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Claims on Arizona State Trust land - why is that?


New2AllThis

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Hi all, this is my first post but I've been reading this forum for a bit and soaking it all up. I don't know any of you but have learned much from all of you and I thank you for that.

I've been trying to understand claims and how to make sure I know where I can and can't swing a detector. To that end I've been looking at mylandmatters.org and the county recorders office and trying to educate myself.

While doing so I found three claims on AZ State Trust land, specifically at T6N R3W S5. All three are or were claimed by the same (presumably) husband/wife team according to the Maricopa County Recorder. I've checked both mining location and quit claim deed records to find this same pair associated with each claim, either now or in the past. The amended drawing for one of the claims does not appear to lie over the private property in that particular section. It appears (to this newb) to be smack inside State Trust.

So what gives? I had thought State Trust was off limits unless a pricey permit was purchased and operating plan submitted. Do many prospectors do that for State Trust claims in AZ?

I appreciate any clarification. I've only worked a detector in parks and yards so I'm trying to learn where I can and can't go to hunt nuggets and meteorites. Don't want to inadvertently become a claim jumper!  

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I doubt they are valid claims.  All the BLM does is file paperwork for a fee and bears no responsibility to check land status, ie on state trust land, or if the claim is already owned.  You could put a claim over the capital building in Arizona and the BLM would enter it in their database.  You could probably even record it in the county and have nothing said.  Does not mean you can mine it.  People will tell you the that the BLM is the final word, but that is completely wrong.  I recently got permission from a well known member of the mining community, who does not post on this board nor does he post on the GPAA board, to prospect on an easy to get to claim to go with a friend who can't get around like he used to, but before we left we found out it was on state trust land.  When I called the guy, he checked with his person who told him (completely wrong) that the claim was valid because the BLM filed it.  Had we went to this easy to access claim that had a main road cut through it, we risked getting everything confiscated should the sherrif's department  or some other enforcement agency go by.  Also, I found a different set of invalid claims on state land along Castle Hot Springs road just south of where Mine road starts.  Don't know if they are there, but abandoned. 

Quite a racket the BLM has.  They are a fairly recent entry into the process of filing a claim.  In the old days, like the 1980s, I'm told you just needed to file with the county, and then the BLM decided to collect money.  Its a good deal.  100,000+ mining claims in the US states at $145 per 20 acres means millions in revenue for very little work and next to know responsibility and no enforcement authority.

With that, there are some claims properly filed with the state, and I don't know if they show on mylandmatters.  Those will show on AZland.gov with the proper overlay.  To keep a claim on state land is not impossible, but not cheap, thousands of dollars and needs to go through the state, but worth it if it has good minerals.  Also, if the claim on mylandmatters on state trust land has an AMC# listed, them it was filed with the BLM, and the AMC# means nothing.

If its the same husband wife team I'm thinking of, they have hundreds of claims throughout Maricopa and Yavapai counties, so they can't possibly have been to them all, but that is a different issue.

These are lessons I learned the hard way after teaching myself to file a claim.  There's info on this forum about filing with the state and also if you google "filing a mining claim in Arizona on state trust land." procedures will pop up.

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Follow the yellow brick road and find the Wizard Clay. He will have the knowledge you need. Or simply scan this forum for his many discussions on the subject. 

If your heart is pure and you ask a worthy question he will sometimes appear in a puff of English Leather and bless you with an answer. If not you must seek him out or lure him from his lair. A good way to do that is to post something technically wrong and he will come out of nowhere to correct you. 

I will give it a try...

I know the laws are different from State to State. All I have heard is that a claim on Sate land is possible in New Mexico but just not probable. They do not allow a mining lease and a grass lease to exist on the same acreage. Most State Trust land that a guy would claim is already under lease for ranching or mining/oil/gas/etc.. So for all practical purposes there are no "claims" on State Trust land. I have heard Arizona is much the same....Darn near impossible for a recreational guy to hold any mineral rights on State Trust land. 

But...

A guy can go to the State Land Commissioner and appeal to them just about any business venture and have it considered. It is not a "claim" situation. It is more of a business proposition and the Commission can lease land to a business for a lot of reasons. And if the other lessor(s) of the land are in agreement it is not impossible. I know a rancher, a solar generation company and the State has entered into a big deal like that. I know a large mining company with a big operation certainly can. Whether a small prospector could be successful at holding a State Trust claim is debatable. It is certainly not probable. It would be more of an active lease than a "claim" if it did exist.

Doubt any word of mouth stories you hear about claims and who owns them. Doubly doubt claims that appear to be filed on State Trust land. Assume a whole lot of people are filing a whole lot of claims for a whole lot of reasons besides gold. Assume a lot of claims are filed with a written description that does not match the spot they are physically marked. Assume there are many claims filed over each other and over State/private/National Forest land that are not valid. 

I know of a lot of State Trust land that is posted as a federal mining claim and worked for placer. Just about every piece of State Trust land in the area I work is posted as a Federal Mining Claim. But the mineral rights still belong to the State on most of it and the part of the claim that overlies State Trust land is not valid.

