Thursday, July 30, 2020

New Washington Law Banning Motorized Mining Took Effect on June 11, 2020

Well, gang, the above map shows where you "might" be allowed to obtain a permit to run your dredge or other "motorized and gravity siphon aquatic mining*" equipment.

According to a new law (ESHB 1261) which took effect on June 11, 2020, motorized mining is prohibited in some locations where it was historically allowed.  In addition, there are new permitting requirements from the Department of Ecology before you can secure an HPA permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Basically, in order to use motorized or gravity siphon equipment in the minuscule areas shown on the above map, you must first obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water quality permit from the state Department of Ecology, and then submit that permit to WDFW along with your application for an HPA permit.  All other "waters of the state" are off limits and no permits will be issued.  There is, however, one exception:  You may use motorized or gravity siphon equipment, within the areas shown on the map, under the Gold and Fish Pamphlet as long as the discharge waters from that equipment remain contained within the equipment rather than being discharged into the water or upon the ground.  See the current Gold and Fish Pamphlet for details.

Of course, you may still (at least for now) use non-motorized, hand-held equipment such as pans and sluice boxes anywhere within the state with only an HPA permit or under the terms of the Gold and Fish Pamphlet.

Do note, however, that as a practical matter, all the aforementioned permitting may be irrelevant.  To see why, compare the map below showing where gold has been found in Washington with the map at the head of this post.

As anyone can readily see, the areas where motorized and gravity siphon aquatic mining may be allowed coincide nicely with the areas where gold has never been found!  Might this be by design?  In any event, special permit or not, it would hardly seem worthwhile for one to go through the effort of setting up and operating motorized equipment just to prospect on barren ground.  In conclusion, it would appear that the legislature has finally found a way to ban all motorized prospecting in the State of Washington.


*For an article on the development of "Gravity Siphon Mining," see here.

Article header image courtesy of State of Washington Department of Ecology.

Original source for this article:  The Spokesman-Review.

Gold locations map for Washington courtesy of USGS Mineral Resource Data System.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Rich Gold Deposit Found on the Similkameen River in Washington — A Look Back to 98 Years Ago

While it is true that our chief interest has to do with finding valuable mineral deposits in the present day, it can be both interesting and educational to read about important discoveries that happened many years ago.  For this reason, I have decided to reprint a newspaper story from The Oroville Weekly Gazette of Oroville, Washington.  This particular account appeared on the front page of issue number 17 dated October 6, 1922.  I hope you enjoy this peek back into the history of placer gold discoveries.




Most Remarkable Placer Gold Strike Aside from Klondyke, Since Days of Coeur d'Alene Made Near Oroville.


