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It's getting hard to find any place to detect or sluice


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I took a newbe up with me this last weekend. I wanted to try out a place on the Mokolume River that I has seen on the topo maps. Once we met up and drove down, I was disappointed that the whole river was fenced off with no tresspassing signs and other wanrings about messing with the water. Seems EBMUD has taken the whole damned river for their own. So I figured, I do some beeping, as there are mines all over that area. NOPE!! First thing we found was a sign in that tells us we need to go somewhere else far away from the location we were at and get a permit to even walk beyond the gate, then you have to sign into a log book. I certainly didn't feel like getting busted but we did sneak in and do some beeping but after a 1/2 hour I got to worrying about getting caught in there with out a permit. (last time I was there there was a EBMUD ranger parked there at the gate.)

WTH is going on? All my old places have "pay to park" or "Pay to enter", "need a permit" rules now, or they simply ban any prospecting. I'd love to find a spot that I could simply sluice and find gold, or detect. It is so hard to find public locations anymore. I now see that the entire San Gabrials are off limits. There is another push to take over and close a huge section up near Yosemite. This is getting crazy. Gates all over at the trail entrances, Bans, Etc.

Anybody have a claim i Nor Cal I could use for weekend panning sluicing or detecting?

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Hi Skunked,

My advice to you is to join a club. There are plenty of them, and they all have claims for your use. Here in Arizona,

we have the American Prospector's Association, the Lost Dutchman's mining Association, the Roadrunner Prospector's Club,

and the Gold Prospector's Association of America, to name a few. There are clubs available to you in your state, too.

Check it out, Ben

Edited by Regmaglitch
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I've "heard" there was talk about some of the water districts trying to charge "fees" for high banking or such, but I'm not sure they can legally block access to the river unless it is private land...you can check at the BLM on the land status. If it is federal land, I don't think they have any say in the matter....maybe check with the minerals manager at the USFS in the National Forest district where you're wanting to go.

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There is the Auburn state recreation area. You can pan, hand sluice or detect over a very large, historically productive area. Not sure about motorized high banking - you'd have to check on that one.

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There is the Auburn state recreation area. You can pan, hand sluice or detect over a very large, historically productive area. Not sure about motorized high banking - you'd have to check on that one.

Yep, The Auburn area covers a lot of ground...All the way up to the Iowa hill bridge on the North fork & there it turns into a "wild & sceneic" where you can't use motorized equipment...there's a trail on the north side of the river that will take you miles up the river. I'm not sure the status of old claims further up the river in the "wild & sceneic" system though...the North fork below Alta is loaded with good gold though I haven't been down there since it was closed off to dredging back in the early eighties. There used to be a good trail there that was called the "Green Valley trail".

On the Middle fork, the Auburn rec area goes almost all the way to the circle bridge below Foresthill...you'd have to check a map for the boundary though.

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A good portion of the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) is private property and can't legally be prospected without written permission of the landowners. There are also several grandfathered mining claims in the ASRA. Please don't assume that just because it's in the ASRA it's open to prospecting - it just ain't so.

For example:

About 90% of the North Fork between the Foresthill bridge and the Yankee Jims bridge is private property. No prospecting without written permission. Sections of the river between Yankee Jims and Mineral Bar are also private property.

Mineral bar is under claim from the bridge upstream for 1/4 mile, including most of the campground.The claim at Mineral Bar dates from 1962. I'm sure it has been a struggle to keep that claim. The daily onslaught by recreational prospectors sent there by ASRA staff is obscene. Encouraging mineral trespass is just the latest effort by authorities there to harass and eliminate proven valid mining claims. Please respect you fellow miner's property rights.

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Please don't assume that just because it's in the ASRA it's open to prospecting - it just ain't so.

Very true, but there is a good deal of area within the area that can be prospected.

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I thought the property within the rec. area had been obtained by eminant domain along the river & within the boundaries. I'm pretty sure all that property had to be state land before they started construction of the proposed dam???...I know private property borders the boundaries, but didn't know there was any private ownership within. As far as there being a valid claim at mineral bar, I haven't ever seen a claim marker nor any signs indicating such. IMHO, anybody who is paying good money at maintaining a "claim" at mineral bar, is a goofball. The whole area up to the wild & scenic & downstream to the first bend has been dredged with an 8" by a crew that used to live up in Iowa Hill. Yeah, there's a little gold still there, but a guy will find much better diggins by getting off the beaten path...FWIW, if I don't see any indication of a claim, (signs/markers) I'm gonna feel free to do my thing, because maintaining a valid claim includes keeping the boundaries well marked. I know of nobody who encourages "mineral tresspass"...

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"As far as there being a valid claim at mineral bar, I haven't ever seen a claim marker nor any signs indicating such."

