Gold mining claims sought on NF Clearwater and Kelly Creek

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    You're kidding right I did not see the tongue in cheek emoticon. Just sit back and watch a beautiful stream be sucked up and spit out without any oversight/without a plan/without enviornmental protections.
    If the potential gold miners want to work to get a few ounces of gold then let them buy a gold pan and a shovel and go to work. They may need a mule too to haul their riches out.
    jesse
     
  2. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    Excellent, then I'll be opening my methlab next door to you. After all, I'm just trying to make a buck, right? Better than a handout.
     
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  3. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier FUBAR

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    Yeah what the hell......why worry about them destroying these fisheries there are so many others out there right? After all they are only trying to make a buck and I am sure that once they completely destroy these waters that they will not move on to do the same thing again.
     
  4. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man (NFR)

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    Do you know how long it would take you all to pan out a ounce of gold. It takes quite a while in time and time.

    I have a buddy that used to work the hell out of Olney Creek. He did the dredging thing and it took him a long time to get enough gold to make something out of it. Gold is not that easy to come up with anymore. And it takes a hell of a lot of small flakes to make an ounce.

    Maybe it's just a small hobby, but in money spent Vs.money earned. is not there.
     
  5. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Not so fast boys. As Kim pointed out in her excellent post above, we're talking about Idaho where mining claims are granted and administered by the feds, not Washington where the state regulates them and pretty much all one needs to get a claim is a pulse. Thanks to the feds' regulation, it's a lot harder for 'hobbyist' miners to get permits in Idaho than it is Washington. An open question though is who exactly is behind the 'claims'? Is it hobbyists or is it a front for commercial mining interests who have larger plans for the area?

    Both the USFS and the BLM will be preparing reports and recommendations that will be reviewed by a federal judge before either agency can even extend an application for a claim, let alone grant one. On the basis of either agency's reports or other input, the judge may decide not to allow any applications to be extended. If he does allow the process to proceed, but the applicants don't meet the standards for environmental protection, applications for claims still may not be approved by the agencies.

    The point here is that we can play a role in the process by communicating with the USFS to voice our opposition to suction dredge mining on these streams. Your opposition will go on record where it will be incorporated into the agency's recommendation to the judge, along with other information like adverse environmental impacts and the potential viability of the area as a commercial enterprise. If you belong to a fishing club or organization, voicing opposition on behalf of a larger organization carries even more clout.

    K
     
  6. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    The gold will run out but the money to be made and the jobs created through recreation will not. In my recent trip to Idaho I got a chance to see a little creek that was pretty much reduced to a channelized ditch with a mile long pile of tailings next to it. Someone told me that they now stock the little stream so the village kids have some fish to catch. This is a stream that was historically probably teaming with wild cutthroat.
     
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  7. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    I'm not sure if it has ever been discusses, but it seems like it could be cool to have a sticky somewhere where folks could post ideas for action like this.

    I would suggest that it not be a "forum," just somewhere where we can post about an issue, and who to contact to voice our concerns. It would have to be strictly fishing related.
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Kent, Kim is a dude, and a cool one.

    Hasn't Kelly proven to be a success with the three decades of catch and release? Nearly fished out back then, it is a great place and testament to the recovery process. Let's hope the federal regulators do t screw up by letting man screw this area up again.
     
  9. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald that's His Lordship, to you.....

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    Looks like I'll be packing my Sig .40 this trip again. After all, it IS bear country:eek:
     
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  10. orangeradish

    orangeradish Eyes to the sky...

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    I had the chance to meet a NFS river steward from southern Oregon this weekend. California ended mining so a bunch of the new 49ers are moving in to Oregon. They are trying to mine in a smaller river that has a depressed Chinook run. Specifically the pools where a large portion of the run spends the summer waiting for the water to come up. We were shocked when he described the process. Literally defiling a river. I don't want to quote the details because I had a looooooong weekend, but I can get some info from him for you guys if you'd like. He is on the frontline of the issue, and in one hell of a fight. I know he'd appreciate the exposure.
     
  11. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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    The moratorium in California (which it is, not a ban, but a moratorium) was essentially put in place because the Yuroks along the Klamath were furious at all the suction dredging and the fragility of the steelhead runs in that river. There is enormous pressure on Cali Fish & Wildlife to come up with regulations that will open the rivers back up (the moratorium directed Cal Fish to come up with regulations) but in the meantime the suction dredgers have migrated up to the Rogue, which is leading to Oregon looking into a similar moratorium. Here in Washington we have regulations but as Kent suggested, if you have a pulse, you can get a permit. Suction dredging isn't allowed until July 16th, which if you think about it, makes no sense for fish much less low water levels. And regardless of how much you "make" it has become a big hobby here in NC Washington. All the tribs of the Wenatchee are impacted, much less the Wenatchee.

    Miners place notifications of claims along the stretch of rivers/streams they are claiming. They have a certain amount of time (I want to say 90 days) to "perfect" the claim, which means they have to "work it." All along Blewett Pass you see these signs. I've never encountered any threats, no "private property" signs, since it's almost all USFS land. That said, I have encountered some pretty defensive guys who get quite angry when I tell them I am on the creek to fish. "There are no fish in these streams." I guess they mean no really big fish....and I don't want to get into the story of the one miner who had to remind this "girl" that the "turf" was his....

    It's a complicated issue, wrapped in a law that was written in 1876, with guys who have created these suction dredgers that are essentially gasoline powered shop vacs. The Mining Act is very liberal to mining interests (as we all see with the Pebble Mine issue) and many large mining interests are motivated to help these suction dredgers because of the larger issues of not having the fairly loose regulations ever change.

    Kim
     
  12. orangeradish

    orangeradish Eyes to the sky...

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    Doesn't the mining act supersede the CWA and the ESA? Scary stuff...
     
  13. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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  14. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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    I am on a funky WiFi connection up a canyon near Cashmere....so I can't upload the picture, but I stopped to look at the Yakima and get the dogs out on the way over at the WDFW Yakima access site south of Cle Elum. And there was a suction dredger and his equipment. He'd been dredging the channel, even though it's pretty high! I saw several more on Blewett as I drove through and it turns out there is a "miner rally" in Liberty this weekend, the old gold mining town just off of Blewett.

    As soon as I get a good connection I'll upload some pictures...Ironically as I type this, the ad above me is IMS Dredges and Dredgers "Manufacturer of large and small self propelled, portable dredgers."

    I'm also in the process of looking into the Idaho issues and will get back with an update. Kent is right, there is an opportunity for people who care about fish to comment on this...

    Kim
     
  15. kjsteelhead

    kjsteelhead Member

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    I was at the NFS river steward meeting, too. This is scary stuff. Those guys can take their $5,000 dredges, get a permit for next to nothing, then tear up any piece of river bed they want, even stretches of ESA listed salmon and steelhead spawning grounds. Check out goldgold.com.