New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, JULY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 7

Dave McCracken


Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager


We demonstrated in last month’s newsletter how water can be gravity-fed off the mountain to operate gold recovery systems without the use of motorized pumps. The single drawback to that method is that you have to locate a rich deposit of gold near to where there is a source of water flowing from the hillside – or perhaps a pond of standing water from which water can be transferred through a syphon.

Moving sluice dowsing still

We have access to miles and miles of gold-rich property along the Klamath River where side streams do not exist. Therefore, over the past month we developed a non-motorized, portable gold recovery system that can be set up anywhere along a waterway where there is at least a moderate flow of water.

Normally, a sluice box is set up along the bottom of a shallow portion of river or stream where the water is moving fast enough to carry your sample material or pay-dirt through the sluice. Riffles (gold-catching obstructions) are placed along the bottom of the sluice. Because gold is about five times heavier than the average sand and gravel in a streambed, even the smallest particles of gold will fall down between the riffles and become trapped, while the lighter material washes through with the flowing water. Sluice boxes have been used by prospectors since the earliest days of gold mining.

But the normal limitation with a gold sluice is that it can only be done where the water is moving along rather swiftly over top of a shallow place in the waterway.  Shallow, faster portions of waterway are common along the side tributaries of the river. But there are long distances along the Klamath where the gold deposits alongside the river are very productive, but the water is too deep to set up a sluice in the normal way.  We overcame this during past years by using a motorized pump to supply water from the river to our sluices up on the streambank.

Guy smilingMost of you are aware that California recently passed a law which prohibits the use of a motorized pump to support gold prospecting activities unless you first obtain several permits – which are not being made available.  The New 49’er Legal Fund and several other prospecting associations are actively challenging the State’s authority to impose such laws upon our American freedoms (“You must have a permit, but we are going to make it next to impossible for you to get one…”). We are hoping that the California Supreme Court will reel in these overbearing, unreasonable State agencies in the landmark Rinehart case which will be decided in the coming weeks or months (more on this below).

Since we have already won these arguments conclusively at the District Court level, and through a unanimous Decision by California’s Third Appellate Court, The District Court in Siskiyou County has ruled that it will not entertain any State prosecutions of gold prospectors until the California Supreme Court provides guidance.
Because we have won at each level of State Court, and the Siskiyou County Superior Court is not accepting State prosecutions, many prospectors are using motors to support their gold mining activities this season.  In fact, we have not heard from or seen a game warden along the river in two months.

River sceneWhat we do in our individual mining programs is our own business. The New 49’ers have a set of reasonable operational guidelines which we enforce along the extensive properties which we make available to our members.  But there is nothing in our guidelines which prohibit the use of motorized systems or suction dredges.

Having said that, we do not want to take any chance of having a bunch of our members hassled by State authorities during the Weekend Group Mining Projects which we sponsor. So until the California Supreme Court provides some helpful direction, we have been developing different ways to continue our mining projects effectively without the use of motorized pumps.

It is inconvenient for us to overcome the nonsense being forced upon us by State officials who don’t have a clue that efficient economic systems are the foundation of a free and prosperous society. I believe Donald Trump would use the word “Stupid” to describe public officials that are doing their absolute best to undermine the American economy. We can expect more and louder objections from hard-working Americans as they wake up to the realization that government has grown too big and is strangling the life out of America.
Since it was freedom of spirit and application of our intelligence in overcoming hardship that made our country great in the first place; for the moment, we choose to look at overcoming unreasonable laws and regulations as doing our part to make America great again – for everyone! We hire the best attorneys to fight the legal battles in court. And we put our thinking caps on to make the best out of the freedoms that are still allowed to us.

Kids smilingOne of the many very proven gold-bearing areas along our extensive properties can be found nine miles downstream of Happy Camp alongside the Klamath River on a property which we have identified as K-23AA.  This is just one of dozens upon dozens of very extensive properties which we make available to our members.  Because the gold deposits are plentiful and very shallow, we have been doing our weekend group projects on K-23AA for several years.  There are several large parking and camping areas in the immediate vicinity, toilets, and even a river access where we can launch our boats.

