It Only Takes One To Ruin It For All

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Prospecting Etiquette
Tags: , , ,

Thats me Prospector Jack

Demonstrating the proper place to dig and that is in the stream bed.

On our last trip to Byron Maine, it had been brought to our attention that a very selfish individual, one who knows the regulations of the state of Maine, chose to disregard the regulations and dig in the bank while prospecting for gold. It was said that this individual had dug approximately 20 feet into the bank in a nearby stream, he was not on the swift river. Along comes hurricane Irene dumps all her water on the region and swells all the rivers and streams in the area. In this particular stream where this individual had dug in the bank, all this flood water had undermined trees and fell into the stream and causing it to dam thus creating a huge mess. The land owner was not pleased at all. The land in mention is owned by one of the large paper companies who graciously allows recreational prospectors to prospect for gold. Needless to say the land owner was so angry they closed down the property for public use. May I also add that the state of Maine was none to pleased either. This kind of activity could cause the state to make more stringent laws concerning gold prospecting or shut it down entirely thanks to the actions of one selfish, carless individual.

GENERAL REGULATIONS ( Taken from the Department Of conservation State Of Maine Geological Survey Web site)

With the exception of areas administered by the Maine Land use Regulation Commission, gold panning activities in Maine do not require a permit as long as the following restrictions are adhered to:

    1. The activity is confined to sandy/gravely/cobbly unvegetated stream beds, with no disturbance of stream banks.
    2. The activity is limited to the use of gold pans, sluices of less than 10 square feet, or suction dredges with a hose diameter of 4 inches or less.
    3. Permission from the land owner must be obtained. Why? First, it’s a matter of common courtesy to the land owner. But also,trespassing on posted land in Maine can be a matter of civil law. The water in a stream is under the jurisdiction of the state; but the stream bottom and streambank- as well as the access across land to the stream is most likely private property (exceptions include public lots, state parks, etc.). If you cause any damage to that property, even if it is not posted, you may be subject to civil action brought by the land owner. You can avoid these problems by talking to the landowner ahead of time.
You can find this at: www.maine.gov.  type in ” gold in maine” in the search maine.gov.
If we all just follow these simple rules we can ensure that we have a place to prospect tomorrow. These regulations change from state  to state so always check with the state conservation department you wish to prospect in before you engage in such activity.
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