ground up, using all of the latest technology. Our web address will remain the same. Everything is now going to go a bit faster, especially all of the video sequences. This new site will be linked directly to the main social networking systems. You will know that the new site is live when you see a fancy new face on all our pages.

Sign up for our Free Message Forum: We now have around 4,000 active prospectors chatting on our Internet Message Forum. This is a good place to get the latest news when things are happening! You can sign up right here:

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

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530)