SECOND QUARTER, APRIL 2017 VOLUME 31, NUMBER 4
Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager
Story by Laura Bagley
The last four days have been sun-filled, warm and with blue skies above — which hasn’t happened much over the last three months. It has been a river of storms all winter, one right after the other, pounding us in northern California.
There I was celebrating that we were having a white Christmas with about ten inches of snow on the ground. I was happily humming Christmas songs all day, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” I’m now 52 years old (young), finally having my first white Christmas. It just doesn’t snow much in southern California. Here I captured all those warm feelings on video:
As that snow melted away a couple days later the next snow storm moved in. Then another, and they just kept coming. I had stopped humming by this time as day after day it just kept snowing. Not that it wasn’t beautiful. It was! But it was cold. Especially when the electricity was going out more than it was staying on. This was from snow accumulation taking down the power lines.
Scott and I had offered to set up our RV on the back corner of the New 49’ers headquarter building in Happy Camp for the winter. Our main duties have been to present a security presence after hours, and, just as importantly, to make sure the building’s outdoor drainage system kept working when it snowed or rained. This, to keep the building from flooding.
We have been plugged into the building’s utilities; but that only kept us warm when the electricity was on. We went days without; only to have it go back off within hours after they got it turned on again. It was like that for a whole month! Three warm blankets, one a nice goose down, and each other to share body heat. Worst part was getting out of the blankets. Burr, freeze, chill!
By the end of these record breaking snow storms raging through Happy Camp, we had 36 inches of snow on the ground and on top of the headquarters roof! It was piled up on the sides of the road. We had a small mountain of it stacked up from the snow plows in front of the office that looked like the Matterhorn at Disneyland.
Part of the job of keeping the building from flooding is shoveling the snow away from the outside walls. This was not much of a problem until snow started sliding off the roof of the building. Snow falling off the roof made a pile so high that it slid down against the building, and it was deep! Scott shoveled and shoveled and shoveled snow. It was about 3 weeks of shoveling. He put in a couple hours a day. One day on the far side of the building he and another member, Ray Moore, shoveled for about four hours just to keep up.
Shoveling snow is harder than digging for gold; because all you have to show for it is blisters on your hands and a sore back! Well, we also had the personal satisfaction of keeping the inside of the building dry. It was like a contest between us and Mother Nature.
The snow on the post office side was stacked as just high but Scott had paths through it to our door and where we were parking our truck.
Most exciting was the few nights all that snow was melting off the roof. Big portions were sliding off and crashing onto the ground. Several large slides crashed into the back end of our trailer that woke me out of a dead sleep to standing up next to the bed ready to defend against attack. Yep; it was quite the adventure!
Dave Mack’s 8-inch dredge in the parking lot was covered under a pile of snow for weeks. At one point, the large flatbed trailer in the parking lot had so much snow on the rear end that it was popping a wheelie!
Finally, the snow turned to rain in mid-January; and it rained on and off (mostly on) until about four days ago, we had rain and more rain. All that rain melted the snow, and water was running down the sides of the mountains from everywhere.
The sudden surge of water switched Scott and I from snow alert to flood control. It’s impossible to know how much water is running down the embankment behind the headquarters building when it is pounding rain on the roof of our RV during the middle of the night. Scott and I took turns going out in the rain with a flashlight to take a look. Burr, wet, chill!
Long ago, Dave Mack and his team installed a drainage system around the building to capture flooding water and direct it out into the parking lot in front of the building. But the system only works if the drains remain clear. It only takes a small amount of leaves, dead grass and/or other ground debris to block a drain. The drains were blocking up in the beginning; but after a few days, it was just running water. Overall, under the circumstances, we were lucky and all that water drained away from the building. Good thing; because if it wasn’t draining, we would have been out there digging drainage ditches in a downpour during the middle of the night. No doubt about it!
Here is the USFS river access at Wingate during the storm. We did most of our group projects last season on the bank directly
across the river. What bank? I’ll bet it is nearly 30 feet underwater in this picture. Imagine the redeposited gold over there!
It was raining inches per day for several days before the 9th of February. This was when the river crested. Scott and I took a ride downriver to have a look. Oh my god, was it a raging torrent of angry Mother Nature! Just as we were going out of town, when we crossed Indian Creek, we could see that the river was almost cresting its banks in some places. Here are some videos we captured at Wingate and Oak Flat.
