Dave Mack

Thank You for Your Interest in My Group Mining Projects!

Dave McCracken
P. O. Box 153
Happy Camp, CA 96039
(530) 493-2012

Dear Fellow Prospector,

I am very happy that you are considering spending time on one of my joint mining ventures during the upcoming season.

I have scheduled one week-long above-water project for the upcoming season, and four week-long dredging projects. Each project is 7 days long. Each is a separate project.

Because of limited space in these projects, it is essential that you reserve a position on the project of your choice as early as possible.

Above Water Project: This is an exciting opportunity to help find and recover gold deposits that are located outside of the active waterway.

We will begin by going into areas where there is a strong likelihood that we will find high-grade gold deposits. Sometimes these deposits are found inside bedrock cracks along the bank of the river. Sometimes, high-grade gold is found in the contact zones between the dry streambed layers up on the bank.

Our mission for the week-long project will be to prospect different areas until we find a deposit rich enough to develop for its gold values. We will be prospecting with digging tools, gold pans, and perhaps vack-mining gear.

Once we find the deposit(s) we are looking for, we will organize a plan to develop the deposit(s) so we can recover as much of the gold as possible in the remaining time of the project. Likely, that will involve bringing some motorized sluicing machines into the action. We struck a high-banking production record during a recent above-water Project!

Dredging Projects: These dredging projects are for people who desire to experience the thrill of recovering high-grade gold deposits located at the bottom of the existing waterways. We will be primarily using 5-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch dredges during these dredging projects. Less-experienced participants will have the option to start using a 4-inch dredge (with hookah air).

No prior experience in dredging or diving is necessary. But if you have serious phobias about sticking your head underwater, or are deathly afraid of the water, I advise you to think it over carefully before you decide to participate in the dredging program. Perhaps an above-water project is better suited to your needs.

Should you decide to participate, be assured that I will help you to go underwater and help you understand what to do, as long as you are willing.

The places we choose to prospect with dredges will pretty-much be geared to the abilities of our participants. We will all have to remain a bit flexible on this part, since there will be multiple individuals involved, and our abilities will vary.

We will have enough dredges available to keep everyone busy. We can plan to allow the more experienced people prospect out into the deeper, faster-water areas, while less-experienced participants can prospect the easier areas (where pay-streaks are found just as often). We will have to sample it all, anyway. We will accommodate the needs of everyone while doing a good job looking for the rich deposits.

We will work as a team, taking turns on the suction nozzles. Do not fear; there is plenty of other work involved to keep the program moving along. Sometimes, we will be winching boulders out of the way. Sometimes, the water is shallow enough that others can help to move cobbles out of the way. Everyone on the team will gain more experience in proper dredging and gold recovery techniques.

We will be moving the dredges around until we find the gold deposit(s) that we are looking for. Then, we will invest the remainder of the week developing the gold deposit(s) to recover as much gold as we can get in the time remaining.

All the gold we find during a 7-day project will be accumulated and split equally amongst each of the project-participants.

California Dredge Permit

You will need to obtain a California suction-dredge permit only if you want to operate the suction nozzles of the dredges we will use on the project. A dredge license for 2007 cost $42.50 for California residents (have lived in California for at least the past 6 months), or $167.25 for non-residents. Permit fees usually go up slightly in cost each year.

As it takes 5 or 7 days to get a dredge permit through the mail, I advise you to submit your application before you arrive for the project. To have an application sent to you, I suggest you contact: the California Department of Fish and Game, 601 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001, telephone: (530) 225-2300. Here is an example of how to fill out the form.

If you do not want to spend money on a dredging permit, you do not need to obtain one to participate in one of these dredging projects. Your only limitation will be that you cannot operate the dredges’ suction nozzle. But, you will be able to help in every other way. You can still dive down underwater and help the person who is operating the nozzle. You can help us move the gear around, winch boulders out of the way, and do the gold concentration and clean-up. There are plenty of things you can do to help in an active dredging program.

Team Effort

These surface mining and dredging projects are a team-building program. This is because we must all work together in a team-effort to recover the most gold possible by the end of the week. The nature of these projects is that they result in being a great adventure for everyone who participates. Since different people have varied abilities (and sometimes disabilities), as well as different levels of endurance and strength, we will need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each group before planning what we will do and where we will go in search for high-grade gold. Our mission on each project will be to have a careful look at what we have to work with as a team, and then apply ourselves within those limitations to find as much gold as we can in the time allowed to us.

Gold Splits

Every participant who is present throughout the entire mining project will receive an equal split of the gold. There are no exceptions, limitations or exclusions. Every effort will be made to make these shares equal. If there are specific nuggets that prevent us from making an even split by weight, we will cull those nuggets out and decide to do one of the following, according to a majority vote amongst the participants:

1) Do a drawing amongst the participants to see who gets the nugget(s); or,

2) Trade the nugget(s) to whoever offers the most for them in smaller gold. The smaller gold can then be evenly split up amongst the participants.

