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Hi all. Just thought I would introduce myself here. I just moved back to the motherlode area and started prospecting again. I picked up a Whites v/sat pretty cheap and while not nearly as effective as a minelab I have high hopes! I'm sure many of you had humble beginnings with a similar VLF. I'm pretty familiar with river prospecting but I'm finding metal detecting has a whole new set of challenges. What type of things should I be looking for? Red dirt areas? rocky outcroppings? And as far as access goes should i be sticking to BLM and Forest Service lands? How can I find out if a particular area is open for gold detecting?

Lately I've been sluicing alot on the Yuba river and I've seen some potential spots for metal detecting while exploring the maze of logging roads on the way down, but I'm just not sure if I'm allowed to metal detect there I guess. One particular area on FS land they had some kind of logging tractor in there basically mowing down all the scrub manzanita. It was pretty thrashed up but I figured if they are doing that kinda work I'm probably not allowed to walk around despite it being public land.

At any rate if anyone has any advise to offer or if there is anyone in the auburn or grass valley area who might be interested in getting together I would appreciate it. I tend to like the remote or harder to get to places and my wife doesnt like the idea of me out there by myself.

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if the forest service is pushing a plot, chances are that it is good to go for prospecting, and perhaps subsequent claim staking. there are three places you could find out what's open or not. If you're an enterprising individual, you could get a few 7.5 or 15 minute topo maps and do overlays for sale, and make some free cash off your research, selling yout map copies through propecting stores, 7-11's, gas stations or the like, specialty maps much like Uncle Ron (talk to him about it, for tips, suggestion) makes for AZ and lower Cal.

anyway, the three stops are:

county recorder and assessor's office- to check for private land holdings, owner info, and plots. some of these owners may be open to letting you mine or prospect on their land provided no land damage happens. Many just may not care or are just holding the acreage as inheritance or otherwise. Though free to obtain, such a map would be invaluable to anyone in like circumstance to yourself; real estate people and sales, and someone looking to buy a plot, though not familiar with the area. For you, it would provide a contact name and address to solicit permission, as well as define a private holding, rather than a public land, for rules on either are vastly different for mining/prospecting actions. One can locate parcels or mine patents in arrears, and coming up for public auction for the cost of back taxes- a very good deal if anyone has any cash nowadays looking for a bargain. mine patents can be anywhere from a fraction (usually 5 acres; up to 250+ acres each). some are located within national parks and monuments, or other areas normally off limits to private holdings. No matter, you can live there and get a road into it (generally upgrading an existing road); though you may have to put up with a lot of ignorant, un-informed rangers that never heard about Patent mining land.

BLM Office- The BLM maintains records involving claims, and patents (though patents, mines or otherwise, is considered private land, on which owners pay taxes to the state. it doesn't matter if the parcel started out as a mining patent, such can be used for any real estate use under current zoning, and not specifically mining ever again). Some of the claims and patent information gained from the BLM may be out of date, as the records are pretty much kept on microfiche, which set is issued yearly. In your case, it would help to know range and township info, section numbers, and 1/4 section orientation. GPS is helpfull, but many microfiche is still based on range and township orientation. The local BLM office sells land use maps, which is an overlay of a 1:100,000 topo map, denoting public, forest, blm, state, school, mine patents, and mine sites (non-patented), along with roadways, wells, cemetaries, towns, sites and so on. Once you figure out the broad picture and decide to move into closer detail, get a package CD with all the Topo maps for use on your computer, say a delorme. of course, to print out a specific map, it will take a plotter. If you don't have a friend with one, go to a blueprint or engineering firm, who may do it for a price.

Other agencies can tell you if the watersheds are open for dredging or mining use- usually department of fish and game or the like. many such agencies are antagonist towards mining or any sort, so the exercise can be one in futility.

Relic hunting can have the same idiotic result should you consult anyone in the fed or state level. going back 50 years, would make your relic available if it was bureid or abandoned in 1960- the golden age of trash and litter. Descending into the abyss of critique and criticism by my peers on this site, I dig up old dumps and find stuff that is valuable to me, and at times, valuable to someone browsing EBay. I guess the word here is discreet. I am not one of those vandals who trash old ghost towns, shoot at headstones, burn ore bins or old wooden buildings, and wantonly destroy or desecrate old sites where people lived, worked, or died, Yet for digging up an old bottle, spoon, license plate, milk bottle, or some other deviate object, have been classified as one other of that ilk.

Suffice to say that the official party line of saving it all for posterity is total BS!!!!!

Rant 37: heated opinion

Rant 38: heated opinion

Rant 39: another heated opinion best left off the forum.

we all have our obstacles and rocks to trip over.

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Thanks a ton! That is alot of really helpful information. I've been slowly making my way through the different agencies trying to figure out who has what information. I've found one old hydraulic site that has good potential for some detecting, pretty remote, but I believe half of the area is on an old mine patent and the other half is public land. Hopefully I can identify ownership and get permission for the private portion but I'm not gonna get my hopes up on that.

Went down to the river again on sunday for some sluicing and actually ended up doing more sniping than sluicing. Found a decent little pocket gold in a small crack along a section of smooth bedrock. Nothing major but a couple of big flakes and a nice flat picker. Its the most I've found sniping underwater at least and sure beat diggin on the bank. I think next time I might risk my detectors safety and sweep that whole section of bedrock. Its only about 1 to 2 ft deep but its pretty slick slate so I dunno lol.

Anyway here's the total from the last two trips out. My guess is about 1 dwt give or take. The flat picker on the far left is the one I found while snorkeling.


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