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Paying BLM Claim fees and not filing location with the county


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If you've searched Maricopa County for to find a location of notice, have you found this accurate?

With filing a claim, it must be filed with the county when located to be valid.  If someone does not file with the county, which is easy to do in this confusing process, the claim is not valid.  The two common reasons I can think people would not file with the county is the more obvious location notice, and only going to the BLM.  The second, is purchasing a claim from someone and not filing a quit claim.

More specifically the claim location on file with the county is the only map, which is how you narrow down from a square mile section containing 640 acres down to a 20 acre, of which, there's hundreds of ways a standard 20 acre claim can be put in that 640 acre area, so just going out and looking for the claim marker is not possible.

I'm starting to look for unclaimed ground, specifically in Maricopa County, to go metal detecting on, and the section I am looking at has about a dozen claims on it, half of them are filed and on record with the county, one quarter have a quit claim deed, and one quarter just do not exist.

In Maricopa county, when you have the persons name, you can search for that.  If they don't show up, you can search for each additional claimant.  If that doesn't work, if you have the county record number you can search for that.  Those are the only two practical method.  The other way is to take the date from the BLM and go ahead and behind a couple of months, but that will produce dozens or hundreds of new claims filed with the county, and the BLM at times is not speedy at filing claims especially if the BLM has a months long backlog.  Unfortunately, Maricopa does not let you search for a section like other county recorder offices do.  You can also not search for a claim name.

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You can search for claim names at the Maricopa County Recorder. Just put the claim name in the "Business Name" box. If there is more than one claim by that name a list will drop down and allow you to pick which one you want. If you are not sure just don't pick one from the list and you will get all documents related to what you typed.

To narrow your search even more you can select a date range as you pointed out but you can also select the type of document under the "Document Code" dropdown. Choose "Mining Claim or Location" if you are looking for the location notice, choose  "Assignment of Mining Claim" if you are looking for a Quit Claim etc. Leave the "Document Code" field blank if you want everything recorded for that claim. You can use the same features with names so you can see all the mining docs for a claimant.

I have complained to the Maricopa County Recorder because under Arizona law 27-203 they are supposed to index mining claims by Township Range and Section.

Quote

27-203

The county recorder shall keep proper indices of mine location notices and maps by the cadastral subdivisions of the United States bureau of land management or general land office.

I have never received a reply. Maybe you will if you ask nicely. Sure would make things a lot easier. Most other counties in Arizona are much more accommodating.

Hope that helps you Chris.

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Posted (edited)

Clay that was very helpful thanks. I’ll go and search the names now.

I actually found where landmatters.org now listing the county filing as helpful also.  One of the claims I found, I could not find the owner, but sure enough when I did the search by county record #, it popped up, and had the claim owners listed in the records, even spelled right, so I figure Maricopa has a few dat record entries.

I’ve got 120 acres I’ve narrowed my search to where I’ll be prospecting, but of that someone has been paying fees for 13 years for a 40 acre claim, so of that 120 acres I mentioned, 40 is claimed, but I can’t get the map from the county.

I remember calling to the recorders office for some reason, I think it may have been in the recording in the kiosk at the surprise library when I filed a claim there, and mentioned searching for claims based off the township range and section, and the guy on the other end of the line got grumpy, like he was sick of explaining this over and over and that’s the way it is.

Edited by chrisski
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Posted (edited)

Glad I could help Chris.

Land Matters has always provided the County Book and Page for the Location Notice IF the BLM provides it. The BLM only adds the county info to their database if the locator filed a copy of their county record. If the locator files with the BLM first there will never be a Book and Page reference in the BLM files. That's one of the reasons we suggest the Public Record at the County should be made before the informational filing with the BLM.

The Maricopa County Records search has some very basic problems with the way the database is searched. Searching by name may not work at all but the record can sometimes be found by date or visa versa. Just because you can't find a record with their search don't assume the claim was never recorded. Try different searches until you get a result - or not. I don't have that problem in other Arizona counties.

You can order a copy of the location notice and map filed with the BLM. It's just a few cents a page plus actual mailing costs. The problem with that, as you noticed, is that many claims and claim amendments are never recorded by the claimants. Technically these claims don't legally exist and you can rely on that but only if you are willing to go to court. The BLM filing means nothing in court because the BLM can't certify their files or testify in court about ownership in a mining claim case.

I've gotten a lot of docs from the Maricopa County Recorder. I'm sure if I kept after them to bring their systems up to par I would have gotten more attitude than docs. It's a cranky place, more so than any other recorder in Arizona. It might be good to remember that  the County Recorder is an elected official on par with the Sheriff. Around election time you might have better luck.

Edited by clay
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Thanks Clay.  So the real number of claims I couldn't find filed at first was 7, and now I can only not find one; however, the one I can't find I actually know who it is and have talked to the guy before on his claim, so I do know that particular boundaries.  Two guys have filed with the county over his claim and both are paying BLM fees for the same claim.  I think I will contact that guy and tell him.  For all I know he could have sold the claim to those two guys.  The guy I know who originally had the claim, bought it from the guy that owns hundreds of claims out by the LSD. When he forgot to renew the claim the first year, the guy he bought it from, put another mining location on top of it, and sold the same claim back to the same guy for, but the second time was a slight discount.  I think you probably know the seller I'm talking about.

