THE GUEST RULE: A membership includes husband and wife and children under the age of 18. Full Members are allowed to bring guests, and guests can actively participate in a member’s prospecting operation for a one-week period, one time only per guest. Guests must be registered in our office, so they can be issued a pass. If two or more people, outside the membership family unit, are going to operate on Club property for more than a week, it will be necessary for each to obtain a membership.

Guests are not allowed to strike out on their own and do their own mining. They cannot claim an area of their own to mine on Club Properties. Registered guests are allowed to help an active member who must be present when mining or prospecting is taking place.

A membership entitles a family to actively mine or prospect together. For example, a father and son (under 18 years old) team working a 5-inch dredge together, or a man dredging in the river and his wife shoveling into a motorized sluice on land.

ACCIDENT INSURANCE: Prior to doing any work on property administered by The New 49’ers, members and guests are encouraged to have your own accident insurance policy on file with our organization. Or, we have an excellent group policy available to members which provides $5,000 worth of coverage for bodily injury caused by any prospecting accident and resulting independently of any other cause.

It is a supplemental policy. This means that if you have some other form of insurance, this policy only covers you when the other runs out. It is good only during prospecting activity and while en route to and from any prospecting activity. It is also a $5,000 life insurance policy if your death is the result of an accident while prospecting. It is an excellent policy for those not having something else to cover you in case of a minor accident.

The policy has a $100 deductible and covers $100 per tooth, $500 dental maximum, with a $5,000 maximum limit per injury.

The policy currently costs $30 per person, per year (subject to change without notice). This covers from January 1 through December 31. There is no rebate if the policy is purchased later in the year; the fee is still the same. Rates may go up with time. Please contact our office for current rates.

LIABILITY: Each member and guest is required to sign an agreement prior to engaging in any mining or prospecting activity on any property administered by The New 49’ers. This Agreement places complete legal and financial responsibility for individual mining or prospecting operations and activities on the individual member or guest.

Gold prospecting sometimes requires moving equipment over rough terrain and obstacles. Some prospecting is done in the water. Safety is a personal matter, based upon the judgment of the individuals involved and depending upon your personal experience. Final responsibility must fall upon the individual who is doing the activity, because New 49’er staff are not present and/or are restricted by policy from supervising any individual’s operation.

This membership agreement is available from our office upon request and is automatically sent to anyone requesting to join the Club.

SANITATION: When camping on properties which we administer, all grey and black water must be hauled into an approved dump station in town. No holes or latrines are allowed for grey or black water. Portable holding tanks and porta-potties are acceptable, provided they are dumped in approved stations in town. All members and guests must come prepared with some type of acceptable sewage disposal plan if they intend to camp on gold properties which the The New 49’ers make available.

We do place chemical toilets in our main, more heavily-used camping areas during the spring, summer and fall months. Otherwise, sewage disposal is the responsibility of each member and guest.

RULES: The New 49’ers have a set of Operation Rules for all members and guests to follow. These are very reasonable, common-sense rules which are necessary if we are to get along with one another, the local residents and the authorities. These rules are necessary to the continued growth and successful operation of our organization.

In the Happy Camp area, we have a very good relationship with the Department of Fish & Game, the U.S. Forest Service and local law enforcement. They have always assisted and supported our activity. This assistance exists largely because they know we are a well organized and responsible group.

The purpose of our program is to maintain and increase our existing mining rights while increasing available mining opportunities for our members. The only way this can be accomplished is by doing things the right way and by being responsible for the well-being of the environment in which we find ourselves.

We have an enormous amount of freedom to prospect, mine, camp and do other activities because we have always set an example of doing things the right way.

We also have a Director of Internal Affairs who keeps track of what’s going on around the properties which we administer.

Operation Rules are available from the office upon request and are automatically sent to those who wish to join.

DREDGE AND EQUIPMENT SIZE LIMITATIONS: Before the temporary moratorium was imposed upon suction dredging in California, members were allowed to operate up to 6-inch dredges (hose size) on the creeks, Salmon and Scott Rivers, and up to 8-inch dredges (nozzle intake size) on the Klamath River.

Until the moratorium is lifted in California, we are supporting member suction dredging in Southern Oregon.

Since most of our members are operating on a small or intermediate scale, and since we already have an abundance of property suited for larger-scale operations, we take extra steps to preserve easier-to-mine property for our members who are mining on a smaller-scale. This is a large factor in our acquisition of new properties. We are constantly looking for new high-quality gold properties.

COMMERCIAL STATUS: Operating commercial equipment on our properties requires special permission from management and involves a special commercial contract. The contract is available by contacting our office or by clicking here.

