Steve Herschbach

No Notice of Intent

17 posts in this topic

Panning, sniping, and sampling, and the tools used, are my new focus in the prospecting world. The key thing being what activities may I undertake on land open to mineral entry or other locations that do not require filling out paperwork?

Forest Service http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nepa/oged/includes/leasing_regs_36cfr228.pdf

(1) A notice of intent to operate is not required for:

(i) Operations which will be limited to the use of vehicles on existing public roads or roads used and maintained for National Forest System purposes;

(ii) Prospecting and sampling which will not cause significant surface resource disturbance and will not involve removal of more than a reasonable amount of mineral deposit for analysis and study which generally might include searching for and occasionally removing small mineral samples or specimens, gold panning, metal detecting, non-motorized hand sluicing, using battery operated dry washers, and collecting of mineral specimens using hand tools;

BLM Casual Use http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title43-vol2/xml/CFR-2010-title43-vol2-sec3809-5.xml

"§ 3809.5 How does BLM define certain terms used in this subpart?


As used in this subpart, the term: Casual use means activities ordinarily resulting in no or negligible disturbance of the public lands or resources. For example—
 
(1) Casual use generally includes the collection of geochemical, rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-motorized sluicing. It may include use of small portable suction dredges. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears and other battery-operated devices for sensing the presence of minerals, and hand and battery-operated drywashers. Operators may use motorized vehicles for casual use activities provided the use is consistent with the regulations governing such use (part 8340 of this title), off-road vehicle use designations contained in BLM land-use plans, and the terms of temporary closures ordered by BLM. Code of Federal Regulations / Title 43 - Public Lands: Interior / Vol. 2 / 2010-10-01780


(2) Casual use does not include use of mechanized earth-moving equipment, truck-mounted drilling equipment, motorized vehicles in areas when designated as closed to “off-road vehicles” as defined in § 8340.0-5 of this title, chemicals, or explosives. It also does not include “occupancy” as defined in § 3715.0-5 of this title or operations in areas where the cumulative effects of the activities result in more than negligible disturbance.

 

Note that although the BLM mentions "may include use of small portable suction dredges" may is the key word and in fact all states now require a permit to run a suction dredge. While BLM may administer the land and not require notice for running a small dredge the water falls under other state and federal agency jusrisdiction. In general assume anything with a gasoline motor and that discharges water into a stream may be subject to some level of permitting.

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Believe it or not, the Coronado National forrest in Southern Arizona believes that digging metal detected targets does create a "significant disturbance" and is requiring a Notice of intent for metal detecting. So far as I know, they are the only ones to do this.

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Hi Folks,

 

Congratulations on the new forum! I wish all the folks at ICMJ the best of luck in all their endeavors. 

 

Chris I think you may be the victim of internet rumors or Forest Service bluster. Steve is correct that the restriction of detecting would be an administrative violation of their own regulations. We are very familiar with the Coronado NF archaeologist and the supervisor. They both have had quite a few chuckles over the internet tales of tickets for rusty nails and permits required for metal detecting. It just ain't so. Heck two of their LEO's are avid gold prospectors - one of them is a detectorist!

 

It seems there are a few folks down there who would like to keep other prospectors out of their territory. So far all of these rumors have tracked back to them. I'm pretty sure you know one of these prospectors Chris. You can't really blame them. There are several rich undeveloped placers in the southern part of the state. We consider the Greaterville area the best undeveloped placer ground in the Southwest. It's probably not surprising that the men who have taken advantage of the large nuggets found there would want to keep it to themselves.  :)

 

As far as dredge permits - there are none in Arizona nor are there any State restrictions on dredging. Now if we could only get enough water in any Arizona gold field to run anything bigger than a three inch for more than a few weeks...  :lol:

 

Barry

 

 

 

 

jeff08xx likes this

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Barry -

 

I admit much of what I said was second hand, but I did talk with a guy from one of the Tucson prospecting clubs was specifically told the club needed an approved Notice for recreational activities - however that probably included motorized dry washing in addition to detecting.

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Interesting about the dredging in AZ because we had none in Alaska until the EPA was sued by an environmental group for allowing dredging to occur under the Clean Water Act without a permit, so general permits were issued. I suspect a general permit does exist in AZ for the same reason, but you are automatically covered under it. Many general permits do not require you actually apply for or get them - they just exist to comply with the law. Just speculating though.

 

Good news about Coronado. I was already putting it on a list of things to look into. That is one CFR that we must stand firm on. It is quite clear and very hard to misinterpret.