I appreciate the tip on the name search.  I tried several different variations of the name in the company and most of them popped up.

I did not realize you could order a copy of the location notice and map from the BLM.  Is this new?

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Posted (edited)

You are welcome Chris.

It's not new. Government records are available by request. You can order any filings in a BLM case file unless it proprietary information like assay results or claim minerals maps. Getting the right ones sent to you in a timely manner is a different story. I haven't ordered many from Arizona but in California I have and they get about 70% of them right the first time. In California the price per page varies by day and who you talk to. Generally it's about 15 cents a page + mailing. I suggest you call first, get a name and a price, and then fax or email the person you spoke to a list of what filings you want. Be specific sometimes I have not received the location map because I didn't ask specifically.

Edited by clay
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With Maricopa County Records, all the claims I was looking for I ended up finding maps on the county website.  If anyone else is looking, about half I found with a records search for the name of one of the filers, all the rest but one turned up with putting the claim name in the business name.  There was one claim though that was not in a county records search by claim name or the filers name.  I managed to get the filing number from a friend and found the map.

That was a bit of searching.  How you every did that from the recorders office a couple decades ago, must have been a challenge.

I guess the question I have now, is when a claim is reduced in size, how do you get a new map for it?

Claim size reduction has happened a couple of times in my searches.  I would look up the claim location in the county, get a map, find out through the BLM LR 2000 that in such and such a year the claim was reduced from 160 acres to 40 acres, but I don't know what to look for online.  Someone said the new map of the reduced claim size would be filed as a location of notice with the county.  One of these was a BLM listed "closed claim" along a riverbend, not something you see much in Arizona.

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Posted (edited)

Congratulations. Sounds like you are making progress Chris.

Claim size reductions are properly accomplished as amendments to the original location. There is no need to make a new claim location to reduce a claim's size. In Maricopa County Claim Amendment records are grouped under "MINING CLAIM AND/OR LOCATION". You are probably better off to search for claim amendments by the claim name. Not all recordings are always categorized correctly in Maricopa. Sure would be a lot easier if they would just follow the law and organize their records by TRS. :grr01:

A word of caution regarding claim amendments. Claim amendments are most commonly the result of improperly filed claims at the BLM state office. The locator is sent a notice by the BLM to amend their claim or have their claim case file closed. Usually those notices will occur within the first three years of location.

Once a notice to amend is received the claimant needs to stake the modified claim location on the ground, make a claim amendment with map if needed, record that amendment with the county and file a copy with the BLM state office. Usually they only have 30 days to accomplish all that. Most claimants just skip the staking and county recording. That's bad for the claim validity and stupid because the public has no other way of knowing where the claim is now located.

Often you will reach a dead end with claim amendments. How you deal with that is problematic. The amended map filed at the BLM has no legal existence until the staking and county recording are accomplished. It may show what the claim owner intended but it legally amounts to nothing more than wishes and dreams.

Without a public record and stakes the claim essentially is in limbo. The BLM won't recognize the validity of the original location but there is no legally required public record of the amended location. No  stakes on the ground and no public record made means the amended claim has no definable location. If the location isn't definable then it isn't really a location at all is it?

As you know I deal with this stuff daily. I'll help you with what I can but if locators and claimants don't maintain a public record there is nothing you or I can do to know where or if a valid claim exists. Welcome to my world. :4chsmu1:

Edited by clay
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2 hours ago, chrisski said:

That was a bit of searching.  How you every did that from the recorders office a couple decades ago, must have been a challenge.

That probably why they call it REsearch Chris. One search rarely gives you the whole picture.

I have spent many hours, days and months in dark dank records basements staring at microfiche machines before the public records were digitized. I spent two weeks in Prescott researching just one location near Cherry.

I have to laugh sometimes when I hear complaints about how hard this type of research is. The work hasn't gotten much easier or different but being able to do it from the comfort of my office instead of traveling many miles each day to dig through county records sure makes it more comfortable and efficient.

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On 7/6/2020 at 10:54 AM, chrisski said:

If you've searched Maricopa County for to find a location of notice, have you found this accurate?

With filing a claim, it must be filed with the county when located to be valid.  If someone does not file with the county, which is easy to do in this confusing process, the claim is not valid.  The two common reasons I can think people would not file with the county is the more obvious location notice, and only going to the BLM.  The second, is purchasing a claim from someone and not filing a quit claim.

More specifically the claim location on file with the county is the only map, which is how you narrow down from a square mile section containing 640 acres down to a 20 acre, of which, there's hundreds of ways a standard 20 acre claim can be put in that 640 acre area, so just going out and looking for the claim marker is not possible.

I'm starting to look for unclaimed ground, specifically in Maricopa County, to go metal detecting on, and the section I am looking at has about a dozen claims on it, half of them are filed and on record with the county, one quarter have a quit claim deed, and one quarter just do not exist.

