Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prospecting for Gold in Larimer County, Colorado Decided

Christmas is over and New Year's Eve is looming.  In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, we have been awaiting news on the proposed closing of Larimer County in Colorado to gold prospecting.  I have recently received a link to a news page that tells about the proposal and how it was defeated.  You can read about it at. .
Thanks to Lin Smith for the information link.

Thankfully, we will still be able to find gold in Colorado in Larimer County.  Thanks to all those prospectors out there who took time to attend this meeting and to speak their minds.  We will need to continue to be diligent in speaking out about our rights and wishes to continue prospecting for gold in all areas where we should be allowed to do so on public lands.

Gold closed down again this week at $1656.30. Maybe we will see it to the upside tomorrow for a nice rise before the New Year.

As promised, I will tell you a little bit about the group who put the gold summit on in October.  Their name is Gold-Unlimited and you can find them at . Their focus is bringing our prospecting heritage to children and to preserve our rights to prospect.  Check them out.  They have their heads in the right place.

2013 is almost here!  Hooked on Gold would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you and yours a Happy New Year!  Ours looks to be very good.  We hope yours will be filled with joy, prosperity, good times and good friends.  Take care, all of you, and make sure where you are before you dig, and don't dig in the banks.  That's river banks, of course.  LOL!

Good Prospecting to You,
Shirley Weilnau,

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Colorado Gold Summit part 5

Gold has taken a drop in the past couple of weeks and was down, at the close yesterday, to around $1696. Christmas is around the corner and I hope you all are well on your way to having your shopping finished. We have a houseful of family coming for about 4 days, so we are doing our best to get everything ready for them.  

I am posting, for you, my last installment of the Gold Summit.  It was presented by
Dave Winters, U.S. Forest Service Stream Biologist on responsible stream prospecting for gold and preserving stream integrity.

Most gold prospectors are aware that we share the rivers with fishermen as well as many others. Most of us are, also, fishermen and women.  My Grandmother fished all her life, as did my Dad and other family members, so I grew up with a healthy respect for fishing and the out of doors.  As such, I was most interested in what Dave Winters, U.S. Forest Service Stream Biologist, had to tell us. 

According to Dr. Winters, (No one ever did say he was a Dr., but I would think that he has that degree) streams are classified as to gradients of fall.  Those that are in 4%-2% (or above) pass sediments easily and quickly.  Gradients of 2% and below are multi use and shared by prospectors, cattle ranchers, fishermen, have few boulders and meander from bank to bank.  These parts of the rivers are much slower and pass sediments much slower, depending on the gradient percentage of fall.  These are the areas that are of the most concern and happen regularly along the Front Range and east in Colorado.  Because of this lessening of gradient fall, all must be watchful of the damage we can do to the banks of the rivers.  A cut into the bank will cause the rivers, at flood or in run off, to erode the banks even further, degrading the slope and changing the course of the river as a consequence.  (I know, you think only you are digging in the bank and it should be OK, but you aren’t and it isn’t)

This erosion in especially harmful to multi users.  The preservation of the river bank integrity is most important in slower parts of the streams and rivers.  Bank degradation widens the stream and/or river making the flow of water even slower, inhibiting the waterway’s ability to pass sediments, as well as harms fish habitat and can make for dangerous situations when getting down the bank for animals and humans.  How this pertains to gold prospectors is simple.  Don’t dig in the banks.  Stay in the streambed.

Anybody know what a Virtual River is?  There is a book written about it called ‘Virtual Rivers’ that has some interesting thing s to say about pristine versus Virtual Rivers.   (Sorry, he went through this too fast for me to catch the author).  We probably have no rivers in Colorado that anyone can call ‘pristine’.  They have pretty much been disturbed, moved, crowded, dammed up, and diverted.

Some, like Clear Creek, are no longer able to meander across their valleys.  I-70 and the railroad bed up highway 6 pretty much makes that impossible, trapping it in a narrow strip that grinds the bedrock all the time. The South Platte has some 5 reservoirs on it as well as numerous rail road beds and the debris from their construction.  The North Fork has a massive water diversion ditch that scours it most of the year.  Historic mining, cattle ranching, dredging and hydraulicking all took their toll on the rivers, as one would assume. 

