New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2017                               VOLUME 31, NUMBER 9

Dave McCracken


Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager



Thankfully, the smoke from wildfires surrounding Happy Camp cleared up enough that we went ahead with our group electronic prospecting 2-day outing in mid-August. The event was attended by the allowed capacity of around 40 New 49’er members. This was in addition to seven New 49’er members who are very experienced at using metal detectors to discover gold both in exposed bedrock cracks and in extremely rich deposits along hillsides where ancient lode deposits have weathered away into pockets of raw wealth. You can find out more about these types of gold deposits right here.

Big smile nuggets
Detecting bedrock

There remains a lot of gold to be found in bedrock cracks alongside and inside the waterways with these new high-tech metal detectors!

These detecting events are being sponsored by The New 49’ers with our extensive gold properties in northern California, Whites Electronics who are the world leader in metal detecting equipment, and Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon – all longstanding friends and allies in the effort to keep small-scale mining alive in America.

Since the States of Oregon and California are making it more difficult (for now) to prospect for and develop gold deposits within active waterways (We are in litigation because several States have passed laws forbidding us the use of mechanized equipment), we are discovering that there are plenty of prospectors and members who are equally interested in prospecting for gold with the use of modern metal detectors – which is a technology that has made huge strides forward during recent years.

Out of deep respect, I want to acknowledge the following experts who donated their time and effort to both of this year’s electronic prospecting projects:

DennisDennis Dickson who was the primary organizer of this year’s detector outings. There is nothing Dennis does not know about every different kind of detector on the market, including every metal detector that has ever been sold. He spends a big part of his time traveling the world on behalf of Whites Electronics, teaching dealers how to use the latest technology to find gold, which largely has to do with “pulse induction detectors.” Dennis has gone to places in north Africa where I would not even consider going! Based out of Merlin, Oregon, which is just north on the other side of the mountain from Happy Camp, Dennis has the vision that we can use these pulse detectors to develop a whole new gold rush of prospectors onto the extensive gold properties which we make available to our members. On this particular venture, Dennis and most of the other experienced helpers arrived a day early so we could go out and do some advanced prospecting. Here he is on video:

Tom Using trigger to magnify

Whites was also represented by Tom Boykin; a very nice young guy who knows everything there is to know about using detectors to discover natural gold. It’s impossible for anyone to not like Tom from the moment you meet him. He has recently been promoted to the Project Manager at Whites Electronics.  Here he is caught on video teaching some of our members how to interpret the signals being given off a gold detector in gold country:

TeachingSamantha Everett (“Sam”) from Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon was also present to help beginners through the early part of the learning curve. She also plays a major role in making sure these events go off smoothly without a hitch. I caught her on video trying to hide behind a brave face. This is because video cameras scare the heck out of her. Only because we were having fun, I held the camera on her long enough to make her blush:

JoshJosh Bohmker is a very well-known prospector on the Oregon side of the Siskiyou’s. He was present with his prospecting buddy, Trevor Sheffield. Josh played a big role, if not the leading role, in re-discovering the famous, extremely rich, Briggs gold pocket just up on the border which separates Oregon from California. This is right at the headwaters of our very own Thompson Creek.  I view Josh as one of the future leaders of the small-scale gold mining industry. Not because he is into politics; but because he is authentic and is masterful at using modern technologies to discover Mother Nature’s most cherished treasures. He is one of those rare individuals who can convert hard work and ingenuity into pure wealth (the true definition of alchemy). Someone must keep the dream alive as us old-timers start using fishing poles more often than gold mining equipment. Josh will certainly be one of those guys! See for yourself in this video which was put together by Tom Boykin of Whites Electronics.

I also captured Josh prospecting with his detector during the 2-day project. While his target turned out to be a small piece of iron, there is plenty to learn from his demonstration of how to pinpoint a target that is singing out on your detector:

TrevorHere is another video I captured of Trevor moving quite fast to identify a target that was reading out on his detector. This was a text book demonstration. While the target ended up being a small piece of iron, it just as well could have been a gold nugget or full pocket of gold that had been uncovered by recent storm events along the Klamath River:

Cliff Leidecker from Rogue River, Oregon also honored us with his support of the project. Most members will remember Cliff as the engineer who helped us set up our gravity water system earlier this season.  Cliff is also one of the smartest and most determined guys involved with our latest generation of small-scale prospectors. We are so lucky to have his support behind our program!

Miguel Rodriguez is one of our local members who is so good with a metal detector that he declined to participate in our nugget hunting contest at the final event of this project. The reason, he said, was that he would easily find every gold nugget that I had hidden in the contest area. As it was, he found all of the remaining gold nuggets I had hidden within minutes after everyone else had given up!

Since firefighting crews had taken over the Happy Camp Grange Hall, we arranged for the Karuk Senior Citizens Hall to be made available to us on Friday afternoon. The Hall was filled to capacity. Dennis, Josh and the others on the team of helpers and teachers had set up various displays of gold samples, detectors and other electronic prospecting supplies. They entertained a full house of enthusiastic participants with educational advice and very interesting stories. This was followed by a spaghetti dinner that was prepared by regular supporters of our New 49’er Saturday evening potlucks.

