New 49'er Newsletter

FIRST QUARTER, JANUARY 2016                               VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

As many of you are aware, California passed a new Water Quality law last year which went into effect at the beginning of 2016. Senate Bill 637 has modified California’s suction dredging law under Section 5653 of the Fish & Wildlife Code to require a Water Quality Permit or Waiver before a dredging permit will be granted.  You can find the language of SB 637 right here.

The language of SB 637 allows several ways to obtain the Water Quality Permit or Waiver.  Because some federal Waivers are already in place for suction dredging, it is confusing at this point which, if any, additional steps are necessary to obtain a suction dredging permit.  Several of our most qualified members have devoted the past two months trying to figure it all out.  We have consulted extensively with the leaders of the other industry associations in California, and with our attorney, and even with local law enforcement personnel inside of the Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW).  All I can say is that no two people have the same view of how SB 637 will affect California suction dredgers – and/or those of us that are doing small-scale motorized prospecting activity outside of the active waterways. Here follows some of the key language in SB 637 that everyone is struggling with:

It is unlawful to possess a vacuum or suction dredge in areas, or in or within 100 yards of waters that are closed to the use of vacuum or suction dredges.

For purposes of this section and Section 5653.1, the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment, also known as suction dredging, is the use of a mechanized or motorized system for removing or assisting in the removal of, or the processing of, material from the bed, bank, or channel of a river, stream, or lake in order to recover minerals. This section and Section 5653.1 does not apply to, prohibit, or otherwise restrict nonmotorized recreational mining activities, including panning for gold. 

The reason we struggle is that there are a lot of prospecting and other activities that have nothing to do with suction dredging, but which use the same or similar gear that we use in dredging, and in particular use motorized equipment. If so, that would put an end to a big part of California’s sand gravel mining industry. Since the language is somewhat ambiguous in its meaning, we are supposing that “intent to operate a suction dredge” is required.

For example, a suction dredge is not allowed within 100 yards of an active waterway if it is closed to dredging.  We get that.  But what about the same kind of motorized pumps or gold recovery systems if there is clearly no purpose to operate a suction dredge?  How about a motorized hookah system that does not have a pump attached to it?  That gear, without the rest of the essential gear to make up a dredge, does not amount to “suction dredging”.  How about a motor on a boat, ATV, electric generator, motor vehicle and many other devices that we may use to support dredging, or many other activities which have nothing to do with suction dredging?

Most telling about what the legislature’s intent can be found in Section 5653.5 of Fish & Wildlife Code:

5653.5. For purposes of Section 5653, “river, stream, or lake” means the body of water at the current water level at the time of the dredging.

We think this means that the focus of enforcement efforts will be use of motorized equipment to recover minerals in the water.  We have looked into what it takes for an individual to obtain water quality certification for “waste discharges” into the active waterway.  These processes were designed for meaningful discharges far in excess of what we do in small-scale mining.  The processes are time consuming, lengthy and expensive; something few, if any, casual users are likely to do.

In looking over the language of SB 637, we also noted the following language:

Section 13172.5 is added to the Water Code, to read:

13172.5. (c) (1) Before determining what action to take pursuant to subdivision (b), the state board shall solicit stakeholder input by conducting public workshops in the vicinity of the cities of San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento, and Redding. A regional board considering independent action pursuant to subdivision (b) shall solicit stakeholder input by conducting at least one public workshop in that board’s region. To promote participation in the public workshops, the state board or regional board shall proactively reach out to mining groups, environmental organizations, and California Native American tribes, as defined in Section 21073 of the Public Resources Code.

(2) Before taking a proposed action pursuant to subdivision (b), the state board or regional board shall conduct at least one public hearing regarding that proposed action pursuant to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(3) To avoid duplication of efforts between the state board and a regional board of a public workshop or public hearing that covers the same regional area, the state board and a regional board may work in collaboration to share information obtained through the public workshops or public hearing.

It seems reasonable to assume that nothing really changes until the California Water Board conducts some public meetings and consults with the small-scale mining community.  As far as I know, the State has not scheduled anything on this, yet. Therefore, in view of the uncertainty over how the State believes it should enforce SB 637, until we get written clarification from the State, we are making the following assumptions:

1)     We do not believe that the legislature intended to prevent all motorized mining-related activity within 100 yards of waterways (that are closed to dredging) just because many, many activities can be identified that have nothing to do with suction dredging, but which use some of the same or similar gear that dredgers use.  Existing 5653.5 defines suction dredging as something which takes place within an active waterway.  This is true.  I am not aware of any reasonable person who would suggest that something is really suction dredging if it is happening outside of an active waterway.

In my view, if the law is not going to be applied to sand and gravel plants that are doing large scale mechanized excavation of minerals, how can it be applied to recreational-scale miners that are using a small motor; but have no intention of suction dredging?  How about using a vacuum cleaner to suck the gold from dry cracks in exposed bedrock up out of the water?  There is no way a dry-vack can be used in the active waterway, right?

So for the time being, we will move forward on New 49’er properties with the assumption that SB 637 does not apply to any other type of the traditional prospecting activities we do that do not require a complete suction dredge.

2)    The new Water Code Section 13172.5. (c) (1) directs that they cannot move forward with any of the proposed actions pursuant to subdivision (b) until there is some coordination with the mining industry. Therefore, we are actively working on setting up an initial stakeholder meeting with staff from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

If the outcome from this makes it clear that New 49’ers should apply for a permit or waiver that will provide a water quality certification covering all the properties we manage, that’s what we will do.  We will keep you guys informed of the progress.

3)    Since SB 637 does seem to apply only to suction dredging, if you want to operate a suction dredge in California during 2016, I suggest it may be a good time to begin asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the California Water Board exactly what will be required of you to qualify for an individual water quality certification so that you can obtain a suction dredge permit.

It may be that there is little you can do, especially since both the Corps and the State have authority to grant state-wide or regional certification that applies to the times and places when suction dredging is allowed under California’s adopted suction dredging regulations.  My guess is that this will happen faster if everyone who wants to dredge in California sends a written query to:  State Water Resources Control Board, P.O. Box 100, Sacramento, CA 95812-0100.  “Dear Sirs, I understand SB 637 may affect my hopeful application to obtain a suction dredge permit in 2016.  Can you please provide me with details on how to proceed?”

Some New 49’ers and others within our dredging industry are already moving forward on obtaining individual water quality certifications or waivers in support of their suction dredging plans for the coming season.  As I mentioned above, different approaches are being used. Long time very supportive member, Steve Kleszyk, is very informed on this effort and is actively pursuing individual authorization (if required at all) to suction dredge on the Klamath river this season.  He has offered to provide opinions and assistance to anyone also wanting to get moving on this.  Steve can be reached at steve@goldgold.com. It may be a week or two after this mailing for him to have something worth passing on but he is working diligently to get the best possible answers according to his understanding.

The good news is that SB 637 may be the door to get hassle-free suction dredging going again in California.  Some more time and effort will bring us the answer to this.

