SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2020 VOLUME 34, NUMBER 2
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.
- Here is a reminder that the very same law encourages non-mechanized mining along California’s waterways. That would include panning, sluicing, crevicing & sniping (but not vack mining), electronic prospecting, etc.
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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