There are some places where members are sluicing in shallower water. But the river is too deep along most of K-23AA to support conventional sluicing. So we decided to develop something entirely new; a sluice box which is suspended just below water level by a set of floating pontoons. By “we,” I mean we have a dozen or more active members who volunteer to participate in all or most of our New 49’er events and projects. It would be fair to describe this group as The New 49’er “insiders.”  They are insiders because they don’t hesitate to walk in the door whenever it is open. The door is open to all members. Some people like to be more involved with management and sponsored events.  Others like to do their own thing.  Our program provides the freedom to enjoy the opportunities any way our members wish to.

We had perhaps eight people working on this floating sluice idea. Making the system work had us out on the river doing trial and error on three different occasions.  There were also some late nights in our fabrication shop. This is not only about work.  We have a lot of fun developing these systems. Sometimes there is disappointment when they don’t work as planned. But we take a lot of pride once we get a new system dialed in.

sluice The good thing in all of this is that R&D on the river nearly always involves the use of my jet boat. Boats have been my personal passion for my entire life. Sometimes I even let the others drive! Check this out:

Our first try at the floating sluice worked well enough to keep us encouraged. But we realized almost immediately that the sluice box was nearly impossible to keep stable on the water by using floatation alone.  Once we added some adjustable legs, we were able to support the platform off the bottom of the river.  Then all we needed was some fine tuning adjustments to dial the sluice in to work perfectly. This is very cool; because it now provides us with a non-motorized gold recovery system that can keep up with the digging activity during our weekend group mining projects. Here is some video of the moments when we finally had the system dialed in:

Panning for goldSixty-three members were signed up to participate in our most recent weekend project. Some were not able to show up.  But we had quite a willing team.  We always begin these projects on Saturday morning in the coolness of the Happy Camp Grange Hall with introductions.  People join us from all over the world. This was a very lively bunch with plenty of enthusiasm.

While my project helpers were down getting things set up on K-23AA, I entertained the participants with some stories about our 31-year history as an association of miners along the Klamath River. It’s helpful to know how things got where they are. I also provide some helpful theory on how to carry out a sampling plan in search of rich gold deposits.

We like to take it kind of easy on Saturday during these projects. This is because most of the physical effort is needed on Sunday morning when we all work together to recover as much gold as we can. We use boats to transfer members across the river where we have discovered extensive, rich gold deposits.

The main objective on Saturday afternoon is to help beginners perfect their gold panning skills.  Gold panning is the first thing a prospector needs to learn.  Once a person can pan gold without losing any, he or she can begin a sampling program. Then, step by step, the person can walk him or herself into a rich deposit of gold. It all begins with a gold pan. I captured just one of the many ongoing panning lessons in the following video:

Big smile gold sample in pan

This Saturday afternoon was particularly exciting because nearly everyone was turning up plenty of gold in their sample pans. John Rose confided in me that the pans were producing more gold than he has seen in five or more years. Everyone was having fun out there. Participants get to keep all the gold they find on Saturday afternoon. Here is some video that will give you an idea of what good sampling pan results look like:

We started shuttling people back across the river at about 4 PM. This was so they could have time to freshen up and prepare for our Saturday evening potluck. We filled the Grange Hall that evening. There was enough food to feed an army!

To stay ahead of the summer heat, we all agreed to meet out at K-23AA at 6:30 AM on Sunday morning. Several of us arrived early to get the boats ready; and it was not long before we had a small army of gold prospectors digging out exposed bedrock cracks and filling buckets with pay-dirt from the more productive areas we had discovered the day before.

Bedrock Big smile

While most everyone was busy filling buckets, the experienced project helpers and I moved the floating sluice out onto the river, tied it off where there was a nice steady flow of water, lowered the legs down to the river bottom, and adjusted the sluice so it would work perfectly. It was just like clockwork! Here is some video that captured the action:

sluice  Sluice closeup

We dialed in the water to flow perfectly over the floating sluice.

The buckets of pay-dirt were packed over to our rubber raft which was positioned next to the floating sluice. Then one-by-one, material from the buckets was fed into the recovery system.

Kid smilingIt only took a few buckets before we started seeing gold glimmering in the front of the sluice box. Then a nice golden nugget showed itself.  Then a few more.  This was very cool! Normally, we don’t see the gold we are recovering until we clean out the recovery system. Here is some video which we captured on Sunday morning:

We encouraged all of the participants to take some time during the day to go over and watch our floating sluice.  I saw several people go over and look.  But most just wanted to dig the pay-dirt out of those cracks!

The pan samples on Saturday afternoon turned up a lot of gold flakes; more and larger than we normally see.  These were showing up in the sluice box as the pay-dirt was processed.

Dickey pouringMy job on this particular project was to capture images and video of the action. So I got around to see what most people were doing. Everybody out there was having a great time!  Here is some video that captured the fun:

The highlight of the day was when Dennis Kim from Hawaii pulled out his dowsing tool and began asking the guardian of the river to reveal where the richest gold deposit was located in the area of our dig. He made quite an interesting presentation out of it.

I personally have seen dowsing work for locating water. But in 40+ years of gold mining, I have never seen dowsing successfully locate a rich gold deposit.  Even so, as I have gotten older and maybe a little more wise, I have become more reluctant to pass judgment on things that I am not certain about – which I suppose covers just about everything. The battery on my own camera ran out of steam, so one of the participants captured this on a mobile phone:

Dennis Kim from Hawaii  Dowsing gold

Once the river guardian directed Dennis to a place that looked like a good gold trap, a bunch of us started pulling rocks out of the way, and I grabbed a single handful of material to get a quick pan sample.  And I swear it was one of the best grab samples I have ever panned!

RaftersThis all created quite a lot of excitement, and everyone redoubled their efforts at digging pay-dirt from the exposed bedrock cracks out there on the streambank.

But it is not all just about the gold. We have many members who come back time after time to enjoy the whole experience:

There are plenty of rafting groups that float by when we are out on the river.  We go out of our way to make friends with them.  If we have gold to show, we call them over to see it. This always creates a nice bit of excitement. Sometimes we ambush rafters into a water fight.  It’s a good thing to have harmony out along the river on one of the most beautiful places on earth. Here is just one interaction we had with some rafters who were floating by:

We started winding things down at about 10 AM, just as the heat of the day was bearing down on our project.  After pulling the gold out of the sluice box and putting the gear away, we ferried everyone across the river with plans to meet back at the Happy Camp Grange Hall at 2 PM.

Final gold Big thumbs up

Final cleanup of the goldnon-motorized dredge, and the gold split. took a few more hours to complete in the coolness of the air conditioned Grange Hall. The excited chatter of all the participants was almost deafening as we passed out equal shares to everyone.  In all, we recovered 12.5 Pennyweights that were split amongst 44 participants.  We recovered 11 nice gold nuggets.  In some very magical way that I don’t fully understand, Dennis Kim ended up with the very special gold nugget that the river guardian wanted him to have.  He was so excited that he was beyond words. Everyone else shared in that magical moment.  And that’s the way we ended off on another great weekend project.

As a side note on this, we have perhaps 10 members collaborating on a non-motorized underwater mining system that does not meet the definition of a “suction dredge” under California’s most recent laws. Our prototype is already being tested on the river. The following video shows our first test of the device. Further modifications have created enough suction-power to pull gravel from the bottom of the river, but we still need a little more. I hope to have some exciting news for you in our August newsletter. Stay tuned:

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

The New 49’ers Legal Defense Fund gave away three ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets, which were split into 25separate prizes, at our Saturday evening potluck in Happy Camp on 25 June 2016.  Here are the winners:

One ounce of Klamath River gold Nuggets:  William Hinkle of San Diego, CA.

