Mining-Related News and Rants (April 2016)

It's an ill wind that blows no good, brothers and sisters. Here in the American West and Southwest that ill wind continues to blow straight into the faces of small-scale gold miners, as much as it pains me to say so.

New Madness in Idaho

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Nez Perce National Forest District just released their draft environmental assessment of gold suction dredging...yep, you know exactly what's coming any time the Feds get involved in your outdoor activities. And suction dredging?? Well by gosh and by golly that's the absolute WORST outdoor activity that ever came down the pike as far as the Feds in Idaho are concerned (not to mention their fellow travelers, the "greenies" and the corrupt politicians). The goings on in Idaho are significant though...they will have impacts that will adversely impact small-scale gold miners throughout the West and Southwest, unless I miss my bet that is. The Idaho assessment was sponsored to study the adverse (it's always adverse in their eyes) effects of suction dredging on salmon and the Bull Trout (I grew up knowing it as the Dolly Varden). The way the green weenies pulled this magic act off was by demanding that the Dolly Varden be classified as a "new" species. Guess what the trout of that new species is called? Oh yeah, you got it. The Bull Trout. Good bye Dolly, hello Bull (as in BS). If the green cultists continue getting their way (and they will, sadly) this means that the Dolly Vardens in states like Oregon (already becoming a lost cause) and Washington (next on the green "hit list") will soon be awash in Bull Trout as well.

(Is that a Dolly Varden?)

(Nope...that there's a Bull Trout.)
So you might as well store your suction dredge in the old shed or put it up for sale on eBay. That shit ain't happening in Idaho, Oregon, California, and probably Washington State as well. Oh, forgive me...I'm in error with the previous sentence. In fact, you CAN still use a suction dredge to recover placer gold in Idaho PROVIDING you obtain the following permits:

1) Submit a complete plan of operations for your dredging activities to the U.S. Forest Service.

2) Obtain a Clean Water Act Section 402 Permit.

3) Get Idaho's State Clean Water Certification.

4)  Next, get yourself an Idaho Department of Water Resources Permit.

5) Last but not least, obtain a Streambed Alteration Permit.

6) Submit all these permits and your operations plan to the state and Federal bureaucrats and wait for them to respond.

See where we're going here? Not only is this total bull shit, but it's meant to deter anyone from using a suction dredge in their mining activities in the Potato State. By the time you get through jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops, the damn dredging season will be over in Idaho (and elsewhere, for that matter). Oh, and one last thing. The anti-mining forces in Idaho are setting up to deliver the knock-out punch in the future. That is, no form of motorized gear at all. Once they get that through the system your gold pans and classifiers will be next. I have one question and that's for my Idaho mining pard, "Muskrat." Gary, what the hell is wrong with people up there???

( it board, bored, or just plain stupid?)

Ditto for Oregon

The anti-mining thing in Oregon doesn't surprise me as much as the recent Idaho rulings. Why is that, you ask? Simply because that I know there was a mass migration in the '70s and '80s from all the hippie-dippie types, dope seed farmers, zonked out Rastafarians, various and sundry tree huggers, and general miscreants and n'er-do-wells from California up to the new "green" paradise of Oreegoon. In fact, I know a few non-mining types from my California days who did exactly that. RANT WARNING! RANT WARNING! RANT WARNING! Let me backtrack a moment and talk more about "wannabe Rastafarians." Now you tell me. What's worse than seeing some mindless, deadbeat-looking middle-class white kid bouncing along the sidewalk with thick rolls of filthy natty dreads (dreadlocks) adorning his or her brow? Oh, and let's not forget the dirty, raggedy shreds of left-over clothing they call "apparel" go unmentioned either. Every time I run into one of these pasty faced, blunt-smoking "bra's" or "sistas" here in Northern New Mexico I have to fight the urge to burst out laughing and then plant my size 12s in their foolish asses while saying something like, "Sorry bra o' sista, but I and I have fi check hard...I-man (Sorry brother or sister, you see I was greatly upset..Amen.)." I only use this sterling example to give you an idea of some of the fine upstanding folks we're dealing with in the Green Bowel Movement. And at the risk of offending a few of you hardy and very adept Oregon miners (and I apologize profusely beforehand), I wouldn't try mining up there if you stuck a f'ing gun to my head. Idaho, California, or Wyoming either. The horseshit going on in those places in terms of the greenies and general BS is exactly why I departed my home state of California for New Mexico 25 years ago. But I also empathize with you. Been there and done that in Califa.