No Gold Guarantees

We are going to find some amount of gold. That is for sure! But because this is true gold prospecting, I cannot make any guarantees about how much gold we will find. All we can do is invest the week using our best efforts to locate something that is going to add up well. While this takes skill, there is also some luck involved. But, with a good team, it is pretty likely that we will find something to get us excited.

My promise: As the project manager, I will employ my many years of experience to try and guide us into something that will make this a rewarding program for everyone. You will be actively involved, because I will bring the team into all of the key decisions, discussing our various options. We will make most of the decisions together, but I will ultimately decide what we will do.

Liability and Restrictions

Each participant in the project will sign a Joint Venture Agreement before becoming involved in a project. This Agreement will be an acknowledgment from you that you understand that there are risks involved, and that you are qualified and prepared, based upon your own past experiences, to assume the risks upon yourself. You will promise to be extra careful to not do things that you cannot safely accomplish, and will not hold me, The New 49’ers, other project-participants, or anyone else personally responsible in the event of an accident.

Gold prospecting is a challenging activity. We may find ourselves hiking across uneven, rocky terrain, or we may find ourselves rafting or boating down a fast-moving river. We will be packing heavy gear around and doing a variety of challenging physical activity. You should not come if you are not up to the physical challenges involved with these projects.

Because I do not know your limitations, it will be up to you to decide what you can or cannot do. You must agree to stay safely within your own physical limitations. You must let me know what they are. I will not push you to go beyond them, as long as I know what they are. I will find a way for you to contribute within your ability. I will also reserve the right to reject any person (with a full refund of entrance fees) who I do not feel can participate safely in a project.

I will also reserve the right to discharge any participant from a project who is either misbehaving, causing safety problems or who is making the experience miserable for other participants in the program. In this case, we will prorate the refund to the unused time of the project, and the gold share to the number of days the person actively participated.

Equipment Needs

For the above water prospecting project: You will need some basic digging tools (shovel and trowel), a gold pan and a #8 classification screen. If you have a vack-mining machine, I suggest you bring it along. All these are available to you in Happy Camp if you don’t already have them.

Also, please remember to bring clothing and footwear that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. For outdoor safety, bring a good sun hat and sunscreen, along with a container for drinking water.

I will provide the motorized equipment and boating gear if we use it. For the dredging project, you will need your own wet-suit, face mask, protective gloves, and foot protection. This is all available in Happy Camp should you need to purchase anything. However, I would advise you to call ahead and ask the people in the store to set your size aside for you (530) 493-2012. I will provide the dredging equipment, hookah breathing gear, standard-sized weight belts and gold-concentration equipment. I will also provide the winching gear and boat(s) if we need them.

If you are heavy, or your body is not an average size, it is a very good idea that you bring along your own weight belt; something that will stay on you properly when you are underwater.

Ear protection is also a good idea for those who will prospect in the water. Some use Swim Ear, which is an over-the-counter solution that helps prevent fresh-water ear infections. A prescription from your doctor for Domboro Actic Solution (Bausch & Lomb Acetic Acid 2% in Aqueous Aluminum Acetate Otic Solution) is even better. I understand that you can now buy Domboro in tablet-form over-the-counter, and mix your own solution.

You must be fully responsible for your own belongings. If you plan to bring valuables in the rafts or boats, I suggest you also bring a heavy-duty, waterproof bag to keep the valuables (cameras, money, etc) safe and dry.

Travel, Food & Lodging

These group-mining projects are a daytime program. We usually meet at a particular location at around 9:30 am, work together throughout the day, and finish up sometime between 6 and 7 pm.

To participate, you must arrange your own transportation to Happy Camp, California, and also arrange your own transport while participating in the project. A two-wheel-drive vehicle is fine. We usually car-pool to and from the work area each day. Sometimes we camp at or near the mining site.

You also must provide your own meals and drink. We will each bring our own lunches out into the field with us when we go each morning.

You also must provide your own lodging. There are motels around the area. Our office in Happy Camp can assist you to make contact in advance (530-493-2012). I advise you to be a little flexible on your advanced lodging plans, because we will not know where we will end up mining until about the time we begin. This is because if we find out about a hot new gold strike somewhere away from Happy Camp, we may want to go there to get our share of the gold. Also, we cannot fully-decide where we will go until after we size-up the group as a whole. Ultimately, our last minute planning could affect your motel plans or where you ultimately decide to make a camp.

Tent or RV camping is fine. We can arrange for a place where you can set up, usually very close to where we will be working. There is no charge for camping out on our mining properties.