    During the past fortnight a discovery of placer gold has been made on the Similkameen river, a few miles west of Oroville, that had it been discovered near any other town in the northwest it would have created a wild sensation, although in this community the find has been taken so placidly as not to create a ripple, and one never hears the incident mentioned upon the street.  Not since the stirring days of the Coeur d'Alene gold discovery has there been such a remarkable placer find in the northwest, barring, of course, Alaska, as that made within the past few days almost in sight of Oroville.  Since the great discovery on the Similkameen in 1856, when the washings vied with the richest on the Pacific coast, the auriferous sand and gravel of that stream have been worked spasmodically and crudely, always with some response to efforts put forth by the prospector in the way of flour, or small scale gold, but somehow or for some reason the gold hunters failed to strike the proper deposits and most undertakings of a more ambitious character—and there have been many—have been abandoned.  It has been left to a single prospector, after a period of 66 years since the first discoveries, to prove that the bed, bars and banks of the Similkameen river, in the neighborhood of Rich Bar, just above the Falls of the Similkameen, contained untold riches.
    During the past summer several prospectors have put in much time prospecting the gravel along the river, and while they have been encouraged with the results of their labor, it was left to a single prospector, Riley Coyle, an old resident of Oroville who has done more or less placer hunting along the same stream and on Mary Ann creek, near Chesaw, during the past fifteen years, to make a discovery that promises to create a sensation in mining circles and yield a substantial fortune to the discoverer.
    Mr. Coyle had been washing gravel on the north shore of the river, on land embraced in a quartz claim that had been held for years by Julius Brechlin.  Some three weeks ago Attorney W. E. Grant was driving along the road, the washings being just below the road between Oroville and Nighthawk, and stopped to talk with Mr. Coyle, suggesting to that gentleman that he prospect along a reef running from the hill into the river some 200 feet up the stream from where Mr. Coyle was working.  Mr. Coyle took the hunch and immediately made the discovery that the gravel was fairly lousy with gold.  Not the fine, flake gold, so hard to save, and which requires so much labor in order to obtain a quantity of any value, but large pieces of solid gold, two of which at least are as large as the first joint of a man's finger.
    Mr. Coyle at once returned to Oroville for the purpose of securing a lease, or option, upon the ground, and displayed his find to a few acquaintances.  Besides the two nuggets mentioned he had a small bottle partially filled with coarse gold.  We have never seen such placer gold since the Coeur d'Alene discovery, and, as has been said before in this article, if the same gold was placed upon exhibition in any community in the northwest anywhere in touch with mineral bearing ground a stampede would instantly follow.  Old and experienced mining men who have examined the gold declared it to be as fine a sampe of placer gold as they have ever seen, both as to size of the specimens and the quality of the gold.  Mr. Riley (Coyle) states that the gold was picked out of the gravel with the point of his pen knife.  He made no attempt to pan any of the gravel.  There it was before his eyes and he was too excited and busy picking up nuggets to waste time with pick, shovel and pan.  All he wanted was to establish the fact that the gold was there, secure sufficient to prove beyond caval that he had made a marvelous discovery, and then held off further investigation until he could secure possession of the land and thus not be robbed of the fruits of his labor by being forced off the ground.
    It required some days to get in touch with the man who held the ground under a quartz location, and more days to close a deal, but at last the lease has been consumated.  Mr. Riley (Coyle) is now on the ground preparing to make more thorough investigation and push work until cold weather compels a shut down.  Those who have seen the gold that Mr. Riley (Coyle) picked out of the gravel will look forward with keen interest to the further extraction of the precious metal, and if the quantity increases, or even holds out to the present promise, it can be expected that there will be great activity along the Similkameen this fall and next spring and summer.
    It may be stated that from the appearance of this placer gold it has not traveled a great distance, and while it is perfectly smooth showing that for ages it has been ground flat and smooth by the action of the water and gravel, some of the samples have quartz attached, an indication that the ledge from which the gold was originally broken off cannot be a great distance from where it was found.  This theory is further carried out by the fact that in all the years that gold has been found on the Similkameen very little color has been discovered above the point on the river locally known as Rich Bar.
