New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST  QUARTER, March 2013                                VOLUME 27, NUMBER  3

Dave Mack

 By Dave McCracken


Note from Dave:  This short story was sent to me by one of our longtime members who is so excited about this new underwater suction mining concept we have come up with, that he started working out a gravel transfer system in February, and is already recovering a substantial amount of gold, especially while being hampered by cold water. Oh my; it is starting already! 

Since coming out with this new idea, I have received queries from people about what our Club rules are regarding underwater suction mining along our extensive properties. So we have published a set of Special Underwater Suction Mining Guidelines further below. My answer is that as long as your device does not meet the regulatory definition of a “suction dredge” (motorized suction through a hose into a sluice box), and you stay within our simple guidelines, you are more than welcome to come with your inventions and keep all the gold you can find!  

I know people are working on different ideas.  I have an idea of my own and am expecting to have my most productive underwater mining season ever on the Klamath River this summer.  It’s certainly going to be an interesting season!  You guys (and gals) are all invited. Montine in our office will work it out with nearly anyone to become a member of The New 49’ers. Please call her at 530 493-2012. 

Having said that, I thought you might be interested to know that we already have members getting started.  Here is John’s personal story:

Suction Mining Has Already Started on the Klamath River!


John Rose  gold

Field Report from John Rose:  This device was meant to be as simple and economical as possible, and something that I could use without a partner. It began as just a crude system I put together to see if my idea would even work. Basically it is just a larger milk crate with most of one end cut out and a 1 1/2″ crash box mounted on top with a grizzly and some inner tube attached.  I added the crash box and inner tube to try and cut down on the boiling of the water going into the bucket.  It seems to work okay with just one person so long as I go slow and watch not to fill the bucket too full.

I started with some diamond-shaped screen to use as a grizzly but I am constantly removing rocks from the screen. This subtracts from the work I’m getting done at the nozzle. So I will next experiment with some round splines to see if they allow oversized rocks to slide off better.

gravel-transfer-set-upI am using a 5-gallon square bucket that slides perfectly into the milk crate when stood on end.  I found that adding some rubber on the sides of the splash box down to the grizzly helps to direct the material onto the grizzly then into the bucket without loosing very much smaller material.

The water was very cold when I began this experiment in February.  Now that we are into March, I am able to put my hands into it without gloves, which was not the case just a few weeks ago. I am mining along this section of exposed bedrock that slopes out into the river. The river fluctuates higher and faster, and then drops again, depending upon how much rain we get.  I’ll be able to do better once the water warms up even more and I can reach out further into the river.

I am only using a 2.5 horsepower pump and mini suction nozzle.  It has plenty of power when I submerge the catch container out in deeper water.  This is difficult to do at the moment because water currents can capsize my catch container and take away all the fruits of my labor.

The biggest cost to my “thingamajig” was the $80 crash box.  The rest was just scrap that I scrounged from around the shop.  I will leave my thingamajig down at the New 49’er office when I’m not using it so people can look at it as they come in.  Montine says she will begin stocking crash boxes and other items so other prospectors can make up similar gravel transfer systems.

Here is a video segment which shows me testing out the system in the creek just down from where I am camping:

The good news is that I recovered 3.4 pennyweights of nice gold (about $250) during my first week, which is not bad considering I devoted a lot of time doing modifications. I know I lost some gold from too much water boiling in my initial bucket – which was shorter.  The cold water is also limiting what I can get done.   So with some more fine tuning I think this system might really do the trick!

I’ll tell you; it’s really exciting to see the gold add up so fast! 

We Have Acquired Another Rich Klamath River Gold Property! 

Elliot Bar

We are on a roll, you guys!  At long last, we have acquired the 1.7 mile stretch of Klamath River which connects our Coons Creek and Cottage Grove Properties. This is approximately twenty miles downriver from Happy Camp.  This will now provide us with a continuous stretch of river in that location which is more than 3.3 miles long.

Elliot Bar Map

This is another area of the river where I personally have some early history dating back to 1984.  In fact, this is the first place that I put a dredge into the Klamath River.  I had five or six of my very first students with me, and I was going to show them how to sample.  We started in an area just downstream of the huge bar on the upper half of the claim (towards the upper end of the river in the image above). Digging a small hole on the edge of the river exposed cemented gravel inside of a bedrock crack.  It took us a while; but we picked the hard material out of the crack and found nuggets and chips of gold on the bedrock.  But the going was very slow, so we turned our attention to the river.