Joint Mining Venture

While these projects have been talked about in the past as training programs, it is important to understand that the primary purpose is to locate and develop high-grade gold deposits in a joint mining venture. Any learning experience from this is incidental to the main purpose.


The cost of participation is $600 for a dredging project, and $500 for the above-water project (half-price for participating spouse in either type of project). No children are allowed on these projects. There is a $100 discount for New 49er Affiliate, Associate or Full Members in good standing. This is because New 49’er members are already actively contributing to maintain the properties where we will be mining.

It takes a non-refundable, advanced payment of $100 to guarantee a place on a specific project. Please send your advanced payment, along with your name, address, telephone number and email address to: The New 49’ers, P. O. Box 47, Happy Camp, CA 96039 (530) 493-2012. Please include the date of the desired project, and let us know if a spouse will actively participate in the project. It is a good idea to contact us in advance to verbally reserve your preference, pending receipt of your deposit.

Come Ready For Adventure!

I have my eye on a number of areas that I have been watching for a long time – places where few others have gone before! The rubber rafts and boats are ready to go. All the equipment is ready. Now, it’s just a matter of us coming together in a group effort to go down and find the rich gold deposits.

I’m really looking forward to it!

All the best,

Dave McCracken
Project Manager



A Personal Note From Dave McCracken Founder of the New 49’ers


It is a great experience to join with others in a fellowship formed in the true spirit of gold prospecting. The 49’ers of old are gone. We are the modern evolution of a rare and special breed. We are The New 49’ers! I am proud to be part of a group that appreciates this and is dedicated to keeping it alive. Our membership includes some of the kindest, most educated and responsible people in the prospecting field. Many meaningful and lasting friendships have been and are being formed. Together, we will make the difference in the destiny of the small-scale prospector and perhaps the last true free enterprise opportunity left in the United States: the right to freely prospect for and develop mineral deposits on the public lands of America!

While we have created some of the best possible mining opportunities available, we have also created a movement which certainly will make its mark on history. You are invited to take part in this great activity.

Dave McCracken
President and General Manager


By Dave McCracken

The main barrier to overcome is the psychological impact from the uncertainty of whether or not you are going to find an acceptable gold deposit.

Dave Mack

During the past five years, we have had an opportunity to work with hundreds upon hundreds of different gold miners, and we have realized many different things about how to approach a gold mining operation to improve a person’s chances of success. One of the things we have realized is that some people become so serious about a mining operation that they lose track of the fact that the operation is simply a game.

All games consist of a goal, a means to achieve the goal, and barriers or problems in the way of the goal’s achievement. And, of course, the GAME consists of overcoming the obstacles and achieving the goal. Football is a game; basketball, soccer, everybody knows these are games. What some people fail to realize is that your job, raising your family properly, getting through life successfully, and even gold mining–are all games, too. Each of these games have their own unique set of problems to overcome.

Because of the seriousness and importance of winning, sometimes we lose track of the fact that these different aspects of life are a game. The importance of winning simply requires that we play the game harder.

It is much easier to win at a game when you know what the game is that you are playing.

Gold mining is a game in which the obstacles and problems to overcome are not, generally, other people or other teams as in the game of football. The main obstacle to overcome in gold mining is the UNCERTAINTY of where acceptable gold deposits are located.

The best goal, of course, is to find lots of gold–enough to resolve your financial or emotional needs. I say emotional because some people are not in gold mining necessarily for financial gain. One person’s goal might be to continuously recover enough gold to support his family and the lifestyle. Another person might want to find enough gold to retire in luxury. Someone else might just like to find any amount of gold. Each individual will have his or her own goals. Once one goal is nearly achieved, a person naturally tends to set a higher, more difficult goal. One of the interesting things about gold is that you never seem to have enough of it–even if you have a lot compared to the goal you set for yourself some time ago! Therefore, as a miner gets better, he or she tends to elevate the goal higher and higher.

The means of achieving the goal in gold mining is by applying mining and prospecting techniques with available mining equipment on gold bearing locations so that you can to locate and recover valuable deposits.

The equipment is readily available. There is nothing difficult to understand about the techniques and procedures. The main difficulty is NOT KNOWING WHERE THE GOLD IS. This makes gold mining unique, in that the main obstacle to overcome is not an external, material or barrier–as in most games. The main barrier is the psychological impact of the uncertainty of whether or not you are going to find an acceptable gold deposit.

In reading this, you might find yourself feeling that you are dedicated and strong enough, that you have all of the discipline needed, that you have plenty of emotional fortitude, and that you are smart enough to overcome any psychological doubts which may arise in your own mind during the course of a sampling operation. We all have this, and we are all potentially strong enough to persevere. However, there are also negative voices in our heads–which can become quite strong when we are directly confronted with difficult situations. Sometimes we forget about these voices during times when we are not confronted by difficult situations!

