Reader's Query on Where to Prospect Prompts Response (Part 2)

What to Do?, What to Do?

 In my previous post on this topic I set the stage for answering "License Guru's" query:

"I have a question that might make a good blog post, unless it already is.  But I was wondering, with every square inch of the California Motherlode under claim, how do people like myself go prospecting without being claim jumpers?"

"Obviously, there are exceptions. Permission from the claim owner, pay as you go, etc. But those exceptions aside, how is it possible to prospect without being a claim jumper?"

Path of Least Resistance

To be perfectly honest here, it's difficult for me to answer "Guru's" question without addressing the exceptions he's mentioned. For most of you out there, those exceptions and others (mining clubs, leasing a claim, working a public panning area, pay as you go mining locations, etc.) ARE the path of least resistance to doing your thing and finding a bit of gold.

Sure, things are tough out there these days in terms of open and/or accessible areas to prospect, pan, or mine on a small scale. That much is known. But in truth, it's fallacious to assume that every square inch of a given area is claimed up or 100% off limits, California Motherlode included. Even if 99.9% of an area was claimed up or on private property, 0.01% of that area is still open! (Yes, very slim percentage...but I'm trying to make a point here.)

Most People Want...

Here's the my humble opinion, most people (and that includes me at times) want quick and dirty solutions to their problems, whatever those may be. In recreational or small-scale gold prospecting and mining, this translates into a sort of laziness where folks want to get at the gold the easiest way possible. They don't want to drive too far, they want easy access, and they want their mining "fix" with the least amount of effort, hassles, and disturbance overall.

Gold Concentrates
Gold Concentrators

That's OK, but if you follow that sort of logic with all things being as they are right now, you're going to be disappointed, you're going to get frustrated, and you're going to end up feeling that there are no viable alternatives. Hells bells, even I've fallen into this negative thinking the past few years because I'm always comparing my mining experiences 20-30+ years ago to what's going on now.

 An Answer Summed Up

My answer to "License Guru's" query on where to prospect without being a claim jumper can be summed up like this:

1) Do your research.

2) Be willing to go where others don't or won't.

3) Expect to spend lots of time and effort on Numbers 1 and 2.

I'll expand on these three items in my next post. So I urge "License Guru" ( and all the rest of you out there to take a deep breath, think on what I've said here, and know that I DO feel your pain regarding this issue.

Best of luck to you all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "True Bedrock vs. False Bedrock (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

 Questions? E-mail me at


  1. There are still many good claims to be had for the taking. The easiest way that Ihave found to find your own claim is to research the area you are interested in. Find the claim names and numbers in that area . Go to the BLM office and pull the files of those claims. look at the master title plat for boundaries. This will lead you to unclaimed land in the area. It might seam hard now, but I have found the people in the BLM to be very nice and very helpful. I have been to the BLM (Burea of Land Management)in Sacremento. I have been told the BLM in New Mexico, Nevada nad Arizona very friendly also.

  2. I and my co-claim owners have had very experiences with the BLM in Sacramento as well. Your advice here is good and your points well taken...thanks much for commenting. J.R.


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