Garrett Electronics - trusted by real miners & prospectors!

Magazine

All Articles

Oregon Governor Asks For Mineral Withdrawal

Grants Pass, Oregon—Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski wants to head off miners in Oregon after California stopped prospectors from using suction dredges.

The governor sent letters on October 15 to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking them to impose a mineral withdrawal on federal lands surrounding the Kalmiopsis, Wild Rogue and Copper Salmon wilderness areas on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Conservation groups hope to meld the three wilderness areas and surrounding parts of southwestern Oregon into one big wilderness covering 1 million acres—a move Kulongoski has endorsed. Mining is already restricted in the wilderness areas, but the mineral withdrawal would stop new claims in the areas surrounding them. The region includes portions of the Rogue, Illinois and Elk rivers.

The Siskiyou and Klamath mountains of southwestern Oregon were the site of Oregon’s gold rush in the 1850s, and Kulongoski noted that the region has some of the best remaining salmon and steelhead habitat on the West Coast.

“With climate change increasing the pressures on plant and animal species, this area is a critical lifeboat providing intact habitat over a range of elevations from north to south,” Kulongoski wrote. “We are very concerned that the suction dredge miners are now heading for Oregon.”

The governor’s policy director, Mike Carrier, said conservation groups had been urging the governor to call for the mining ban, and he decided to act now because of the potential for increased mining in the area causing harm before a formal wilderness designation is considered by Congress.

The area is just over the hill from Happy Camp, California, where mining on claims along the Klamath River owned by the New 49ers Prospecting Club was practically shut down in August when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation imposing a statewide moratorium on suction dredging until a new environmental review is completed.

Joel King, Wild Rivers district ranger on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, said he had noticed an increase in recreational gold mining that he attributed to rising gold prices and the California dredge moratorium.

“Just about anybody who was mining in Northern California has been looking at Oregon for the next season because it’s being litigated in California right now and we don’t know how that litigation will come out,” said Mike Higbee, a Grants Pass gold miner and member of the New 49ers.

“If we are unable to overturn it before next season, it would only be a natural fact that California miners are going to be looking at Oregon—and Washington and Idaho.”

Montine Blevins of the New 49ers said club president Dave McCracken has scouted out public-access mining locations in Oregon and shared the locations with club members, but he has not made any new claims.

Higbee said he brought his own dredge over from Happy Camp to state-controlled land on the Rogue River. There were 10 other miners from California working the river, he added.

“There are 3,000 licensed suction dredgers (in California) that they have never proved killed a fish,” Higbee said. “They also have 3.2 million licensed fishermen, and their goal is to kill fish.”

Gloria Forest of Sutherlin, treasurer of the Douglas County Prospectors Association, said they regularly pull more lead fishing weights and other garbage out of rivers than gold.

Representatives from the departments of Interior and Agriculture said they had received Kulongoski’s letter and were reviewing it.

© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
Next Article »« Previous Article

Add a Comment

Additional articles that might interest you...

Greenhorn Finds Gold in Colorado


Using a snuffer bottle to pick it out of the pan, he continued his panning efforts. He continued to find more yellowish stuff, but it wasn’t shiny like he thought gold should look.

So You Want To Be A Full-Time Prospector?


The high price of gold and the poor economic conditions here in the US have created an unusual situation—a large number of folks are thinking seriously about getting into prospecting and digging for gold on a full-time basis.

Legislative and Regulatory Update


  • House appropriations bills introduced
  • Two Minnesota hardrock mining leases reinstated
  • Equal Access to Justice Act

Natural Crystalline Gold


The beauty of natural gold is widely appreciated by both prospectors and mineral collectors, but the pinnacle of beautiful natural gold specimens are the spectacular crystalline formations.

Oregon County Tries to Interfere With Lawful Mining Operation


...Curry County, at the urging of local environmentalists, is doing whatever it can to get in his way. The county’s latest attempt was through the issuance of a stop-work order, which claimed numerous unsubstantiated violations.

More Treasure From Sunken Ship


Gold chains, silver coins and bars of solid gold glittered in the tropical sun as the family of famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher showed off another significant find from a sunken Spanish galleon.

Salted Mining Properties—How to Properly Evaluate a Claim


Sometimes there are good mining claims on the market available to purchase, but there are also folks out there who are willing to take your money under false pretenses. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that these wolves in sheep’s clothing are few and far between.

Subscription Required:
The Bawl Mill   • Molycorp Minerals Reopens Mountain Pass Mine   • Utah's Crescent Creek Placers   • The Business of Mining—Home Office Tax Deduction   • Peshastin Creek, Washington   • Michigan Proposal Would Restrict Mining Operations   • No Gravel, No Gold   • Nevada Regulators Reach Agreement With Queenstake Resources   • Stillwater Recovers Without GM’s Business   • Gold Has Shown Its Mettle, But How High Can It Go?   • Utility Agrees to Remove Four Klamath River Dams   • Melman on Gold & Silver   • Mining Stock Quotes & Mineral and Metal Prices

Free:
Legislative and Regulatory Update   • The Very First Issue of the Mining Journal

Advertisements

Precious Metals Recovery plants and equipment
Fighting to keep public lands open to the public
Specializing in the processing of precious metal ores!
Watch prospecting shows on your computer right now
Free Online Sample Issue