    Now the discovery of gold at this particular place is not the opening up of a virgin placer ground.  Placer gold has been known to exist on this stretch of the river since the first discovery in 1856.  In 1856 and the year or two following fully 5,000 miners worked the river bars, and the amount of gold extracted has been estimated to have run up into the millions.  The discovery was first made by accident by prospectors pushing through the country on their way to the Cariboo mining district in British Columbia, the same argonauts who found gold on Rock creek, northeast of Molson, and just across the line in British Columbia.  We met a man nearly a quarter of a century ago who was at the diggings, a man who subsequently died at Nighthawk, who told us of the marvelous discovery and that 5,000 men were in camp at one time and not a single woman.
    Recently Guy Fruit, a former resident of Oroville, met Jas. Healy at Los Angeles, a wealthy man far advanced in years, who told Mr. Fruit that he was with the party that made the first discovery of gold on the Similkameen.  Mr. Healy stated that with fifteen other miners he was on his way to the Cariboo country in the fall of 1856, traveling through the Okanogan valley.  The season being late the party went into camp on the flat at the foot of Palmer lake, on land afterward owned by Jack Long.  In the spring gold was discovered on the Similkameen and the party forgot Cariboo and commenced washing.  The Indians became hostile and the party left in the fall for Fort Colville, by the way of Rock creek.  At Fort Colville the 16 men divided up $300,000 and dispersed.  Such is the story of the early gold discovery on the Similkameen, told by one who was omong the original discoverers, and as has been said before almost every year since that time, 66 years ago, men have prospected the river shore and bed with more or less success.  During the past 25 years numerous companies have been organized to carry on placering on a large scale along the river, but in every instance from one cause and another, these efforts have failed to bring returns commensurate with the capital invested in the enterprises.
    Some 25 years ago a father and two sons came to Oroville from California for the purpose of dredging the river.  A large boat was constructed and equipped, but for reasons unknown the effort proved abortive.  The upper works of that old boat were used for a residence on the south side of the Similkameen for years, and we believe is still used for that purpose.  Other companies constructed a large steamboat above the falls years ago, with the object of dredging with pumps, but that enterprise went on the rocks and the boat over the falls.  Another company built a large steel coffer dam in the center of the river near Rich Bar, but high water came and wrecked the plant before it could be put to use.  Other companies installed expensive hydraulic plants, one of them below the falls from which much was expected, yet nothing resulted.  Thus the placer grounds of the Similkameen river have not been forgotten, although all efforts to secure the gold which exists in abundance without a doubt, have failed, and a vast sum of money has been squandered in those enterprises.  Let us hope that Mr. Coyle will be able to solve the problem, and that in the months to come the long hidden treasure may be recovered to the benefit of mankind.
    Naturally the writer was wraught up to a high pitch of excitement when he was shown the placer gold that Mr. Coyle had picked out of the gravel on the Similkameen, for he had seen nothing like it since the time the Coeur d'Alene placer field was first made known to the world.  We have seen the scale, or flour gold that has been taken from the bars of the Columbia river for time immemorial, and much and ever larger samples taken in small quantities from the Similkameen and Mary Ann creek, but nothing that would compare in size with that which Mr. Coyle has to exhibit.  That display carried our memory back to the fall of 1883, when the gold discovery on Eagle Creek was first made known to the world.
    Thirty-nine years ago this month A. J. Prichard, the discoverer of placer gold in the Coeur d'Alene, walked into the office of the Spokane Falls Review and casually said "he wanted to show us something."  Mr. Prichard asked for a sheet of white paper and we opened out a quire of white newspaper.  He reached down into his clothes and pulled out a fat buckskin purse, in Alaska known as a "poke," and proceeded to pour the contents out upon the paper.  Heavens, what a sight.  A mound several inches high of virgin gold.  The greater portion of his gold was no larger than the flakes and pieces displayed the other day by Mr. Coyle, but there were chunks as large as a large man's thumb and graduated from that size down to the smallest flakes.  We had hardly passed the age of callow youth, we had never seen placer gold before, and the sight of so much wealth in the very raw fairly took our breath away.  A remarkable feature to us was the apparent placidity and indifference of Mr. Prichard, the owner of so much riches.  He tossed the gold about as though it were so much dirt, and did not consider the showing of any considerable importance, for, as he said, there was plenty more where that came from and all he had to do was to pick it up.