In Maricopa county, when you have the persons name, you can search for that.  If they don't show up, you can search for each additional claimant.  If that doesn't work, if you have the county record number you can search for that.  Those are the only two practical method.  The other way is to take the date from the BLM and go ahead and behind a couple of months, but that will produce dozens or hundreds of new claims filed with the county, and the BLM at times is not speedy at filing claims especially if the BLM has a months long backlog.  Unfortunately, Maricopa does not let you search for a section like other county recorder offices do.  You can also not search for a claim name.

There are tons of claims out there that are invalid, I see them all the time. But when they appear valid to the hobbyists, chances are they'll stay off.

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4 hours ago, clay said:

That probably why they call it REsearch Chris. One search rarely gives you the whole picture.

I have spent many hours, days and months in dark dank records basements staring at microfiche machines before the public records were digitized. I spent two weeks in Prescott researching just one location near Cherry.

I have to laugh sometimes when I hear complaints about how hard this type of research is. The work hasn't gotten much easier or different but being able to do it from the comfort of my office instead of traveling many miles each day to dig through county records sure makes it more comfortable and efficient.

My partner deals with the county recorders offices. Says Maricopa is the worse, little to nothing online, and charges to research a plot. Question is with this Covid crap, how do you handle it now? Do you still walk into the Maricopa County Recorders office?

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For going to the county office, I'd say that I'd need to check the website and call before going there.  For the Reduced sized claim I found last week, was 160 acres which was reduced to 40 acres.  The only clue I can find is the one who staked the claim sold it in a quit claim deed to two signatories, which means 40 acres.  Anyway, that particular quarter section is entirely claimed up, so there's no need.  For the missing claim location, I had a friend who knew the county recording number, so that's how I found the location, so nothing is available claim name on this.  To find the amended location, that would be a real headache.  The original filing was done by someone who has filed thousands of claims, so could be difficult locating that particular record for the amendment.  I may be able to search by this person's name and look at his filings over a two month period.

I'll be looking at 80 acres this weekend, and that will keep me busy with my metal detector and my 40 X Loupe with the UV light and white light.  If it shows promise, I will file with the county.

Know someone who was involved in an investment gone bad when she bought a bond that a guy who could not legally sell it to her, and basically lied to her.  She won a judgement, never got the money, because he was always broke.  She went into the county records to see what he owned and how he hid his money.  For two years, she would get on the county record site every day to see what this guy filed for.  The guy was living quite well, but not in his name.  The county records left a trail, but for the work she was doing, searches were made harder by things like we've talked about in this thread: recordings not indexed with the name for the search, company name was left out, or records just appeared to be missing.  You would have thought that the state of Arizona would have investigate something like that, which they did, but never in anything that resulted in a legal prosecutable action.  The state helped her get  the judgement, which he agreed to pay the state quite the fee for investigation.  He never paid either party.

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As you guessed Edge Covid crap has made working with government offices worse. I don't know of a single County Recorders office in the west that's open to walk ins or over the counter at this point.  That wasn't true at most Arizona recorders until the last two months or so.

At one county recorder in California recently I couldn't find a record I needed so I requested a search. All county recorders will search their records for you. It's what they are elected to do - keep the public record and make it available to the public on request. All of the County Recorders I have encountered  charge for the in house search service so to keep client costs down I try to avoid searches. This particular County Recorder refused to do a search. I asked why and the answer was "because Covid". I asked if they were fully staffed at full pay and the answer was yes. I got some attitude and no answer when I asked again why the County Recorder couldn't do the job they were elected for if all the needed resources were available to them. I'm getting lot's of "because Covid" excuses in fully staffed and paid government offices these days.

Restaurants, banks and dope stores are open but most government offices are on fully paid in office Covid vacation. We do live in interesting times.

 

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19 minutes ago, clay said:

As you guessed Edge Covid crap has made working with government offices worse. I don't know of a single County Recorders office in the west that's open to walk ins or over the counter at this point.  That wasn't true at most Arizona recorders until the last two months or so.

At one county recorder in California recently I couldn't find a record I needed so I requested a search. All county recorders will search their records for you. It's what they are elected to do - keep the public record and make it available to the public on request. All of the County Recorders I have encountered  charge for the in house search service so to keep client costs down I try to avoid searches. This particular County Recorder refused to do a search. I asked why and the answer was "because Covid". I asked if they were fully staffed at full pay and the answer was yes. I got some attitude and no answer when I asked again why the County Recorder couldn't do the job they were elected for if all the needed resources were available to them. I'm getting lot's of "because Covid" excuses in fully staffed and paid government offices these days.

Restaurants, banks and dope stores are open but most government offices are on fully paid in office Covid vacation. We do live in interesting times.

 

No sign of this shutdown slowing down anytime soon.

I do think that all levels of government will be hit hard from getting less taxes, and will be making cutbacks, just not as quick as the private sector.  I just wonder if these "Layoffs" or "Furloughs" do happen, if the govt employees will get back pay or some other compensation after their jobs start back up.

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