A number of years ago, in 2009 I was attempting to do some small stream prospecting in the Los Padres National Forest, near Frazier, California. At that time I was told, the area was closed to mining, and that no gold mining could be done in that area because it was under a state study program. I have not checked back on how that study program is doing or what it revealed about the condition of our rivers and streams.
Rather, even in consideration of the distance traveled to do recreational mining, I have recently moved off into prospecting and mining other areas in Northern California. Even that effort has been stopped by the state of California because of some recent legislative rulings. After all the years of waiting, and as I get older and less able to endure the rigors of mining, all I can do is imagine what it would be like to take part in that great act of discovery called the American gold rush. With some sense of defeat and inevitability, I remain an armchair miner, and support activities of my mining organization as best I can.
Recently, scientific and technological evidence presented to the state of California did not convince those who intended to produce legislation, speciously concerned that liberating mercury from streams during suction dredging was harming our rivers. Conversely, those technical tests by miners who carefully collected and weighed the mercury that wound up in their dredges, found an actual positive effect on the environment. By using suction-dredging systems to remove mercury from our streams, a valid benefit to our rivers stands as an example of the good that the miners are doing for our environment. The fact that the miners are actually removing mercury from the streams is lost on some minutia of infinitesimal importance, which keeps the suction dredging band in place.
A similar complaint by the state of California that suction dredging stirs up sediment and clogs areas where fish might lay their eggs is also faulty because during certain times of year when fish spawning takes place in our rivers, gold-mining is restricted. Moreover, without a doubt, argument or complaint, our group, The New 49ers respects that ruling in its entirety.
Another area of concern by the state of California, supposes that modifications and destruction of a stream bank or riparian environment, harms California's river systems. This assumption has caused the state of California to ban any motorized mining equipment within one-hundred yards of a river or stream. This puts extreme pressure on those miners who would otherwise do what is called high banking, where material from a river or its shoreline is processed for its gold using water pumped from the river using mechanical pumps. Setting up pumps with one-hundred yard suction lines is extremely expensive and very unproductive. More energy would be used to move water that distance, than an equivalent value could possibly be gained by mining. So in effect, that ruling stops mechanically enhanced high banking near a river or stream.
Study programs or not, the current intent of the California State Government is to ban gold mining in every state and federal forest within the state of California. Between saving a tiny frog, considered to be endangered, to egregious legislative activities to maintain federal lands in California in a pristine natural state, goes against common sense and against the federal intent of the 1872 Mining Law. That mining law contains provisions that require miners to maintain and protect the environment in which they mine.
These arbitrary and capricious actions by the state of California, not only stand in the face of federal rights and regulations, but even miners rights in the State of California. Rules and regulations by the general mining community and specifically by mining districts, which had been determined by self-appointed citizen miners as early as the late eighteen hundreds to codify the responsibilities of minors and to protect miner's to mine specific properties. Some of these's mining districts are fighting a losing battle with various states to maintain their viability and sovereignty.
The State of California has for the last eight years has thwarted my ability to prospect the public lands with frivolous over regulations that are founded in political ideology and go against proven science. Ever since, and over those long, frustrating eight years, I have not been able to use my federal mining rights to prospect for gold on California's federal land.
Thousands upon thousands of hard working Americans have been put out of productive work because of the US Interior Department's foolish policies that control what can and cannot be done on federal land. This prevents me and others, from making gold discoveries that will enable us to do our small part to help make America great again.
One example from an article by the Los Angeles Times, December 30, 1993, illustrates the folly of trying to mine in our country reads: "It's not unusual to spend ten years and several million dollars to get all the permits," says Kathleen Creason of the California Mining Association, in Sacramento. "One Northern California company invested three-million dollars over six years but couldn't get the permits and recently closed its doors."
Please help America's independent gold miners; we don't want a hand out or hand up. We just want to go back to work to help make America Great again! Please work with the U.S. Congress to help them approve your selected Secretary of the Interior in order to restore sanity in the use of United States public lands.
If your transition team requires additional information on our specific difficulties with the state of California, and how much more we can do if allowed the opportunity, then please check out the following:
This effort is really scary, where Oregon Democratic Party Senators are trying to get the current US President to enact an expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by presidential signature rather than by US Congressional legislation.
According to Jamie Hale, reporting in the Portland, Oregonian:
"We have not yet had the chance to sit down, have a conversation and look at the science from both sides to see if we need this expansion," rancher Jeremy Kennedy said. "Let's slow down and do this the right way, not with the Antiquities Act."
The Antiquities Act is the U.S. law passed in 1906 that allows sitting presidents to create national monuments from public lands to protect natural, cultural or scientific areas. It can also be used to expand the boundaries of existing national monuments.
The Oregon senators are hoping to persuade U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to propose the expansion to President Obama, who could approve it in his last few months remaining in office.
The range of which woul encompass 10,000 acres in California, some of which would be in Siskiyou County, north and northwest of Iron Gate Reservoir. The rebuttal by Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is a great push back, and it will help to stop this presidential expansion of power before he leaves office.