June 2022 by Scott Harn
Public Lands for the People (PLP) reached out to us to pass along some important information regarding a BLM management plan taking shape in Northern California.
Jim Rankin of the Shasta Miners and Prospectors Association provided a summary, and we are providing excerpts of his summary as follows:
On April 29, the BLM officially began the Public Comment Period for their new NCIP (Northern California Integrated Management Plan). To quote from their press release:
“The plan will guide the BLM’s management of approximately 382,000 acres of public land and approximately 307,000 acres of additional subsurface minerals in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Shasta, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Tehama, and Butte counties for the next 15 to 20 years.”
It is very important that we provide comments in this process. Nearly all of our mining claims and most of the popular metal detecting areas are on BLM managed lands. There are many pages of documents on the website for this planning process. I encourage you to read as much of this as you can. There is a very strong possibility of areas being restricted from mining, claim filing, metal detecting, panning and sluicing. In many areas, these activities could be severely restricted or even written out completely.
I have communicated with the BLM extensively during their past effort to update this plan that was canceled after the Carr Fire disruption. I have also been in communication with them during this effort. They have been receptive to my comments and even solicited comments in an effort to achieve a balanced plan representing all users. They will listen to us, if we participate. If we do not participate, the plan will reflect the comments they will get from the “anti” groups, trail users, bird watchers, lizard lovers, etc.
Some of the comments we can provide should support small-scale mining and prospecting, metal detecting, road closures (think 5 big rocks), remote camping areas or anything that bugs you regarding the current management of these lands. Even things like the lack of a decent public shooting area.
The online comment period is now open. It began 4-29-2022 and will close 6-28-2022. To review the documents, submit questions and provide comments the website is: https://www.virtualpublicmeeting.com/ncip-scoping
In addition, there will be four virtual meetings that require preregistration to attend and participate. They will be on June 9, 14, 15, and 16. I will be traveling and may not be able to participate. It is important that we all participate. I participated in a similar online meeting with the State Water Board a couple of years ago regarding dredging permitting. I was one of five commentators and the only one representing dredgers. All of the others were against dredging. As a result, 1 in 5 comments submitted were in favor of dredging and it helped to support our position.
To register for the online meetings, visit: https://empsi.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEldeqvqj0iH9dyaVIGbwTt7wx3PO7fwBS-
It is in all of our best interests to have our voices heard. According to the current documents, two local areas that we use frequently—the Swasey Clear Creek Greenway and Upper and Lower Clear Creek—are being considered as being listed as ACEC’s (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern). If this takes place, you can be sure our activities will be severely restricted or prohibited. Lower Clear Creek has already been put into Mineral Reserve—no mining claims. Portions of the Trinity River are being considered for inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Rivers. This will involve many restrictions on our activities. The Trinity River from Lewiston to Junction City has already been put into Mineral Reserve—no mining claims allowed. If we are not vigilant, they will start up the feeder creeks, including Weaver, Rush, Indian and Reading creeks!
A big “Thank you” to PLP and Jim Rankin for passing along this information.
A two-pronged approach is necessary to restore suction dredging; federal preemption needs to be established as addressed above via petition; and clarification from the EPA is needed to establish that no Section 402 permit is necessary when there is no “addition” of a pollutant.
While progress with Congress has been slow, the Trump administration has taken the lead to start making needed changes at the Department of Interior and US Department of Agriculture to support miners…
Even more prospectors arrived on Saturday morning, and drywashers and detectors were in use for much of the day...
We definitely got their undivided attention with our presentations. As a direct result of our presentations, the Desert Advisory Council recommended a Memorandum of Understanding be put together between the council and the Rand Mining District. This MOU was recently completed.
We are in the planning stages for our next trip to DC. Clark and I are looking at returning after the mid-term elections, probably around the end of November or early December, to continue discussions with members of Congress…
I admit I was sitting on pins and needles, waiting to see if President Trump would sign the proposed Executive Order we presented with Public Lands for the People (PLP) prior to the expiration of his term in office.
…what I’d like to focus on in this update is the assistance they provided to a suction gold dredger in Idaho being harassed by an environmental group.
The Bawl Mill • Why The Paper Change? • Ask The Experts - When do I use detector discrimination? • Ask The Experts - Is gold found in limestone? • Ask The Experts - Can pyrite crystals be the same color as gold? • How to Use BLM’s New Mineral and Land Records System • A Short But Productive Hunt • Blast from the Past: Jeff Casserly Tells His Own Story • Old Dog(Fighter), New Trick • Talking Metal Detectors with Brent Weaver of Garrett • Strategies for Detecting Heavily Pounded Areas—Part III • EPA Recommends Against Reissuing Permit for PolyMet Mine • The Highs and Hazards of Desert Prospecting • Just Feel The Heft of It • Proposed Nebraska Mine Has Sizeable Deposit of Rare Elements • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Melman on Gold & Silver