Quarter-ounce of Klamath River Gold Nuggets (4 prizes):  Richard Kelly of Moxee City, WA; Joseph Sawyer of Dayton, NV; Dane Petersen of Aloha, OR and Uwe Martin Mueller of Miami FL.

One pennyweight bags of Klamath River Gold Nuggets (20 prizes): Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA; Frank Collier of Yreka, CA; Kenneth Mulholland of La Habra, CA; Vicki Byrd of Wenatchee, WA; Irene Standley of Troutdale, OR; Paul Gokey of Maricopa, AZ; Bruce Morton of Prosser, WA; Joe Martin of Willits, CA; George Shorter of Mobile, AL (George was the only winner present at the drawing); Dan Christenson of Sidney, MT; Daniel Court Sr of La Pine, OR; Dennis O’Shea of La Haina, HI; Richard Kelly of Beaver Creek, OR; Scott McGrosso of Escondido, CA; Scott Hagen of Livingston, MT; Scott Langston of N FT Myers, FL; Richard Smith of West Jordan, UT; Dennis Taylor of Sherwood, OR; Robert Gauf of Clear Lake, CA; and Ryck Rowan of Spokane, WA.

Congratulations to all the winners and a great big thank you to all the contributors!

Since this was one of the more productive legal fund-raisers we have had in quite a while, The Legal Fund has decided to do it again with three more ounces of Klamath River gold nuggets, once again split into 25 prizes. The drawing will take place on Friday afternoon, 21 October.

You do not need to be a member of our organization to participate. You are welcome to be at the drawing, but you do not need to be present to win.

Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution we receive ($100 would generate 10 tickets). 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.

Purchase Tickets for the next legal Fund-raiser Drawing  

  $10.00 each – Enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase into the quantity field then click “Update” before checking out. Our office will automatically generate a ticket in your name for every $10 legal contribution 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. Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
Unfinished Business

Legal Update:  The California Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in the Rinehart case on the first of June. As I have explained in earlier newsletters, the Rinehart case is perhaps the most important litigation concerning mining that has happened during our lifetimes.  The question in front of the Court is to what extent the State has the authority to materially interfere with or prohibit different methods of mining on the public lands because of real or imagined environmental or social concerns.  In this case, the controversy is over California’s refusal to issue any suction dredge permits without even providing a process to consider if any impacts exist in the first place.

Nobody knows how long it will take for a written answer.  Though it would seem reasonable that they would try to finish it up while the material remains fresh on their minds. The Court has a heavy case load.  I’m hopeful that they would prefer to finish each case as soon as possible.

All or most of the ongoing litigation over suction dredging in California State court is on hold until the California Supreme Court issues a decision on the Rinehart case.

The True Value of Gold:  Someone sent me a link to the U.S. Debt Clock last week, and I was shocked at how fast the millions upon millions of Dollars are stacking up on the U.S. national debt. You can find the link right here:

One of the most interesting pieces of information on the page can be found in the bottom-right hand corner of the chart which shows what the actual value of gold should be, based upon the number of U.S. Dollars that have been created since gold was unpegged from the fixed Dollar value of $35 in 1971. According to the chart, gold should be trading right now at $7,642 Dollars per ounce. That is $382 Dollars per pennyweight. It is $16 Dollars per grain.

What this means is that if gold were trading at its true value, nearly anyone could sustain a living along our mining claims with just a gold pan.

One day, maybe soon, all the nonsense is going to settle out and gold will return to its rightful place as the world’s only true currency.

Once gold is trading at its true value, the extensive properties we make available to our members could be considered one of the most ideal banks in the world.  You will be able to go down to the river or creek and make a draw anytime you want to do a little exercise.  The gold you recover will be free; yours to keep or trade for the things you need or want.  You won’t even have to pay it back. How’s that for the right kind of bank?