Other Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes.

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has ruled and ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional. As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).  Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here. The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she will sign an Order for a return of all equipment that was seized from Derek and Dyton by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens as long as the dredges are not used in Siskiyou County until the case against them has been resolved.

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney.

Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino will decide in a hearing on January 20th on the arguments by suction dredgers that the State of California did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when they developed the 2012 suction dredging regulations.  Western Mining Association (WMA) deserves most of the credit for providing a really well done effort on this.  The outcome could affect the new water quality law in California (which is largely based upon the very same results which we are challenging). We are also motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional, that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here.

It will be interesting to see how the federal court in Oregon deals with the federal preemption argument.  Because, after 7+ years of getting the runaround by the State of California, I believe the time is about right to ask for some intervention by the federal court.

New Legal Fund Drawing

Gold and Silver EaglesThis is to announce the newest Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.  As most of you know, these Legal Fund drawings are how we generate most of the funds necessary to defend the rights of small-scale gold miners.

The drawing will take place at the close of business at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. 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 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us! 

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.
Updating The Billing System in our Offices

We have hired a specialist to resolve problems with our monthly and annual billing system.  The only way to know we have everything the way it belongs is to get feedback from members.  If your billing seems incorrect, please don’t hesitate to call Bonnie or Music in our office: 530 493-2012.

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. 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!

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  www.goldgold.com

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New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, DECEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 11

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

Story by Dickey Melton

 

Dickey MeltonWell, the hot summer days and warm summer nights with fifteen hours of daylight have ended for this year. Most of the miners who summer in Happy Camp have gone to warmer places. The trees have lost most of their leaves; the sun doesn’t get very high; and the rivers are COLD.

I got up this past Saturday morning to an outside temperature of twenty degrees. This prompted me to make coffee and sip it nice and slow in front of the wood stove in my cabin.

Being a New 49’er member, I have free access to miles upon miles of gold-rich mining property; more than I could prospect in ten lifetimes.  But I have taken a liking to this spot several miles downstream from Happy Camp and have spent quite a lot of time down there. My granddaughter spent a few months with us two summers ago, and she mined with me every day. Those are fond memories that she will never forget and neither will I.

Sipping a second cup of coffee, I got to thinking about the area I’m mining. There’s a creek that has water most of the year.  But during the dry season, the water runs underground and comes out about a hundred feet above the river into a little muddy area covered in horse tail, swamp grass, blackberries and poison oak. I have been walking by that area all year and I swear I can hear beautiful gold calling out to me from under all that mud. I’ve almost gone in there a couple times but was turned back by the brush.

Now that the leaves are gone it doesn’t look so intimidating. So I loaded up my prospecting tools and trusty dog, Loki. Loki a sixty-five pound, ten month old Kareelian Bear Dog with all the energy of three Jack Russell Terriers.  He is quite a handful.  But his heart is always in the right place. Loki knows what it means to be a man’s best friend. All I have to do is look like I am ready to go somewhere and he is already one step ahead of me!

We got down to the mining site and it was cold down there, very cold!  After getting organized a bit, I started the work of clearing away some brush. Once I got into it, I started making some real progress.

Funny thing about some dogs; if you throw something, anything, they think you really want it back. It took a while to get Loki to realize that just because I was throwing brush it didn’t mean I wanted it back. He would drop the brush behind me sit down and look at me with his tongue hanging out, panting with that very same happy, “look what I just did,” look he gets when he has just dug ten holes in the new planted lawn. Sometimes it takes some patience to have a best friend around.  In Loki’s world, he is always doing his best to help me out.

After a while, Loki and I finally reached the area where I swear I heard the gold during this past summer. Loki took one look at the mud hole—which was about the size of two bathtubs–and looked at me with that, ”I think I’m in heavenlook. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Loki!! No!!”  I’m sure he heard, Loki!! Go!! This is because he went over me like he had wings, landed in the middle of the mud, buried his head to his eyeballs and blew bubbles. Then came the explosion of mud and dog. Mind you, it was still below freezing down there. I was trying to get out of the danger zone and tripped on a wait a minute vine (commonly known as BlackBerry vine.)

A few seconds later, Loki was standing over me covered in foul smelling swamp mud with that famous, “look what I just did” look. If you could have seen his face you would understand why I didn’t get too mad. After all, he’s only ten months old—which I knew when I invited him.

Loki In the mudWell, after I got things squared away with Loki, he realized we were there to work, not play. And I have to admit that he did try to help me with the shoveling. I’m sure he thought he was helping.

We got through the mud and ran a sample through the Fossicker Pyramid Pan.  First I had to bust the ice off the top of the panning tub.  And by gosh, there was some gold in the pan!  I got the sniffer bottle out and the water inside was frozen. Now that’s what I call hard core!

I love prospecting and am able to do it year round. I’m finding ways to mine in any weather. Now that I know Loki likes bad weather, I have someone to go and keep me company.

I was asked if I got a lot of gold last year. Now some miners think a lot of gold is paying for your house. And other miners think a lot of gold is being able to see gold in a quarter ounce vile without holding it up in the light where you can see it better. I got somewhere in between that.

But the better answer to the question is that even if I had all the wealth a man needed, what would I do with my time?  I’d be out prospecting for gold, of course!  So on that count, I guess I’m getting plenty.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to stop prospecting or mining. So grab your trusty dog if you have one and go create some memories.

I hope to see you out here!

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. This case is all about whether or not federal law prevents the State of California from imposing material interference upon mining or prospecting on the public lands.  It is perhaps the most important litigation concerning American mining in our lifetimes.

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional.

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).

Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here.

The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she would entertain a Motion for a return of all equipment that was seized by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens.

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney.

There is a new Water Quality law which will go into effect next year in California that will require a water quality permit for most or all motorized mining activities that take place within 100 yards of any active waterway.  We are in the process of submitting applications that will cover the extensive properties we make available to our members, and also work out what other prospectors should do to obtain the permit or waiver.  The initial feedback we are receiving is encouraging, at least for the moment.  I’ll keep you informed of the progress as we go into the winter months.

A group of mining associations, business, and individuals in Oregon have banded together and hired James Buchal (same attorney who has been representing us and others) to challenge Oregon’s 5-year suction dredge moratorium which is supposed to go into effect in January of 2016.  The case is so cut and dry on the basis of established federal law, the miners have asked the federal court for an expedited summary judgment in hopes of saving their 2016 season.  You can find the legal arguments here.

Hats off to James Buchal for a great job on this. I am told that James received a lot of very helpful input from some of our brothers and sisters in Oregon who are also well versed in mining law.  Cool!

The arguments, more or less, are based upon the very same legal theories that have been winning our cases in California.

The difference is that even though we keep winning landmark cases in California, State officials, who are in bed with radical environmentalists, continue their ongoing scheme of preventing us from mining.  I figure we will have exhausted our California State remedies once the California Supreme Court issues a Decision on the Rinehart case — or as soon as we come to the conclusion that the process of obtaining a dredging permit under California’s new water law is so burdensome or expensive that the process is just another unlawful scheme to materially interfere with mining on the public lands.  We are working on that now.

It will be interesting to see how the federal court in Oregon deals with the federal preemption argument.  Because, after 6+ years of getting the runaround by the State of California, I believe the time is about right to ask for some intervention by the federal court.

New Legal Fund Drawing

Gold and Silver EaglesThis is to announce the newest Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.  As most of you know, these Legal Fund drawings are how we generate most of the funds necessary to defend the rights of small-scale gold miners.

The drawing will take place at the close of business at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. 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 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us!

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.

 

On a Personal Note

Suzuki Outboards?  Do we have anyone out there who is a distributor or dealer for Suzuki outboard engines, or who has a connection that will provide us with an exceptional deal?  If so, please contact me through the office at 530 493-2012, or you can find my personal email address on our contact page.

Holiday Wishes:  Me and all our staff in the office want to express our sincere gratitude for all of your continued support and encouragement during these uncertain times for small-scale gold mining.  We would not still be fighting if we didn’t believe we will ultimately win.  We also would not still be in the game if it were not for you guys standing behind us. From all of us serving you in The New 49’ers, we wish you a Merry Christmas holiday and hope that wonderful things happen for you in the coming year.

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. 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!

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  www.goldgold.com

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Dave Mack

“We are now motioning for the San Bernardino Court for Summary Judgment to declare that the second and third suction dredge moratoriums are unconstitutional and that the requirements of the first moratorium have been met — therefore requiring California to resume issuing suction dredge permits.”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

 

 

New 49'er Newsletter

FOURTH QUARTER, NOVEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 10

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

Story by Dickey Melton

 

 

Paul Ritchie's gold Paul smiling

Last week I was in the New 49er office when a fella came in with a gold pan and sniffer bottle in his hand. He introduced himself as Paul Richie. Looking at his bottle, I made the comment, “it sure looks heavy,” and laughed.  He smiled at me and dumped the contents of the bottle into the pan. The surprise caused my heart to skip at least one beat. My first thought was he must have brought the gold from Alaska. There were a bunch of nuggets there. One weighed just under three pennyweights. It was really nice gold!

After some conversation, John Rose and I followed Paul to his mining site to get a look. The location was only about a mile from the New 49er office in Happy Camp. Paul explained that it was another New 49’er member who introduced him the proven location.  This is one of the many benefits of New 49’er membership; experienced members always seem ready to help others get into the gold!

Dicky & Paul hardpack

The interesting thing about this is that Paul just started digging in a hole that someone else had started and left before reaching the pay layer. Paul dug a hole about the size of a 5-gallon bucket where he found bedrock. He vacuumed up the area; and after panning it out, he had just fewer than ten pennyweights of beautiful gold. One nugget was just under three pennyweights.

Paul's Hole Paul's nuggets

The next morning, John Rose and I went to Paul’s site to capture the action on video.  Paul explained to us how he chose this spot and the steps he took. As he was vacking, we watched Paul reach down by the hose and picked up a nugget right off the bedrock.  Then he put the contents of the vack into a single gold pan and went down to the river and panned out about a dozen nuggets.  This gold is coming out of some kind of very old hard-packed material that the old-timers must have overlooked, right alongside the Klamath River. Both John and I were astounded by how rich the discovery is!

Paul was only in Happy Camp two days and left with enough beautiful gold to make any prospector sweat with envy.  We could tell that he was feeling really good.

I’ll bet thousands of people have walked right across this place never knowing what lie just underneath!

The people who started that hole were only the size of a five-gallon bucket away from a very rich gold discovery. It just goes to show how close you can be to a rich discovery and have no idea that it is present.

Legal Fund Drawing Winners

The New 49’er Legal FundLegal Fund Drawing October 2015 drawing took place in our Happy Camp headquarters at the close of business on 30 October.  Here are the winners:

One ounce of gold nuggets: Dennis Costello from Sonora CA.

Quarter-ounce of gold nuggets: Bob Burdett from Shingletown CA; William Moore from LaPorte CO; Clifford G Williams from El Cajon CA; Robert Williams from Georgetown CA.

Tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles: Donna Craig from Cedaridge, CO; Ernest Nelson from Imperial CA; Frank Madsen from Novato CA; Dan Baker from Springfield MO; Robert Franklin from Cheyenne OK; Shasta Miners and Prospectors Association from Anderson CA; Kevin Dahlke from Springfield VA; Keith Benton from Rescue CA; Raymond O’Hagan from Orting WA; George Kramer from Waxahachie TX.

One-once Silver Eagles: Terry White from Cave Junction OR; Michael Krzyszton from Tucson AZ; Duane Werth from Elgin IL; Joseph Loyd from Oroville CA; Don Dahl from Nampa ID; Michael Kuzio from Atascadero CA; Gary Wright from Happy Camp CA; Bill Kerr from Klamath Falls OR; Edward Murphy from Phoenix AZ; Dan Kunz from Wilton CA.

Thank you so much to all of you who are actively supporting The New 49ers Legal Fund’s efforts on behalf of small-scale miners!

Congratulations to all the winners! Any contributions received after the time of this drawing will generate tickets for the next Legal Fund Drawing – which will be for 3 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 10 ounces of American Silver Eagles.

The drawing will take place at the close of business at New 49’er headquarters in Happy Camp, California on 26 February. 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 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win.

All contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

To contribute to our legal fund, please go here

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing with us!

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining.

Now we will just have to wait until the California Supreme Court weighs in.  My sources tell me that the California Supreme Court bases its rulings mostly upon U.S. Supreme Court controlling Decisions.  If this is true, we are likely to win.  From that, we should be able to roll back the State’s determination to impose unreasonable overregulation upon suction gold dredgers.  Stay tuned!

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river.

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

And in a more recent, surprising development, the State has attempted to criminally prosecute New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).

As many of you know, the State’s position of insisting that suction dredgers obtain a permit which they refuse to make available has already been overruled unanimously by California’s Third Appellate Court and the San Bernardino Superior Court which has taken control of all suction dredging cases in the State.

Our attorney, James Buchal, did a wonderful job motioning the Court to Dismiss all charges. You can see all the arguments right here:

The hearing (Motion to Dismiss) took place just this last week on 5 November.  Rather than dismiss the charges, the judge placed a Stay on any further attempted prosecution of suction dredgers in Siskiyou County until the California Supreme Court issues a Ruling in the Rinehart case.  The judge said she would entertain a Motion for a return of all equipment that was seized by Department of Fish & Wildlife wardens.

Courthouse Scene

Image provided by Alan Mash

So it would appear that the rights of suction gold dredgers in California will continue to hang in the balance until the California Supreme Court weighs in. Here is a link to a Summary provided by our attorney:

We want to thank each and everyone that was at the courthouse on the 5th. It was great to see such a turn out in support of these two men who are making a stand on behalf of all of us.

As prospectors and other supporters filed into the courtroom, the seats filled quickly. Then they started putting people in the jury box. After that there was standing room only. It was a great showing of support for what we believe in. I am sure that the significance of this turnout was not lost on either the court or the state’s attorneys.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of 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, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

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.

There is a new Water Quality law which will go into effect next year in California that will affect most of these activities.  We are in the process of submitting applications that will cover the extensive properties we make available to our members.

2016 Schedule of Events

You are invited to prospect and mine for gold along 60 miles of gold-bearing mining properties on the Klamath, Scott and Salmon River, and their tributaries, in Siskiyou County, northern California. We guarantee you will find gold–which is yours to keep!

Participate in a fun, weekend basic group prospecting project and keep an equal share of all the gold that is recovered. Learn from hands-on experience how to find your own gold. No previous experience is necessary.

There is nothing more exciting or rewarding than finding and recovering your own gold! 

All weekend events are free to Full & Associate Members.
Schedule of Events: June 4 & 5; June 25 & 26; July 16 & 17; August 6 & 7; August 27 & 28.

All of the 2016 events are expected to happen on our A & D #3 Gold Claim at K-23AA . There is plenty of free camping for members on this property, where it is just a walk to where we will be gaining access to the river. There is even more free camping just downstream on our Wingate River Gold Claim at K-23A . There are also private accommodations in Happy Camp, which is only about 12 miles away.

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. 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!

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  www.goldgold.com

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Dave Mack

 

Please make a donation to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

 

By Dave McCracken

As many of you will be aware, we have been going head to head against California State over-regulation of small-scale gold mining for more than ten years.  These battles have taken place in Siskiyou County, Plumas, Alameda and San Bernardino Superior Courts, the Third and Forth Appellate Courts and even the Supreme Court of California.

Last year, we made a major breakthrough when the Third Appellate Court Ruled unanimously that the State’s scheme of requiring gold miners to obtain a State permit, and then refusing to make such permits available, is an non-enforceable scheme which is preempted by federal law.  This Ruling is now being reviewed by the California Supreme Court.

We were given an even larger win by the San Bernardino Court this past summer when the Court issued a lengthy Ruling that the State does not have the authority to first pass a law the requires small-scale miners to obtain a State permit, and then pass a second law that forbids the issuance of such permits.

When we motioned San Bernardino Court to Order State agencies to begin issuing permits again; or in the alternative, stop harassing small-scale miners operating on the public lands without a permit, the judge refused to do so.  We are actively appealing this to the Forth Appellate Court.  Imagine a California court Ruling that State actions are unconstitutional, and then basically issuing a Ruling that continues to allow the unconstitutional activity.

Since we were not being provided meaningful relief from San Bernardino, early this past season, several brave individuals began suction dredging along the Klamath River in hopes of getting arrested by State law enforcement officials.  If the State arrests you, you have a right to be brought in front of an impartial judge within 48 hours, Sundays & holidays excluded.

The result was that several of our members were arrested. Mining gear was seized from these guys and from others who were not arrested.  Even though Dyton Gilliland was arrested and held in jail, rather than being brought in front of a judge according to the law, he was eventually kicked out of jail with no further explanation. Individual stories can be found in the Declarations below, and in the briefing documents.

Now the State has filed criminal charges against two of our small-scale miners in Siskiyou County.  The first hearing is scheduled for November 5 at 8:30 am in the Siskiyou County courthouse in Yreka, California.  We hope you will pass the word around so we can flood the courthouse with Americans who want to see the insanity put to an end.

We see this as a hugely important case.  To a large extent, this case is very similar to the Rinehart case several years ago which won our industry a unanimous win in the Third Appellate Court — the very same place this case will likely end up!  The difference here is that we have several additional important wins which have supported our side since Rinehart was decided.

The really important matter at stake here is whether or not State officials, who swear an oath to support and defend the constitution in order to become State officials in the first place, are going to be allowed by the judicial system to continue to enforce unconstitutional laws upon the people.  This case has ramifications far beyond small-scale gold miners.  It has more to do with whether or not we live in a totalitarian State where the people no longer have a civil remedy against the unlawful actions of the ruling class.

These ongoing legal challenges have raised another important question:  What is the use of devoting 10 years in the court system, and over a million dollars in legal fees, if State authorities are going to completely ignore the outcome if it does not support their side?

Here follows the initial briefing to Siskiyou County Superior Court:

 

 
Dave Mack

“Here is a short summary of  ongoing legal affairs”

 

Please make a donation to The New 49’er Legal Fund.

 

By Dave McCracken

California recently passed a new water bill (SB 637) which, I believe, goes into affect in January. It says there will be no use of motors to excavate or process material within 100 yards of the active waterway. If allowed to stand, this reduces us down to hand sluices, gold pans, underwater crevicing (with or without hookah systems) and perhaps gravity water systems where possible.

We will be working out a strategy with our attorney to challenge the new law.  Since we have not really been getting any meaningful relief in State court, I’ll likely be pushing for a federal challenge.

We are also looking into what is required to submit an application to the Army Corps for a water permit that covers all the properties we control. Such a permit should allow us the use motors to process and even suction dredges, again.

All of the ongoing litigation in State court is in kind of a holding pattern. The next hearing in San Bernardino happens in January.

We are still waiting for the 4th Appellate Court to respond to our Appeal of San Bernardino Superior Court’s refusal to grant us relief from the unconstitutional actions of State officials. We expect this will likely go our way.

The California Supreme Court’s review of the Rinehart case seems to be in a holding pattern. There is more than a reasonable chance this will turn out in our favor.

The California Supreme Court or 4th Appellate Court may hand us a win(s) that will help us overcome the new water bill in California. Any reasonable federal judge would easily see that the State has a long, consistent history (scheme) of trying to eliminate small-scale mining on the public lands. The new water bill is just another example that proves a long period of misconduct.

Two mining associations in Oregon have taken the lead to file a legal challenge in federal court to overcome Oregon’s suction dredge moratorium. The New 49’er Legal Fund has offered to contribute as needed. They have a very strong case.

The Siskiyou County District attorney has decided to prosecute Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland for dredging in California without a permit. Both are New 49’er members who were dredging in the wake of San Bernardino Superior Court’s Order that California’s dredge moratorium was not enforceable. The Legal Fund is supporting their defense. I’ll post the briefs as soon as they are filed. We see this as an important test case to determine if others will be prosecuted or equipment will just be returned.

If any of this disappoints you, I advise you to not let your spirits get down too much. We are going to win in the end. All we need is to watch the current national election cycle to see that America is finally starting to wake up.

I can see a lot of members turning towards underwater sniping supported by motorized hookah along our very extensive properties, especially with the use of these newer pulse induction metal detectors that look right past hot rocks as if they are not even present. I was given a demonstration by Whites Detectors about a month ago and was surprised at the capability and the lower costs.

The Legal Fund needs money!! We are giving away 2 ounces of beautiful gold nuggets and a bunch of other goodies in less than 2 weeks. The new Paypal link makes it very easy to contribute. Please check it out right here:

Legal Fund Raiser

Thanks for anything you guys can do to help!

