Monday April 10, 2017 Oregon legislators pass SB3 which unfairly over regulates gold suction dredging. There was testimony submitted at the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee public hearing that shows the environmental impact of suction dredging on the environment and fish habitat is less than significant and that suction dredging also has a beneficial impact on the environment and fish habitat, scientific, peer reviewed studies were presented. This bill is designed to discourage suction dredging by placing a high financial burden on the dredger as well as restricting locations to dredge as well as other restrictions. Why is it that they don’t hear the truth, is it incompetence, is it corruption, is it the fact that they are blinded by lies? I really don’t know the answer but I can speculate. All legislation and regulation should be based on facts, scientific, peer reviewed facts and not on assumption, opinion, or conjecture. Even the opinion of a professional such as a college professor or a field biologist, may be the basis of a hypothesis, until that hypothesis is proven by science and peer reviewed is still nothing more than an opinion.

On Monday April 10, 2017 at the Senate vote there were 21 yea’s and 9 Nay’s. 9 Senators see the truth, Sen. Herman Baertschiger [R] is one of those senators that knows the truth and here is the video of his speech from April 10, 2017:

 

I just had to share this video. This video is from a television program out of Washington D.C. that airs weekly and it highlights the best green practices from around the World. This program is called The Inside Scoop Emerald Planet and if you go to the 30 minute mark on the video you will see that in this segment which aired on March 12, 2017 highlights small scale suction dredging as a best green practice and interviews Joseph Greene. Enjoy and please share. The entire video is great!

Video  —  Posted: April 11, 2017 in Gold Prospecting, Prospecting Equipment, Suction Dredging, Uncategorized
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March 21, 2017, Energy and Natural Resources Senate Committee Public Hearing on House Bill 591 Relative to suction Dredging in the surface waters of the state. This bill was introduce under the premise that suction dredging was harmful to the environment and fish habitat. This bill would prohibit all motorized prospecting as well as rocker boxes. Gold prospectors assemble at the State House in Concord New Hampshire to testify in opposition to this bill, gold prospectors came prepared. Over the last several decades scientific studies have been conducted in numerous states by and or for government agencies such the US Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Fish and Wildlife of California and Washington State just to name a few, and peer reviewed. There were a number of these studies presented to the Committee as well as summaries of these studies prepared by two respected Scientist in this field. All of these studies come to the same conclusion that small scale suction dredging’s impact on the environment and fish habitat is less than significant. The Army Corps of Engineers states that any dredge less than a 6″ nozzle size impact on the environment is “De Minimus”. There was a lot of great testimony from prospectors you can hear the entire hearing here: Senate Committee Public Hearing HB 591.

If you can’t play the hearing here is the summary report of the hearing: Summary Report Public Hearing the audio is far better since this is just a summary.

I commend these Senators for their integrity and honesty, they weighed the facts and based their decision on the facts presented. Their recommendation to the Senate was that HB 591 was inexpedient to legislate. On March 29, 2017 the senate met and voted on HB 591 based on the recommendation of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and HB 591 was officially killed.

Legislation should be based on facts, scientific, peer reviewed facts and not on assumptions, opinion or conjecture or even lies. Even the opinion of a professional such as a college professor or a biologist in the field, while this opinion may be the basis of a hypothesis, until that hypothesis is proven by scientific study and peer reviewed, is still nothing more than an opinion. The Senators of New Hampshire based their decision on the truth, unlike legislators of other states that pander to special interest groups, I will leave it up to the reader as to why they would pander to these special interest groups.

The Senators of New Hampshire give me hope that our form of government still works the way it should, with integrity and honesty, at least in one state. LIVE FREE OR DIE!!!

