New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, JULY 2019                              VOLUME 33, NUMBER 4

Dave McCracken


Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

Action Alert by Tom Kitchar, President of Waldo Mining District

After careful review of the court documents in the Rinehart and Bohmker cases, we realized that the BLM and USFS (Forest Service) mining regulations had been amended in the early 2000’s, basically allowing the States authority over mining on federal lands in excess of authority which the BLM or USFS is allowed by law!

On June 18, 2019, we sent a formal petition asking for the federal regulations to be changed.

About the time we recognized the problem in the federal mining regulations, we were contacted by a fairly high official within the Department of Interior (DOI) who had noticed all the letters and wanted more information. Then they wanted to help! I was told that they (DOI) wished they had known about the Bohmker case six months ago. I believe they would have submitted an amicus brief on our behalf to the Supreme Court defended mining; which would have greatly increased our chances of a hearing… and winning.

This is proof: Letter writing can work!

Be-that-as-it-may, the Bohmker case is dead for all practical purposes, and we had a choice to make: (A) GIVE UP, or (B) FIND ANOTHER WAY. Giving up means the eventual death of small-scale mining as we know it. We really do not want to give up what otherwise would be a thriving industry which generates raw wealth for America…not to mention, fulfills the dreams thousands of Americans and others have had since they were children.

It was then that we realized the answer was present the whole time, but we never recognized it. This was largely because we believed our case was such a “slam-dunk” based on much more powerful laws and court cases.

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Constitution is supposed to be the #1 Law of the Land. In the Constitution, Congress is empowered sole authority over all lands belonging to the United States. Congress has delegated management of the public domain lands to various federal departments. This includes the Department of Interior (BLM), and the Department of Agriculture (USFS).

In 1955, Congress amended the 1872 Mining Law by providing the federal agencies management authority over the “non-mineral resources” on unpatented mining claims, with the provision:

“…That any use of the surface of any such mining claim by the United States, its permittees or licensees, shall be such as not to endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing operations or uses reasonably incident thereto…” (30 U.S.C. Sec. 612(b)) (emphasis added).

Please read that again; mineral development is the primary use of the federal lands. This is because mineral deposits can only be developed where they exist.

This has been taken to mean that the federal management agencies are not allowed to prohibit mining. Any restrictions must be necessary and reasonable.  There is so much existing federal case law on the books, this reality is not in dispute.

Then, during the early 2000’s, both the BLM and the USFS amended their mining regulations requiring that all miners MUST OBTAIN ALL REQUIRED STATE PERMITS without placing any limits on what the States could require. BLM regulations even went so far as to say that the States could set higher standards or “more stringent” levels of restriction upon the federal lands than the federal agencies are allowed.

Oregon’s SB 3 (Bohmker) was not preempted by the federal Mining Law because the BLM and USFS regulations allowed the States to deal with mining any way they want!


This raises a Question: If the BLM & USFS are prohibited from endangering or materially interfering with mining, how can those very same agencies provide the States with authority to do what the federal government agencies are barred from doing?

Answer: BLM and USFS cannot provide the States with authority that the federal agencies themselves do not have in the first place!

Action Alert!

Now that we have the attention and support from Trump administration officials, the next step forward for us has been to draft a Petition to the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to perform an official Rulemaking process to change the federal regulations in a way that prevents States from interfering with mining on the Federal Lands, to do away with duplicate and unreasonable regulation, and to prevent the States from prohibiting mining on the federal lands.

The Petition was submitted several weeks ago (June 18th) with support from eleven major mining associations including The New 49ers. In addition to the Petition, Letters of Support are coming from several county governments that have sustained serious economic harm because of the misguided policies against mining by some State agencies.

The petition has landed home where it needs to be. It is being taken seriously. Now, if we can just please take it to the next step: We need to encourage supportive messages from as many people as we can. This is the moment of truth! Notwithstanding any other opportunities that could arise in the future, this is, to a large extent, our last opportunity in the foreseeable future to regain the use of our mechanized equipment and gold dredges.

To assist you with this, we are attaching the Petition. This needs to either be linked to emails or included with hard copies of support:

Miners Petition 

We are attaching a link which provides most of the contact details for the officials that we want to reach at this time:

Contact Information for Petition Recipients 

We are also attaching a simple article which describes what a suction dredge is: What is a Suction Dredge?  Perhaps you want to enclose or attach this information in your message.

There is an additional link which provides some talking points to help if you want some assistance with your messages:

Petition Talking Points

If you please send your messages to each person on the list, especially the two Secretaries listed at the beginning of the Petition, and also to Mr. President Trump; we could find ourselves in a federal Rule-making process that will finally allow us to defend against the false claims being made against us by the radical extremists who are doing everything within their power to undermine the economic well being of America.

Look for the most current news and updates regarding the Petition and possible Rule-making (with a possible public comment period) on the Waldo Mining District website at: You will also find important updates on our own message forum.

We are thanking you with all sincerity for any and all help you can provide in this effort!

2019 Schedule of Events

Our first weekend Group Mining Project of the season went very well. It will make for some excellent video-enhanced storytelling once we complete this latest effort to win our industry back.

Remaining 2019 events: July 20 & 21; August 17 & 18.

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.

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  

Schedule of Events

Planned Office Hours for Upcoming Season

Until further notice, we will continue opening the doors between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays.  The office will be closed on weekends, except for the morning hours during the Saturdays when we are sponsoring the coming season’s Weekend Group Projects:  June 22; July 20; and August 17. Our Saturday evening potlucks will also only happen on these dates.

Members are invited to sign in your whereabouts on our properties over the phone in case there is some reason we need to find you.

Our mining properties are freely available to all members in good standing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unless the Klamath National Forest is closed due to wildfires.

For any problems, our Internal Affairs is available over the phone: Richard Krimm is our Director of Internal Affairs, email or call (510) 681 8066 (also available after hours and on weekends). 

Winners from Our Most Recent Legal Drawing!

Here is the winning list from the legal drawing which took place on  Friday, June 21 2019:

Ten 1-Ounce American Silver Eagles

John Roina of Sacramento, CA
Richard Grady of Waldport, OR
Guy Lawrence of Port Orford, OR
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA
Karl Schrock of Palm Harbor, FL
Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA
Steve Rive of La Quinta, CA
John Bilik of Spring Grove, IL
Van Wilhite of West Point, CA
Ronald Copenhafer of Malibu, CA

Ten 1/10th-Ounce American Gold Eagles

William Frese of Cincinnati, OH
Robert Guardiola of River Banks, CA
Richard Speidal of Minden, NV
Clifford Robinson of Oakland, CA
R. Jim Pace of Hillsboro, OR
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA
Robert Guardiola of River Banks, CA
Russell Steen of Huntington Beach, CA
Theodore Ehrhardt of La Valle, CA
Robert Williams of Georgetown, CA

Four 1/4th-Ounce American Gold Eagles

Bobby Whitaker of Bloomington, IN
Bobby Whitaker of Bloomington, IN
Mathew Nelson of Rigby, ID
Van Wilhite of West Point, CA

The Grand Prize: 1-ounce American Gold Eagle:

Michael O’Connell of Crescent City, CA

Our most sincere thank you to everyone who is supporting our efforts to win our industry back. There is good reason for hope at this time.

Best wishes,

Dave McCracken 


New 49’er Gold Prospecting Association
27 Davis Road P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, California 96039 (530) 493-2012

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