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, SEPTEMBER 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 9

Dave Mack

 

Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Opening image
Image by Music Lee Adame

This has been a really good season for us along the Klamath River.  I’m guessing we have seen more members around Happy Camp than during at least the past 10 years or longer. Each of our Weekend Group Mining Projects have had in the neighborhood of 100 or more participants  out enjoying exciting rafting trips to reach probably the largest and richest surface gold mining deposit we have found in 30 years.  Our Saturday evening potlucks have been well attended, sometimes filling the Happy Camp Grange hall to capacity.  We have had a lot of fun; and we have sent hundreds of beginning-gold prospectors away with the first gold they ever found.

Relaxing in the sun Girls in the boat
“John Rose’s family enjoyed some time on the river with us, and made my boat look more desirable than ever!”

While California State officials have hassled a few of our members who have been suction dredging, in the wake of several ground-breaking court Decisions in favor of our industry, the State has not filed a single case against any of our members along the Klamath River or its tributaries until the end of our season (please see more below).  Most members who were dredging for gold were not bothered by State officials.

Something that we have not seen in a long time is members taking an interest in our more remote properties; the ones you need to hike into.  Here’s another new thing:  Some of our members and their friends are hiking and camping way out into the wildland areas in the headwaters of the Scott River, Elk and Indian Creeks; places where nobody has set foot in many years, if ever.

GabeSome of these guys are coming back with stories which border on unbelievable, or at least unexplainable, encounters with Bigfoot.  The encounters are happening too often, and in too many places, to just discount as wild imagination.  For example, Gabe Garrison was recently on an extended hiking/camping trip with two New 49’er members into the headwaters of Indian Creek in search of an old historical gold mine. They were way out in the wildlands just a mile or two from the Oregon Border. Shortly after setting up camp one evening, something started a landslide from the high peaks just across the canyon.  They didn’t think much about it until a little while later when they heard a distinct signal just out of sight a short distance away.  The signal was unmistakingly from two sizable pieces of wood being banged together; a noise that was clearly not from natural causes.  Just a little while later, a similar banging signal came from just out of sight on the other side of their camp.

Each of the guys agreed the signals were originating from an intelligent source.  Yet they were in a place so far away from civilization that they were completely certain there were no other human beings around.  Beside the signals, they heard no other unusual noise.  Just after dark, another dramatic landslide was triggered from the other side of the canyon.  They all had the uncomfortable perception that they were being watched and warned to leave.  Heavily armed (which is always a good idea when venturing into the wildlands); they spent that night in camp and returned home the following day.  While they did not find the historical gold mine, they found enough mysterious adventure to last a lifetime!

Longtime New 49’er member and resident of Happy Camp, Doug Robinson was one of the guys with Gabe on that hike.  But Doug has had other mysterious encounters while gold prospecting in a remote canyon in a location which he would prefer not to disclose.  This is a sure sign that he has found a good gold strike up there! 

Doug says the encounters have been with intelligent forces that never allow themselves to be seen.  One time, he was rushed from behind by something alarming enough to spin around and draw his gun.  He found himself yelling out to whatever it was that he was prepared to use his weapon.  Going back to investigate, he could not find any sign that anything even made the noise.  Doug says he has heard the bang, bang, bang signal in his secret canyon.  He says there is no doubt that it is a signal coming from an intelligent life form, but he can never find the source.

Dicky Broken tree

Dickey Melton, also a longtime New 49’er member and Happy Camp resident, is yet another prospector who enjoys prospecting in the more remote areas.  He says he has had several encounters in different locations with some kind of very powerful intelligent sources that seemed to be trying to scare him away.  In one place, up on our extensive East Fork of Elk Creek property,  just after the gate was opened for summer access this spring, Dickey and his wife, Cherie, took a drive up there to prospect around – only to find the road blocked in several places by some form of intelligence.  In one place, the top of a tree had been ripped off and thrown across the road.  Dickey didn’t think much about it until he realized there was no possible way the treetop could have landed on the road by any natural cause.  Upon further inspection, he found claw marks on the tree stem; similar markings that a bear would leave to mark its territory.  But no bear dragged this treetop up the slope and onto the road!  There were other barriers engineered by some intelligence further up the road.  Yet there were no tire tracks and no foot prints.  How do you explain this?

Here is some video that we put together which captures all three of their close encounter adventures:

Big FootPerhaps Dickie’s most compelling encounter is when he was prospecting up on our Indian Creek Claim near West Branch Campground.  He was not satisfied with the way the creek was flowing over his sluice box, so he walked a ways upstream looking for a more favorable location.  Then he heard a huge crash just behind him.  Spinning around and startled, he saw that a sizable tree had fallen across the creek.   Cautiously going back to investigate, he could not see any reason why the tree had fallen over.  It was well away from the creek.  The tree was healthy.  The only plausible answer was that something very powerful had pushed it over.  While there was no sign that any physical presence had been there, Dickey says there was an odor in the air that he had never encountered before.  A distinct odor has been acknowledged in many Bigfoot encounters around the world.

It is not by accident that a large statue of Bigfoot is the center piece attraction in uptown Happy Camp, just down the street from our headquarters.  Bigfoot sightings and encounters near Happy Camp go way back in time.  Even local Indian tribal history makes reference to encounters with this strange, intelligent, powerful creature that seems to have the ability to appear and disappear at will.  While the creature clearly attempts to frighten human beings away from its territory, to my own knowledge, fortunately, there is no history of Bigfoot attacking, harming or killing people around Happy Camp.  This is a good thing!

There is something very mysterious in all this.  On the one hand, there have been Bigfoot sightings all over the world, even in the arctic.  But no bones have ever been found to confirm its existence.  No Bigfoot has ever been captured.  How do we account for this?  I suggest we should not be so bold as to discount things that we do not yet understand.  In closing, here is a video that captured a Bigfoot sighting not very far from Happy Camp.

If you are not up for wild adventure, I suggest you contain your prospecting activities to our extensive properties which remain on the more beaten path.

Happy prospecting!

Part Time Office Management Position Available

A new office management position is opening in our administrative office.  This is largely because of the growth we have experienced during this past year, along with anticipated growth during the coming year.  Note that we have never hired a person on a part time basis that did not quickly evolve into full time work.

The position is perfect for someone who would like to settle in Happy Camp.

The person should have some office management experience, should have an understanding of business accounting principles, and should have a good working knowledge of Microsoft’s Excel program.

For more information, please contact either John Rose or Montine Blevins in our office at 530 493-2012.

New Adventure Book puts us in a Good Light!

Gold Fever Book Cover

We met British journalist Steve Boggan on the Klamath River a few years ago, shortly after the price of gold had peaked at $1,900 per ounce.

Excited by the opportunity of striking it rich – and maybe because he had just turned 50 – Steve simply packed his bag, got on a plane from England and flew to California to find some gold for himself.  Steve’s gold mining adventures found him traveling through some of the most interesting, historical gold prospecting locations in California, eventually to arrive in Happy Camp.

