New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 9

Dave McCracken


Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager


I am very disappointed to announce that the California Supreme Court unanimously overruled California’s Third Appellate Court’s unanimous ruling in the Rinehart case. Here is the quite extensive ruling.

Basically, if I understand it correctly, the Court has declared that a State agency has the authority to ban certain types of mining if it determines that the method is harmful to the State’s waterways. Although they did leave open the question of whether or not the State properly made the determination that motorized mining within 100 yards of an active waterway is harmful. That issue was not part of the Rinehart case.

Now that the California Supreme Court has ruled, my best guess is that any prospector using a motor to remove or process streambed material within 100 yards of an active waterway without a permit (which is not being made available), if caught, is likely to be successfully prosecuted.

Here is a Memo by our attorney who has been representing Rinehart, explaining why he believes the Court’s ruling is so flawed. Rinehart has already petitioned the California Supreme Court for a Rehearing.

Now that the California Supreme Court has ruled, we are submitting a motion to the San Bernardino Court to schedule the trial in which we will contest the manner in which the State determined that motorized mining is so harmful that the practice should be banned altogether. You may recall that the San Bernardino Court ruled last year  that the State was operating an unreasonable “scheme” to eliminate suction dredging.

Brandon Rinehart

We especially want to thank Brandon Rinehart for joining us on last weekend’s group project and continuing to inspire hope for the future.

Meanwhile, nearly the very same arguments over federal preemption in Oregon’s moratorium on motorized mining has progressed to the federal Ninth Circuit Court, which also has jurisdiction over California. Our attorney tells me that the issues have been very well briefed for our side, including two separate Amicus briefs submitted by conservative law foundations. Since we have exhausted our federal supremacy argument at the state level in California, now we will have a chance to see what the federal Appellate Court has to say. Let’s all keep our fingers tightly crossed!

Ninth Circuit aside, if Rinehart’s Petition for a Rehearing fails, our next and final remedy will be to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.  As most of you probably know, the U.S. Supreme Court is presently deadlocked with four conservative and four liberal-leaning judges. The ninth Supreme Court judge will be appointed by whoever wins the presidential election in November. If Hillary wins, she will surely appoint a liberal judge. Mr. Trump has already published a list of conservative judges that he would choose from.

So it would seem likely that whoever wins the coming presidential election will ultimately determine the fate of motorized mining on the public lands of America, amongst other extremely important matters to the traditional way of American life.  The conservatives, by the way, for the most part, are supportive of resource development, while the liberals mostly support more government control.

We will eventually overcome the nonsense which is taking the lifeblood out of the American dream. It’s a matter of when our leadership realizes that the long term health of our economy and freedom depends upon our ability to create wealth through honest hard work. If the shackles were taken off (unreasonable regulations everywhere you look), America would surge forward and be great again. We have everything we need to make this happen except competent leadership. The ongoing election cycle demonstrates that Americans are beginning to wake up to this.  Let’s not give up hope just yet!


We Have Developed Non-motorized Underwater Suction Mining!

Out in the middle

With a lot of help from a dozen or so members, two who are engineers, through the summer months, we have developed a method of underwater suction mining that does not require the use of motors.

Our first sample result in the large rapid located at Oak Flat was encouraging, but we soon realized that we were not sampling on the high-grade gold path. Therefore, we figured the high-grade would likely be out in the middle of the river or over towards the other side. So through quite a lot of effort, we extended our gravity flow water system out there along the bottom of the river and took some more samples.

It sure felt good to be out there underwater again!

Ultimately, through more sampling all the way up into the meat of the rapids, we discovered that this was not a natural riffle in the first place. It was a manmade structure built out of stacked boulders and cobbles with just a soft gray mud between them.  Perhaps it was a road to the other side of the river, or maybe a water diversion, during the time before dams and flood control made the river run deeper all year long.

I surveyed the far side of the rapid before we started the project and found good natural streambed.  That encouraged us to move ahead. The lesson from this is that more thorough surveying is required in advance of large projects like this. Here follows some video that captured some of the action:

My hope was to establish a deposit where we could allow members to participate. Even if we found it out there in the middle of the river, the conditions would have been too dangerous to manage group programs, anyway.

The good news is that we figured out how to create underwater suction without using motors. We presently have two of our most capable members working on a different way to generate suction power by harnessing the flow of the river.  I’ll let you know how this goes.  Since these types of systems require more time and investment to set up than the average prospector is likely to do, we are thinking that we can perhaps use them in organized group mining projects for members – for recreational purposes only, of course.  I do know where there is a substantial gold deposit in rather shallow water where one of these systems could make members very happy if we scheduled regular events like we do with the weekend surface mining projects.

floating sluice having fun

underwater snipingOn that note, considering that we might not be able to use motors for a while, we are considering if we should add to the services we provide to members during the summer months. Our weekend projects have become more popular. Some members attend every event. I’ll save the video-enhanced stories for later newsletters. Meanwhile, here is some video which shows how much fun members are having even without the use of motors:



final gold splitting up the gold

Because the The New 49’ers have the resources to support group projects with boats, rafts, floating recovery systems and perhaps even an underwater suction system in a high-grade pay-streak, we would appreciate your thoughts on how we might provide more or better service to our members?

cleanup sniping

We have members who are highly skilled in electronic prospecting for gold who are willing to put on weekend events.  We also have a group of members who are willing to take others out on prospecting adventures, a few at a time.

Gold Nuggets Strike Smiling success

Several members did quite well this season using motorized hookah to access the bottom of the Klamath and side streams for crevicing (but not for removing or processing streambed material).  Using our boats and other gear, we could sponsor group projects doing this with a limited number of members at a time. As members gain more exposure to these other methods of finding gold, it will be easier for you to find success on your own.

Man smiling Woman smiling with gold pan

We found ourselves in a similar situation during the first few years after we started The New 49’ers in 1986. Most members did not know how to find high-grade gold on their own.  There was a lot of disappointment.  We almost didn’t survive those early years. Then we started group programs to show our members how to do it. Some members learned and started finding their own gold. This created hope for others. Hope of finding gold is what drives prospectors to sample.

Woman smiling  Bearded man smiling

Even without the use of motors, there are still productive methods of recovering gold from our extensive properties.

It was easier for individual members to be more productive going out on their own before we lost the use of motors.  I’m suggesting that we might be able to keep interest levels up if we utilize the Club’s more substantial resources and volunteers to offer more, and different kinds, of organized group events?  Your feedback and ideas on this would be appreciated. Please direct it to or call Montine at 530 493-2012.

Our weekend surface mining projects for 2017 will be on the following dates:  June 3 & 4; June 24 & 25; July 15 & 16; August 5 & 6; August 26 & 27. These are free to all members.  We will consider adding other types of events if we get strong feedback from you guys.

We are Switching to Winter Hours

Based upon the amount of activity we had last winter, in order to conserve resources, we are cutting back the hours which the office will be open between now and the first of May: WINTER HOURS: We are open between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you call the office while we are closed, please leave a voice message and we will get back to you. Thanks for your understanding.

Three More Ounces of Klamath River Gold Nuggets!

klamath-river-gold-nuggetsThe New 49’ers Legal Fund is giving away another three ounces of beautiful Klamath River gold nuggets, split into 25 prizes. Check it out right here. 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.

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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.  Actually, the video segments show the adventures better than we can write them!

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, by contacting our supporters this way, in a matter of hours, we recently generated a large bundle of letters to the California Supreme Court. 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!

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

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