Claudia Wise and Joseph Greene are collaborating on a project and they need your help. I received the following survey from Claudia Wise, you can email the photos to me and I will forward them to Claudia. Thank you very much.
Please send photos and information to: prospectorjack919@gmail.com

March 14, 2014

Dear Miners,

Joe Greene and I are working on a small scale gold suction dredge, stream waste products removal survey report. We need to ask all miners for any good pictures they have, of waste they have removed from our waterways.

This waste can include but is not limited to such items as:

Fishing weights, Lures, line

Oars

Beer and Water bottles and cans

Sunglasses, Sun visors and Hats

Golf Balls

Iron Waste:

Nails, screws, bolts, spikes

Horseshoes

Car parts

Construction material

Tools Etc.

We ask that you also include:

Type of waste (If you know)

Weight of each type

Waterway it was removed from

State you worked in

Waterway waste removed from (need NOT to be specific to location, just name general waterway)

Include your contact information so Joe and I can get ahold of you if we have questions. Your contact info will not be published or shared otherwise.

If you could expedite this information to us it would be greatly appreciated. Please forward this request on to other miners.

Thanks you for your help with this project,

Claudia Wise

Physical Scientist

USEPA (ret)

It has really become evident in the past several years that extreme environmentalism has become a major problem for gold prospecting/ mining, for the recreationalist and the professional alike. It seems to me that the environmentalists are always crying fire, fire, fire when there is no fire. Extreme environmentalist would like to shut down prospecting or at least reduce it to panning only. Extreme environmentalists are organized and they have money, lots of money and they are very good at lobbying. They are heard loud and clear even though their argument is based on opinion and conjecture. Often times they present their arguments out of context, for instance when presenting something against suction dredging they present their case using data from commercial dredging and get state biologist’s professional input based on that data when that biologist is not aware of a difference between the two dredges. The biologists are giving a text-book answer to the question asked out of context. When environmentalists lobby for legislation their concern is believable to the legislatures because they don’t know the difference. The legislature often times don’t know the first thing about prospecting. This is not just a local problem it is a national problem, just look around the country to see. States that have either proposed legislation to ban dredging and or other forms of prospecting or bans that are in effect: California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado just to name a few, this type of activity is not limited to the Western United States but Eastern States as well such as Vermont, Maine and Tennessee. Extreme environmentalist groups will use other local clubs against us, they convince local clubs that there is a cause, clubs such as a fly fishing club or a rafting club who would just assume to have the river to themselves. They make us out to be environmental terrorist, they try to portray us  like a bunch of uneducated backwoods idiots. Many of us are from the backwoods but we are not idiots. We are concerned about the environment because that is where we live.

Here is part of a conversation from a fly fishing group forum in Maine between several fly fishermen concerning LD 1671 many of which were at the public hearing:

GQ: Let me get this straight.  You want to eliminate dredging for gold to protect the stream and the fish?  So in turn you can go trudging through the stream, disrupting the streambed, so you can stick a metal hook in the mouths of the salmonids you are trying to protect?  Or maybe you just want the streams all to yourself?  I don’t prospect for gold, but I do flyfish.  Why should my activities be legal while others are not allowed access to play?

Very disturbing,
GQ

TGIF: GQ’s argument is real, and it is a hard one to object to. I think the key point is that mechanical destruction takes individual destruction to a new level. Key term, destruction, if the issue were just sharing, I think the focus of the rebuttal needs to be on the destruction of habitat, that seemed pretty clear to my untrained eye.
It doesn’t take a biologist to know that pools are good for fishing, gravel is good for spawning.
I also found it curious that gas engines are allowed, but I suppose that is no different then an outboard.

It’s a slippery slope we are on.  Most gold prospectors would argue that we are only concerned about the habitat because we want to have higher populations of fish to impale with our stainless steel, barbed hooks.  And we want more waters to tread around in with microbes of didymo attached to our gear…and we want to do it all by ourselves.

GQ: Picking and choosing who has a right to a body of water/activity and who doesn’t is a dangerous game.  The same could be said for motorboats.  How much polution do they emit?  How many invasives have fishermen introduced?  I don’t think the gold prospectors are running around with invasive fish in their trucks.

Unless you are willing to end all activities in a given body of water, don’t go after another man/woman’s activities.  It may come back to haunt you.

Would you support an end to all flyfishing in these waters in an effort to protect the mouths of the fish in the water?  I wouldn’t.

Just my thoughts,
GQ

TS: GQ I’d counter with the question as to why biologists & IF&W have chosen to regulate fishing these waters (closed seasons, etc), have regulated development & logging around them, have made it illegal to cross them with ATV’s, etc

we are talking about a bill that would extend critical habitat protection in select wild brook trout waters & atlantic salmon waters….it wouldn’t ban the activity, just ensure that the protection these waters are already afforded is consistent across all uses…..

your argument, honestly, is bordering on hyperbole

GQ: TS That’s great!  I’m all for protecting critical areas. But why take half measures?  Let’s close them to everyone. No fishing, no mining, no logging, etc. Anything short of that and the appearance becomes that we are protecting fish so fisherman can catch them.

GQ

MH: GQ I’m hoping that you’re playing Devil’s Advocate a bit.

I don’t really see how anyone can equated wading in a stream (which is closed to my wading in spawning season to protect eggs) to the total and complete destruction of the streambed as it exists.

When Dredgers start the dredge in a spot they use a new phrase to me they say – Go for Bedrock. Then they make 10-square foot holes to whatever depth the hose and scuba give them time to do.  (10-square feet if they are legal – watch the video and tell me the first hole is only 10-square feet)

We aren’t asking to ban gold panning, pail and shovel work with a 5-gallon pail.  We are asking to prevent wholesale destruction.  I ask you to watch the video – it’s like a magic show – now you see rocks breaking water shore to shore – poof- now you see a hole.

And – just so you know – the holes you will see if you watch the video – those holes are supposed to be filled in.  Yes, in the permit they sign is a requirement to bring the streambed back to the surrounding level.

Do you think any of those holes were re-filled.  Do you think they put the tons (many tons) of rock back. Not a chance.

JR: Maine law certainly doesn’t say “anything goes” when it comes to our streams.  Not for fishing, and not for activities that disturb the stream bottom.
I suppose the key question is whether we should treat this activity like fishing, or like other activities that disturb the stream bottom.  Every other activity that disturbs a stream bottom needs a permit under the Natural Resource Protection Act. Motorized recreational gold dredging is unique in being exempted from that act.

TS: GQ you’re equating someone picking an occasional flower from a meadow to someone coming in and bulldozing it under

as i said, hyperbole……

GQ: TS You wouldn’t know hyperbole if it fell out of the sky, landed on your face, and wiggled.

MH,

I watched the video. I understand your position. But I just disagree. We are becoming too adept at protecting our own turf at the expense of another. We are going to regulate ourselves right out of the very pursuits we enjoy the most. I say work with the minors without destroying them.

GQ

I added this part of the conversation to show you what we are up against. I would like to point out in MH’s comment about 10′ square holes he references the law 10 square feet if they are legal. This is what the law states: d. Sluice Size. The area of a sluice must not exceed 10 square feet. Taken from Chapter 10, Sub Chapter III 10.27G of Maine’s land use standards. This was part of this mans testimony to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. This is one of the items that I mean out of context. Not only is it out of context but completely wrong. He suggests that the hole was not filled in, if you go to that location today you can’t tell that anyone was there dredging, I know because it was my video that he clipped for the propaganda video that he made. He references a permit, there is no permit required in that area. My friends dad had said many times that if you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones. There are environmental groups out there that would like to shut down fishing, I would stand with the fishermen to help defend their sport.
 

We as prospectors need to ban together and get organized. If we are going to keep our tradition alive, we need to stand up for our passion, for our activity. For some it is a form of recreation for others it is their bread and butter. What must we do?