The Debt Clock is a clear demonstration of how badly America is being managed. Sooner or later (probably sooner), this ticking time bomb is going to affect everyone on the planet in one way or another.  But especially everyone in America. We should begin adjusting ourselves to the reality that the future is not going to be the same as the American dream we have experienced for several generations.

My advice would be to put some gold away in safe keeping if and while you can.  And don’t retire your gold pan. One day it may keep you and your family from standing in a government food line.

I’m sorry to voice this reality.  Go to the Debt Clock and look for yourself.  This cannot go on for much longer.

“Gold Warriors” is a book everyone should read:   Someone very kind sent me a copy of this book a few months ago. Even though I seldom have time to read books, I made the time for this one.  Drawing on a vast range of original documents and thousands of hours of interviews, this book exposes one of the greatest state secrets of the 20th century. The book provides an incredible history lesson that is not taught in any school or university. The book provides important insights into many things; but here are the two most important revelations to me:

  • Despite how well we have been misled to believe that gold is not important to world financial affairs, the truth is that the health of all financial systems on the planet revolve around gold. Paper is nothing, even if it is a gold certificate. Even if it is a receipt from the bank or storage facility that is “keeping your gold safe.” Read the book and you will realize that the entire 20th century has revolved around gold. This reality has been completely hidden from us. Read the book and see for yourself.

Just today, someone forwarded me a link to an article about Japanese investors rushing to turn the last remaining value out of the failing Japanese Yen into gold and store it in Swiss banks. Sounds like a good idea, right? But “Gold Warriors” carefully documents how all of the world’s largest banks, especially those in Switzerland and America, with the full support of the U.S. government, have refused to honor the gold certificates they have issued, or return deposited gold to its rightful owners – and even have gone so far as to completely destroy prominent legal firms that have attempted to gain satisfaction in court.  Like I said, the book is a real wakeup call!

  • The government is not here to help us. We cannot believe anything the government says. Nothing is truly as it seems on the surface or in the news. If there were no other lessons from Bengasi, it is clear that the government will not even be there for its own best people when the chips are down.

You have to look to your own available resources to secure your future. Stay out of the government’s way or it will run you over like a freight train. The Debt Clock I linked to above is just one of the freight trains coming at all of us full steam ahead, and increasing its momentum every second of the day.

While the book makes this entirely clear, anyone following the ongoing election cycle and other events happening in the news just this week should have already come to the conclusion the something is very wrong with government in America. Dark times ahead. We should prepare. If you cannot afford to buy gold, allow us to teach you how to mine it.

We must fight to hold onto the extensive gold properties available to us and for the freedom to extract the gold from them. Once they succeed in taking that away from us, our program in Happy Camp will no longer be the lifeboat that it is today for freedom seekers who hope to retain some personal control over our destinies.

I’m sorry for this sobering discussion.  You guys that have followed my writings know that I always try and find the positive and hopeful side.

Between the history lesson in “Gold Warriors,” the ever-accelerating debt being piled upon us by our “leaders,” the realization in recent days that top officials in government are above the law, widespread increasing disrespect for government due to multiple reasons, including the State’s ongoing unlawful scheme to undermine our industry, and the political rhetoric in the ongoing election cycle, it seems perfectly reasonable to be very concerned.  I remain hopeful about a lot of things.  But it still feels like the right time to ring the alarm bell.

2016 Weekend Group Prospecting Programs

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members!

This season, at least until the legal question about using motors is resolved; we will be demonstrating how to recover volume-amounts of gold using non-mechanized methods of mining. Believe me when I say that there still remain viable methods of recovering Mother Nature’s golden treasure!  You might be really surprised! With all the people who participate in our weekend projects, my guess is that the gold production will not change by much. All participants will receive an equal share of the gold we recover.

Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28

The New 49’ers provide all of the sluicing equipment and boats used in these projects. You will need to have your own basic digging tools, gold pan (available in the prospecting shop in Happy Camp) and transportation. You will also need to provide your own lodging and nourishment.

Group projects are limited to a manageable 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

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