Posts Tagged ‘New Hampshire’

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.

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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

 

A few years ago I had heard of a good gold prospecting location on the Wild Ammonoosuc River in New Hampshire from a old prospector that I had struck up a conversation with in Maine while I was prospecting on the Swift River. He had mentioned that the gold was plentiful, Twin River Campground was right on the river. So you know as soon as I got home I had to check it out, it looked good. New Hampshire requires a dredging permit so in the beginning of the year I applied for one and sent them a check for $50.00. I received it in the mail exactly a week later which I thought was very good. I thought that it would be great for Doris, Charlie and I to get away for the weekend. I booked a cabin by the river for the weekend before Memorial Day. I found out that some of the guys from Northeastern Gold Prospectors were going to be there and I was looking forward to meeting them in person. I always like meeting people who share the same passion for gold prospecting as I do. The ride was pleasant and the weather was great, it was much warmer than I expected. The campground was easy to find. We arrived and checked in, if you plan on dredging they make a copy of you dredge permit to keep in the office, we went to our cabin which was across the road from the office and it was right on the river, I could throw a stone from the door of the cabin and hit it. At the campground you can pan or sluice only, the campground owns property on the river not even a quarter mile up the road in which you can dredge and there is plenty of space, as I understand they own about a mile along the river. I unloaded the Jeep, Doris made the beds up, you have to bring your own linen for the cabins. I brought my Pyramid Pro Pan with me that I had gotten for Christmas, I was just itching to try it out. We got back into the Jeep and headed up to where I would be dredging. I wanted to do some test panning to see where I would set my dredge up the following day. The Pro Pan worked great for this because I could process a 5 gallon bucket in a relatively short time. We spent the afternoon test panning, I found a spot that had some gold. We were getting hungry so we packed it in, When we got out to the Jeep there was another prospector there at his vehicle as well, it was Bobby Freedom from Northeastern Gold Prospectors, it was nice to meet him in person. Bobby is a people person with a huge personality, he is a DJ and very funny. We went back to the cabin and had dinner and then I went back out on the river for some more panning until it got dark. There were a number of other prospectors out there sluicing and panning. I noticed a group up stream from me working fervently, I went over to see how they were making out, they were shoveling and filling 5 gallon buckets and then taking them up to their camp site to process. I could tell that they were very passionate about gold prospecting and very serious. I introduced myself and found that it was Randy and his dad Fred from the Northeastern Gold Prospectors and a couple of other guys that came with them. I also got to meet Alex and a few others. The following day we went up river and set up my combo and did some dredging I found a good deal of flour gold and a few larger pieces I still have some concentrates to go through which I want to run over a miller table, which I am in the process of building, to recover all the flour gold. I really liked the place and it will be a location that I will visit again.

A cabin by the river at Twin River Campground and Cottages

A cabin by the river at Twin River Campground and Cottages

Dredging on the Wild Amonoosuc River

Dredging on the Wild Amonoosuc River

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Charlie makes some new friends

Charlie inspects the crash box

Charlie inspects the crash box

The larger gold I found

The larger gold I found

I know it doesn’t look like a lot of gold but the place has potential and we went home with gold.