  • Organization: As an individual prospector it is tough to fight legislation, as a group we tend to get better results, as a large group we can have a major impact. It comes down to politics, the most active, largest, loudest group is the one that gets heard. It is important to be a part of that large group, a large group like the Gold Prospectors Association of America who is one of the oldest and largest prospecting organizations in the country. The GPAA is a strong organization especially out in the Western part of the United States and it is up to us to make it a strong organization in the East as well. Their strength is in local chapters and local chapters are strong out West, we have few local chapters in the East. If  you are not a member of the GPAA think about joining, if you are a member of the GPAA consider joining a local chapter, if there is no local GPAA Chapter near you think about starting one. The GPAA does not have a magic delegation that if an issue arises they dispatch them to fight our battle it is we the prospectors who are going to fight that battle with national organization. There are many local organizations out there, get involved with them.
  • Communication: We need to communicate with each other. We can do that through forums, blogs, web pages, facebook, Twitter, e-mails and so on. A great platform for communication is GoldProspectorsSpace . We need to communicate local issues that arise to get others involved, we need to communicate with other prospecting organizations, it is possible that they have gone through similar situations and can be very helpful. Other clubs and organizations may be able to direct you to supporting documentation. Don’t think that you have to fight against legislation on your own, we need each other. Don’t be afraid to sound the alarm.
  • Educate: We need to educate the masses. We need to let the public know what prospecting is truly about, we also have to educate those that are governing our country. Like I mentioned earlier  many of the legislators don’t know the first thing about prospecting. We need to do this with factual documentation. There have been numerous studies that have been performed some of which were generated by government agencies and many reports based on the findings of these studies. Case in point: Extreme environmentalist sounded the alarm on global warming, Al Gore ran with it educating the masses that the house is on fire and burning down fast, spurning propaganda that the masses believed, as time went by we found out that it was just propaganda through scientific data and recently global warming has been reduced to climate change. Climate change is a natural occurence, it has been happening since the beginning of time. We do need to be good stewards of the earth.
  • Financial Support: There are organizations out there fighting for our rights that need our financial support such as Public Lands For The People who is engaged in fighting the court battle over the California moratorium on gold dredging. Why is this important? If prospectors lose this battle in California then they have a blue print to shut down suction dredging across America. You can join Public Lands For The People or you can make a donation, every dollar counts.
  • Be good stewards: We need to make sure we know the laws of the land we are prospecting in and make sure we follow those laws to a T. In fact we need to leave the land in better condition than when we started. Make sure you fill in your holes, do not dredge or dig in the bank. If you pack it in, then make sure you pack it out. If you find other peoples garbage take that with you as well. What ever lead and mercury you recover take it with you, save it up record the amount, take a picture of it at the end of the season, you will need this picture at a latter date for some show and tell.
  • Be prepared: Be prepared for a fight before it happens. Gather data or at least know where you can find it for the day when you submit a testimony at a public hearing, or when you are contacting your Congressperson, Senator or Governor to ask them to oppose legislation against prospecting. Always remember these people work for you.
  • Take action: Every prospector can take some kind of action even if it is as little as passing the message on to friends or prospecting groups and clubs. We may have to write letters or e-mails to politicians, make phone calls. Write an editorial to a local newspaper. Make your voice heard.

Maine LD 1671 (SP646) “An Act To Prohibit Motorized Recreational Gold Prospecting in Certain Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout Spawning Habitats”

Presented by Senator BOYLE of Cumberland.

Cosponsored by Representative McCABE of Skowhegan 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.

This new legislation is not necessary due to the fact that last year legislation was introduced and passed to impose a dredging season from June 15 to September 15. With this law in effect the spawning period for trout and salmon are protected. This should be enough right? Wrong. Trout Unlimited seems to think otherwise, they are the driving force behind this legislation.

On January 27, 2014 there was a public hearing on LD 1671 before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee at the Cross building in Augusta Maine. John Clark (Hillbilly John) and I were in attendance along with members of Central Maine Gold Prospectors,  Prospectors from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and New York.

LD 1671 Public Hearing Jan. 27, 2014

LD 1671 Public Hearing Jan. 27, 2014

Testimonies started with those in support of LD 1671, each person was given 3 minutes to speak for a 30 minute period and then those in opposition had the floor for the same amount of time and back and forth until every ones testimony was heard. A lot of the testimony I heard from those that support this legislation was based on opinion and conjecture. Laws should be based on facts not on opinion and conjecture.

Over the past several decades there have been studies performed and reports written by professionals  on the effects of small scale recreational gold suction dredging. Many of which were presented to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee for their review.

Here are some excerpts from Fact Sheet June 9, 2013 Written and prepared by:

Claudia Wise, Physical Scientist (USEPA retired), Miner

Joseph Greene, Research Biologist (USEPA retired), Miner

Guy Michael, Miner

Tom Kitchar, President, Waldo Mining District

Scientific studies have identified both detrimental and beneficial effects from this level of mining.