    Of course the Review broke loose in great head lines and extravagant descriptions of the new El Dorado.  It was big stuff for a newspaper and every scrap of information from the land of gold was grabbed with avidity and worked to a finish.  The demand for copies of the Review from Butte, Salt Lake City, from every point of the compass was greater than the old hand press could supply.  A stampede, such as the west had not seen since the discovery of gold in California followed, Spokane Falls became the outfitting point for the mines.  People flocked to that embryo city by train, by wagon, by horseback, by foot and such a heterogeneous mass of people was hardly ever seen before.  Accommodations were inadequate to meet the demand.  Exhaused men paid a dollar a night to sleep in chairs.  People camped anywhere and everywhere.  The lust of gold had drawn out all kinds and classes of men.  There was a feverish anxiety to get to the diggings.  It was every man for himself and the devil take the hindermost.  Every human instinct was bent on gain, and while there were many instances where humanity overcame the power of greed, the outstanding feature of the rush was selfishness and eclipse of the higher virtues.
    One unfortunate feature of this rush was that it took place late in the fall and winter, and hardships untold were suffered by those who were the first to make the trip, for the trip was made over almost impassable trails on foot at first.  The winter of 1883-4 was one of the hardest that had been known for years.  Snow fell to a great depth in the mountains over which the trails crossed and mining was impossible.  Many returned to the outside disillusioned and cursing the country as worthless.  It was not until the next spring that mining could commence in earnest and much gold was taken out.  But the wealth of the Coeur d'Alenes did not rest upon the placer washings.  That ground was soon worked out as the gold was confined to a rather restricted district, but miners turned their attention to quartz leads, many leads were discovered from which great mines were evolved and to this day the Ceour d'Alenes is one of the richest mining districts in the world.
    The original discoverer, A. J. Prichard, has passed to his fathers.  For four years before he finally located placer gold, he lived and prospected in the Coeur d'Alenes, far from any civilization and living the life of a hermit.  We have an original letter, somewhat yellow with age, written by Mr. Prichard in January 1883, the writing as distinct as the day the aged hand traced the words.  In that letter he spoke of the discovery of gold and also of a ledge after his years of hard searching.  It appears that Mr. Prichard was obsessed of a cult, or ism, and his chief desire was to benefit his brethren of that cult.  The letter was written to one Mr. Chow, of California in which Mr. Prichard tells of his find and explains how he wants the friends of this cult to reap the benefit.  He proposed to withhold publicity of the find until these people could secure all the gold they desired.
    It seems that Mr. Prichard also wrote to "friends" in Montana and that parties started both from California and Montana for the Coeur d'Alenes in the dead of winter.  They met Prichard, but at that time the ground was covered with snow and Mr. Prichard was unable to locate is discovery.  The crowd that made the long trip in expectation of a fortune was incensed against Mr. Prichard, believing at the time that he had intentionally deceived them, and the Montana people were so exasperated that they wanted to hang Prichard, but the Californians prevented that drastic proceeding.  The way we came in possession of the letter was that when the Californians returned home the man who had received the letter from Prichard sent it to the Spokane Falls Review with the request that the paper "roast the everlasting life out of the old dotard," and use every effort to warn people from going to the alleged placer mines.  How little those birds dreamed of the marvelous wealth hid away in the  mountains of the panhandle of Idaho, which have since given employment to thousands of people and produced great fortunes for many men.
    What did Prichard get out of it?  Nothing, so far as we know, except to have a creek named after him.  Like the pioneer in every enterprise, he sowed that others might reap.

