I was scheduled to provide a gold dredging training workshop for members several weeks ago, between 8 – 12 of July. When only 8 members arrived to participate, I thought it was a very good opportunity to try out a new group dredging program that we have been considering for the Club. So, rather than conduct one of my traditional educational programs, upon unanimous consent of all the participants, we grabbed up a 5-inch dredge and decided to spend the week dredging together. It was a blast!

We actually started by going around and looking at several options that I felt were worth sampling. One was where we have some other members doing pretty well up on the Scott River (S-1). That area looked great! Another was near Schutts Gulch (k-11) on the Klamath River, where I happen to know some members left an existing dredge hole in place that was paying really well when they went home. The third place was up on Elk Creek near Sulphur Springs (E-5), near where some members recovered a lot of very nice, big gold nuggets last year.

When we went up to Sulphur Springs, we happened directly onto some members that were already dredging in the area, and they showed us a handful of nice thumbnail-sized gold nuggets! That was good enough for us, and we made the choice to dredge up near Sulphur Springs.

The water in Elk Creek is low and crystal clear. Ideal dredging conditions for a group operation that includes a few beginners who have never been underwater, breathing from an air compressor before. The streambed material is shallow to bedrock on upper Elk Creek; about a foot or less in a lot of it. And there are places where you can drive very close to the creek. The guy with all the nuggets was pulling boulders out of the way with the use of an electric winch mounted on the front of his small truck.

Our group spent the week pulling boulders (some of them really big!) using electric winches mounted on our vehicles, and trading off on who was doing the dredging. Everyone had a good time, and we got a lot of work accomplished. I made sure to include everyone in debating each key decision on what to do next, where to sample, etc. That is the best way to learn. Everyone was pretty grooved in to how to do it by the time the week was done.

In the end, we recovered some pretty nice gold; although it was not as good as the guy that was in there ahead of us. We did a lot more mining than he did, too! But that is the nature of mining; another valuable lesson for everyone to learn.

It was good that we did this group dredging operation. It gave me an opportunity to see how much excitement can be created when a small group of people work at sampling together. Everyone who participated said that they would gladly do it again.

Please watch for more information about this as we go into the winter months. If there is enough interest within the Club, I hope to put together a full-time group mining program for next season…

Lots of Fire Around Us…

As I’m certain most of you

have been watching on television, there are lots of fires this summer. There are two sizable ones burning right now over near Cave Junction, Oregon, about 40 miles away. If anyone is thinking of coming to Happy Camp over the back way from Hwy 199 in Oregon, I suggest you contact the road department in advance to make certain Hwy 199 is open. Otherwise, those fires don’t pose much threat to us over here in Happy Camp.

There is also a fire burning up in the headwaters of Elk Creek. Consequently, the Forest Service has blocked Elk Creek road at the 10-mile bridge.

Otherwise, besides some smoke in the air, all of our other claim areas are unhindered for the time being.

Billing Annual Dues This Month

As promised last month, we are billing all members this month for the annual $50 membership dues. Because many of our existing members are fully paid up on their memberships, we are looking to the annual dues to meet some of the bigger annual expenditures that will be due beginning in September – such as property taxes on the 50 miles of properties owned by the Club.

I’m sincerely requesting support of all our members to pay the annual membership dues. That’s all I can do!

In anticipation of substantial help from members on annual dues, I have already contracted with an expert to research the availability of new mining properties in some key areas where rich gold deposits are already proven to exist. The research has been going on now for several weeks, and I am told that preliminary results look promising. Watch for more news of this, along with more interesting developments, in next month’s newsletter…

Pot lucks are every Saturday evening at the Lions Hall in Happy Camp, at 6:30 PM. Please attend, so we can have time to visit!

Best to all,

Dave McCracken
General Manager

Photo above: Boulders shown in the creek were rolled out of the way and dredged underneath by the group operation. Below: The largest gold nugget we recovered was about the size of a fingernail.