As many of you know I am a gold prospector and if you don’t know, you know it now.  I enjoy the great outdoors by prospecting for gold, I would hike miles and miles, over mountain ranges just to get to a good gold prospecting location. For me to hike I need a destination and a purpose. The same with camping, I will camp in the worst weather, for days and even weeks for gold prospecting. Gold prospecting is my serenity, just like fishing is to some, or hunting to others it is my passion. I like to prospect in New Hampshire, and I love to dredge for gold. I love New Hampshire, especially the state moto “live Free Or Die”. This is the state I was born in, I call New Hampshire my home state, most of my relatives still live in New Hampshire, my ancestors settled in New Hampshire while it was still the Massachusetts colony, one day I plan on going home. I want to spend my retirement in the mountains prospecting and dredging for gold.

Earlier this week I read an article in the Concord Monitor online titled: Bill would halt dredging machinery in N.H. gold prospecting , my blood pressure sky rocketed and I thought I was going to have a stroke because what I read was a proposed bill, HB 591 to ban gold dredging in New Hampshire. The entire bill is based on misconceptions about small scale suction gold dredging, possibly even lies. What happened to live free or die? There goes my whole plan for retirement. I would like to clear the air on some of these misconceptions about gold dredging especially those listed in this news article.

“There’s a surprising amount of damage that can be done by one of these things,” Claims Rep. Lee Oxenham, a Plainfield Democrat, which by the way indroduced and sponsored this bill. What I want to know is what is this surprising amount of damage. What is the merit for this bill? I don’t want to hear opinion and conjecture or flat out lies, show me the data that supports your claim. what I need to see are studies and or reports that have been peer reviewed, performed on the practice of small scale suction dredging because the ones that I have read prove otherwise.

It is obvious that who ever provided the information for this article knows very little to nothing about the subject of gold prospecting , gold dredging or anything associated with the practice thereof. The article states and I quote ” The bill also would outlaw similar processes and technologies with names like “rocker box” and “highbanking,” which suck up stones and water from steambeds via small gasoline-powered pumps and filter them in some way to help the users spot tiny flecks of gold that might be there.” Rocker boxes and highbankers don’t suck up stones you shovel into them. Rocker boxes don’t even have a motor on them it is a hand operated device that you pour water in with a pail. How does legislation get introduced on anything without even the basic facts even being known and better yet how does it pass a House vote? Something is wrong with our government.

Here is another quote from the article: “New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says these processes stir up too much silt and mud, “releasing fine sediments back into the stream” that can harm life in the waterway.” Flat lazy water is where mud and silt covers the bottom, rivers on flat land, swamps, ponds and lakes is where you would find this condition, this is not at all ideal for gold dredging. We don’t dredge here. What is ideal is a river that drops at least 10 feet per mile which means faster moving water, silt and mud does not settle in these areas for us to dredge up, we need to dredge in gravel, with mostly rocks (cobble) and boulders where only the heavy materials, minerals like magnetite, hematite, garnet and gold will settle, the lite materials have already been washed away by nature.

Another quote from the article:

“The turbidity can go for thousands of yards – it’s not just localized,” said Oxenham. “It’s disruptive for fish, insects, the benthic community in all its forms.” There are occasions where you may dredge into a pocket of clay and there is a moment of noticeable turbidity, it is not constant, travels about 50 to 100 yards and 100 is stretching it, not thousands. Notice in the picture below how clear the water is, this is typically how it runs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Typical dredge in operation, where is all this turbidity that travels thousands of yards?

Yet another quote: “Further, she added, the noise and smell of the machines “can drive those searching for the unmediated, unspoiled experience of our natural wonders out of the state, along with their tourist dollars.” Yes there is the noise of  a small engine, the size of a lawn mower engine, a push mower not a riding one.  What smell? This makes it sound like we are running a paper mill out here and we are driving all the tourist away, simply not true. We have just as much right to the wild as a hiker or any one else who is recreating out in the state of New Hampshire. I am spending my money too, on campgrounds or other lodging, groceries, restaurants, gas stations, ice cream stands not to mention the $50.00 I pay for the permit to dredge.

New Hampshire residents should be outraged by this legislation because it is all based on fiction and if this is how legislators deal with a matter such as this imagine how legislation is passed on matters that you really care about. Maybe they should focus their efforts more on things like the heroin epidemic in the state.