This all happened a few years ago when we came up with a whole new method of motorized underwater suction mining which was not restricted by California’s dredging regulations at the time.  In fact, Steve’s first exposure to The New 49’ers was in Siskiyou County Superior Court, overflowing onto the street with our members and nearly the entire business community of Happy Camp, at the very moment the judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the State which pretty much allowed us the remainder of the season to suction mine within the waterways along our extensive mining properties.

Steve Boggan with Dave Mack and Rich Krimm

“We were all pretty excited about the gold we were finding!”

Rich Krimm and I devoted a big part of that season sucking up gold nuggets on our K-25A property.  Rich and I agreed to take Steve under our wing while secretly plotting to scare the dickens out of him every step of the way.  He writes fondly in his book about those fun and exciting adventures, along with interesting tales of his other gold mining adventures in California in a way which places a very positive outlook on our industry. The book is called, GOLD FEVER: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush. The book has just been published in the United States and is getting great attention. GOLD FEVER was chosen as a BBC Book of the Week and Steve has been interviewed by USA Today, NPR, and National Geographic talking about his time prospecting in California, and especially his time at Happy Camp and with The New 49ers.  In all or most of these interviews, which are circulating amongst millions of viewers and readers, Steve puts our New 49’er program as the Number One small-scale gold mining opportunity in California.

Since Steve has given us so much positive coverage, I suggest we should all read his tales about the modern-day gold rush.

EXCLUSIVE FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO THE NEW 49’ER NEWSLETTER:  Steve’s publisher has agreed to offer an exclusive giveaway of  Steve’s book – GOLD FEVER (Hardcover, $24.99 retail) – to our first 10 newsletter subscribers (US residents only) who send an email to marketing@oneworld-publications.com.  Please enter the giveaway!

You can check out Steve’s book on amazon for more information.

Legal Updates

The Rinehart case is waiting for a Decision by the California Supreme Court.  You may recall that the California Third Appellate Court found unanimously for suction dredgers in Rinehart.  Several large-scale conservative natural resource advocate associations have supported our arguments to the California Supreme Court.  At the same time, several prominent anti-resource development organizations and individuals have weighed in against small-scale mining. Just to give you an idea how important this case is, even the Obama Administration just filed a brief opposing the rights of small-scale gold miners on the public lands! Our attorneys are busy rebutting those briefings.  We will just have to wait until the California Supreme Court weighs in.  My sources tell me that the California Supreme Court bases its rulings mostly upon U.S. Supreme Court controlling Decisions.  If this is true, we are likely to win.  From that, we should be able to roll back the State’s determination to impose unreasonable overregulation upon suction gold dredgers.  Stay tuned!

In a separate set of cases, we have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino Superior Court’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river.

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have now appealed to California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  As you will see from the link just above, our appeal is being bitterly contested by anti-mining activists.

There is a legal provision in California which requires appeals of denied injunctions to be expedited when ongoing circumstances are causing irreparable harm to people who are 70 years or older. A bunch of our 70+ year old members have come forward with Declarations in support of this appeal.

The previous set of legal suction dredge regulations (2009) allowed year-round suction dredging on the Klamath and multiple other rivers in California.  So there is still reason for hope.  In my own experience, the best time to dredge the Klamath River is during the fall when the water is most clear and low…

In another case in front of the San Bernardino Court, the mining community has just filed an opening salvo in challenging the process California used to adopt the 2012 suction dredge regulations.  Stay tuned for more activity on this as our adversaries start to argue that the process did not go far enough to put an end to suction dredging:

And in a more recent, surprising development, New 49’er members, Derek Eimer and Dyton Gilliland were both notified last week that the State will attempt to criminally prosecute them in Siskiyou Superior Court (suction dredging in California without a permit).  The first hearing date is set for 22 September, but it will just be a formality.  Both members are being defended by our attorney, James Buchal.  I believe he will file a motion to dismiss the charges, since the Decision has already been established in the California Courts that California’s “scheme” of first requiring suction dredgers to acquire a permit, and then refusing to issue them, is preempted by federal law, is illegal and unenforceable.

We were hoping for this criminal contest in Siskiyou County during the spring; but we will take what we can get.  In view of recent California Decisions on these matters, I predict the possibility of a conviction (guilty beyond a reasonable doubt) is about zero.  With just a little luck on our side, the judge will dismiss the charges and tell the State to not bring any more.  Notwithstanding the other ongoing cases, this might open the door to hassle-free suction dredging in California.

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of 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, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

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.

New Legal Fund-Raiser!

Gold Nuggets for FundraiserThe new drawing will be for two ounces of beautiful gold nuggets.  Those will be split into a 1-once grand prize and four quarter-ounce prizes.  There will also be 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 American Silver Eagles. That’s 25 prizes worth winning!

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 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 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Look for our new Paypal contribution link here.

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us!

Other announcements:

Fire Restrictions:  Because of exceptionally dry conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed fire restrictions in the Klamath National Forest.  This means internal combustion engines (like water pumps) cannot be operated on our mining properties unless you are floating them out on the waterway.  Since the fire restrictions are likely to continue for the remaining part of this season, you might give some thought to how you can rig up something to float your motor(s). In case you are interested, there are special floats made specifically for this purpose. Please contact Montine for more details: 530 493-2062. You can find out more about what is and is not allowed under these restrictions right here:

Annual Dues:  As many of you noticed, we bill all Full Members for $50 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 in order to maintain control over a very substantial number of federal mining claims (60 miles of gold-rich river and creek properties).  Thank you very much to those of you who responded immediately.  Thank you also to those of you who will help us maintain our extensive properties, which provide the backbone of our Association!

Winter hours:  As of the 1st of September, we will switch to winter hours at our headquarters in Happy Camp.  This means the office and store will remain open between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday, except for normal national holidays.  Our Saturday evening potlucks ended this season on 29 August.  They will resume next season on the 4th of June.  Check out this video as we ended the organized part of our 2015 season with some song and dance:

Just because the office is on winter hours does not mean that members cannot actively prospect on our properties.  There is a 24-hour emergency number on our Contact page to reach our Internal Affairs in the event of a serious problem or emergency:  (510) 681 8066.

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. 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 I 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!

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  www.goldgold.com

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Dave Mack

“Now we are Appealing to California’s Forth Appellate Court to reverse the recent denial by the San Bernardino Court to Grant Suction Dredgers Relief from the Unconstitutional Actions of State Officials.”

Please make a donation to our Legal Fund.

We have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce (by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river).

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino. We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have filed an appeal with California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.
There is a legal provision in California which requires appeals of denied injunctions to be expedited when ongoing circumstances are causing irreparable harm to people who are 70 years or older. A bunch of our 70+ year old members have come forward with Declarations in support of this appeal.

You can find the Appeal, along with supporting Declarations, at the bottom of this page.

