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State Parks cancels closure order for mining in Auburn Recreation Area, California

May 3, 2010

Thanks go to all of you who have taken the time to register your complaints with California State Parks regarding their recent closure order for the Auburn Recreation Area in northern California.

State Parks had issued an order stating that all mining other than gold panning was prohibited -- even the use of hand tools -- in the Auburn Recreation Area, effective March 29, 2010. It's an extremely popular area for small-scale miners and tourists, and many of our readers took time to contact their local and state legislators.

On Monday, May 3, park superintendent Mike Lynch released the following statement:

On behalf of the department, including Director Coleman, please be advised that effective immediately, the March 29, 2010 Superintendent’s Order is withdrawn. 
The primary intent of that Superintendent’s Order was to bring mineral collection activities within Auburn State Recreation Area into compliance with the new law, SB 670.  SB 670 banned all suction dredging within California until an environmental impact report can be completed in order to determine if dredging is harmful to fish populations or causing other environmental impacts.  SB 670 remains the law and even with the withdrawal of Superintendent’s Order 690-006-2010, the restriction on suction dredging will continue to be enforced within Auburn State Recreation Area.
However, the order also prohibited the use of tools (except gold pans) while engaging in recreational mineral collecting within Auburn State Recreation Area and that has generated concern and complaints from interested parties and user groups.  If changes to the recreational mining policy within Auburn SRA are to be considered in the future, park staff will be reaching out to stakeholders and interested parties to seek input regarding recreational mineral collection within the park with the goal of producing an order that will be more acceptable to the recreating public while still complying with the law and sound environmental practices.

Special thanks go to Jim Hutchings (Roseville Rock Rollers Gem & Mineral Society and GPAA Sacramento president), Dennis (Pioneer Mining) and Don Robinson (Mother Lode Goldhounds and ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal) for coordinating this effort.

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