One of our miners was camped at Chambers Flat, one of the Club’s long term campgrounds just below town. We saw that the water was around 30 feet from his camp on our way downriver. By the time we returned from Wingate, the edge of the river had reached his camp. So we pulled in and helped him pack his camp so he could move to higher ground.
The Klamath River put Highway 96 underwater causing the road to be closed upriver from Happy Camp in several places. That was the highest the river has come up since the big flood of 1997. Several suction dredges were lost to that storm.
Now that the river has dropped quite a bit, it is very exciting to see how different some of the New 49’er mining properties look. There are new sand bars where they didn’t exist before. But more importantly, sand which covered some excellent gold deposits we know of has been washed away! Most exciting is that we should have lots of new flood gold all along the river.
Check this out. This whole area on lower Wingate was covered with sand before the storm. The bar is still underwater. One of our members rolled
one rock out of the way a few days ago, scooped a few handfuls of hard-packed gravel into his gold pan, and recovered 5 beautiful flakes of gold!
As soon as the river goes down a bit more, Scott and I will be out prospecting every day.
We are really looking forward to seeing all you guys out here this summer. It should be a great season of group digs, metal detector workshops, potlucks and fellowship that makes the New 49s the best gold mining association in America.
PS: The latest snow report from the Klamath National Forest says the snow pack in the mountains surrounding the Klamath River is currently at 112% of average; and even more importantly, the snow water content is 121% of average. This should be helpful to keep portions of the banks in shallow water making underwater crevicing more productive then it has been for a long time. We are also working on a gravity water system that should allow us to do some shallow-water non-motorized underwater suction mining this summer. I can’t hardly wait!
Members Already Finding New Gold Deposits from High Winter Flows!
Update from Dickey Melton: Well, I am relieved to announce that spring is here; the sun is shining; and it’s warming up. It’s hard to imagine that we were completely snowed in just a month ago. There is still a lot of snow in the mountains and the rivers will be running higher than normal for a while. The Klamath River has been raging all winter, and even ran over its banks several times. It’s still running just under flood stage. There are several places on highway 96 that are one lane because of slides. That is actually a good sign if you are into getting lots of gold. I cannot even imagine how much new gold was introduced to the Klamath River and its tributaries this winter!
Gold that was already in the river has been moved around some. We all know that it is the large flood storms that create concentrated gold deposits. There was so much rain this year, every canyon and crevice along the side of the mountain had water running down them. A few hardy New 49’er members are already getting good gold in the wet sand as the water is dropping bit by bit. That gold will sink as the sand dries but will still be there, just have to work a little harder for it. I’m impressed at the quality of gold they are recovering. All this should lead up to some fantastic prospecting this coming season. So if you want to get in on finding your own gold; in my opinion, this season should be one that will be remembered for a long time to come. So, come on down to Happy Camp and be part of the action. I hope to see you out here!
Dickey Melton Featured in International Advertising!
Most active members know Dickey. He is in important part of our Internal Affairs Team. He is present on all or most of our Weekend Group Projects. Dickey takes lots of newcomers out and shows them how to find gold. And now, it appears he is becoming an international ambassador for small-scale gold miners. The industry is very lucky to have Dickey putting a friendly, positive image out there for us! This is just one of several programs and magazine articles which Dickey has starred in. Check it out right here:
Legal and Political Perspective
We certainly do live in interesting times!
While the industry continues ongoing litigation concerning motorized small-scale mining, particularly suction dredging for gold, in California and Oregon, and the all-important Rinehart petition has been submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, I personally believe that meaningful relief from totally unreasonable over-regulation (mostly by State agencies) on the public lands is most likely to come from the Trump administration and U.S. congress as they move their agenda forward to “make America great again.”
Here is a very interesting link that shows the Trump Team is going to run right up against the very same forces that have deliberately reduced California’s small-scale mining industry to an operational level far below every other country in the world — back to long before the California Gold Rush! There is no way we can make America great again until reasonable and sustainable resource development is encouraged once more on the lands managed by the federal government. While the Trump Team appears to be making good progress with the federal agencies, they will still need to overcome the obstructionist policies by State agencies which are controlled by left wing extremists. My best guess is the Trump Team will get it done much faster than we have been able to do in the State Courts.
