SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2014 VOLUME 28, NUMBER 4
Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager
Story by Lori Meyer & Debra Thewes
Before we came to Happy Camp, we looked all over the Internet hoping to find an affordable gold claim where we could prospect. This is when we stumbled across the New 49er website, which we found to be such a wealth of valuable information and colorful adventure. After watching the videos and reading about the Club, we decided to join and we are so glad that we did. We have made friends that we now consider our family, and we have had so much fun hunting for gold out on the Klamath River. We now spend several months a year in Happy Camp. The 2013 season was our best ever. We even found a gold nugget weighing just over 1/5th of an ounce! Boy was that exciting! We actually discovered the nugget on bedrock under only 8 inches of sand. This was just a mile from town! In fact, all the nuggets we have found were just a short distance from Happy Camp.
When we joined, all we wanted to do was find gold. We had absolutely no prior experience. But with over 60 miles of mining property available to us, it was like a smorgasbord of opportunity! On our first day, Montine (she is Customer Relations in the New 49’er office) took the time to tell us everything we needed to know to get started. She was so helpful! We met our friend, Rip Ripple, on our first day, too. Rip took us to his personal dig and showed us exactly how he was finding gold. Boy was he finding some nice stuff! We have watched Rip and other experienced members do the very same thing for many other beginners. But that’s what you can expect with the New 49ers, “miners helping miners.” So we bought a vack mining machine, some gold pans, a highbanker, and some digging tools; and we headed out onto the claims to dig for gold – and yes, we found gold.
The first weekend we were there, we attended one of the weekend outings at the Mega Hole and learned so much. We also got to meet some awesome people. Dave Mack is such an amazing guy. You can tell right off that he really cares about his New 49’er members.
Being members of the New 49’ers has been life-changing for us. Gold mining has become a passion. This is not only because of gold. It is also becoming friends with so many interesting people. The Klamath River is one of the crown jewels of the Pacific Northwest. The place is breathtaking! The New 49ers program has provided us the opportunity to not only find gold, but also to make great friends and experience the outdoors like never before. With so many mining properties, we get to choose where we want to prospect and there are simply unlimited opportunities to find gold.
So many of our friends have asked us “Did you find gold?” and we always tell them that we do! Then they ask, “Did you get rich?” and we always answer that we have gotten rich in so many wonderful ways. Then they want to know if we have gotten wealthy with gold, and we answer that we have found more gold than we expected, so far – but we are not finished, yet! The New 49’er program has been, without a doubt, the most exciting outdoor adventure we have ever experienced in our lives. We are living the dream!
When we joined, we had no idea that our lives would change in so many wonderful and profound ways. Now we can’t wait to get back to the Klamath and our friends, and the great outdoor adventure that waits for us. Watch for us out there. We are the Jersey Girls!
This is Going to be a Low Water Year!
By Rich Krimm, Director of Internal Affairs
The Klamath River and its tributaries are presently experiencing historic lows for both current flow, and gauge height. Today (April 6) at the Seiad Valley station along the Klamath River, the current is flowing at 2,350 cubic feet per second, which is more than 3,000 cubic feet per second lower than the average for this time of the year. The gauge height is 3.54 feet and that is about three feet lower than where it should be.
We are expecting a few days of extremely warm spring weather (80 degrees plus) that will cause the insignificant amount of snow in the area to melt and possibly cause the river to rise slightly only for a short period of time.
I made the trip from the Scott River down to our lower claims at Elliot Bar, a distance of almost fifty miles, and conditions looked similar to the low water we were experiencing last year in early July. If these conditions persist, then more locations along the river and creeks will be exposing bedrock areas that are traditionally underwater year round. Access to submerged areas along the side of the rivers and creeks will also improve.
Several of my neighbors, who I will describe their age as being life-long residents and senior citizens, have told me they have not seen conditions like this in all the years they have lived on the river.
We already have more members arriving in Happy Camp than normal for this time of year. Looking into this coming season, I can already see and hear the Vack machines running as the newly exposed material in bedrock cracks and crevices are drying out. So they can hopefully take advantage of the low water conditions, I know that at least several members are putting together blow-mining gear to help facilitate the underwater crevicing activity which Dave Mack described in our March newsletter. This is lining up to be a very productive season along the Klamath and its tributaries!
Join Us This Season on Our Weekend Group Mining Projects!
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. We started them during our second season in 1987 with the purpose of helping members to learn how to successfully prospect for gold on their own. Long since then, the weekend projects have evolved into fun events that many members attend just for the adventure and shared camaraderie with other members.
