Two reports in the mainstream media mention gold prospecting in Washington State.
The first is from KING 5 News in Seattle and is titled Gold panning making a comeback. The article states that, "For the first time in a decade, panning for gold in Washington State is considered legal." While not strictly true (under the 1999 rules you could pan almost anywhere all year except in streams, where panning was allowed only during specified "work windows,") the message to the public is clear: Washington's streams are now essentially wide open to anyone with a gold pan. The story quotes Greg Christensen and Robert Cunningham of Bellingham and includes a video clip.
Read and view at the link here.
The second is from the Times Online and bears the headline New gold rush sweeps across America. The article cites the increase in interest in gold prospecting due to gold's rising price and the economic downturn. It mentions Washington State in particular and quotes GPAA general manager Ken Rucker and placer claim owner Ron Larson of Kent.
You can find this second report at the link here.