Motion for Summary Reversal

Declaration of Rip Ripple

Declaration of Charles Montgomery

Declaration of William Christensen

Declaration of Ray Derrek

Declaration of George Kendall

Declaration of Judy Shirey

Declaration of Myrna Karns

 

State’s Counter Motion for Dismissal

State’s Oppositian to Motion for Summary Reversal

 

Opposition to Summary Reversal by the Center For Biological Diversity

 

New 49'er Newsletter

THIRD QUARTER, AUGUST 2015                               VOLUME 29, NUMBER 8

Dave Mack

 

 Newsletter By Dave McCracken General Manager

 

 

People working Good Gold in the pan

This has really been a good season for us along the Klamath River in northern California.  While we have members scattered all over our extensive properties actively prospecting and mining, we have been doing our Weekend Group Mining Projects on an extensive virgin gold deposit that was discovered late last season on one of our newer properties, K23AA, about 7 miles downstream of Happy Camp.

K-23AA is an extensive mining property that reaches down and nearly touches our Wingate Claim (K-23A). Wingate is another popular and very large property that includes a US Forest Service river access (boat ramp into the river) and a rather extensive free camping area which includes toilet facilities.

We devoted all of last season’s Group Mining Projects to another high-banking area located up towards the upper end of K-23AA.  Since that gold-rich discovery was on the far side of the river from Highway 96, we pulled one of our very large Colorado River Rafts out of storage and used it to transport project participants directly across the river to the worksite.  A small outboard motor mounted on the raft made those boat transfers rather easy.

But this new much larger gold discovery about a mile downstream on K-23AA is a whole different story.  It is located in a more remote reach of the river.  While there is a good trail from the nearest easy boat crossing, we know there would be some project participants that would not be prepared to make the hike back and forth two days in a row.

Ground zero Ground zero

This is one of only two virgin gold deposits we have found up out of the water during the past 30 years!

The gold deposit is quite rich; so there has never been any doubt that we are going to work it.  The challenge has been in coming up with ways to deliver large numbers of participants to and from the worksite with the use of boats.  Ultimately, through trial and error, we worked out a way to use my jet boat to tow the river raft, which was also making use of its own, smaller outboard engine.  Participants parked their vehicles down at our Wingate property and then were carpooled about a mile upriver where they boarded the boats.  Then we towed them about a half-mile downstream to the worksite through a pretty aggressive set of rapids.  Then later in the day, we used the same boats to tow them about another half-mile downstream through another set of rapids to Wingate where they could offload near to where their cars were parked.

This is all something we have never attempted before with large numbers of people. But we knew at the beginning of the season that the new gold discovery is so rich, we had no alternative but to give it a try.

Thumbs up Dicky

As it turns out, towing large groups of people downstream is the easy part.  Not to mention that the boat adventures through the deep, remote canyon adds a white water rafting dimension to the already-exciting program of recovering your own gold.  Our free Group Mining Projects provide the first mining experiences for many of our members.  These Projects are one of the many exciting benefits of being a member of The New 49’ers.

The main challenge of using the boats has been in towing the large rubber raft back upstream through the rapids so that we can pick up more passengers.  Even with twenty passengers at a time, it has been taking 4 to 5 trips each time we move the participants.

During our first attempts, we were mostly flooding the raft with water from standing waves in the rapids that would wash right over the front and swamp the raft.  We finally worked it out with my jet boat on the first project; but repeated trips upstream put so much wear and tear on my jet boat that we almost didn’t make it up the rapids for the final two voyages.  That would have left about 40 participants stranded on the far side of the river – which would have been rather embarrassing.

Extensive deposit

Here is just a glimpse of how extensive this deposit is!

One of our newer members, Dan Baker, arrived this summer with one of the best jet boats I have ever seen for maneuvering the Klamath River.  His boat has about twice as much power as mine.  Dan volunteered his boat during our second Group Project to tow the raft back up through the rapids.  Making this happen also required some trial and error, because the Klamath River had dropped due to the ongoing drought. While you would think that less water would make the river run slower, it actually makes the rapids steeper and faster.  Last month’s newsletter shares some of the fun we had while trying to work that out – which we ultimately accomplished.

But Dan needed to attend to some family business, so his boat was not available for this most recent project.  Fortunately, several days before, Siskiyou County was slammed with a cloud burst of rain – which brought the river level back up a little and turned it brown. You will see the darker-colored water in some of these images and video sequences.

Even still, we were pretty sure that my jet boat was not going to handle the load.  So a bunch of our loyal Project helpers and I were down on K-23AA a few days before this project with it in mind that we were going to need to transport all of our project mining equipment upstream to a point closer to the river access.  That was going to be a lot of work!  It also was going to require us to make a whole new gold discovery further upstream. We were pretty confident about making that happen; but it is very painful to withdraw from an already-established rich gold deposit!

Just on a chance, before starting to move gear, we decided to try different ideas of attaching the raft to my jet boat to see if we could tow it up through rapids without flooding it with water.  Our first attempt involved lifting the bow of the raft all the way up on top of the jet boat’s outboard engine and try towing it.  This technique worked pretty well until the raft slid off the side of the outboard and prevented me from steering the jet boat.  Here was my explanation on video as we were just beginning the exercise:

Dave in rapids

People PanningOur second attempt involved tying the raft as close to my jet boat as possible and allow the raft to ride on the jet blast from, my motor.  This worked best once we removed all passengers from the raft.  Once we had that worked out, we made two flawless passes both up and down the river and came to the fortunate conclusion that we were going to be able to do the weekend project once again in our already-established high-grade pay-streak.  Our joy and relief is reflected in the following video sequences:

We had 85+ enthusiastic participants signed up for this project.  That’s an all-time record for the third project of the season.  We sure have a lot of interest this summer; there are plenty of new faces around!

Saturday morning is always devoted to some classroom theory and organization.  We do this over at the Happy Camp Grange Hall. After lunch, we all parked our vehicles down on the Wingate property.  Two car pools had already been organized to immediately transfer people a mile upriver where the boats were waiting. It took four trips to get everyone down to the worksite. A dozen or so of our most experienced members were already set up at the site to teach beginners how to gold pan.  Teaching people how to pan is really the main objective on Saturday. Gold panning is the essential beginning of the prospecting learning curve.

PotluckParticipants get to keep all the gold they find on Saturday; so there was no holding back this enthusiastic bunch of prospectors.  I saw several nice gold nuggets recovered off the bedrock.  People were pretty jacked up even though it must have been 100 degrees out in the sun.

We normally don’t keep people out there very long on Saturday afternoon.  This is because we want them at their best on early Sunday morning when we pull together to recover as much gold as we can in several hours of hard work.

Saturday night potluck was a full house, as usual.  There was lots and lots of great food to go around. The roar of exciting chatter was like something you would experience at a sporting event. After a short meeting, we sent everyone home early.