None of us are super-beings. We are human. We all have our personal limitations–which are set by ourselves. This happens when we make decisions that we can’t do something, or that we don’t want to do it. A person takes up running and decides he can only run two miles. Does that mean he cannot run a step further than two miles? Of course not. The person could run twenty miles if he set his mind to it. If I did not learn another thing in SEAL training from my navy days, I learned that you can always take at least one more step. This is true in any aspect of life–in any endeavor; you can always do it a little more or a little better.

But, when we get close to a limitation which we have already set for ourselves, we run smack into the negative voices in our heads which we have ourselves identified with. “I can’t do it!” Just because the voice says we can’t doesn’t mean we can’t. We can, and by doing so, a person becomes stronger.

The problem in gold mining is different than in most other games. If you were cutting firewood for money, the barriers to overcome in the game would be the physical challenge of cutting down trees, sawing them into rounds, splitting the rounds

up, loading them in a delivery truck, hauling them to a location, selling them to someone, and maybe stacking the firewood on the buyer’s back porch. The easy thing about this challenge is that you are working with a reality that you can see all the way through the cycle. The wood is there. It is just the physical work of getting the wood onto the buyer’s back porch–that is, as long as you have a buyer.

Gold mining is different. The gold is not there until you find it. Yet, it’s really not that the gold isn’t there. When we see other miners recovering gold out of commercial deposits on the same river, we know there are more commercial deposits to be found. The problem is that we might not be sure that we are going to find them.

And, it’s not that the procedures and techniques for finding gold deposits are difficult. We know that gold, because of its weight, tends to travel along its own narrow path in the river. We know that pay-streaks (gold deposits) form in their own unique locations along the gold path–where water velocity slows down during major flood storms. We know these pay-streaks form quite regularly along a gold-bearing waterway. And, we know that prospecting consists of digging or dredging sample holes in an attempt to locate the gold path and the pay-streaks. None of this is difficult to understand and apply.

The difficulty is in the uncertainty–and this is the main barrier to overcome in the game of gold mining. We see a fair percentage of people who have themselves psyched out and talked out of it, even before they finish their first sample hole. Why is this? They have adequate equipment. They understand the procedures. They can confront the physical work. Why do they quit so quickly? It is because they don’t understand who the real opponent in the game is.

If it were a game of football, would they quit after the first play of the first inning just because the opposing team looked stronger? Not if the players have any degree of personal pride in being a football team. Yet, quite often in many games, the opposing players try to psyche-out the members of the members of the other team. A demoralized team is easy to conquer! More likely, a serious football team would psyche themselves up in an attempt to win over a stronger opposing team.

What people don’t realize is in the game of gold mining, you are really playing with and/or against yourself. It is your own inner voices which you listen to and decide whether to quit early, or to pour on the steam even harder to find the gold deposits you are looking for. When a person quits in gold mining, it is often because he has psyched his or her own self out.

I can understand quitting when your legs are busted and you are on your last breath of air. This is understandable. But, to quit gold mining because you have talked yourself into the idea that you are not going to find any gold just means that you don’t understand the game. Basically, in this case, you have lost to your own inner voices.

There is a fantastic feeling of self-accomplishment when you succeed in gold mining. A professional football player, when retired, will look back and remember certain games that were won. He probably won’t be thinking much about the money he made. He probably won’t be thinking of the easy victories. He will be thinking about the games his team was losing, and how the team pulled together, raised themselves up, and won against all odds. These wins are cherished, because they occur when a player, or a team of players, reach down inside and create the necessary additional energy and willpower to overcome large barriers and obtain the goal after all.

Success in gold mining brings about this same kind of intense emotional satisfaction–only better or different in the fact that you usually accomplish it on your own. You generally don’t have a team of other players helping you to make a touchdown in the game of gold mining.

Like it or not, gold mining is similar to a game of solitaire. You are playing the game with yourself as your teammate, and possibly with yourself as the main opposing force. you have a chance to overcome the little negative voices in your head that tell you to quit–not just in gold mining, but also in the other aspects of your life. Each time that you persevere and finish that next sample hole properly, despite the inner voices which tell you there is no gold in that location, not only do you get that much closer to the gold deposit you’re looking for, but you also grow stronger as a person. And, in the end, this is worth more than gold.



Dave’s Personal Guarantee

We have over 60 miles of mining properties in northern California for you to prospect and mine.
If you can’t find the gold you are looking for on our properties, let me know and I’ll help you find it!”

Dave McCracken

Author: “Gold Mining in the 21st Century”

Dave McCracken
General Manager
The New 49’ers Prospecting Organization, Inc.
P.O. Box 47, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039

Contact us for more information at (530) 493-2012.