CLAIMING GOLD DEPOSITS: As an active member, you have the right to prospect and mine anywhere along our properties as long as your activity does not seriously inhibit the mining operations of someone who was prospecting in the area first (members or registered guests), and as long as you follow the our Operation Rules. This means, in dredging, if you start mining and cloud-out someone else downstream with your tailings discharge, and the other person was there first, you will have to move elsewhere or make different arrangements so the other operation is not seriously inhibited.

On the other hand, since this is a prospecting organization whose purpose is to provide better mining opportunities for all our members, there has to be a significant reason why someone else is inhibiting your operation in order to make them stop. We always have to keep in mind that we are participating in an organization where we are “miners helping miners.”

If you locate a gold deposit, you have the right to claim the deposit–or at least a portion of it. A person working up on land is entitled to claim a 30 foot radius from the location he or she is actively mining. If you are there first, and another member or registered guest wishes to prospect or mine in the area, please mark your 60-foot circle boundary so they can see where your claim ends.

A person must be actively mining or be actively moving equipment to the location in order to claim it. Equipment sitting idle for a week or more constitutes abandonment of any right to claim that area until the person resumes mining activity. If another member starts prospecting activity in any area abandoned by someone else, the new person has a right to claim it.

There can be some exceptions to this one-week rule, as in the case when there is an emergency which needs to be handled, or the person is doing some volunteer work for our organization. Special cases must be approved by New 49’er management or by contacting our Director of Internal Affairs.

Our intent is to leave all our mining property open to all members, while at the same time giving each individual the right to mine any deposit that you locate.

Commercial-scale activities operating on New 49’er property are generally entitled to larger-sized claims. These are negotiated with our management on an individual basis, and claim-rights are maintained by the commercial operation paying the weekly 10% royalty.

Individual claims must be marked either with flags on the bank or buoys in the water, placed neatly and in a manner not unsightly or hazardous to other river users. Usually, claims are marked by showing the upper and lower boundaries on the creek or river. Claim markers are used so other members or guests looking for a place to mine can see which areas are already claimed by others.

Please remove your claim markers when you leave an area. Claim markers in an area with no equipment present, are not valid unless the person is actively moving equipment to that location.

MINING & DREDGING SEASONS IN CALIFORNIA: The State of California recently passed a law which has placed a statewide moratorium on suction dredging in California until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) completes an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR process has already begun. Under the present schedule, public hearings will begin in November of 2009. DFG is projecting to complete the process by the spring of 2011. Click here for more information.

Just in case you didn’t know, this new law only stops suction dredging within California’s active waterways. It does not have anything to do with the other types of prospecting or mining that we do in California. Unaffected prospecting activities include panning, sniping & vack-mining, sluicing & high-banking, booming, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our group weekend projects.

There are no seasons imposed upon these other types of mining activity. In other words, you can do them at any time of the year.

Please be advised that these other types of mining activity along New 49’er properties are subject to a strict set of Surface Mining Operational Guidelines.

As the suction dredging seasons in California have been suspended, we have identified some fantastic suction dredging opportunities for our members in Southern Oregon.

SEASON FOR MINING ABOVE THE WATER: Pick and shovel-type above-water prospecting activities can be done along the creeks and rivers at any time of the year; but no silt whatsoever can be washed into the active waterway from water directed up onto the stream bank using a motorized pump. Silt and other material from surface gravels (up on the bank) must remain up on the bank and cannot be washed into the active waterway at any time.

Happy Camp has a dry, hot summer and a moist, cool winter season. It seldom snows; but when it does, it usually melts within a few days. River water temperature drops to about 40 degrees during the winter months. During the summer, it runs in the mid-to-high 70’s(F).

Some members dredge the Klamath River throughout the winter months, using dry-suits or hot water systems. We also have members who do surface (out of the water) prospecting activities during the winter months in the Happy Camp area. Although, the Arizona winter weather is better suited for outdoor activity during the winter months.

In Happy Camp, our season gets busy from early April into November, since this is when most members make use of this area’s mining properties.


The New 49’ers is incorporated as a for-profit, private gold prospecting membership organization. The structure is not set up with members having voting rights. However, the organization is administered by successful prospectors who have a sincere interest in providing the best service possible to members. The fact that we are the fastest-growing prospecting organization, with more mining property available to members, more group mining opportunities and more gold coming from our properties than any other prospecting group in the world, is certainly a good reflection upon the intent and ability of our managers.

SUGGESTIONS: New 49’er managers are always open to new ideas and constructive criticism.

We are also occasionally in need of volunteer help to make improvements and implement new programs. If you have an idea you would like to help bring about, or if you would like to participate in any other capacity, please let us know in the office or by telephone or email. We always welcome help and assistance!

If you have disagreements or problems, these can be written down and directed to New 49’er management. Or, you can ,communicate directly with our Director of Internal Affairs.

The New 49’ers
27 Davis Road / P.O. Box 47
Happy Camp, CA 96039
(530) 493-2012