Newspaper article source:  Library of  Congress.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Site Update for July 2020

My sincere apologies to everyone visiting the Washington State Miner blog.  The lack of posts and updates for the last few years is due to my ongoing health issues.  Nevertheless, I am determined to revitalize the site with new offerings beginning now.

The first order of business was to update all the existing resource links found in the right-hand sidebar on this page.  Some links were no longer operational.  Others had migrated to new URLs, and these are now current.  Finally, some organizations changed their web offerings entirely.  In these cases, the old listings and links stand replaced with the new ones.  The details of these changes are listed below and in the right-hand sidebar.

Thank you for reading the Washington State Miner.

Removed links:

Discussion Forums
    Gold Prospectors Forum of America
    The Canadian Prospectors Forum
Clubs and Organizations
    North Central Washington Prospectors
General Geology, Mining and Prospecting News and Information
    Alluvial Exploration and Mining
Stream Flow Information
    Washington River and Stream Flow

Edited links:

Discussion Forums
    The New 49'ers Forum -
Clubs and Organizations
    Jefferson Mining District -
    Resources Coalition -

Replacement links:

BLM Websites
    Geocommunicator is now Navigator -
USGS Mineral Data
    Replaced both old listings with Mineral Resources Data System -
Washington State Prospecting Rules and Laws
    2018 Gold and Fish Pamphlet replaced with 2020 Gold and Fish Pamphlet -

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Update on Mechanized Mining Regulation by the States

Dave McCracken, President of The New 49er's prospecting organization of California, recently sent out an update on the matter of the legality of the states regulating mechanized mining operations on federal lands.  The gist of the matter is that the states do not have the lawful authority to do so and that the apparent authority under which they purport to do so was unlawfully granted by the U. S. Forest Service and the BLM.  Here is the text of the email from Dave:

After careful review of the court documents from the Rinehart and Bohmker cases, we realized that the BLM and USFS (Forest Service) mining regulations had been amended in the early 2000’s, basically allowing the States authority over mining on federal lands in excess of authority which the BLM or USFS is allowed by law!

On June 18, 2019, we sent a formal Petition to the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, asking for the federal regulations to be changed.

About the time we recognized the problem in the federal mining regulations, we were contacted by a fairly high official within the Department of Interior (DOI) who had seen all the letters we sent in from our previous Action Alert. They wanted more information. After reviewing the materials, they wanted to help! We were told that they (DOI) wished they had known about the Bohmker case six months ago. We believe they would have submitted an amicus brief on our behalf defending mining to the Supreme Court. This would have greatly increased our chances of a hearing… and winning.

This raises an important Question: If the BLM & USFS are prohibited from endangering or materially interfering with mining, how can those very same agencies provide the States with authority to do what the federal agencies are barred from doing in the first place?

The good news is that we finally have gotten the attention of top officials in the Trump Administration!

We do not need the courts or congress at this time. We need the Trump administration to develop a federal Rule making to enforce federal law which is already on the books.

The Petition was submitted two weeks ago along with the support of eleven major mining associations including The New 49ers.  In addition, there are letters of support from several county governments that have sustained serious economic harm because of the misguided policies against mining by some State agencies.

The Petition has landed home where it needs to be. It is being taken seriously. Now, if we can please just take it to the next step: We need to encourage supportive messages from as many people as possible. This is the moment of truth! Notwithstanding any other opportunities that could arise in the future, this is, to a large extent, our last opportunity in the foreseeable future to regain the use of our mechanized equipment and gold dredges.

You can find everything you need to work with in our July newsletter right here:

After 10+ years of battling with State agencies over exploring the federal lands for highly valuable mineral deposits on the public lands, we have finally arrived at the place where we may turn the whole problem around. This might be the closest we have ever been! Now we need you guys and gals to please step up and send in messages in support of our side.

Thank you for whatever you can do!

Fingers crossed,

Dave McCracken, President

The New 49er's, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

"Land Matters" - A Website With Tons of Interactive Maps

It's almost time to head for the hills in search of gold and other minerals and a new website called Land Matters is in the process of assembling links to a large and comprehensive collection of map resources.  Many of these will be of interest to prospectors and small-scale miners as they plan their outdoor adventures.

Among the currently available interactive maps on the site are the following:

Land Status Maps:

Users may choose a base map to add to the plain United States Map (World Street Map, Topo, or Aerial Photos) and then display land ownership and status by BLM, National Forest, National Parks, Wilderness, State, Master Title Plats and Supplements, the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), and Special Surveys.  Zooming in to a local area of interest works best before displaying the land status and other features.

Topo Map Downloads:

This section of the website shows all the available USGS topo maps in the selected area.  The current digital maps are available as are older historical scanned maps.  Clicking on a map of interest on the base map opens a window with links to download the map.  In the case of historical maps, the download link will bring up a list of available maps.  On working with this feature I noticed that not as many old maps are available as on the USGS topoView site but I expect the selection to improve as work on this resource continues.  Also available for download in this section are Forest Service Topo Maps and Coastal Survey Topo Maps.

