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Why dont we play the game?

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The reason we are being whittled away is because we are not positioning ourselves correctly as prospectors. The world is changing and there are more and more people. And whether we like it or not the overwhelming majority of Americans value wide open spaces much more than gold. We need to ally ourselves with the recreational users of the land and we are not going to do that by allying ourselves with neither big mining nor wearing the Mining Act as a magic cloak to protect us from evil. That fight is a separate one and should certainly be fought by commercial mining and their supporters. But we need to take recreational use out of the fight.

The enviros keep our support organizations hopping fighting bills and proposals from enviro groups. They are taken seriously because they are organized and tied together at the higher levels by powerful numbers. When they talk the politicians listen and they are always talking, making proposals, suggesting improvements to policy at the Department level, influencing both politicians and at the administrative level.

Now is the ideal time to introduce small incremental steps back from the status quo. You will find enormous support for “conservative” policy changes as this is an election year that will bring compromise from both ends. Well crafted suggestions that appeal to the people will be carried by politicians as elements of their platform. The enviros are already working it hard having rallies that will increase numbers. Those numbers equate to power in an election year!

My idea would be to propose that metal detecting activities that met a certain criteria would be exempt from the restrictions on prospecting and would be allowed anywhere other activities are allowed that had the same impact (hunting, fishing, etc.). Just take beeping with a grubbing pick to 18” depth off the map. We could easily “prove” that responsible detecting is no more impact to the public land than responsible hunting or grazing.

This could be done both at the legislative level and at the administrative level. We could request a meeting with the appropriate BLM people and then ask that our proposal be discussed within the administration and that we be allowed to present our suggestions and data to the appropriate committee when it convened.

We could also draft a suggested change to the regulations and send it to every conservative candidate at the state and federal level in hopes that they may use it as a talking point. Also, we send that proposal with a cover letter to every prospecting club, outdoor group, and public land advocacy group we can for support. Ask that they send a letter to our mailing list telling the candidate how many members they have and that they support the proposal.

Instead of sitting here the underdog and trying to fight the onslaught of madness why don’t we throw a punch? I think the time is right! Will Nugget Shooter support a proposal like that and commit to managing it? All we can do is get skunked. At the very least we may be able to educate some folks. I bet that just by attempting to do this simple proposal we will wind up thousands stronger and make connections with tens of thousands more with similar fights.

We simply cannot win the war by constantly being on the defensive. We can’t fight the battle for the big mining companies and win but we can win as hobbyists. Why don’t we fight a battle that we CAN win and maybe we will be stronger for the larger fight?

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Are you busy tryin to draft said proposal Bob? Cause you know, you are right. And you do possess the necessary literary skills, And Dakota Slim there could round up the appropriate BLM administrators names/addresses who'd be hearin or readin a proposal or two. Sounds like the most sensible trail to start down to me, but I'm nobody, just my :twocents: .

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I would be honored to help. But we need the help of a lot of others here as well to come up with a plan that they feel everyone can get behind.

The enviros take little steps and get little resistance. We just keep getting marched backwards. If we make some reasonable proposals and figure out as a team how to present them in an effective way we may be able to get the idea to catch on. Maybe? All I know it is the best that we can do as a group.

Bill posted the site hits and data. There is power in that. How do we use it to influence?

Last week the Wild Earth Guardians had a big blowout rally in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Adventure movie matnees where every person at the theater was given a free membership to WEG! Thousands attended the movies and talks, and NONE were about radical environmentalism. All were about outdoor adventure sports and promoting some new movies that have been made. So the "recruits" are not really WEG radicals but just folks that attended a movie and got "enrolled" in WEG. But now WEG is THOUSANDS STRONGER by the numbers. And it is fixing to be election time. You fill in the blanks.

Bill's data is the same. Lots of members (read "supporters") and there are lots of connections here to other forums and other groups. If we had a proposal that made sense that would give us even a small amount of incremental success we can use that to leverage even more.