Floating my 5-inch dredge just out into the river, we started a sample hole between the stream bank and a section of faster water.  I was used to the much smaller and tamer Trinity River; and frankly, I remember being overwhelmed by the size, depth and ferocity of the Klamath.  The boulders were larger than I was used to; there seemed to be no bottom to the streambed material, and the river was so wide compared to what I was used to, it felt like we were just an ineffective needle in a haystack.  There was also a nagging feeling in me that there was not going to be much gold in the Klamath River.  We didn’t have enough experience there to know any better, yet.

The key moment was when I considered pushing on out to the edge of the fast water towards the middle of the river.  I crawled out there underwater and took a look.  The water was faster and deeper out there, but I could have done the sample, and it looked like I could get to bedrock in that place.  I remember deciding there was not going to be any gold out there.  These are the exact decisions we make that change our fate forever!  Had I done that sample, I cannot even imagine how differently the world would have gone. In fact, I might not even be writing this newsletter right now!  This was a good lesson, amongst many others I experienced over the years, why it is better to not give up hope too quickly.

One of my students offered to buy the claim. He was excited that we found gold nuggets so easily under the cemented gravel along the edge of the river.  It was actually a group of ten claims.  Having acquired plenty of other property along the Klamath, and always in need of financial capital, I decided to sell him that stretch of river.  That guy was a good student!  After he finished my class, he went out and dredged the sample I neglected to do further out in the river. That is exactly where he struck it rich within the first hour!  He ultimately dredged hundreds of ounces of gold from that single location!  Selling those claims was something I have regretted doing ever since.

Unfortunately, my ex-student died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. The property has been held in private hands ever since.  The owners have refused to allow any outsiders access to the property.  To my knowledge, no mining or prospecting has been done on this very extensive property beyond the original strike.  I have been waiting patiently to reacquire the long stretch of river for the past 30 years.  Now we have it!

Img_0167Besides the extensive underwater suction mining opportunity remaining on this property, there is also enough surface mining potential on both sides of the river to keep our members busy for the rest of our lives.  This is a huge property! There are extensive ancient hydraulic workings on the far side of the river which take up the lower half of the property.  There may be some really good electronic prospecting opportunity over there!

This is another property where there are very large roadside pull-offs for camping and parking.  Access poses a bit of a challenge because Highway 96 is elevated above the river for some distance along the claim.  It is a bit easier up towards the private property.  There is an access road towards the bottom of the claim that will get you most of the way to the river.

Important note:  The upper portion of the river area on this property is landlocked by private property.  Our mining claim takes in the river which flows around the private property.  This is shown in this diagram on Google Earth. There is some kind of private fee camping area there that we don’t know anything about.  You may be able to work something out with the owners.  Otherwise, the upper portion of the claim will only be accessible by boat.

Special Rules for Underwater Suction Mining

We explained the need for these Rules on our Internet forum. So I won’t go into it again here.

1)  Suction mining in the active waterway, or within 100 yards of the active waterway, must not use a “suction dredge” as defined by California’s regulations (motorized pump generating suction through a hose to feed a sluice box) unless the operator possesses a valid California suction dredge permit. Read this for a more thorough discussion of the difference between a “dredge” and a motorized suction system.

2)  No suction nozzle with an intake restriction ring larger than 4-inches in diameter may be used within 100 yards of an active waterway on New 49’er-controlled properties.

3)  No excavation into the stream bank of an active waterway is allowed.  Bedrock cracks along the edge of a waterway can be worked.  But the bed material (rocks, sand and silt) which rises up from the bedrock and creates a structure that holds the waterway in its path must be left alone.  This means the stream bank may not be undermined or destabilized in any way.

4)  Boulders and woody debris along the stream bank of an active waterway must be left alone.

5)  Underwater suction mining without the use of a “dredge” is only allowed on our Klamath River properties between the Scott and Salmon Rivers on a year-round basis, and only up the Klamath from its confluence with the Scott only from the 4th Saturday in May through September 30. Underwater suction mining is only permitted along our creek properties and the Scott River only from July 1 to September 30. Underwater suction mining is only permitted on the Salmon River only from July 1 through September 15.

6)  Underwater suction mining may not be pursued in any way that violates Water Quality standards, or exceeds Streambed Alteration standards.  These are addressed in our Surface Mining Guidelines. 

