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

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

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


DREDGE AND EQUIPMENT SIZE LIMITATIONS: Please refer to our Important Note concerning California’s new law (being challenged in court) which eliminates the use of mechanized equipment in gold prospecting.


Important Note: The State of California recently passed a law which has placed a statewide moratorium on suction dredging in California until the Department of Fish & Game (DFG) completes an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This EIR process has already begun.

Click here for more information.

DREDGING SEASON: You can obtain a suction dredging permit from any California office of the Department of Fish and Game. The 2009 permit costs $47.00 (non-resident $194.00). The exact cost of the permit changes slightly each year. The permit allows you to dredge on any waterway open to dredging within California. We have permit forms available at the office if you want to apply through the mail. If you send for the permit from Happy Camp, you should expect a waiting period of at least three or four working days before you receive it back by mail.

Click here for an example of how to fill out the form.

The California Department of Fish & Game can be contacted directly for current rates and an application form by calling (530) 225-2300.

Only those persons actually operating the nozzle of a suction dredge within an active waterway in California are required to have a Fish and Game dredging permit on hand.

The Department of Fish and Game allows dredging along our Klamath River properties between the Scott and Salmon Rivers on a year-round basis, and up the Klamath from its confluence with the Scott from the 4th Saturday in May through September 30. Dredging is permitted along our creek properties and the Scott River from July 1 to September 30. Dredging is permitted on the Salmon River from July 1 through September 15.

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



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

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

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

Each (actively mining) membership is able to claim 60 linear feet of the Klamath, Scott or Salmon River from one bank out to the middle when doing underwater mining, or 60 linear feet of Indian, Elk or Thompson Creeks.  Claim boundaries should be neatly marked with flags or buoys.

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

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

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

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

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

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


ACCIDENT INSURANCE: Our group insurance plan is great for those who do not have an insurance policy to cover you in case of a minor accident. All members are eligible to receive our low-cost group accident plan.

Our plan covers an individual for $10,000 in accident insurance, including dental, during any mining venture on New 49’er properties. It covers bodily injury caused by an accident and resulting directly and independently of any other cause. It is a supplemental policy, meaning if you have some other form of insurance, this policy only covers you when the other runs out. It is also a $2,500 life insurance/dismemberment policy if your death or dismemberment is the result of a mining accident.

The policy costs $30 per person, per year—at this time. This covers from February 1st through January 31st. There is no rebate if you purchase the policy later in the year; the fee is still the same.

With insurance companies, you never know when rates are going to be increased; so we suggest you obtain your policy as soon as possible by printing out this form, filling it out, and sending it to the office with your check for $30 (per person).


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

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

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

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