Dozens of studies on the environmental effects from small scale mining, and in particular “in-stream suction dredge placer mining”, have been performed by various agencies since the 1980’s, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, and other federal and state agencies and universities at the cost of millions of dollars. To date, other than a few short-term and highly localized detrimental effects that are already mitigated to the point of being “less than significant”; the only other effects studies identified were beneficial to fish, the aquatic habitat, and the economy.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Relevant Science showing miniscule effects:

There have been a number of studies on the effects of small scale gold suction dredge mining that have concluded that these operations have impacts on the environment that are temporary, highly localized, and less-than-significant:

  •  1994, The Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued Special Public Notice 94-10, which concluded that, the effects from small suction dredges and hand operations were de minimus and did not require Army Corp permitting;
  • 2004,The Alaska District of the Army Corps issued Special Public Notice 2004-06, which restated that these placer mining activities still have “de minimus impacts” on the aquatic environment:
  • 1994,In an Environmental Impact Report, the California Department of Fish and Game, reached the conclusion that suction dredge mining had a less than significant impact on the environment;
  • 2012,The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, under a court order, completed another Environmental Impact Report on small-scale gold suction dredging, at a cost to the state of $1.2 to $1.5 million dollars. The overall conclusion was that the environmental impact from operation of these small scale dredges was less-than-significant for 56 of the 60 factors reviewed;
  • 2001, The Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon Draft Environmental Impact Report, Suction Dredging Activities are less-than-significant;
  • 2004, The Clearwater National Forest, Idaho completed the draft Environ-mental Impact Statement for Small-Scale Suction Dredging in Lolo Creek and Moose Creek Clearwater and Idaho Counties. The report stated that “EPA generally supports the terms and conditions for dredging and we believe they are designed to protect fish habitat and seem to minimize the potential to damage stream channels and banks.”, which supports a less-than-significant outcome;
  • 2012, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon FINAL Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement reached the conclusion that suction dredge mining had a less than significant impact on the environment; and,
  • 2013, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Biological Evaluation Small Suction Dredge Placer Mining in Idaho reached the conclusion that suction dredge mining would have a less than significant impact on the environment.

 

There have also been a number of other more recent reports with the same conclusion, starting with:

  • Results from the 1992 Chugach National Forest, Alaska Report of Water Quality Cumulative Effects of Placer Mining which stated that, “The results from water quality sampling do not indicate any strong cumulative effects from multiple placer mining operations within the sampled drainage” (Huber and Blanchet).( NOTE: The operations studied here were large on-stream and off-stream commercial operations.)
  • In 1999 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported the results of a cumulative field study evaluating the performance of 10, 8, and 4 inch gold dredges and concluded environmental impacts from these operations were less than significant (Royer et al., 1999).
  • Bayley (OSU), 2003, (for Siskiyou N.F., Oregon) Response of fish to cumulative effects of suction dredge and hydraulic mining in the Illinois subbasin concluded,”The statistical analyses did not indicate that suction dredge mining has no effect on the three responses measured, but rather any effect that may exist could not be detected at the commonly used Type I error rate of 0.05.”

All of these reports agree that the effect of small-scale gold suction dredging on the environment is less-than-significant, minimal, or immeasurable.

Net Environmental Benefits of Small-scale Suction Dredging: These important studies of small-scale suction dredge operations show impacts on the environment have a less-than-significant footprint. Furthermore, they make note of beneficial factors that create an overall net benefit to some areas. These factors need to be taken into consideration when interpreting suction dredge activities and further incorporated into best management practices agreements.

Experts agree that fish survival improves under moderate turbid conditions (25 NTU):

  • Results of the Gregory 1993 report notes that any reduction in feeding efficiency of fish may be offset by reduced risk of predation at moderate levels of suspended sediment.
  • CH2M HILL in 2000, added to that result showing that elevated total suspended solids (TSS) conditions, similar to turbidity plumes created from dredging activity, have been reported to enhance cover conditions, reduce piscivorous fish/bird predation rates, and improve survival.
  • Stern 1988, stated that, “Pools created by abandoned dredger sites can provide holding and resting areas for juvenile and adult salmonids”.
  • Harvey 1991, studied fish size and habitat depth relationships in headwater streams. During times of low flow in a river or stream, increased water depth can provide a refuge from predation by birds and mammals.
  • Nielsen 1994, examined excavations from dredging operations finding they can result in temporarily formed pools or deepen existing pools, which may improve fish habitat. Deep scour may intersect subsurface flow creating pockets of cool water during summer, which can provide important habitat for fish
  • 2001, Siskiyou National Forest, found if excavated pools reduce pool temperatures, they could provide important coldwater habitats for salmonids living in streams with elevated temperatures.
  • In1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported the results of a cumulative field study evaluating the performance of 10, 8, and 4-inch gold dredges. The findings showed an increase in macroinvertibrate density and improved diversity in mined areas.
  • In 2010, The American River Spawning Gravel Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) points to the benefits of additions of spawning gravels even coming from an outside source. The addition of spawning gravels are to increase and improve Chinook salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.
  • Again in the 2011, American River Spawning Gravel EA; the supplemental Environmental Assessment Report supported the previous EA reporting benefits of supplementing spawning gravels

Tailings from small-scale suction dredge mining provide excellent spawning gravel. Suction dredging breaks up compacted steam beds; the gravels are dispersed by the high stream flows, making up suitable spawning gravels each year. If insufficient substrate is available Salmonids are left with the choice of spawning over and destroying previously built redds, or using cleaned dredge tailings.

Additional benefits of small-scale suction dredge mining include:Measureable improvement in water quality due to removal of wastes left by other users of the waters or that have eroded into the waterways. 100’s of pounds of lead fishing weights, bullets, water bottles, sunglasses, car debris, nails, broken glass, etc. are removed from our waterways and camping and recreational sites by miners every year.

Laws should be based on facts not on opinion and conjecture.

Here is a list of studies and reports that have been compiled over years of research that can be referenced available to all:

CDFG, 1997. draft Environmental Impact Report: Adoption of Amended Regulations for Suction Dredge Mining. State of California, The Resource Agency, Department of Fish and Game

Cooley, M.F. 1995. Forest Service yardage Estimate. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest, Grants Pass, Oregon.

Griffith, J.S. and D.A. Andrews. 1981. Effects of a small suction dredge on fishes and aquatic invertebrates in Idaho streams. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 1:21- 28.

Harvey, B.C., K. McCleneghan, J.D. Linn, and C.L. Langley, 1982. Some physical and biological effects of suction dredge mining. Lab Report No. 82-3. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA.

Harvey, B.C. 1986. Effects of suction gold dredging on fish and invertebrates in two California streams. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 6:401-409.

Hassler, T.J., W.L. Somer and G.R. Stern. 1986. Impacts of suction dredge mining on anadromous fish, invertebrates and habitat in Canyon Creek, California. California Cooperative Research Unit, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Humbolt State University. Cooperative Agreement No 14-16-0009-1547.

Huber and Blanchet, 1992. Water quality cumulative effects of placer mining on the Chugach National Forest, Kenai Peninsula, 1988-1990. Chugach National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Region, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lewis, 1962. Results of Gold Suction Dredge Investigation. Memorandum of September 17, 1962. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA.

North, P.A., 1993. A review of the regulations and literature regarding the environmental impacts of suction gold dredging. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, Alaska Operations Office. EP 1.2: G 55/993.

Prussian, A.M., T.V. Royer and G.W. Minshall, 1999. Impact of suction dredging on water quality, benthic habitat, and biota in the Fortymile River, Resurrection Creek, and Chatanika River, Alaska, FINAL REPORT. US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, Seattle, Washington.

SNF, 2001. Siskiyou National Forest, Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Suction Dredging Activities. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest, Medford, OR.

Somer, W.L. and T.J. Hassler. 1992. Effects of suction-dredge gold mining on benthic invertebrates in a northern California stream. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12:244-252

Stern, 1988. Effects of suction dredge mining on anadromous salmonid habitat in Canyon Creek, Trinity County, California. M.S. Thesis, Humbolt State University, Arcata, CA.

Thomas, V.G. 1985. Experimentally determined impacts of a small, suction gold dredge on a Montana stream. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 5:480-488.

US EPA, 2001. Mercury Recovery from Recreational Gold Miners.

Wanty, R.B., B. Wang, and J. Vohden. 1997. Studies of suction dredge gold-placer mining operations along the Fortymile River, eastern Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-154-97.

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.

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.

Image  —  Posted: January 12, 2014 in Mineral prospecting, Rock collecting, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2013 in review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Here is something for you to think about during those long cold winter nights while you are waiting for gold season to start. Who’s up for a good treasure hunt? I think that I first read about this treasure in March of 2013. Forrest Fenn, an art dealer in Santa Fe New Mexico and a self made multi millionaire has put together a treasure of gold nuggets, gold coins, gems and some ancient artifacts with a value of over a million dollars and has hidden it somewhere north of Santa Fe New Mexico. The treasure map is a poem penned by Forrest Fenn :

As I have gone alone in there And with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where, And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek, The end is ever drawing nigh; There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Look quickly down, your quest to cease, But tarry scant with marvel gaze, Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek? The answer I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good, Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold.

Poem By Forrest Fenn

There are 9 clues in this poem, Forrest Fenn has given a number of interviews on tv and given a few more hints. For more information on the Forrest Fenn Treasure go to http://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/

If you dare to seek this treasure I bid you well, good luck and happy hunting.