We could fight for disabled vets to be exempt from restrictive off road vehicle rules while enjoying the great outdoors. That is low hanging fruit that we can all agree on and could join with other groups on that. We could propose the definition of "recreational metal detecting" be defined as a minimal impact activity allowed anywhere other recreation is allowed (with exception of historic sites and valid claims) to a minimal extent. There is a lot of logical steps that we could propose that would take us out of the line of fire with mining and show we are responsible recreationalists. We just need an idea that the group feels motivated to get behind and a few people to do it. And of course the idea could not be form some jackass like me or you or the other guy...It needs to be endorsed by the powerful Nugget Shooter community of over 5000 strong. United and committed to peace, justice and the American way!

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Not trying to rock the boat,but just throwing out a what if or two.

What if you do approach the BLM and DOI with this plan and they,

ask these few questions,and you recieve this answer ?

Well Mr. Jones and crew, There is several thousand acres of recreational

club claims already in existance on federal land. Also the Forest Service

and BLM already has several hobby recreational sites ,that are withdrawn

from commercial mining use,and mining claims. If you truly are a recreational

miner and only do it for a hobby,why don't you avail yourself to these?

While we are discussing the matter Mr.Jones,we are talking about minerals

and mineral lands. The DOI is charged by congress,and federal mining law

to manage said lands as per said laws and federal regulations. Well Sir it

seems that we can't find any legislation that provides for hobby or recreational

mining on public land.

Not to be too blunt Sir,but it is probably for the same reason we can't find the

regulations, that cover hobby logging,hobby gravel pits,or hobby oil wells. Well

we seem to have a dilema here! If we grant you the right to loot,piliage and plunder

public land ,we would have to do the same for hobby wood cutters and anyone

else that wants to call their activity a hobby. Have you thought about taking up

hiking or rock collecting?

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Hi Sawmill,

Thanks for mentioning this here.

I have heard this mentioned before and it is a valid concern and the words hobby and recreational could indeed cause some future issues. I think the reality here is that those that consider themselves as "hobby or recreational" are more the club member type gold prospector and their support should be welcomed by the professional and small time miner I would think. After all prospecting clubs do educate folks that in turn often end up as small time miners with their own legally held claims. These folks indeed are working legal claims filed and maintained by the club.

I really think the folks against mining whether calling it recreational as a hobby, small time as a living, or large scale will have a hard time separating any one into an ignored part of mining as a whole. I see the recreational club member as a valuable voice in the group and working club claims is not pillage and plunder of public land. There are also many clubs involved in some degree in this fight and their status as a Recreational club as far as I know has not been used to shut out their voice in Washington as yet

There will always be those that are prospecting for paying deposits of minerals on public lands not yet claimed, but that too is legal and our right as a citizen of this Country. That can not and should not ever be restricted and is part of our mission! Prospecting for mineral deposits is not recreational or hobby mining and the two are not to be associated for just the reason you have mentioned.

I do not see any of this as being similar to running a logging operation or gravel pit without the proper permits and a feller without proper permitting and legal mineral claim is soon put out of business by the BLM trying to run a small, medium, or large scale placer operation or load claim as well.

I do see what you are saying and there are always some in every profession that would rather cut corners than do it legal, but they are not likely to become part of our voice either I would hope as they are a different breed all together.

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Yeah, what if... What if it is tough? What if it is hard? What if we meet with resistance?

You are right Sawmill. It is probably a futile idea that would just meet with resistance from the BLM. We had better just keep on doing nothing and whine about how the mean ol' gubment and the mean ol' liberals are taking our land away from us. Maybe we could just "get out and vote" for Rick Santorum and he can make it all better for us?

Maybe we shuld all just hide in our holes and rely on Rick Santorum to make everything better for us. If they tell him "no" then at least we have someone to blame for our loss.