We're Losing the Battle

There's no doubt that my grievous predictions about small-scale gold mining in the American West and Southwest are becoming truer each and every day. Once again I take absolutely no joy in that fact. We're losing the battle for our mining rights, bit-by-bit, despite the good fight put up by many. There very well may come a time when even our venerable sluice boxes and gold pans will require plans of operation and permits. Hell, what am I talking about using "may?" Here in New Mexico there's at least one open gold location operated by the state that requires permitting for gold pans, sluices, and dredges! I'll tell you straight...all this makes me yearn for the old days, but those days are behind me now and I, like you, have to live in the now despite the madness surrounding us. All of this environmental horse crap had its beginnings in earnestness and right-mindedness and concern for good ol' Ma Nature. But the environmental movement has been take over and re-shaped by leftist radicals, self-righteous do-gooders, glassy eyed cultists, and any one else who thinks they can shake some power or money out of it. That's the long and the short of it. It seems there's no place to run, no place to hide for small-scale gold miners any longer.

Want to know how I really feel? To hell with all of them...

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. JR, to answer your question, it's the disease that started in California. It spread to Colorado back in the 1980's.(I think John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" caused that). 1990's it moved into Montana, and sadly it is spreading to Idaho as well. Washington state...lost to human life many years ago....
    It's not just mining they have their sights set on either. Hunting,trapping,fishing,camping....pretty much any outdoor activity that makes folks like us whole.
    I feel sorry for kids growing up today. They will never get to enjoy the life we have had. I figure at best, we have 15-20 years left of our outdoor way of life, probably much less.
    Idaho is still one of the best for outdoors folks, but it depends mostly on what you want to do. Mining is pretty much out....legally anyway.
    The area I'm in, even non-motorized sluice boxes are illegal, yet they sell them in the hardware store in town. The BLM/Forest Service mining booklet I picked up a few years ago, said gold pans were fine...unless you use a shovel to put the dirt in the pan, then you are breaking the law!! Who thinks up this crap?? The Green Cult folks that started in Crazyfornia, that's who. Makes me sick.
    This is longer than I meant it to be. Sorry,... I got worked up!

  2. God Almighty brother...You can't use a shovel to put dirt in a pan?? What are you supposed to use, your hands? I hear you's the cancer that started in the Once-Golden State and was carried like a plague to adjoining states. I guess I didn't realize it at the time, but my mining and dredging days back in the 1980s in California were the high point. Most everything's turned to shit since...mining-wise, anyway.

  3. JR, now you know why I'm so against the Forest Nazis and government interference in general. This coming "election" has me scared to death. There's storm clouds gathering and things are fixin' to get much worse.

  4. One more and I'm done. Get my rant out of the way. Sorry to take up all your space here....
    Look up the definition of the word "Liberty" and this is what it says.
    1) The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.
    2) The power or scope to act as one pleases.

    Don't we all have the right "to Life,Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"?
    I say do as you please but be smart about it. Loud,motorized equipment will be heard by the Forest Nazis. Get out there and have fun, just don't get won't win in court. OK, I'm done.....thanks Jim, Gary

  5. You're right won't beat City Hall in these sorts of instances. Time for some "guerilla" warfare perhaps?

  6. One thing I've learned is the more you watch the boob tube, listen to or read the news, follow politics, etc., the more unhappy and miserable you become. SO I pretty much cut those things out of my life and I'm better off for it. The only thing that gets me really going any more is anything mining-related...then I'm off and running!

  7. You guys can come to Indiana and central Ohio to dig,dredge,sluice, for now anyway.I hear the EPA is trying to force these states to let it make rules over all bodies of water including ponds.The state governors are fighting it. Lets hope they win?

    -Tom V.

  8. Sadly, You have to look over your shoulder no matter what you're doing in the wild. As far as who is the hurting miners the most in Idaho (and probably elsewhere) is the angler lobby. Fishing is big money to the state. From the camps and lodging, restaurants, to permit fees and tackle shops. And of course there is the fact that the government long term agenda is to prevent any others from enjoying the resources that belong to all taxpayers, not the select few that they favor. I laugh when I see anglers shoulder to shoulder standing on a river bank casting in a prescribed order so not drift or cast over one another. And, they pay for for this?

  9. Dan you bring up a point I hadn't even thought of since I'm so fixated on the greenies and their crap. I'll be looking at things a bit differently now.

  10. The global climate change BS is nothing more than a cult religion. There's no basis in fact. How can there be. Supposedly the planet is 4 billion years old (and exactly how did they come to that calculation? ) and they at most 250 years of data. I smell a scam. How can you say the universe is 14 billion years old when to date no one can definitively prove where it begins? The more these green idiots speaks the more holes their theories show. I'm with you. Screw them all. It's way past time to take the fight to them.


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