We will need to have some patience; because the Trump Team and congress are clearly occupied with the larger issues facing America that the vast majority of Americans are interested in – like recent national defense issues which have been developing for years, like controlling who is allowed to enter our country, revamping our health care system and tax reform. But even as these issues are mostly what the mainstream press is covering, it is clear that the Trump Team and part of congress are working on how to eliminate unreasonable environmental regulation and liberal policies that have been strangling the American economy for a very long time. To give you an idea how this is all starting to move along, I borrowed the following updates from the March newsletter of the American Exploration & Mining Association:
“President Trump has released his $1.1 trillion “America First” budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018. The fiscal blueprint only offers top-line spending figures for each agency and highlights programs that would see major increases or cuts in the coming fiscal year.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The blueprint calls for a 31 percent spending reduction for EPA, slashing its budget by $2.6 billion below current funding levels to $5.7 billion in fiscal 2018. The budget aims to cut climate change and environmental enforcement programs and slash EPA’s workforce by 3,200 jobs.
Department of the Interior (DOI): In the White House proposal, DOI would receive $11.6 billion, a 12 percent reduction from current spending levels. A top priority in the blueprint is boosting energy development on public lands. Further, it sustains funding for DOI’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue and eliminates unnecessary, lower priority, or duplicative programs, including discretionary Abandoned Mine Land grants that overlap with existing mandatory grants, while reducing funds for lower priority activities, such as acquiring new lands.
Senate Energy & Natural Resources Hearing: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing March 28, 2017 on The United States’ Increasing Dependence on Foreign Sources of Minerals and Opportunities to Rebuild and Improve the Supply Chain in the United States. Witnesses included Alf Barrios of AEMA and member Rio Tinto. You can view the entire hearing and download written testimony here. In her opening statement, Murkowski underscored the economic and national security risks associated with our growing foreign mineral dependence:
“Our foreign mineral dependence is a threat to our ability to create jobs in America,” Murkowski said. “It threatens our growth, our competitiveness, and our national security. It may seem abstract right now, for some who are not responsible for managing a supply chain. But there will come a day when it will become real for all of us-when we simply cannot acquire a mineral, or when the market for a mineral changes so dramatically, that entire industries are affected.”
Here are more meaningful developments which demonstrate progress is moving rapidly in our direction:
Neil Gorsuch confirmed by Senate as US Supreme Court justice This returns the high court to a conservative majority!
Trump Signs Order Dismantling Obama-Era Climate Policies
Aggressive Cuts To Obama-Era Green Rules to Start Soon: EPA Head
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) Introduces New Legislation to Eliminate BLM and US Forest Service Police
You should know that we are quietly working on freeing up our industry from prohibitive regulations. When the time is right, we will ask for your active participation.
We are also organizing as best we can to sponsor productive group projects for the 2017 season. We will soon begin construction of a gravity water system that will direct running water to the lower bar on our Wingate claim where recent rich gold strikes have been discovered. We intend to do all or most of our 2017 Group Mining Projects at Wingate.
For as long as we have been held down, it’s worth waiting a while longer. After all, we are talking about regaining access to America’s vast natural treasures – the very substance that must be made available if America is to be made great again. I had my doubts that it would happen during my lifetime, but finally America’s new leaders are actually looking for solutions at how to get things back on track. Our country has been mismanaged so severely, we are going to need to be patient while the mess gets untangled. There is good reason for hope!
Myself, and the others on our active team, want to express our sincerest gratitude to those of you who have been supporting our efforts.
Summer Office Hours Start on the First of May
Starting on the first of May, our office and store in Happy Camp will be open between 9 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday, and Between 8 AM and 12 Noon on Saturdays.
New Legal Fund-raiser with 25 American Gold 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 at 3 pm on Friday 23rd of June 2017 at our headquarters in Happy Camp. You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You do not need to be present to win. There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.
Legal contributions can be arranged by calling (530) 493-2012, by mailing to The New 49’ers Legal Fund, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online.
All contributions are tax deductible. You can find more information about the drawing right here.
Join us for our Group Mining Projects This Season!
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.
2017 Schedule of Events: June 3 & 4; June 24 & 25, July 15 & 16; August 5 & 6; August 26 & 27
In addition, electronic prospecting specialist and New 49’er member, Dennis Dickson, in concert with Whites Electronics and Armadillo Mining Supply will host two 2-day electronic gold prospecting projects in Happy Camp this coming season. Bring your own metal detectors. The projects will happen on Friday & Saturday June 9 and 10 and Friday & Saturday August 18 and 19. Meet at our office at 4 PM on Friday. Bring your own drinks. Dinner will be served.
We are also hoping to organize some underwater suction mining projects (without the use of motorized pumps) in an established very rich gold deposit (in shallow water) this summer. Watch for more news on this as we attempt to move forward.
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
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The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012 www.goldgold.com