I have recently learned that there is a state-wide ban on any and all mechanized gold prospecting in the state of Tennessee with a few exceptions. Which means no dredging or highbankers. This ban has come about because of the simple fact that prospectors have been leaving a mess behind. Here is a press release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency: http://news.tn.gov/node/9342 . These complaints have led to the ban. Here are some photos of some of the damage that has taken place at the Doc Rogers area of Coker Creek.
Lets keep this from happening in any more states, we don’t need to lose any more areas where dredging is permitted and here is how we can prevent it. Whether you are brand new to gold prospecting or you are an old sourdough. Make sure you know the rules and regulations of the state and location before you go to prospect. Some states allow dredging in some regions and not others. It is very important to know the rules and just as important to follow them. I have found that many states require that you return the river bed to its original grade that means fill your hole in when you are done, whether you are dredging, sluicing or panning . Most states I know do not allow digging in the river bank, this is an environmental mortal sin. If you pack it in,pack it back out with you. Trash is a big issue, when I am out there prospecting and I see trash that other people have left behind I pick it up and take it out with me. There are other people out there that are using the same water ways that we prospect in for recreational purposes who will complain about our activity. You know as well as I do that there are environmentalist out there that would like to ban prospecting activities nation wide. We need to ban together as prospectors and we need to follow the rules, clean up after our selves and sometimes clean up after others.
There are laws in place so that when they are broken the perpetrator is prosecuted in a court of law with a fair trial and if one is found guilty then that person pays the penalty with a fine or incarceration and not make all pay for the actions of one. If a convenience store is robbed or a few convenience stores were robbed would a state shut down all convenience stores state-wide. No, the authorities would go after the person or people responsible. I find the ban on all mechanized prospecting in the state of Tennessee to be unreasonable and unfair to those who have and do follow the rules.If you are a prospector you should feel the same way. If it happens in this state yours could be next. Lets join together as prospectors and prevent this ban from becoming a law. One way you can help Tennessee is by joining or making a donation to Public Lands For The People (PLP) http://plp1.org/home.html . All prospectors should not have to pay for the actions of a few.
- Tenn. to regulate recreational gold mining (fresnobee.com)