".FWIW, if I don't see any indication of a claim, (signs/markers) I'm gonna feel free to do my thing, because maintaining a valid claim includes keeping the boundaries well marked. I know of nobody who encourages "mineral tresspass"..."

In California it is not required to mark a claim's boudaries, even when they do get marked, many of them are taken down or destroyed (Very much against the law). By the second statement I have quoted in your response, it is you that is certainly encouraging mineral trespass. Is is clearly the responsibility of a prospector to research any area that is intended for prospecting PRIOR to doing the prospecting.

You need to learn the law prior to spouting off about about doing something that is clearly illegal and not liked by valid claim owners.

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It's a federal requirement...Ca. is not exempt....it IS a requirement for a valid claim. To suggest that a claim is not require to have clearly marked boundaries shows a great deal to me about your actual knowlege of such.

Do a minimum of reading & figure it out for yourself...on top of the federal requirement you have to file with the county tax asessors office.

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/requirements.html

Quote

"STAKING A CLAIM--Federal law specifies that claim boundaries must be distinctly and clearly marked to be readily identifiable. Most states have statutes and regulations concerning the actual staking and recording of mining claims so claimants should refer to the appropriate state agency for additional requirements before locating a claim."

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Middleforkminer2 - Yes, its required to mark a claim when initially staking a claim. It is legal in California to take a claim by section, township and range (using the cadastral survey) and place only a single location notice monument along the northern boundary of the claim - the monument will have the paperwork for the claim. That does meet federal requirements and is a system used by other states as well.

However, the claimant is not required to keep all markers up and visible at all times. If that were required, a claim jumper could simply take away your claim markers and then say your claim is invalid and steal it away. I have had folks use my claim markers for their campfires in desert areas with no wood. That is quite illegal, but the campers breaking the law does not invalidate my claim.

Because of this "I didn't see your claim marker" is not a legal defense for mineral trespass.

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You are right Chris - there are many areas open to prospecting in the ASRA. A little research would show where those areas are.

ElDorado is correct too there is no State requirement that a placer claim located by aliquot part mark location by stakes.

CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RESOURCES CODE SECTION 3902

The location of a placer claim shall be made in the following
manner:
(a) By erecting at the point of discovery thereon a conspicuous
and substantial monument, and by posting in or on the monument a
notice of location containing all of the following:
(1) The name of the claim.
(2) The name, current mailing address or current residence
address, of the locator.
(3) The date of the location, which shall be the date of posting
the notice.
(4) The number of feet or acreage claimed.
(5) A description of the claim by reference to some natural object
or permanent monument as will identify the claim located.
(b) By marking the boundaries so that they may be readily traced
and by erecting at each corner of the claim, or at the nearest
accessible points thereto, a conspicuous and substantial monument.
Each corner monument shall bear or contain markings sufficient to
appropriately designate the corner of the mining claim to which it
pertains and the name of the claim.
Where the United States survey has been extended over the land
embraced in the location, the claim may be taken by legal
subdivisions and no other reference than those of the survey shall be
required, and the boundaries of a claim so located and described
need not be staked or monumented. The description by legal
subdivisions shall be deemed the equivalent of marking.

The EILEEN claim CAMC9683 at Mineral Bar is located by aliquot part.

As far as Federal law (Mining Act of 1872) mandating that:

The location must be distinctly marked on the ground so that its boundaries can be readily traced.

Please read the State's definition of what is considered by law to be a properly "marked" claim. I put it in bold big letters so it would be easy to find. It may be a Federal law but as a trespasser on that claim you will be prosecuted under State law.

If you choose to challenge that claim you would be considered an adverse claimant - also tried under State law.

You could bring a "Private Challenge" but it would be the choice of the BLM as to whether to pursue that challenge and if they did ALL of the expenses would be on your tab. Most Private Challenges fail miserably, the courts are not inclined to void claims for technical defects. Also State law would be looked to as the standard the locator would be held to.

Three strikes and there is still a claim at Mineral Bar. Do you really think the claim owners haven't faced bigger challenges than boundary marking over the last 52 years? The proposed boundaries of the Wild and Scenic River had to be changed because of this claim. :tisk-tisk:

As far as no gold at Mineral Bar? This claim has been perfected and vetted several times. The BLM would love to prove there is no gold on the EILEEN. Somehow no matter how many time they test it they keep getting gold. :yesss:

No matter how you choose to justify prospecting there the fact remains the EILEEN is a valid existing mineral claim.

p.s. I would be very leery of using anything the BLM has published as legal information. Read a little further on the BLM sites and you will see this statement in bold lettering:

NO WARRANTY IS MADE BY BLM FOR USE OF THE DATA FOR PURPOSES NOT INTENDED BY BLM

Federal agencies can't be sued for giving you incorrect information. :grr01:

Edited by Au Seeker
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Now that the facts are on the table I'd like to add that in my opinion all claim owners who value their claim would be wise to conspicuously mark their claims. Many people will poach even if the claim is marked but a significant number of prospectors will be deterred.

