(Joining a gold prospecting club can make mining a family affair.)
As many of you already know, I'm not always the biggest fan of gold mining and/or gold prospecting clubs although there are some very good organizations out there. So, keeping in line with the overall object of this series I want to make sure that I don't throw the gold mining baby out with the bathwater yet again.
Gold Mining and Prospecting Clubs
There are any number of reasons why people join gold mining and prospecting clubs. These include:
- Finding camaraderie and support when working alongside others in a shared experience.
- Learning the ropes from more experienced miners.
- Having access to club claims or mining locations.
- Seeing and experiencing a range of mining equipment and gear in use (wet and dry).
- Sharing information and skills at outings and in meetings.
- Having an outdoor venue suitable for the entire family.
What's Not to Like?
So what's not to like, right? In fact, some of you out there are wondering why I'm not an avid fan of these clubs, generally speaking. Well, let me try and answer that for you.
1) I tend to be a loner, not a joiner, and definitely not an overly social type. I don't like crowds and I don't like being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it...especially when that comes from some folks with far less mining experience than myself. Don't get me wrong here though. I can glad hand with the best of them and be as charming as can be when I want to be. Groups are just not my thing.
2) Although I'm getting to be an old fart myself, I don't want to spend my precious mining time in a geriatric ward with an over-sized RV parked next to me and nervous little mutts yapping and barking at me all day long. Whoa there pard! Take it easy...this is tongue-in-cheek (but there's truth in it none the less).
(Members of the East Bay Gold Prospecting and Treasure Hunting Club kicking back.)
3) Although most clubs are highly democratic in nature, invariably some self-proclaimed honcho or "grand poobah" will be elected or place him (or her) self in charge. Some of these folks can be very well organized and fun to deal with and others are simply flaming assholes with egos to match. With my "pacifist" disposition considered here, it should be readily apparent to you why I'm not a club sorta guy.
4) I hate to say it, but I will...most club mining claims are crap. Borderline ground at best in most instances (please notice I used the term "most" here) or the same old re-hashed locations used by every other club out there. On the other hand, larger and more exclusive clubs like the New 49ers have excellent claims but you'll pay for the privilege...ditto for a couple of other high-falutin' clubs that'll remain unnamed. (By the way, if I were going to join a club...which I'm not...it'd probably be one like the New 49ers.)
Gold Prospecting Books
Gold Panning Kits
For the sake of this list's brevity, I won't go into the questionable dream merchant approach that some major clubs employ. Surprise, surprise on that angle, huh?
Very Good Value
So there you have it. The good and the not-so-good as I see it. Remember, the latter list represents my viewpoint and mine alone...it doesn't mean you have to share it, agree with it, run with it, or avoid gold mining and prospecting clubs. In fact my advice is just the opposite...whatever helps you and is fun for you is what you should do.
Clubs can offer very good value for the money (or fees) and you should take advantage of that value if it works for you. You're not here to please me...or anyone else for that matter.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Questions and Answers: Part 15"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org