New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, JANUARY 2014                               VOLUME 28, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack



By Dave McCracken




Story, images and video segments by John Rose

Gold K-25AA  Gold Claim view

It was a nice sunny day for late December, so we decided to go down to the Club’s new claim at K25AA and check out how the bedrock is producing alongside the Klamath River.  I knew there was going to be gold. This is because I had looked in on a couple of guys that were prospecting down there last winter.  Those guys were bringing gold into the office to sell for groceries and other supplies.  One of the guys devoted all of last winter there, even during all of bad weather and deep snow.  People just don’t do it with that level of enthusiasm unless they are getting positive results.

There were four of us on this prospecting trip.  I was pleased to have veteran prospector and winter miner, Steve Jones along for the adventure. Mary Delco and Robbie Collum from Elk Creek Campground also wanted to come along.

I had previously seen that the trail down to the river from the parking area up by the road was kind of steep in a few places. So we brought along a long length of hand rope. That is now tied off permanently to help some of us older folks with access.  Haa — this was mainly for me!  As you can see from some of the videos, it’s not that the trail is very bad. Still, the rope will prove helpful when packing gear down there. I found it useful for getting back up the hill.

Extensive bedrock Taking surface sample

When we reached the bottom, the sun had not yet dried out the rocks. Some were still covered with ice.  It slowed us down a bit. This is all part of winter prospecting.

The dramatic scenery down on the river struck each of us like we had been transported into a lost world. At the same time, as we reached bottom, we realized how extensive the amount of exposed bedrock is on this new property. This place is a gold panning dream come true! Vack mining machines are going to hit a home run out of the park!  Check it out in this video:

The area was so extensive, after looking around a bit; we just chose a few random places and began digging some sample holes.  The first pan was from right off the surface. We were pleasantly surprised to recover about 15 small pieces of gold. This was much better than what we normally find in other places.

Digging deeper Good gold

We were recovering about 20-30 pieces per pan as we dug deeper.  Pretty soon, we started following a crack on bedrock that was only about a foot down into the material.

I fired up my vack machine to clean the bottom out the best I could in damp material. Then Steve panned that out.  The result was really impressive. There were about 30-40 pieces with a couple of pickers and lots of fines.  Wow; the gold comes easy on this claim!

We could see that the two prospectors who were in there last winter devoted most of their effort further away from the river from where we were prospecting. It looked like they were mostly breaking apart the bedrock.  We didn’t have any pry bars with us on this prospecting trip. Now that we see what they were doing, we will plan another trip down there with some bars.

Altogether, we were there for about three hours. That included setting up the rope on the trail and our hike down to the river and back up, again.  All the others made it back to the top ahead of me, with Mary and Steve the first to the top.  I nicknamed both of them as Billy Goat and Nanny Goat.

Breaking bedrock Final gold

We ran around ten random test pans in all. Some turned up more gold than others, but every pan had gold.  There were pickers, flakes and a lot of fines.  There was a quite a bit of black sand. So we brought our concentrates back to my campsite to finalize the clean-up.  After drying it out, the gold weighed in at half a gram.  That is really good for ten random pans from different areas of the claim.

All in all, this was a great first prospecting adventure on this new property, the first of many more to come!  The gold looks very promising.  My video and images don’t even begin to capture how beautiful and peaceful it is down there.

After note: Steve went back down there on the following day and recovered even more gold!

Extensive New Mining Property Downstream From Happy Camp 
K-25AA Topo

Click Map for larger view

K-25AA – UKONOM GOLD CLAIM – Located about 16 miles downstream of Happy Camp on the Klamath River, this property takes up 1.4 miles of a mostly remote portion of the Klamath River. It is upstream into the lower portion of the Independence canyon that begins up on our K-25 property. It butts up to our K-25A property downstream at the mouth of Ukonom Creek.

Highway Pull-off Parking

The upper end of the property is landlocked by private property.  Please respect the private property signs on the access roads towards the upper end of the property.  The lower end of this property butts up to our K-25A, then to K-25AB, and then to K-25B, allowing us a continuous length of 4.7 miles.

Here is K-25AA on Google Earth.
Here is K-25AA through K-25B on Google Earth.

PROSPECTS: There are signs of historical mining activity up the hillside, and even across on the north side of Highway 96. The panning, crevicing and vack mining opportunities in the exposed bedrock on the bottom end of the property (where the trail leads) provide some of the best small-scale gold recovery you will find anywhere along our extensive properties.  We are assuming there is more of the same along the 1.4 mile stretch of river further upstream.  We will need to find the old prospecting trails that will certainly lead into those areas.  There will unquestionably be extraordinary opportunities for high-grade gold deposits within the active waterway.