Samantha from Armadillo sold drawing tickets for a bunch of valuable prizes. All of the proceeds were donated to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

We all met on Saturday morning and drove downriver about 7 miles from Happy Camp to our Wingate River property where there is a gargantuan historical hydraulic mining site on the far side of the river. That old gold deposit extends at least a thousand feet to the top of mountain peaks where old-timers mined ancient gold-bearing channels that had been pushed up there millions of years ago by geologic forces beyond our human experience.

Boat on river nuggets

We used my jet boat to safely transfer everyone across the river. Beginners remained down towards the river where our experienced helpers were providing demonstrations. More advanced prospectors headed up the mountainside to search for gold on the numerous terraces where ancient streambeds had been mined more than a century ago. There remain patches of ancient streambed still in place up there.  There is also nice gold to be found in bedrock cracks.

While he found the nuggets at an earlier time, here is some video I captured of one member who had already found some beautiful nuggets of pure wealth at the top of the mountain:

Just like any other type of serious small-scale gold mining, using even the most advanced electronic innovations to find gold deposits, with the occasional exception of luck, requires time and practice.

Great smile! Found first nugget!

Nugget hunt contestOn the chance that anything of great value might not be found during the few hours we had on Saturday, to make sure the event would end on a positive note, I used orange ribbon to block off a special area and hid 11 small, but nice, of my own gold nuggets on top of some exposed bedrock down near the river. All of the nuggets were hidden by a thin layer of sand.

The area was large enough that even I could not remember where the nuggets were hidden once I was finished. The only way anybody was going to find these nuggets was by pure luck, or by properly interpreting the signals being given off by their detectors. It was lots of fun to end off the project with a gold nugget hunting contest! Here is a video I captured of a young lady who located the first nugget using her detector: 

Her close friend actually found one of my hidden nuggets just by sweeping sand around on the bedrock; pure luck! I captured the excitement on video:

Authenic nugget find

Here was a nugget found within the contest area that I didn’t hide!

One participant actually found a beautiful gold nugget that I had not placed in the contest area! This was a truly amazing surprise! Here it is on video:

The group participants went at the contest area with a fury that even surprised me, and the nuggets were discovered one after the other.

After about 30 minutes, most participants figured all my hidden nuggets had been found. So they were ready for the boat ride back across the river. I estimated that there were still at least 2 or 3 nuggets remaining in the contest site. That’s When Miguel Rodriguez attacked the contest area with his detector. Truly, I have never seen anyone so skilled at keeping his detector coil just above uneven ground while moving amazingly fast over the bedrock. Indeed, by the time I returned for the final trip across the river, Miguel had recovered the last of the nuggets that I contributed to the contest!

Found a nugget! Found another nugget


Wildfires Have Kept Happy Camp Under a Layer of Smoke for Most of Our 2017 Season
Happy Cmp fire Smoke

Despite having a very wet winter, the wildfires along the Klamath River watershed started early this season. More recent thunderstorms sparked fires that have burned 53,600 acres near Happy Camp. As of a few days ago, there were 1,137 personnel assigned to the fires, and the fires were only 24% contained. Word around town is that these fires will burn until the rainy season sets in.

My impression is that Happy Camp is not in danger. But the smoke becomes very thick and uncomfortable at times, largely depending upon the direction of the wind. Because of thick smoke, and the loss of the Happy Camp Grange Hall to the firefighting teams, we were forced to cancel the final two weekend group mining projects of this season. Asking participants to dig gravel under those conditions would have been a bad idea!

Having said that, as uncomfortable as the smoke can be at times, we should feel blessed compared to what is presently happening with the flooding down in Texas and Louisiana! Goes to show you no matter how difficult the challenges that we are facing, we don’t have to look very far to find others who are confronting much more difficult circumstances.

Ray Koons, Our First Member, has Passed Away

Ray Koons R.I.P.I am disheartened to announce that Ray Koons passed away from natural causes on the 19th of August. He was 91 years old. Ray, and his wife Cricket (who passed away a number of years ago), were our very first members in The New 49’ers. They joined up in Quartzsite Arizona in February of 1986. That was only a month or so after we began advertising the idea of a mining club. Ray and Cricket signed up even though most others had little or no faith that my plan would succeed. There were quite a few people in Quartzsite who were interested. But most were nervous about wasting money on something that might fail. So Ray and Cricket visited Happy Camp a few weeks later (mid-winter of 1986) and met our staff – which was mainly made up of my dredging partners in those days and my ex-wife, Maria. They returned to Quartzsite with a good review and we immediately started signing up new members.

By 1987, we had over 500 members, many or most who showed up in Happy Camp. We were in no way prepared for so many people. The chaos of the 1987 season turned into the most difficult and challenging days of my life. Ray Koons recognized the difficulties and jumped right in to help manage. We appointed him as Director of Internal Affairs. His first job was to create a set of rules, enforce them, and get rid of the (quite a few) troublemakers. Ray put order into the chaos and remained as our Internal Affairs Director for the following 25 years. He also took on the role of Acting Manager of The New 49’ers during the many times over the years that I went off on foreign adventures – sometimes for years at a time.