As such, why are we even talking about restrictions on small scale mining, if the rivers have been already been so beaten up?  First, let's remember we share these public areas with so many other users.  Our concerns for gold prospecting cannot be the only ones considered.  Second, let’s call it personal responsibility by a public that is better educated and can see the damage that can still be done by these activities, if not conducted responsibly.  There are a lot of us out there during the season, after all, and our places to dig are not that numerous.  So we get concentrated in areas and we need to be careful we don’t overuse them.  We need to educate others and police ourselves, be respectful of the environment, clean up and restore our public use sites.  An interesting thing that was suggested is for all of you to cut willow sticks and plunge them into the river banks, where they are lacking, down to water level so that they will root and help stabilize the banks. Also, be an advocate for invasive species.  Remove them or tell authorities where they can find them.

 OK, so we do these things already, or should, what about officials we have to deal with that have preconceived perceptions about these activities.  You have probably run into them or talked with them.  Mr. Winters says that they should take a step back and not be controlled by their perceptions, and remember these are Virtual Rivers, not pristine.  They should be used by everyone who wants to use them in a responsible manner.  Work with prospectors to identify appropriate areas and regulations for these activities.  Get prospectors involved with the process and use the volunteer help they have with them to resolve problems or clean up areas to keep them open. However, prospectors need to be respectful of all officials and calmly educate them or ask them to research responsible information of our activities with responsible groups who are in the know.

In closing, Dr. Winters charged us to think like a stream, while we are working in and around them, and work together to make the situation better.  Oh, and Plant Willows!

I hope this series has brought to light some of the expectations of officials, defined some confusing terms we all use while we are prospecting for gold in Colorado. I will close this series in the next few days with some information about Gold Unlimited.  I did not begin with them as I felt their place should be last so you will go back and look them up.  As Always,

Good Prospecting to You,
Shirley Weilnau

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mile High Gold Summit Part 4

Gold closed Friday at just a bit over $1715, and Thanksgiving has been over for more than a week, now.  Hope all of you had a good one and are long on your way to a Merry Christmas.  We continue to unpack (probably will for another 6 moths), add storage to the new house, get the new shed ready for winter and work on the old place to make it more saleable.  You would think we had done enough, but apparently not. 

I am getting back to the Gold Summit with installment number 4.  I hope all of this has been of use to you.  I found several parts of it very informative.

Anyone from the Front Range and beyond, who prospects for gold in Colorado, should be familiar with Al Mosche of the Phoenix Mine. Al’s family has been mining in Colorado for over a hundred years, and he gave us an interesting look back at those periods in time.  He entertained us with several stories, as only Al can, and gave us a peek at what mining was like from the 1880’s until now.  Anyone who is curious should take a tour of the Phoenix mine, located west of Idaho Springs.

Fred Dodge was on hand to sign autographs for people who were familiar with his present consulting job with the Discovery Channels hit show Gold Rush.  He didn’t give away any upcoming events with the Hoffman’s, but told us that he mines gold for a living.  However, he didn’t go into much detail about anything.  Anyone familiar with the Dodge’s knows that parts of his family own and occasionally operate one of the mines on Pennsylvania Mountain in South Park near Fairplay.

Which brings me to Christie Wright, who is with Park County Historical Society and Secretary of the Park County Mining Association.  She gave us some history on her two areas of expertise in the area; Buckskin Gultch and Hall Valley.  We have been around much of Buckskin Gultch, but never Hall Valley.  I think a road trip is in order next summer, just so we can say we have been there.  You get there by going west up PCR 60, near Jefferson.  She also told a brief history of the beginnings of the area.  Park County was established is 1861 and is 45 miles by 60 miles, or 2200 sq. miles. Yes, you can get lost in there for days and put hundreds of miles on your vehicle.  I know.  We have.  The rest you can google .

Denver Parks and Recreation sent over one of their Rangers, Jake Wells, to talk with us about what Denver is doing in respects to prospecting in public areas.  This is new to them, and they are in their beginning stages of coming up with regulations to cover prospecting for gold in the City of Denver.  After they have their outlines, they will be meeting with local prospectors for input into what they need and to make sure terminology is correct.  They will also be working with Jefferson County, since they already have a plan in place.  Right now, they are allowing hand equipment. No motorized equipment at all, not even battery operated.  Again, there is the issue of the size of the holes, but Denver is, also, concerned with the added noise.

That’s it for today.  I have saved the Stream Biologist, Dave Winters, for last.  His talk was lengthy and had some very good information for you to consider.  You will be surprised that he is not against your activities.  Only WHERE you do them in relationship to the stream.   As Always,

Good Prospecting to You,
Shirley Weilnau