This new property has already been added to our Claims Guide; our signs have been posted; and it is open to members whenever you are ready to venture down there.

Legal Update 

We have some exciting plans on the table about how we will keep underwater mining going in California for the upcoming season.  Please stay tuned for more details in next month’s newsletter.

Meanwhile, the main briefs have been filed with the Third Appellate District of California in the Brandon Rinehart case. Many of you will recall that Brandon was cited last year for operating a suction dredge in California without a permit. With financial assistance from PLP and others, Brandon hired our attorney, James Buchal, to defend against the criminal citation.  Brandon’s defense was largely based upon our federal preemption argument in San Bernardino Superior Court. We do not believe that the State has the authority to prohibit the only effective method of mining submerged streambeds on our federal mining claims. Our position is that their refusal to issue a permit amounts to an outright prohibition.  The judge in that case rejected the preemption argument on the presumption that we would appeal to the Appellate Court.

Now that the Appellate Court will consider federal preemption, we are on a fast track to get this very important issue decided.  James Buchal did a fantastic job in presenting opening and closing arguments. I encourage you guys to read them, because they are very enlightening. The State basically argues that congress never intended for the State to be prevented from stopping mining on the public lands. I suggest if we were able to get these arguments properly in front of a federal judge (tried and failed), we would have overcome California’s moratorium several years ago.

Just in the last week, the Karuk Tribe and our extremist environmental adversaries have filed an Application with the Third Appellate Court to submit a friend of the court brief in support of the State’s position. It is filled with the same old lies and misrepresentations they have been using for quite some time. Having said that, my guess is that the arguments pose compelling challenges to uninformed people who are trying to understand the issues. The brief provides a good review of what we are up against.

And then, just in the last few days, Pacific Legal Foundation, which is a substantial conservative player in the legal arena, has submitted a brief on behalf of Brandon in the Third Appellate District of California! It is clear that there will be serious ramifications as a result of the Decision in this case!

In the event that we win the federal preemption argument, my guess is that suction dredge permits will again immediately be available in California.  This, because the Appellate in California will have ruled that we can dredge if California fails to issue permits. We can only hope for a Decision before this next season.  We are also providing financial assistance to pursue the preemption argument in the Appellate Court since that outcome is likely to resolve many of the unsettled matters in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The State of Oregon has passed a similar statewide moratorium (SB 838) on suction dredging, except that it does not take full effect until 2016. The new law does affect the 2014 and 2015 seasons in several very important ways:

1)      They are reducing the number of suction dredging permits to 850. This is approximately down to a third of the number of permits issued during the 2013 season.  The big question at the moment is who will get the permits?  Our members have substantial dredging opportunities in Oregon!

2)  The new law only allows the operation of a suction dredge between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.

3)  Suction dredges cannot be operated within 500 feet of each other.

4)  No suction dredges may be left unattended on the waterway.  This is generally being interpreted as a requirement to remove all dredging equipment from the waterway every evening.

At the time we are publishing this newsletter, the State of Oregon has yet to issue final regulations how they will administer these changes. Although I was just informed this morning that they are now accepting permit applications.

To a large degree, our very same arguments to overcome California’s moratorium will also apply in Oregon.   How can a State promote mining (which is the mandate from congress) when they require a miner to remove his mining equipment from his work site every day? Or when a miner is prohibited from operating a motor at times when anyone else in the world is allowed to do so?

We Are Giving Away Gold & Silver! 

Gold and Silver Eagles

As most of you know, we mostly generate money to pay for legal defense through our New 49′er Legal Fund-raisers.  The ongoing fund-raiser will give away 25 prizes in all: The Grand Prize is a 1-ounce American Gold Eagle. There are four ¼-ounce American Gold Eagles. There are ten 1/10th-ounce American Gold Eagles. And there are 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 our offices in Happy Camp on 28 February 2014. 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 by clicking Here. 

Weekend Project Schedule for 2014

Our best high-banking opportunities remain along our extensive properties on the Klamath River in northern California.  Therefore, our Weekend Group Mining Projects will take place during 2014 near our headquarters in Happy Camp.  They are scheduled as follows: May 31 & June 1; June 21 & 22; July 12 & 13; August 2 & 3; August 23 & 24. These events are free to all active Members, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Please contact our office in advance to let us know you will be there: (530) 493-2012.

All of the 2014 events are expected to happen on or near our famous Mega-Hole property at K-15A. There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be working. There are also private accommodations in Happy Camp, which is only about 12 miles away.

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. This is 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.

Signing up also places you on our Political Action Team.  Things happen so fast these days; it takes too long to organize political action through the U.S. mail.  As an example, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  All of these future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster.  Please join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012

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