I don't know why some prospectors feel justified in disrespecting claims that don't meet their standard or interpretation of what the law means. Although not required by law, marking a placer claim in California will at least deter those many prospectors who don't do their research before prospecting but feel it's up to the claim owner to warn them off (it isn't).

Your only reasonable defense to mineral trespass is to show you did your legally required due diligence research before putting boots on the ground and could not find evidence of a claim. Even in recreation management areas where "everybody knows" it's alright to prospect that is the standard a court will judge by.

Edited by clay
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I guess it's open to interpretation but to me a piece of wood or pvc stuck in the ground does not constitute a "conspicuous and substantial monument". Around here the old claims are marked with huge piles of rocks. Kind of hard to run off with or remove all traces of a couple tons of large rocks stacked up.

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:4chsmu1: Well...If I ever file another claim, I'll keep it conspiculously marked, just as I did on my last one. Yes, there is still gold down on mineral bar, but not a copious amount by anybodys standards...If you head upstream to the green valley area (lots of private land) there is a WHOLE lot more...I would never knowingly pan/sluice/detect on anybodys private property or claim but if it isn't marked, how is anybody supposed to know other than BLM land status maps which only show private property??? Research? Ha...good luck on that. A guy prospecting along the various water ways up in the Sierras (or anyplace else) can cover a good bit of realestate in a day of prospecting...I went on a week long trip to the North Fork of the Trinity River back in my youth & did a lot of sampling/panning in spots that weren't showing any indications of an active claim...I found a spot that I really liked & went ahead & put up a monument & marked the corners as well as hanging paper. I forget the EXACT details but I think I remember going in to the local BLM office, only to find out that the area was already claimed...When I got back to Sacramento, I went down to the blm & did a LOT of research...only to find out that some (if I remember right) electrical contractor down in southern Ca. (I forget the name) had filed claims for darn near the entire length of the entire Trinity river system... :WOW: The people at the blm were more than a little pissed & were doing some sort of investigation at the time...I don't know what ever came of it...you also have to contend with people who seem obsessed with "hanging paper"...even though they have no intention of actively mining the property. :grr01: there's a lot of abuse & misuse of the mining laws by more than just a few miscreants & IMHO, if you can't/won't keep something like a GOOD mining claim defined with clearly defined boundaries, you have no business filing it in the first place...

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JMHO....I wouldn't file a claim unless I wanted to work it...If I intended on working it, I'd be there working it...what are you gonna do if you file a claim & come in a couple months later only to find that somebody else is working it??? Kick their ass? (you'll go to jail) kill em??? again, you'll go to jail...it's no longer the wild west...I had an issue once, where I got local law enforcement involved with a claim jumper & he showed me over a good pound & a half he'd taken off my claim....the local county sheriff told me it was a civil matter...anybody else had an encounter with a guy by the name of Tom Raper?

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Hi Clay -

Just to be clear, the California law requires you to do 2 things to stake a claim - described as a and b. Just to clarify, its not an a OR b. Taking your claim by portion of the federal survey suffices to fulfill the boundary marking requirements of part b,

However you still need a location or discovery monument with the paperwork describing the claim as required under part a .

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I wouldn't file a claim unless I wanted to work it...If I intended on working it, I'd be there working it..

You can do what ever you want with your claim (within the bounds of the law), but no one else has to live up to your standards. As long as they comply with the law, they are claim owners in good standing. I have a claim I have leased to a Canadian Mining Company - I've not taken even one ounce of gold off it, though I have taken rock samples for assay. My lease fees I have received over the last 10 years are well over $100,000 - so even though I am not there all the time, its worked out for me.

Your sheriff was right - claim disputes are a civil matter. If the guy wont leave, even if you are camped there on the claim you cant shoot or even punch the guy. Its a civil matter.

I know a guy who found pounds of gold on what he thought was his claim. The adjoining claim owner thought it was not on the finders claim, but on his claim instead. Both claims were taken by sections of the federal survey and shared a boundary. The adjoining claim owner had his property surveyed and yep, the guy who found the gold was trespassing on the other claim. Now there is a big lawsuit because it was a lot of gold. What a mess!

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Hi Clay -

Just to be clear, the California law requires you to do 2 things to stake a claim - described as a and b. Just to clarify, its not an a OR b. Taking your claim by portion of the federal survey suffices to fulfill the boundary marking requirements of part b,

However you still need a location or discovery monument with the paperwork describing the claim as required under part a .

Yep Chris just as it was posted the law requires both. There is no OR in there. I hope nobody read that to mean otherwise??

I don't see anything in there about the North side though? Where did you find that information? First I've heard of that requirement. "place only a single location notice monument along the northern boundary of the claim"

There's always more to learn. :)

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