More on Patented/Unpatented Gold Mining Claims (Conclusion)

(Tote all the guns you want but your unpatented claim is still NOT your private property.)

No Legal Basis

Before I move on to Northern California patented claim owner Stan M.'s situation, I'd like to pass along one more tidbit of info regarding unpatented gold mining claims. Remember, with an unpatented claim you DON'T own the the land itself...just the mineral rights. One thing I've found very disturbing over the years is the fact that many unpatented claim owners treat their claims like their own personal or private property.

WRONG!! I don't care what you may think brothers and sisters, if you own an unpatented claim you have no legal basis for threatening or intimidating those who may want to transit your claim, fish on it, sight see, bird watch, etc., as long as these folks don't interfere with your mining activities or attempt to mine your claim themselves.

Gold Panning Kits
Mining Equipment

In fact, you yourself may end up in court on the wrong side of the law if you persist in treating your unpatented claim like private property. You can post all the "No Mining" signs you want...that's fine. "No Trespassing" signs, however, are another matter entirely from a legal standpoint.

"Information on Patented Mining Claims"

OK, that said let's move on to gold miner Stan M. who owns a patented placer gold mining claim in extreme Northern California. As a reminder, California still has a moratorium on suction dredging in the state's streams and rivers:

"Here's a copy of a request I sent to the Southern Oregon Miners Association. I read "Bedrock Dreams" this morning and thought that you may have some information on patented mining claims and the only court that has jurisdiction over them. I had never heard of this before so don't know anything about it. When I get more information on this court I'll send it on to you. I am also sending you a website that gives tons of information on mining and the history of Southern Oregon. I've been reading it myself and it's worth sending."
"Thanks a lot."

Stan's Letter 
Respected Sir,
First I would like to say how much I appreciate the information you have on your websites. I have an 88- acre patented mining claim on the Scott River near Scott's Bar in Siskiyou County, California. This patented mining claim goes completely across the Scott River and I own the bottom of the River.

(Small section of the Scott River.)

I don't know a lot about patented mining claims but I just learned there may be a way to put my suction dredge in the Scott River this year. If I do, I know they (I'm assuming Stan is talking about state authorities here. J.R.) will come after me. I've been very vocal against their illegal activities. I've heard there's only one court that has jurisdiction for a patented mining claim and this court is somewhere back in Washington, D.C. I have no knowledge of this court and I would appreciate any help you can give me that I can use to fight the California Department of Fish and Game/U.S. Forest Service when I do put my dredge in the River. So I need information on jurisdiction.

 "If They Come After Me..."

I'm a member of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. I've been with them about five years now and I've built up over 700 hours of free court time. I can also get any letters and phone calls free so I have a group of good lawyers at my disposal. The only problem is, Pre-Paid Legal Services knows nothing about patented mining claims or mining law. If the Forest Service or Fish and Game come after me when I put my dredge in the Scott River, I'll need to provide them information to fight for me. I once had a document where a federal court said that I would even own the water going across my property.Unfortunately, I can no longer find that document.

I am a member of the New 49ers Prospecting Club and have been mining since 1969, so I am not new to mining. I am also a retired Deputy Sheriff and know a little bit about the law. I'm not afraid of courts and I'm not afraid of government, but I need all the information I can get. If you can help me I would deeply appreciate the help. 

If not, I understand. We need to draw the line in the sand somewhere and I'm willing to do just that.
Stan M.

I wish Stan the best of luck in his struggle to dredge on  his own property.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Safety Tips"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

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