Legal Fund Prize Winners

We did the drawing for our most recent legal fundraiser at our offices in Happy Camp at the close of business on 7 March. Ray Arnsen drew all the tickets. He is not a member and not related to any of this. The winners of the are as follows:

One-ounce American Gold Eagle: Fred Rehfield

Quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles: John Moir, Terry White, Dorothy Leet and William Tipton

Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Buell Meyer, Phillip Osborn, Gregory M Beenken, Wes St Clair, Howard Charleboix, Dorothy Leet, David LeFevre, David Eddleman, Brad Hinman and Gilbert Reynolds

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you very much to everyone who participated. I want to especially acknowledge the substantial response to my calls during the final week before the drawing. It makes me very proud to know we have so many loyal supporters out there. It also prompts me to come up with more of my personal gold nuggets for the next fund-raiser! 

Any contributions received afterwards will have automatically been issued tickets in our next fund-raiser.

Giving Away Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets!

Dave Mack's Gold Nuggets

Since it generated so much participation last time, I am allowing three more ounces of my personal gold nuggets to be used as prizes in this new fund-raiser!

New Fund-raiser, 25 prizes in all:

Grand Prize: 1-Ounce of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets
Four ¼-Ounce Bags of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets
Twenty 1-Pennyweight Bags of Dave Mack’s Gold Nuggets

The drawing will take place at our weekly potluck in Happy Camp on Saturday evening, 13 July 2013. 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, P.O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039, or online by clicking Here.

We greatly appreciate your support in these fundraisers! 

Opposition to Oregon Senate Bills 115, 370 and 401!

Several anti-mining bills are now progressing through the Oregon State Senate. If these destructive bills are passed into law, it will put a complete end to suction dredging and all other forms of motorized gold mining in the entire State of Oregon!

These bills are being pushed by anti-mining activists who want to eliminate the last remaining productive economic activity on America’s public lands.

Just at the time when we have figured out how to do some underwater suction mining in California, this is not the time for us to lose all of Oregon!

If we do not all pull together and kill these bills right now, we will find ourselves devoting years and years trying to overcome them through expensive litigation. We must flood the Oregon senate with very vocal opposition right now!

You can find all the important details right here

2013 Group Insurance Policy

All Members are eligible to sign up for $10,000 of accidental medical Insurance which covers you while prospecting for gold, and also during any activities which we sponsor. Dental accidents are included, along with $2,500 for accidental death or dismemberment. The policy has a $100 deductible. It is an annual policy which extends through January of 2014. This insurance is available for $30 per year, per person. More information can be found here

Schedule of Weekend Projects for 2013

All members are invited to attend our weekend Group Mining Projects and keep an equal share of the gold that we recover.  Here are our planned events for the upcoming season:  June 1 & 2; June 22 & 23; July 13 & 14; August 3 & 4; August 24 & 25.

Please Join Me on Facebook and Twitter!

With the launch of Extreme Prospector, I have started up a blog which broadens the context to ongoing adventures and other important news and issues that we are all facing today.  These include discussion and links to informative information about the economic realities of our time.  Important stuff!

My latest blog released the news about the success John Rose is having with this new motorized underwater suction mining concept weeks before you are seeing it in this newsletter.  I provide updates in the blog as soon as I am aware of them.

If you are interested in up-to-date news, along with stories about extreme prospecting adventures (not just mine), I invite you to visit my Facebook page at facebook/DaveMackExtreme and follow me on Twitter @DaveMackExtreme.  There is a “Free eBook” tab on my Facebook page where you can download Chapter 10 of Extreme Prospector. 

I hope a bunch of you guys and gals will join me up there and encourage all of you to join in the discussion and “Like” my page to share with your friends. 

Lost Treasure Hunters on Youtube!

For any of you guys who missed our first episode of Lost Treasure Hunters on Animal Planet, it is now playing on Youtube.  Check it out!

Sign up for the Free Internet Version of this Newsletter

We strongly encourage you to sign up for the free on line version of this newsletter.  The Internet version is better, 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.

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, just two years ago, in concert with other mining organizations, our Internet Action Team killed anti-mining legislation in Oregon in less than a week.  It is a near guarantee that we will be calling for another industry-wide action to defeat this new legislation being proposed in Oregon before you even see another of these newsletters.  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