Mining Claims Maps:

One section of particular interest to miners is the one showing mining claim locations.  Here users may display the locations of current mining claims drawn from the BLM's LR2000 system and download the BLM Serial Register Reports for any they choose.  They can also display the locations of old mines on the base map.  Also available here are the USGS Mineral Resource Data System (MRDS) reports on individual mines and claims as well as historical activity reports on individual mines.

Geology Maps:

Another section of special interest to miners is the one containing state geology maps.  These maps show the various rock types by different colors and symbols and detailed information on each is available by clicking on the particular area of the map you are interested in.

New Projects:

As mentioned earlier, this website is a work-in-progress and many exciting features are in the process of being created.  A few of these are maps showing meteorite falls, minerals, agriculture, recreation, and real-time conditions such as weather radar and infrared satellite data.  The developers of this service are also interested in hearing from users about additional types of maps that they would like to see.

So, head on over to the website, check it out (there are detailed instructions for getting the most use out of it), and sign up for their email newsletter to keep informed of the latest features being added.

Happy prospecting!

Monday, February 11, 2019

An Interactive Site for Finding Mines and Claims in the United States

I have recently come across a website that contains a vast amount of information on the locations of mining claims and mines in the United States.  The website is called The Diggings and a link to it is also in the "Prospecting Aids" section of the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

The site provides a number of ways to locate mining properties, including by name of the property, owner, or geographic location.  There is also an interactive map that allows the user a birds-eye view of the mines and claims in any region in the U. S. as well as of properties in some other countries.  Both current and historical mining claims are included and one may sign up for notifications of updates to the database.  How to use all of these features is fully described on the site.

I encourage everyone to check it out and hope you will find it a useful aid in your prospecting research.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bohmker vs Oregon Case Going to Supreme Court? How you can help.

In the latest newsletter from the New 49'ers Prospecting Club is an appeal from Dave McCracken for miners all over the West to send a letter to President Trump urging him to use his influence to have the U. S. Supreme Court hear an appeal of the Bohmker vs Oregon case. This is the case in which the courts of the State of Oregon ruled to prohibit all motorized mining on federal lands within the state.

The New 49'ers have posted a draft copy of a letter which you can download and modify if you wish, and print and mail to President Trump with copies to selected administration officials listed at the bottom of the draft document.

As McCracken points out, this may be the last opportunity for the small-scale mining community to stop state officials from prohibiting certain mining activities on federal lands within their states and thereby win back the rights that we miners have lost.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Approves Prospecting Rules Changes

As reported earlier on this site, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requested the Fish and Wildlife Commission to approve several proposed changes to the HPA rules governing mineral prospecting, including changes to the work times on the Sultan and Similkameen rivers.

Here is the pertinent part of today's news release from WDFW:

April 24, 2018

Commission OKs mineral prospecting

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has changed the work times for mineral prospecting in and around the Sultan and Similkameen rivers to avoid periods when incubating eggs and young fish are present.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the changes on Friday, April 20....

Until recently, a section of the Sultan River in Snohomish County was open to mineral prospecting using a variety of equipment, including suction dredges, sluices, and high bankers, for more than seven months each year.

That changed in 2016, when a fish-passage project at the City of Everett diversion dam opened an additional 6.3 miles of the river to spawning salmon and steelhead, said Randi Thurston, WDFW habitat protection manager.

"Last year, the department adopted an emergency rule that prohibited the use of certain types of prospecting equipment in that area, except during August," Thurston said. "This year, the commission adopted that new work window as a permanent rule."

The new rule applies to the use of mineral prospecting equipment in the water, Thurston said.

In a separate action, the commission agreed to expand the work window for mineral prospecting on the Similkameen River to include the month of June from Enloe Dam to Palmer Creek in Okanogan County. That decision was based on a new study by WDFW that found no evidence of incubating trout or whitefish eggs there in June, Thurston said.

"Prospectors urged us to conduct the study, and they were right about the results," she said.

Under the new rule, the work window for prospecting on the Similkameen River from Enloe Dam to Palmer Creek will extend from June 1 through Oct. 31.

