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Public Lands Research - Online Information - Truth or Dare?


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I just recently posted on the Rye Patch thread that I was researching the Rye Patch area for my wife and I to visit and prospect. Specifically I was researching the Sections mentioned on this website http://nevada-outback-gems.com/prospecting_info/majuba_mtns.htm and their mention of the Sections where the most gold has been found, " placer gold has been found over a wide area, including sections  8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 30 and 31. " So with the old saying, go where they found gold before...

I used the LR200 to run reports for Closed and Active mines on those Sections as well as utilizing the BLM Google Earth overlays for areas Surface Managed by BLM.

Now most of this area looks like this on GE with the BLM overlay (see below)

So I'm looking to prospect those yellow Sections with the understanding that they should be BLM lands right? NOPE.

Section 19 above.

Shows yellow on GE.

LR2000 report on Closed mines: see below.

So it shows mines on this section as long ago as 2006, so my conclusion again, this is BLM land, public. NOPE.

Geocommunicator? BLM.

So when I see a blue jeep bounding across the desert towards me, I know I'm wrong.

How do you determine what lands are open with the information available to you online, most of which is dependant upon B L M information?



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I can't help you for Nevada, their site http://lands.nv.gov/maps/index.htm is not as good as https://land.az.gov/ .


I can't trust the info off the BLM sites for land status such as state trust, BLM, National Forest, private property, or Military land.  All LR200 shows is that someone has sent in $300 to stake a claim and it has no responsibility to check it.


I will explain what I do in Arizona.  So, my next step being in AZ is to go to https://land.az.gov/  and check the land status.  When I do this, I find that those who stake paper claims or are not so educated about where to stake a claim, file their paperwork with the BLM.  I've found closed claims in the LSD / Iona Wash area by Wickenburg that were staked over private property and state trust lands.  I had hoped that the Nevada site I listed above was a one stop sight like the AZ site is, but I did not see it.


My assumption is that the land you went to was one of those closed claims like I found by Wickenburg that was staked where it should not have been.  So when you went on the private property, the guy in the Blue Jeep greeted you.  Another thing I've seen, is on the land status site, a patented claim can be staked on BLM land, shows up as BLM land, and I can only tell by looking at the map on AZ land.gov, and if it is an odd shape, it is patented land.  There's been a post on here about someone who has a patented claim having multiple people trying to stake claims over his.  Patented claims do not require a yearly fee, so they do not get put in LR2000.

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The site I can pull land status in NV from is here:


For me that would be a start to find out about who controls the land whether state trust, BLM, National Forest, private property, Military land, or whoever.

Because it's not a government site, I would want to be able to check the land status.  AZ sometimes sells the land, so if the publiclands.org site has not updated the site in 10 years, might not be so accurate.


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I'm puzzled by this. I build the most accurate land status tools available on the internet and people continue to rely on old google kmls from 30 year old information. That land management overlay isn't only old it's really inaccurate.

Land Status requires a little work to get the hang of and no internet source should be relied on entirely. That's why I made the Land Matters Land Status maps I pointed you to in the other thread. The maps can give you an idea of whats going on and the tools associated with them can get you to the documents you need to know enough not to try prospecting private or closed mineral lands. As I pointed out before the Master Title Plat (MTP) is your go to document on federal lands status. The MTP even tells you if the lands were originally public and were granted a patent and just what the current federal status of those lands are today.

Both Sections 17 and 19 are private or off limits as I stated before. Section 17 has been private way longer than you or your daddy have been around (1899) and Section 19 is mostly private with a small portion (120 of the 640 acres) reconveyed to the U.S On October 17, 1920.

Reconveyed lands are usually off limits to mineral claims. In this case the 120 acres was open to entry by the Secretary June 16, 1921.  The BLM would probably not like you to know that but it's right there on the title plat (MTP). Private lands are off limits to anyone without express permission from the owners as you found out.

If you had downloaded the federal Master Title Plat from that land status map all those facts would have been available to you on the governments own Title Plat. That's the go to document for all government agencies when there is a question about land status. I went a little further this time and pulled the original historical index and reconveyance deed for Section 19 from the General Land Office (GLO) website. The GLO is the official repository for federal land status documents including Patents and Surveys. They've got more than 6 million patents on the website and it's pretty easy to use their search function.

So I've done all this work looking up the land status there in less than 30 minutes, including typing this with one finger. What did I find about the maps of the land status in that section? Only Land Matters Land Status map shows the actual land status accurately. It was right there on the map the whole time!

I've gone a little further so you can see this for yourself. I've made a custom interactive map for the land status in Rye Patch. If you just click on the "i" tool and click anywhere on the Township you will get a direct link to download the Master Title Plat. If you have problems reading the Title Plat Land Matters offers a tutorial on "Reading Master Title Plats".

Researching land status is an essential prospecting tool. Prospectors have had the requirement to know the land status for any particular area before putting boots on the ground since this nation was created. Prospectors have been doing this research as part of their profession for 1,000s of years. It's not an easy skill to learn but it's a lot easier than learning geology or mineralogy or a GPX5000. Please take this legal obligation to do your own due diligence seriously. Google Earth is not a research tool you can rely on. It's pretty good for planning a route or looking for backyard swimming pools in your neighborhood but it's not a tool for serious land status research.

We've provided you with the tools to do the vast majority of your research online. We are the only mapping system that gives you direct links to the source documents. You can lead a horse to water...

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Clay, I appreciate your persistence. As I mentioned I have been using LR2000, Geocommunicator and lastly GE for the helicopter view of the area and overlays of geologic trends, BLM managed lands, faults and other sources. Not just looking at the pretty pictures.

I'll take a look at your work and get familiar with your maps.


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I checked on the map generation speeds on my server. Maps are created in under 4 seconds in all cases even though we are serving up 1,000 + maps an hour.  There are three things to get better speeds:

1. Reduce the size of your mapping window. Each map is created from scratch and sent to you as a png file. If you are using a high resolution display these map images are 3mb or larger. Smaller maps = quicker loads.

2. Turn off the base map until you zoom into your area of interest. The base maps are provided by government servers and sometimes they can be agonizingly slow in responding. The smaller the area you are looking at the quicker the load time.

3. This isn't a google map, if you try to use it that way you will spend forever getting where you want to be.

Use the zoom tool, you can zoom in in one shot by holding down your mouse button and dragging your cursor to make a box around the area you want to zoom to. Forget the + click zoom method - it's slow and very 90's computing.

This map remembers every click you make - if you get impatient and click twice the map will remember that second click and start building you a new map as soon as the first click is done loading.

There is a back and forward button. You can go back to the previous map you just made by clicking the back arrow. Unlike Google maps you won't be left somewhere you didn't intend and have to start over. Just go back to your previous map view.

Edited by clay
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