If you like to prospect for gold and dredge in New Hampshire then please stand up for your rights and attend the public hearing that is going to be held by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee which the date and place is yet to be determined.  You should be able to find the date here when it is determined: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/committees/legislation/committee_billstatus.aspx?l=368&cc=S38&r=1

 

On November 9, 2016 I received a letter from the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Saco Ranger District, White Mountain National Forest, file code 2800; 1910, date November 1, 2016.

 

It reads as follows:

Dear interested parties

The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) is in the process of improving the management of the mineral resources across the Forest. This change is under consideration because of the significant increase in mineral collecting on the Forest in the last several years. While we welcome the interest in mineral collecting, the increase has brought some adverse impact to the majority of the existing collecting areas. We are also finding new collecting sites growing in frequency and size across the Forest. Given the disturbance at these sites, it is apparent that some collectors do not follow the Forest Service standards and guides for mineral collecting. At this time, we are concerned about the steady expansion of collecting, its impact to the resource, and the sustainability of the collecting program. To address these concerns, we are exploring different strategies for the management of our mineral resources with the goal of providing collecting opportunities that will be sustainable into the future.

 

At this time, we are seeking input from the minerals community and other interested members of the public to better understand the resource issues we are observing and to discuss how we could manage collecting more effectively. The information we collect will better inform our management decision during the planning process. The WMNF will hold three public meetings to engage with collectors and other interested parties as a focus group and create a dialogue about mineral collecting on the Forest. The dates and times are listed bellow. If these meetings dates cannot be attended comments can be sent to Elaine Swett eswett@fs.fed.us or in writing to the Saco Ranger District, 33 Kancamagus Hwy, Conway, NH 03818. There will be an additional public comment period once the formal planning process begins. Additional Questions concerning the meetings can be directed to Elaine Swett or Austin Hart at the Saco Ranger District 603-447-5448.

6:00PM Tuesday, November 29,2016

Location: Pemigewasset Ranger District

Weeks Room

71 White Mountain Drive

Campton, NH

6:00 PM Thursday, December 1, 2016

Location Androscoggin Ranger District

300 Glen Road

Gorham NH

2:00 PM Saturday, December 3, 2016

Location Salyards Center for the Arts

110 Main Street

Conway, NH

Sincerely,

James Innes

District Ranger.

This is public information, other than the letter I don’t know where you would find this information, I can’t find it on the White Mountain National Forest web site so that is why I am sharing it with you. This is the time where you have a voice in the future planning of what takes place in the White Mountain National Forest and the future of mineral collecting therein. So please take advantage of this time, If you can’t attend a meeting then send a letter via snail mail or send an email. This may also be a good time to bring up sluicing in the Forest since as of June, 2016 it is no longer permitted, Gold is a mineral.

There are currently 3 locations where mineral collecting is allowed and they are Deer Hill, Lord Hill, and Moat Mountain, click on each one for information.  Gold Panning is allowed in some areas, click for information.

 

If you like reading about our adventures you may want to see us in action. Keep in mind we are not videographers by any means, shooting video while we are prospecting is a real challenge. We started out with antiquated video equipment, we have been challenged with editing software problems, and audio issues, but we are learning as we go and we are getting better equipment to film and edit with.

Please check out our channel here: Appalachian Prospectors Channel.

We will be posting more videos in the future of our adventures, and you can see how equipment works and so on.

Thank You.

Finding Gold In Colorado

Posted: November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

I thought that I would share this blog post with you.

findinggoldincolorado

People have been “finding gold in Colorado” since well before there was a place called Colorado and are still actively doing it today.From Native American residents of this area finding gold in the streams and using it in trade, to modern residents digging in their neighborhood creek, many have found success!

This blog will share stories about both the history and current events in gold prospecting in Colorado. I’ll also highlight some of my personal adventures finding gold, exploring the past and writing a book intended to help visitors and residents to explore our state for gold themselves!

Photo note: That’s me in Summit County dry washing in September 2014.

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