For more information about mineral prospecting in Washington, see

Contact: Mineral prospecting: Randi Thurston, 360-902-2602

Sunday, April 8, 2018

North Central Washington Prospectors Gold and Treasure Show is Next Weekend

My prospecting club is hosting its annual Gold and Treasure show next weekend.  Here are the details:

North Central Washington Prospectors presents its 19th Annual


                         GOLD TREASURE AND MORE SHOW

                                          April 14 & 15

The show will have over 50 vendors that will be selling prospecting and rock hound supplies, metal detectors, jewelry, art, gems & minerals, rocks, gold pay dirt bags, fudge, ATVs, leather goods, thrift store items and MORE.

Truck and cars on display.  Something for everyone!

Metal detecting hunt with paid admission both days, 10 AM.  Coins and metal tags for prizes will be buried on the fairgrounds for this event.  Top prize is a metal detector for both days.

Haystack Hunt for kids ages 2 - 10 both days (coins & toys), 11 AM.

Door and gold raffle prizes each hour.  Large kitchen serving breakfast and lunch items.

The big club gold show raffle will be held on Sunday.  1st prize - $2,000; 2nd prize - Whites MXT All Pro metal detector; 3rd prize - $500; 4th prize - large gold nugget.

Chelan County Fairgrounds in Cashmere, WA.

Saturday, April 14, 9AM - 5PM; Sunday, April 15, 9AM - 4PM.

Cost: $5, children 12 and under free.  Info: (509) 860-1145

Monday, April 2, 2018

Motorized Dredging Not Yet Safe in Washington

In what appears to be a contingency move, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear from WDFW staff regarding "options and possible timeline necessary for rulemaking should the Commission direct the Department to remove motorized prospecting methods from those approved under the Gold and Fish pamphlet."

This presentation is set to be conducted by Randi Thurston, Protection Division Manager and Teresa Scott, Environmental Planner, Habitat Program at the 9:30 am portion of the Saturday, April 14 Commission meeting.

Public input will be heard on this agenda item for those interested in providing same.

The meeting will be held at the Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501, on the First Floor – Room 172.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Small Changes to the HPA Rules Proposed at Fish and Wildlife Commission Meeting

At the March 17 session of Washington's Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Wenatchee, Habitat Program Protection Division Manager Randi Thurston outlined the proposed changes to the HPA rules that affect mining activities in Washington's waters.

One change would be to the authorized work times on the Sultan River in Snohomish County above the City of Everett's dam.  On the grounds that Coho and other fish can now reach the section of the river above the dam, the new permanent rule would change the authorized work times from July 16 — February 28 to August 1 — 31.

Another change involves the work times allowed on the section of the Similkameen River between Enloe Dam and Palmer Creek in Okanogan County.  Last summer, biologists from WDFW determined that the part of the river mentioned above is not suitable for resident trout spawning.  As a result, the authorized work times may move up one month from July 1 to June 1.  According to Ms. Thurston, this change would still protect the Mountain Whitefish that spawn in that reach.

The remaining requested changes are minor administrative ones, including some designed to make the HPA application process easier and clearer.  No specifics were given.

WDFW intends to formally ask the Commission to adopt these revisions to the HPA rules at the April 20 telephone conference call.

Be sure to sign up for email updates from the Miner to stay informed of matters affecting small-scale prospecting and mining in Washington State.  The sign-up box is at the bottom of the right-hand sidebar on this page.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to Hold a Public Hearing on Proposed HPA Rule Changes

At 9:10 AM on Saturday, March 17, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will receive a briefing from Randi Thurston, WDFW Habitat Program Protection Division Manager, on the proposed amendments to the Hydraulic Code (Chapter 220-660 WAC).  Following the briefing, the Commission will hold a hearing during which the public may provide input on these proposed amendments.

For those interested in attending this meeting, it will be held in Wenatchee at the Red Lion Hotel at 1225 N. Wenatchee Avenue in the Wenatchee & Chelan Rooms.

If you are interested in providing input on this matter, please read the procedure to follow here.