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Hobby and recreational language is already hurting the prospecting and mining community and has been for a very long time. In the early and mid 90's we got many of the prospecting groups to change their names from "clubs" to Associations and or Organiaztions but it was short lived. If you want to be treated as a hobby or recreationalist instead of person with "rights", then continue to use the words recreation or hobby.

If you think you have not been affected yet, take a look at the recent Ca. Environmental Impact Report and see if you can find the words prospector or miner in it. The agencies have deliberately cast the miners as recreational so they don't have to recognize the miners rights

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I think several of the clubs also use that wording in their bylaws.....

Perhaps it would be wise to begin a reversal of the usage of that language by making more folks aware it is hurting the overall effort to preserve our mining rights.

But many of these club folks see themselves as recreational and have no real intention of working a claim as would a small scale miner and most clubs actually forbid aggressive work on the claims by individuals without involving the whole club in an outing type setting.

Still would this not be a separate entity within the mining community and easily pointed out as created by the BLM as such? I mean when a club holds claims the BLM has allowed this modern type of mining for many years now knowing full well part of the wording in the actual mining laws are being sort of overlooked to allow clubs to even exist right?

This is what you are referring to as the problem correct?

I too can see what you mean and though this difference should indeed be looked at more as well as what exactly makes clubs legal in the BLM's eyes so that again this can be the separate part of the mining community as a whole to avoid having all small scale mining and prospecting labeled as unnecessary as a form of income that it is to so many out there. Perhaps keeping clubs and recreation in the fight as who they are in the mining community will also keep all from being lumped together as expendable thus protecting each other since the major secondary issue after mining rights is land use rights.

I am just asking cause this seems way more tricky dealing with powerful government officials wanting to eliminate mining as a whole than I ever would have thought! :barnie:

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This whole subject is pretty complex. The Mining Law Of 1872 will probably be revised sooner or later. Obviously there were no metal detectors in 1872. There were no coin detectors. There were no wilderness areas, national parks or state parks. In most places there were no cities or counties and there were what, 13 states? The only environmentalists were people who found themselves downstream from the herd or too close to the slaughterhouse.

Obviously times have changed. Our attitudes need to change as well. Civil discussions like this is how problems get solved.

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Bill and All

I was not writing how I feel,I was just trying to show how other groups,

and the Feds feel and think. In other words I am just trying to show what

we are up against.

I have heard all this stuff and lived it,for a long time. This kind of stuff is

old history ,and hard learned lessons . I don't have any problem with club

claims,as a matter of fact I am happy that they do exist. I have no problem

with hobby prospectors either.

What I am trying to get across is that to operate under the hobby or

recreational prospector title puts you into a specific group. The down side

is that group has no real recognized or legal standing with the feds or the

enviro groups.

We have tried the approach that Bob has presented,and it has never worked.

These groups need an enemy in order to survive. Like it or not we are one of

their favorite targets. You could show them that we were actually not doing any

harm ,and they will not admit it. Their idea of compromise ,is for them to have

the last word,and you live with their rules. They may welcome you ,but you will

not be happy ,with their solutions.

Let me lay out ,how this will probably end if you play the hobby card,and actually

convince some of the powers that be ,to aid with our plight.Since we have played

the hobby card, we will be treated as such. Most likely they will go for the recreational

mining use area as a means to fix things. Next they will start selecting places of no

real value for commercial minerals. An area that has been gutted and of no real

value will be high on the list They will make a big deal out of it complete with more

restrictions and rules than you could ever imagine. Since they have done this great

deed,they will restrict all hobby miners to these areas,and then there will have to be

fees of some sort for the use of these places.

All of the politicians and enviros will gloat and slap each other on the back,for coming

up with such grand compromise.

Yes we do need to come up with a workable solution,but we need to be darn sure

that we are headed in the right direction. The only wins I have seen in this game,

were won by various governments,and having the law on their side. Our County

governments here in Utah have had more impact ,with the land,road,and trail issues

than any other groups. If you can get the county governments behind you,then you

have a fighting chance.

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