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TOOOOOO late CFRs just got nailed-will hunt up new regs as no longer NSEC just SEC so NOI/POO on all forest service lands ops. I'll never do it but.....John  PS there are half a dozen new changes this year already and so as NOT to politicalicize every forum topic here howz about a legal forum as there will be a massive glut of legal bs and plenty of folks like to ostrich themselves(head in the sand) and NOT know so as to continue unemcumbered by the laws,rules and regs-what ya say Mod R Chris????

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With reference to operating in the National Forest System, The District Rangers are given discretion to decide what "special resource management" decision making applies to their Districts.

 

- Geowizard

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TOOOOOO late CFRs just got nailed-will hunt up new regs as no longer NSEC just SEC so NOI/POO on all forest service lands ops. I'll never do it but.....John  PS there are half a dozen new changes this year already and so as NOT to politicalicize every forum topic here howz about a legal forum as there will be a massive glut of legal bs and plenty of folks like to ostrich themselves(head in the sand) and NOT know so as to continue unemcumbered by the laws,rules and regs-what ya say Mod R Chris????

I don't get it.  Where is the common sense?? :rolleyes:

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I don't get it.  Where is the common sense??

 

We are all taught in school about how the government is here to help us, etc. and in some ways that's true. However the government is mostly about politics and federal politics especially has little to do with actually helping citizens. Its about control of the masses, money for lawyers and politicians,  agendas, control of the media, political prestige and recognition, big egos, etc. - nothing of which has anything remotely to do with any aspect of common sense.

jeff08xx and Clay like this

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Hello Everyone

 

So far we have gotten the tickets we fought all dismissed. None the less the Forest (Sierra Nevada) service continues to harass us into oblivion. We know the laws. The Agencies just don't care. They just do not want us there. (think Agenda)

 

We have written letters to Wash and the head LEO for Calif Forestry. After hours of phone time they concede, usually, and dismiss the case. You have to operate in the mining law and know the mining law. Then you have to defend yourself with it.  

 

There will be a time that this will not work. What we do then will depend on the times.

 

Great to see a forum with the big guys. thanks

 

Rick M

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A great book "Behind the Green Mask" will clarify the style of attacks against mining.

 

The dredge hearings were a setup for the fall. We need to stay active and push back until we win. The opposition will not stop

 

Rick M.

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Great information. Very useful to me. Actually I was searching the same since many days. Thanks.

Edited by Steve Herschbach
Spam

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With reference to operating in the National Forest System, The District Rangers are given discretion to decide what "special resource management" decision making applies to their Districts. Coronado National Forest (Douglas Ranger District) has a District Ranger that can "command" miners out of the forest domain. It happened to me.

 

Copy of certified letter available on request.

 

- Geowizard

 

I've got to admit this statement has puzzled me for a while Geowizard. I'm still flummoxed by what you wrote in this post. Seriously - a district ranger ordered miners out of the forest? AND you have it in writing?

 

I don't disbelieve you Geowizard. I am not questioning your veracity. My problem with understanding this is that I can't find anything in law or regulation that would allow a district ranger or any other Forest Service employee to make that sort of decision. In fact the two reappearing references to this behavior are found in the "Organic Act" of 1897 that created the Forests and the 9th Circuit Courts quotes in the 2011 en Banc decision in Karuk Tribe v. USFS. Both of those sources specifically disavow the power to prohibit miners from entering the Forest for mining purposes.

 

Under the mining laws, citizens are entitled

to enter public lands for the purpose of prospecting and

removing mineral deposits. The Organic Act further provides

that prospectors and miners entering federal forest lands

“must comply with the rules and regulations covering such

national forests.” 16 U.S.C. § 478. The government’s regula-

tory authority (vested in the Secretary of Agriculture and,

derivatively, the USFS), however, does not go so far as to per-

mit it to “prohibit any person from entering upon such

national forests for all proper and lawful purposes including

that of prospecting, locating, and developing the mineral

resources thereof.” Id. (emphasis added). Indeed, “[e]xercise

of th[e] right [to enter federal lands for prospecting] may not

be unreasonably restricted.” National Forests Surface Use

Under U.S. Mining Laws, 39 Fed. Reg. 31,317

 

Obviously we are talking about long established law backed by multiple court decisions. Is there some reason other than mining you were banned from the Forest? Alternatively was the District Ranger really so arrogant as to personally sign this "order"?

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My advice is to check with the District Ranger in the District of the National Forest you are looking to dredge in. Having lived in Arizona for 30 years, I honestly can't think of anywhere to put a dredge in the water.

 

- Geowizard

Lynx Creek comes to mind but its pans and shovels only. Hassayampa also.

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