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 trips with others who are further along on the curve than you are. We are fortunate in The New 49’ers that we have a bunch of experienced members who take pleasure in going out and helping on the weekend projects.
The weekend events for the coming 2014 season are scheduled for May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all members. We appreciate it if you contact our office in advance to let you know that you will attend: 530 493-2012.
The events begin with a few hours of theory, normally presented by me, on Saturday morning at the local Grange Hall in Happy Camp. After lunch, we all go out on one of our more productive properties and put the theory to practice. Our mission on Saturday afternoon is to make sure everyone knows how to sample for gold deposits with the use of a gold pan. We also need to find one or two gold deposits to work on the following day. All the gold that you recover on Saturday is yours to keep.
If you are not too tired, we encourage everyone to attend our Saturday evening potluck at the Grange Hall. This is a relaxed, somewhat-informal social affair where we all share some great food and camaraderie. We take the opportunity to pass on any important information, and we end the evening with a prize drawing.
We normally start early on Sunday morning so that we can get off the gravel bar before the heat of the day sets in. Sunday is where we pull everyone together into a cooperative production program, devoting three or four hours to processing as much pay-dirt as possible through a few portable gold recovery machines. Rich Krimm normally heads this part up with the help of several other experienced members. Everyone is organized into activity which fits their physical capabilities. Even most disabled participants can contribute in some meaningful way. Sunday is an exercise in teamwork where we try to recover as much gold as we can. Having said that, we also caution everyone to not push beyond your personal limit. We are also trying to keep the project as fun as possible for everyone.
Once we feel we have processed enough pay-dirt, we fill in the excavations that we made out on the gravel bar, put our gear away, and do some initial gravity concentration of the material that has accumulated in our gold recovery machines. Then we allow everybody a break to get refreshed, and meet back at the Grange Hall for final separation of the gold. Everyone is invited to watch and participate in the final steps. Usually, sometime before 4 or 5 PM on Sunday afternoon, we have split up the gold evenly amongst everyone who actively participated on Sunday. Even children receive a share if they worked. Sometimes the kids out-work the adults!
These weekend events cover the fundamentals of successful gold prospecting from A-to-Z. If you are paying attention and stay involved, even a raw beginner will have a substantial grasp of the important fundamentals by the time a project is over on Sunday afternoon. As far as I know, we are the only outfit in the world that is providing this service. Most prospectors have to go out and learn through the school of hard knocks. Our weekend projects shorten the process by a large margin.
Most of these images were captured during our August 3 & 4 event last season. To get a better idea of what we do on these projects, and how much fun we have, I encourage you to read the video-enhanced story we published in our October newsletter about our final weekend event of 2013. Even though it was raining that day, which almost never happens in August, everybody participated with enthusiasm and we recovered a bunch of gold. Better yet, here are some more video sequences that we did not publish in the story:
We have free long term (dry) campgrounds available to participants who prefer to enjoy the complete outdoor experience. There are also private RV and other lodging options in and around Happy Camp for those who prefer more accommodations. The staff in our office will go out of their way to help you with your individual needs, for example, if you are flying in from some longer distance away or even from another country. Montine specializes in helping people get the most enjoyment from their visits to Happy Camp. Here are our contact details. On that note, if you prefer private accommodations, I suggest you don’t wait until the last minute. Sometimes they fill up!
What We Can Do on Our Properties in California
Members have been calling in wanting to know what we can and cannot do these days for prospecting activity on our extensive property holdings in Siskiyou County. While I do not have a license to provide legal advice, I will follow with my own understanding of the current state of affairs.
1) We all know that suction dredging in the active waterways is closed until we overcome the existing moratorium in California. This is presently being challenged in two separate legal proceedings. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this turning out in our favor. On that note, The New 49’er Legal Fund is giving away 25 gold and silver coins in our ongoing legal fund raiser.
3) The State of California has adopted modified regulations which now define “suction dredging” as using any type of motorized vacuum or suction to excavate material off the bottom of a waterway. Therefore, the underwater suction gravel transfer systems we used last season will no longer be allowed until we overcome the suction dredge moratorium.
4) There is no problem with booming (motorized suction mining) 100 yards from the active waterway. There is also a way to boom using blowing methods (see below) that should not be affected by the 100 yard rule.
Please note that all surface mining activities on New 49’er properties are governed by our internal set of Surface Mining Guidelines which are available from the office.
5) Underwater crevicing is what most active members were doing within the waterways at the end of last season, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way. Most of our March newsletter focused upon this new method of moving material around by blowing, rather than sucking. Our attorney agrees this cannot be classed as “suction dredging” under the expanded definition.
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The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com