November 2021 by Scott Harn
There have been no further developments as yet regarding the Public Lands for the People (PLP) member being assisted after he was cited by the Forest Service for occupying his claim in the Lewis & Clark National Forest without a Notice or Plan of Operation. This case has not yet gone to court.
PLP has provided the member with a summary of pertinent laws, including instruction for utilizing the 1905 Transfer Act as a defense. To their knowledge, this will be the first time the Transfer Act will be used in an attempt to invalidate Forest Service authority to regulate mining on public lands. The Act transferred authority over some regulatory items to the Forest Service, but excluded authority related to mining. The Forest Service has disregarded these exclusions and has been issuing mining regulations ever since.
PLP held their FallFest in Southern California in early October on private mining claims. Following is a short review provided by PLP president Ron Kliewer:
Our hats off to a bunch of die-hard folks who showed up after braving the super high winds at Springfest, even though the high winds had literally flattened their tents. This time we enjoyed spectacular weather, amazing food, really nice gold, and friendly smiles all around.
It was nice to welcome back some long-time members we hadn’t seen in years, plus meet some great new folks who are just getting started. Their enthusiasm is contagious! Equally inspiring were the faithful volunteers like Judy Lepper and Rick Tucker, Cory and others who keep coming back to help set up days before the event even gets started. We can’t thank you enough!
Friday night at the group campfire we gave a short reclamation dredging update from this past summer’s events and were treated to the amazing juggling talents of Brad Allen.
Saturday morning saw a bunch of us involved in a fun metal detecting hunt. A lot of trash was collected along with piles of coins, some with numbers that marked them as a prize winner. Silver rounds and gold nuggets were the top prize choices. Prizes were given for the most trash gathered up too. We always leave the claims cleaner than how we find them.
The Saturday afternoon common dig with the commercial drywasher was a big hit, and boy did they hit the gold! They also got a fair amount of tungsten for their efforts. Experienced miners and newbies learned a lot on this dig. There were panning lessons after the dig to go with the shoveling lessons. They were eager to get the gold, and got right after it!
As dinner time rolled around, Walt’s smoked brisket, pork and chicken was smelling amazing as well as all the yummy side dishes that were brought to the bountiful table by the participants. After an enthusiastic version of the Pledge of Allegiance, PLP gave an update on legal reclamation dredging in California (yes, you read that right: California). PLP sent CA Fish & Wildlife a detailed letter in the spring, laying out our reclamation dredging plans along with our contact info if they would like to discuss the issue. PLP never heard back from them.
Also, PLP performed a public reclamation dredging demonstration in Northern California early in the summer, which was well attended by our members, some driving over 500 miles to be there. They talked about the federal and California State cases that PLP helped the members win in the last few years, proving the “no addition” argument in both cases, setting the stage for reclamation dredging as we now have it.
PLP related to the guests that there were some discussions at the river this summer between dredgers and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. At least one was told to stop dredging or he would have to have his dredge confiscated. Our member followed the PLP dredge card to the “T”. PLP called his senior officer about the incident and the call was never returned, nor was the dredger cited. There was a Q&A time afterwards and everyone seemed pleased with the direction PLP is going with dredging.
As usual, the Saturday night raffle around the campfire was an exciting event by itself. There were many gold nuggets, silver rounds, ammo, mining gear and more. Many thanks to participants who stepped up and donated many prizes to be added to the raffle, and those who bought strings of raffle tickets.
After the Milky Way faded away, Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful, a nice setting for the Miner’s church gathering before everyone reluctantly said their good-byes and left saying, “Until we meet again, may your detector scream, and your pans be heavy with gold.”
PLP is an all volunteer organization, so donations are always appreciated. The new 2022 PLP Fundraiser Raffle is underway. See their website for details.
We’ve heard from miners in Arizona about federal agencies closing off historic roads that provide access for miners, and we need your input.
The path to winning this case should have been to make the plaintiffs prove that a foreign substance was introduced and then discharged, which is the “trigger” for regulations under the Clean Water Act.
We’ve built up some contacts in DC during our trips there over the past four years, and we believe we finally have the correct contacts who can get this petition reviewed by the proper people.
On July 4, we are reminded of the sacrifices our Founding Fathers made to establish this great country of ours, and in that spirit, the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) has created a draft Declaration of Miners.And MMAC has been hard at work writing a bill, with the unwavering support of several members of Congress, to reaffirm the rights of miners operating in traditional mining districts.
We anticipate there will be a change in party leadership in possibly both the House and Senate following the November 2022 mid-term elections…
Even more prospectors arrived on Saturday morning, and drywashers and detectors were in use for much of the day...
Toward the end of this summer, we expect another Federal Register notice will be published that deals with Forest Service mining regulations.
The Bawl Mill • Ask The Experts - What is “flotation” and what type of assay do I need? • Ask The Experts - Easier way to break down compacted clays? • Ask The Experts - Where can I get geological maps? • Ask The Experts - Is there gold under the old cobble piles? • Ask The Experts - Can you help me understand the gold deposition in this area of Wyoming? • Building A Portable Gold Mill • Cherry-Picking for Gold Nuggets • Using A Blasting Machine in Rock Breaking • Gold Prospecting for Better or Worse: Tangling With A Desert Monster • Another Prospecting Adventure: Coulterville • Seven Important Attitudes for the Successful Prospector • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices