Archive for January, 2014

Attention prospectors Maine Legislation has proposed a ban on gold dredging. Legislative Document No. 1671, S.P. 646 An Act To Prohibit Motorized Recreational Gold Prospecting In Certain Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout Spawning Habitats. Emergency.

Presented by: Senator Boyle of Cumberland, cosponsored by Representative McCabe of Skohegan and Senators: Mazurek of Knox, Patrick of Oxford, Saviello of Franklin. Representatives: Farnsworth of Portland, Gattine of Westbrook, Rochelo of Biddeford, Sanborn of Gorham, Theriault of Madawaska. Emergency means that this proposal will become effective immediately if passed.

This legislation has been introduced under the guise that gold dredging harms Atlantic salmon and brook trout spawning habitats. This is far from the truth, in reality we gold dredgers help fish habitat, we create beds for the fish to spawn in. The fish come into our pools to get out of the currents to feed. We also clean their habitat by removing trash and toxic metals  such as lead and mercury. Mercury is very harmful to fish and humans that consume them. Most of the lead is sinkers from fishermen and bullets and birdshot from hunters, believe me when I say that there is a lot of lead.

Lead from the Swift River from one afternoon.

Lead from the Swift River from one afternoon.

Close up view, notice the lead sinkers, some are even attached to fishing line, notice the bullets and bird shot

Close up view, notice the lead sinkers, some are even attached to fishing line, notice the bullets and bird shot

This is my lead count for the whole day Swift River.

This is my lead count for the whole day Swift River.

We also remove broken glass from the rivers and streams of Maine, we also remove trash that has been left behind by others from the banks of the rivers, this includes items such as bottles, cans, monofilament (fishing  line) and those six-pack rings, which these last two items are very harmful to birds and ducks. Birds will pick up fishing lines and use it for nesting material which later trap their young when they hatch and they die, ducks and other small mammals get those six-pack rings caught over their heads eventually strangling them.

If you are a prospector and a resident of Maine or if you own a business in Maine that is supported by prospectors I would like to encourage you to contact your elected officials by phone, email or letter and ask them to vote against S.P.646. All concerned prospectors could send letters to the editors of newspapers in the areas that you prospect in and voice your concerns.

Personally I spend all of my vacation time in Maine doing what I love to do and that is prospecting and gold dredging. I have spent up to six weeks a year there doing so. While I am there doing what I love I am spending money on things such as lodging, supplies from local businesses, gas from local gas stations. We eat in local restaurants, I buy firewood from local sellers and so on. I usually spend a week to two weeks at a time in Maine spending $800 to $1500 a trip. I know I am not the only prospector doing so when I am there I see many others doing the same. If this ban on dredging goes into effect I will be forced to gold dredge in another state that is prospector friendly, the money that is currently being spent in Maine will now be spent in another state.

The clock is ticking, and time is running out fast, if you want to help preserve your right to dredge in Maine the time is right now. Please act even if all you do is share this post at least we together can get the word out in time.

If you have any information to add that supports this post please post it and if you have any more ideas on what to do to help please post them, Thank you.

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Maine has an abundance of minerals, we have heard of some great tourmaline finds of gem quality valued at several thousand dollars. While we were prospecting for gold in September in Maine we were met with an abundance of rain and we were tired of being wet and cold so two days before our adventure was over we decided to try our hand at mineral prospecting. We got our gear out of the river and got it all back to the camp site, and went and asked a friend who lives locally where they would go to look for tourmaline. We had been directed to a quarry about 25 miles away. The nice thing was the quarry was warm and there were a lot of piles to dig through.

Appalachian Prospectors Prospecting for minerals

Appalachian Prospectors
Prospecting for minerals

We were on the lookout for tourmaline, quartz crystals, beryl, apatite or anything else that looked interesting.

Hillbilly John Looking for that gem.

Hillbilly John Looking for that gem.

Rock Hound Heaven

Prospector Mike's Hole

Prospector Melissa checking out some gems.

Prospector Melissa checking out some gems.

Melissa inspecting another gem stone.

Melissa inspecting another gem stone.

Hillbilly John preparing to do some screening.

Hillbilly John preparing to do some screening.

Ross was very helpful, thanks for all your insightful information.

Ross was very helpful, thanks for all your insightful information.

We met Ross while we were there and he helped us identify minerals that we were not familiar with.

Muscovite, Montmorillonite in Pegmatite Matrix

Muscovite, Montmorillonite in Pegmatite Matrix

Here is a fine specimen that Hillbilly John found that he gave to me so I could show it at the mineral club I belong to. This is one of the minerals that Ross had helped us to identify. We had never seen Montmorillonite before.

Quartz Crystals in Matrix

Crystals in the crevice

Found this one on top of the ground.

Found this one on top of the ground.

Smokey Quartz

We found some tourmaline that would make some great micro mounts. Found some interesting specimens for my collection, met some very nice people and had a great adventure, priceless.