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We have just been informed by the BLM that we need a Notice of Intent (NOI) to dredge on our BLM claims. The CFR 3809 and CFR 3715 states that dredging is not casual use. Any claim that is not a casual use claim needs an NOI.  This includes all the claims on Black Canyon claims that are on BLM land.  

As of this date, and until further notice members cannot dredge on any claims on BLM land. The officers of the club are setting up a meeting with the BLM to get clarification on these regulations.  We will resolve this as soon as possible and inform every one of further developments.

 Please understand this is not the clubs mistake, but the BLM’s. They have not enforced these regulations in the past, but now they have decided to do so.  We can still dry wash, high bank, sluice, metal detect and pan on these claims.  For now, it’s only dredging that is not allowed.

Excerpt from BLM web site:


A simple example of a Casual Use activity common in Arizona is the operation of prospecting or rock collecting using a metal detector and/or other hand tools while camping on public lands. You cannot engage in suction dredging at a Casual Use level on BLM-administered lands in Arizona. Suction dredging can only be done pursuant to a Notice or Plan, filed under 43CFR 3809. Any camping must be in compliance with all camping regulations and you must not occupy the public lands for more than 14 days in any 90-day period within a radius of 25 miles of your initially occupied site.

Casual Use operations involve simple prospecting with hand tools such as picks, shovels, metal detectors, and camping for less than 14 days in a 90-day period. This prospecting does not involve any type of explosives, chemical usage or mechanized earth moving equipment. Small-scale mining devices such as dry washers having engines with less than 10 horsepower are allowed, provided they are fed using only hand tools.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Les Glover

RRPC President

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I replied to Les with the following excerpt from CFR 3809.5 describing no notice level "casual use"; "it may include the use of small portable suction dredges" This is the current standard so I don't know why the AZ BLM gets to claiming otherwise. I can't seem to paste here, just Google CFR 3809.5 and CFR 3715 which deals with occupancy. Later...Jim P.

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Creeping in for the KILL they are Jim, like in CA and elsewhere. Folks we need to support groups like the AMRA and fight or we will be hoping for a prospecting video game to come out because our lands are "Off Limits" https://www.americanminingrights.com/

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This Is BAD folks and any type of cooperation will be bad for all of us! They are trying to get their foot in the door the same way as they did in CA, OR and elsewhere. It is the same as when a landlord agrees to late rent a few months in a row.... IT IS NOW A CONTRACT.  No reason for filing any plan here and simply tell them to follow the LAW!.

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I wonder if someone like Martha Sally if elected would be receptive to attacking this and also halting and reversing the BLM road closures.

It's a shame we don't have a sympathetic state senator in the AZ house or congress.  It'd be nice to try to open up all that state trust land.

The boss over there Ryan Zinke does not seem like the kind of guy that would want that sort of stuff to happen.  He seems like a real outdoorsman, Navy Seal and all.  Unfortunately he is under investigation for such scandalous things as wearing a set of socks with make America great, making money in real estate, and investing in the gun industry. Wonder if there ever was a time when you could be proud of your country and success wasn't a sin.



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  • 3 weeks later...

You don't need a bond or a notice.  The law and the regulations will back you up. Here is the actual BLM regulation straight from the government pertaining to dredging (scroll down to § 3809.5):


§ 3809.5 How does BLM define certain terms used in this subpart?

As used in this subpart, the term:

Casual use means activities ordinarily resulting in no or negligible disturbance of the public lands or resources. For example -

(1) Casual use generally includes the collection of geochemical, rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-motorized sluicing. It may include use of small portable suction dredges. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears and other battery-operated devices for sensing the presence of minerals, and hand and battery-operated drywashers. Operators may use motorized vehicles for casual use activities provided the use is consistent with the regulations governing such use ( part 8340 of this title), off-road vehicle use designations contained in BLM land-use plans, and the terms of temporary closures ordered by BLM.

That rule goes back to year 2002. It's still current, here is the publication in the official Federal Register clarifying that motorized drywashing and dredging are "casual use" with no need for an NOI or bond.


Casual Use

Several comments on the March 23, 2001, proposed rule from persons who engage in small scale placer mining objected to the definition of “casual use” in the 2000 rule allowing employment of only hand or battery-powered dry washers as casual use. Many recreational miners use dry washers powered by small gasoline motors that are roughly equivalent to lawn mower motors. The comments said that this definition would bar these miners from using public lands for their activities due to the cost of either having to file a plan of operations or acquiring battery-powered drywashers. In this rule we propose to amend the definition of “casual use” to accommodate this use of small motorized drywashers (under 10 horsepower) that cause negligible disturbance. To ensure that such disturbances are negligible, we propose a 10-horsepower engine limit. The use of drywashers powered by motors of less than 10 horsepower would be considered casual use. The use of any drywasher powered by an engine with 10 or more horsepower would not be casual use. This change was not included in today's final rule.

Today's final rule contains the same language as the 2000 rule, which in turn was consistent with the 1980 regulations, which stated that casual use does not include the use of “mechanized earth-moving equipment.” However, the purpose of this change is to reflect BLM's agreement with comments that said that the disturbance created by these small drywashers, largely used by individual recreational miners, is negligible in most areas, and thus should qualify as casual use. This type of dry washing activity would be unfairly burdened under the 2000 rule, under which all activities that are not classified as casual use must file a plan of operations and a bond. Since these portions of the 2000 rule have been retained, this change to the casual use definition corresponds to a similar 2000 rule treatment of some small suction dredgers, and is not significantly different in its impacts from those corresponding provisions analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement alternative that would have retained the 1980 regulations.

Casual use never requires a bond or notice. The club is quoting a regulation that only applies to states with a "special situation" dredge permit system approved by a BLM agreement. Arizona has no laws, regulations, permits or BLM agreements for dredging so that regulation clearly doesn't apply.

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