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I don't know which claims you are writing about so I can only give you a non specific answer. Federal mining claims can be located on some State trust lands.

Here's why:

Mining claims are a claim on the minerals within an area of land. Those minerals are often separated legally from from the surface ownership. That creates two estates - the surface estate and the subsurface (mineral) estate.

For all but the original 13 colonies, Texas, Hawaii and most of Alaska the land was originally public land. Those public lands were offered for sale to citizens for a nominal price (generally around $2.50 an acre or even as low as 10 cents per acre). There were often other requirements than a simple payment of money to complete the sale. These lands were transferred by patent when all the requirements were met and payment was made. Most of these patents were granted under one of the many homestead grants, as payment to soldiers or as mineral patents.

Virtually all of the private land west of the original 13 colonies was transferred from public into private hands by means of these land patents. The land where you live and work was once public land that was transferred to private ownership by patent.

Often when the public lands were homesteaded the minerals were not included in the patent grant. The United States reserved the minerals for later sale or mining. In particular under the Taylor Grazing Act land grants all minerals were reserved by the United States. Those grazing grants were huge. The one that covered the Little San Domingo, Hassayampa and Picacho  districts was 500,000 acres.

After the country went broke in the great depression a lot of these grazing lands were abandoned or the patents were never paid for. That and a few underhanded tricks in Congress left a lot of these grant lands in State Trust ownership. But the State only owns the surface on these Taylor grazing lands - the minerals are still owned by the public.

You can prospect and claim many of these State Trust lands. It is entirely possible that what you are seeing are actually valid federal mining claims on State trust lands. The same is true of many of the desert lands in the southwest whether the Taylor grazing grants are owned by the State or a private individual. Yep, in some circumstances you can claim and mine State and private lands. The process is a little different than a regular mining claim location and you have to reimburse the surface estate owner for any damages from mining activity but it is possible and being done today all over the western states.

I wouldn't suggest you just go out willy nilly and start prospecting or mining State trust lands. That could end badly if you don't know the land status and the process involved. Land Matters is working on a very large project to describe all these subsurface lands that are still in public ownership. Combine that with Land Matters efforts to bring one click patent information from their maps and prospectors and miners will be able to see another 9 million acres in Arizona alone that are open to mining claims.

Edited by clay
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chrisski: Thanks! I've been looking at the ASLD Parcel Viewer "Land Ownership" overlay and didn't think to switch to "Mineral Parcels". Doing so showed that those claims are not filed with the state. And yes, further Googling shows that the claimants do have hundreds of claims and at least one for sale on their website.

Bedrock Bob: Much appreciated. I'm not filing a claim. Just trying to figure out where a guy and his kid can swing a detector for recreation without getting hammered. I'll very much keep your advice in mind if dealing with claims in the future!

clay: Thanks very much for the lesson! A membership to Land Matters is in my future. My wife thinks I'm nuts for spending hours cross-referencing federal, state and county records, but it's got a fascination to it. Just bought a house in a subdivision and was surprised that the first piece of paper we signed stated we were buying the house "except all coal, oil, gas and other mineral deposits..." 

Given the complexities and the fact this is just a casual hobby for me, it sounds like joining a club is the easiest way to gain legal access to a piece of desert.

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5 hours ago, New2AllThis said:

chrisski: Thanks! I've been looking at the ASLD Parcel Viewer "Land Ownership" overlay and didn't think to switch to "Mineral Parcels". Doing so showed that those claims are not filed with the state. And yes, further Googling shows that the claimants do have hundreds of claims and at least one for sale on their website.

Bedrock Bob: Much appreciated. I'm not filing a claim. Just trying to figure out where a guy and his kid can swing a detector for recreation without getting hammered. I'll very much keep your advice in mind if dealing with claims in the future!

clay: Thanks very much for the lesson! A membership to Land Matters is in my future. My wife thinks I'm nuts for spending hours cross-referencing federal, state and county records, but it's got a fascination to it. Just bought a house in a subdivision and was surprised that the first piece of paper we signed stated we were buying the house "except all coal, oil, gas and other mineral deposits..." 

Given the complexities and the fact this is just a casual hobby for me, it sounds like joining a club is the easiest way to gain legal access to a piece of desert.

Mr. New2AllThis, 

First and foremost welcome to the forum!

You need to bring your family to the fall outing, it's free and happening the second weekend in November, all are welcome to attend, just bring a side dish for the common meal on Saturday evening, there will be many goldseekers there and some maybe able to help point you and your kid to an area to look for some gold to get ya'll started, at the very least you will make many new friends and learn from some of the best in the area!!

At present there are around 53 or more people attending, there will be raffle prizes given away and also some helpful advice/tutorials on operating some certain metal detectors!

A link to the topic about the outing and then another for the poll to let us know if you decide on attend so it's known how many to plan for.

 

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