There was already a line of eager participants ready to board the boats when I arrived at 6:15 on Sunday morning.  We made short work of ferrying everyone down to the worksite. Here is some video that captured the action (including some from our new video drone):

Loading boats Unloading raft

By the time we secured the boats alongside the river, our experienced team leaders already had the whole crew, somewhere around 80 people, dialed in like a well-oiled production machine.  They were supplying two high-banker recovery systems as fast as the material could be effectively processed.  A lot of the action was caught on video.  I apologize for the vibration in the drone footage.  The machine got bumped while being moved. But we still think the values in the video are worth showing enough that we will now order a video drone that is more durable:

Feeding high-banker Lots of workers

Craig showing gold Gold in blue pan

Craig Colt showing off some mid-day gold.

One of the important benefits to this location is that the sun does not come over the trees until about noon. With the early morning coolness, we usually get in between 3 and 4 hours of good production before people start slowing down.  After about 2 hours, we usually clean up just part of one of the recovery systems and show the gold around.  This always pushes the level of enthusiasm up.  We were doing particularly well on this day. The truth is that these projects are just plain fun! In fact, the human production machine was so tuned in that I captured our management team just goofing off:

John sampling Sample off bedrock

Both John’s and Craig’s sample pans were showing good results!

Actually, both Craig Colt and John Rose had been actively sampling the pay-dirt, and directing people to dig in the more productive areas which are mostly just above bedrock in the orange-colored hard-pack.  I saw Dyton doing quite a lot of physical labor up at ground zero where the original gold strike was made.  Much to the dismay of onlookers, he hefted a 200-pound rock out of the excavation without even breathing hard.  Here was Dyton explaining the nature of this fantastic gold deposit we have discovered:

Guys digging Alex

We don’t push people too hard on these projects.  We figure people will invest as much physical work as they have to give.  We especially like to get younger people involved.  As long as they work, every participant is rewarded with an equal share of the gold.  As we all know, the years go by fast, and it’s today’s children who will be running tomorrow’s show.  Here is a conversation I had with one of our future leaders:

Letrap cleanupSometime around 11 am, we shut everything down, put the gear away, leveled off our tailings piles to reclaim the visible disturbances we made; and then we did a preliminary cleanup out there on the gravel bar.  By this, I mean that we ran the concentrated material from both high-banker recovery systems over our green Le Trap sluice.  This was just the first of several steps we would do to separate all the gold from the other heavy material we had collected, mostly black iron sand.  There were lots of “Ooh’s and Ah’s” as I fed the material into the Le Trap.  It was clear that we were going to have a good day!  Check it out right here on video:

After a final, exciting boat trip down to Wingate, we all agreed to meet back up at the Grange Hall in Happy Camp at 2 pm to finish the cleanup and split the gold.  This involves several steps in which participants are able to watch and help.

As far as I am aware, our Weekend Group Projects are the only program in America, perhaps in the world, where we demonstrate and allow people to actively participate in a successful gold mining program from A-to-Z, from sampling, to discovery, to production, to cleanup – and actually receive an equal share of the gold.

In all, we recovered exactly three-quarters of an ounce of beautiful virgin gold.  There were 16 gold nuggets.  This was all split between 71 very happy participants who stuck with us until the very end.

Join us for our remaining Weekend Group Mining Projects this Season!

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 are more experienced than you.

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.

Remaining schedule of 2015 Events:  August 8 & 9; and August 29 & 30.

Schedule of Events

Let’s Not Rule out the Last Part of our 2015 Dredging Season Just Yet!

We have switched gears into appealing San Bernardino’s recent Ruling to deny any meaningful relief to suction dredgers even after the court has Ruled and Ordered that California’s suction dredge moratorium is unconstitutional — which State authorities continue to enforce (by seizing dredging equipment they find on the river).

As you may recall, our initial Motion for a Statewide Injunction to prohibit California from enforcing the unconstitutional moratorium and return us to the earlier set of regulations that were legal was recently denied by the Superior Court of San Bernardino.  We believe that Ruling was flawed, and have filed an appeal with California’s Forth Appellate Court to get our motion approved.  There is a legal provision in California which requires appeals of denied injunctions to be expedited when ongoing circumstances are causing irreparable harm to people who are 70 years or older. A bunch of our 70+ year old members have come forward with Declarations in support of this appeal.

You can find the Appeal, along with supporting Declarations, at the bottom of this page.

Our Appeal with the Forth Appellate Court is being filed as we go to press with this newsletter.  You can watch for links to the material either on our Internet Forum, or on the legal page we have specifically set up on our web site to keep you guys informed.

The previous set of legal suction dredge regulations (2009) allowed year-round suction dredging on the Klamath and multiple other rivers in California.  So there is still reason for hope.  In my own experience, the best time to dredge the Klamath River is during the fall when the water is most clear and low…

Let’s not give up yet on 2015!

Meanwhile, just in case you do not know, this ongoing conflict with California only affects motorized suction mining within 100 yards of 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, electronic prospecting and other types of prospecting that do not use a suction nozzle within 100 yards of an active stream, river or creek. It also does not affect our Group Weekend Projects.

To continue prospecting the bottom of active waterways, some members have converted to underwater crevicing, using the hookah and pump from their 5 and 6 HP motors on floating platforms to provide air for breathing and a jet of water to help move material out of the way, thus coining the new method as “underwater blow mining.”

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.

 

New Legal Fund-Raiser!

Gold NuggetsThe new drawing will be for two ounces of beautiful gold nuggets.  Those will be split into a 1-once grand prize and four quarter-ounce prizes.  There will also be 10 tenth-ounce American Gold Eagles and 10 American Silver Eagles. That’s 25 prizes worth winning!

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 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 will generate 10 tickets). There is no limit to the size or frequency of your contributions, or to the number of prizes you can win. Look for our new Paypal contribution link here.

Remember, all contributions to The New 49’ers Legal Fund are tax deductible.

Once again; thank you guys very much for standing behind us!

Fire Restrictions

Because of exceptionally dry conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has imposed fire restrictions in the Klamath National Forest as of last week.  This means internal combustion engines (like water pumps) cannot be operated on our mining properties unless you are floating them out on the waterway.  Since the fire restrictions are likely to continue for the remaining part of this season, you might give some thought to how you can rig up something to float your motor(s). In case you are interested, there are special floats made specifically for this purpose. Please contact Montine for more details: 530 493-2062. You can find out more about what is and is not allowed under these restrictions right here:

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. 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 I 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!

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  www.goldgold.com

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August 2015

Two Ounces of New 49’er Gold Nuggets!

Gold Nuggets

Your contribution to The New 49’ers Legal Fund is tax-deductible.
There will be 25 prizes in all:
  • Grand Prize: 1-ounce of New 49’er Gold Nuggets
  • Four ¼-ounce Bags of Klamath New 49’er Gold Nuggets
  • Ten 10th-ounce American Gold Eagles
  • Ten 1-ounce American Silver Eagles

Gold and Silver Eagles

The drawing will take place at the close of business at our headquarters in Happy Camp on Friday, 30 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.

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.

Legal contributions can also 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 by clicking Here.

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