Ray was completely loyal and dedicated to me and The New 49’ers for most of my adult life. He was one of the few very best friends I have had in this life. There is no doubt in my mind that if the situation ever came up, Ray would not have hesitated to give up his own life to save mine. Friends who are that devoted are hard to find. In this case, Ray found me. Rather than miss him, I choose to remember all the good times we had together over the many years, and the difficult times we overcame side-by-side. I am blessed to have had such a dedicated and loyal friend.

New Chance to Win American Gold & Silver Eagles!

Gold and Silver 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 2 pm on Friday 27 of October 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.

Your contribution to The New 49’er Legal Fund is tax-deductible.

All contributions are tax deductible. You can find more information about the drawing right here.

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.
Annual Dues

We bill all Full Members $50 for annual dues in August.  September through the end of the year is when we must shoulder the load of substantial property tax and filing fees to the county and Bureau of Land Management. These are legal requirements which allow us to continue making a very substantial number of federal mining claims (60+ miles of gold-rich river and creek properties) available to our members.

I want to thank those of you who immediately responded to this message last month. With your help, we have succeeded in meeting all the requirements to maintain the gold properties we all have access to.

For those who have not yet paid annual dues, I ask that you please fit them into your budget as best you can.

For many years, our New 49’er members have been the leading force of keeping the small-scale gold mining opportunity alive in America. Small-scale gold mining remains one of the last true free enterprise opportunities in America, where hard work and ingenuity can take the place of substantial financial capital to create a viable business opportunity which can generate pure wealth and personal freedom. The incredible amount of gold-rich properties we make available to our members will never be duplicated again. We should not give it up until there is no hope left!

As it is, things being the way that they are; even if every member pays the $50 annual dues, I personally support cost overruns with other sources of income which I earned before becoming a gold miner, along with savings put away during better times.

Costs associated with maintaining our extensive properties, our material infrastructure and to hold onto our very experienced and loyal staff exceed the amount of income we bring in. I don’t expect this reality to change until either we get motors and underwater mining back, or until the dollar value of gold goes up so high that non-motorized mining will produce a living wage.

There remains hope that America will wake up and realize we need to produce value and wealth in excess of what we consume. Mr. Trump and his team appear to be leading the charge on this, though he is not getting as much support from congress and the mainstream press that he deserves. However, his outstanding performance in dealing with the storm damage in Texas and Louisiana seem to be bringing some of his detractors around.

Also, there is some reason for hope in that several States, including California, are suing the Trump Administration right now to try and prevent coal and gas exploration on the federal lands – largely due to “the possibility” of environmental consequences (sound familiar?). On somewhat of a fast track which is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the question is going to be answered as to how much authority the States have to prevent the federal government from allowing natural resource development on the federal lands. 

The States and environmental organizations opposing Trump are the very same bunch that have more or less shut down the use of mechanized equipment in small-scale gold mining. Our legal question in Rinehart remains on the list being considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The States’ legal arguments against Trump and their arguments against small-scale miners are much the same; except that our position is even stronger. This is because we have a property interest in the minerals that we want to develop.

I personally believe that if we persist in our fight against totally unreasonable laws and regulations which have been put in place by the far left, and are directly in the way of “making America great again,” we will ultimately prevail and win our industry back. If I did not believe there remains hope, I would surely not be continuing to invest my retirement income into our program.

We are on the front lines of the fight for personal freedom. I will be the first to admit that it is uncomfortable. But if we do not hold the line for small-scale gold mining in America at least until all hope is gone, I guarantee nobody else is going to do it.

I am eternally grateful to those of you who stick it out alongside me and our loyal staff.

Do We Really Need a Hard-copy Version of this Newsletter?

In line with my explanation above, we are taking a hard look at how we can continue to provide the important services to our members without wasting money.

To keep members informed and interested, we began sending out hard-copy newsletters with the monthly billings all the way back in 1986. The hard copies have continued to be sent out nearly every month to all members, including those who had fully paid for their memberships more than 30 years ago.

But now in the modern age, nearly everyone has access to the Internet.

So we find ourselves making up two versions of the newsletters; one that goes out in the mail, and another which is placed on the Internet.  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.  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.  All of our future battles will be organized over the Internet since it is so much faster. The Internet at least provides you with the opportunity to join us in the battle to maintain our remaining freedoms!

If you are not able to sign up for our Internet version of the newsletter, please contact Montine at 530 493-2012.

As a substantial cost savings, we are considering eliminating the hard-copy version of our newsletter (this may be the last one). Depending upon how many of you rely upon a hard copy to stay informed of our activities, we might save a lot of money by printing the Internet version and sending that out to you, instead.

We will be looking closely at how we might eliminate other unnecessary expenditures in the coming months. This is not about survival. It is about using our cash flow wisely to provide you with the very best service that we can.

Sign up for our Free Internet Newsletter!

Note: You are free to unsubscribe anytime just by clicking a link if you decide to do so.


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

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