Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

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Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:31 am

Hey Gold Adventurers...

Time for a little Trip Report on my metal detecting exploits up at Cache Creek yesterday.

I tried unsuccessfully back on Thursday, 18 February, to get my new Gold Bug Pro detector up to Cache Creek for a little playing around.........see how it worked........if I could find any gold.  I did drive up to Granite, BUT the amount of snow & ice still on CR 398 was a little spooky.  Once you started up that road, in the shade, in 4-WD there was little chance of turning around and I sure didn't want to get stuck up that road, all by myself...  I 4-WD'd up the road to where CR 398D turned off to the Granite Cemetery.  WAY too much snow and ice all over for me.  No way to detect in snow that deep and I luckily made my way safely back to Hwy 24 and went home...

BUT, with about 3 weeks of warmer, sunny weather and most the snow melted in around my house I decided to hit Cache Creek again, try detecting with my Gold Bug Pro.

Arriving Granite I was glad to see that CR 398 was basically clear, some wet and muddy spots, but NO problem this time getting up on top and out the power line road to the BLM gate.  Muddy & rough in spots from a dozer & some other heavy equipment running up and down the road, but passable in my 4-WD Jeep.  I stopped at the BLM gate, parked, unloaded my detector, backpack & bicycle...

My plan was to not walk, but ride my bike the mile or so back to the Placering Area parking lot, then walk to a spot I wanted to metal detect.  The road was rough, the air thin, the wind seemed to be a headwind BOTH ways.  I huffed & puffed and walked my bike past some of the wetter/muddier areas over by the primitive campsites.  Eventually, I made it to the parking lot.  I was surprised to see how much snow was STILL there, maybe 1 foot deep in most spots.  The power company had luckily been thru there recently and used a Caterpillar to essentially grade the snow off the road, otherwise no way I'd have made it to the parking lot area.

Here's several pics of the parking lot:




I then hiked thru the snow and open spots below the trees over to the spot I wanted to detect....an old reddish berm area I worked/sluiced last year.  I figured that it would have the least amount of junk and best chance for gold.

A few pics of the berm spot, partly clear of snow:





I somehow, in all my excitement, left my owner's manual for the Gold Bug Pro in my Jeep, so I had to fire it up, ground balance it from memory.  I think I got it setup O.K.  I spent about 20 minutes carefully detecting the open areas.  LOTs of indications of hot rocks, as the display alerted me.  I did get a good "zip, zip" and that turned out to be a screw off some piece of gold prospecting equipment.  Dang it...  Embarassed   Thought for SURE that would be a nugget.  Got another hit that turned out to be an old square nail.  Later another "zip, zip" that turned out to be the shank of a small screw.  Lastly, one last hit turned out to be a small stainless steel grommet off something.  Ugh... Even this virgin berm was full of junk!

My detector and the berm:



The wind really picked up and being about 32 degrees out it got to feeling "cold".  Having detected most the open area of this berm and finding no gold I decided to dig a small soil sample, bring it home in a quart Ziplock bag to pan out.

So, as the clouds covered the sky, the wind picked up, I hiked back to the snow covered parking lot, got on my bike and rode/pushed it back to my Jeep.  Here's a look from power line road looking back to the primitive camping areas & parking:



A view North, back up the power line road, showing how clear of snow the open areas are now, but you can't see the still headwind going back that direction:



Back home I showed off my detecting junk and bag of dirt:



I panned out that orangish/reddish glacial gravel and no surprise...........found a little color in my pan.  Wink




So, even though my metal detecting for 20 minutes didn't produce any pickers or nuggets, I didn't get completely skunked on the day...

I was able to make one short video: https://youtu.be/1x_MUKpanxM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x_MUKpanxM&feature=youtu.be

It was quite the "gold adventure" for a few hours with the bike ride, walking thru the snow and all.  Can't wait for more snow to melt off...

COME ON SPRING!

Randy  C-17A   Smile



Last edited by Admin on Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by gold girl on Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:05 pm

I would call that determination!! I'm glad you are careful when you are out there by yourself! I remember that parking lot...only it was about 90degrees that day

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:40 pm

Sis,

GREAT to see you again here on the new Forum!

Looks like you got your password reset and found the correct URL to get you here to all the fun. Wink

Yep. You know me. One "determined" gold prospector...

That parking lot when you & Mom were here was nothing but graded rocks. Today, it's under 1+ feet of snow.

I am very careful. However, IF I was to pass away while prospecting, well..........not a bad way to go! Wink

Come by more often.....make more posts...

Your Brother,

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Chief05 on Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:46 pm

Sir:

Just make sure you call me from your cell and let me know your location so I can come and get that lucky sluice and your cons because you never get skunked! Surprised you didn't pan the mud holes on your way back out...HA
Randy's red berm really look's inviting, glad you were able to get out for a couple hours anyway, but did you have your stinkin permit.

Ron

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:29 pm

Chief,

Ha.  Well.........for a few more days, NO permit & fee required...

I was just "checking out" the area there for you, my friend.  I was hoping to have some flowing water already to start some sluicing ops, BUT that little ditch flowing from the old beaver pond above was solid ice.

Didn't need to pan in the mud puddles on the way out............I had a tub of warm water wanting for me at home.  Wink

Guess what, this was my second trip up in the last 3 weeks and NO stinking "wintering Elks" or anything to be seen, moving or not.  BLM is so convinced that Cache Creek is a nature preserve.  They have NO real clue what goes on there....  They just dream and make things up.

I was up there at Cache Creek 41 separate times, over 41 individual days last year from 1 Jan thru 31 Dec 2015.  I think I saw BLM a total of 3 times.  Twice were just parked US Government vehicles and once was BLM Ranger Steve Cunningham, who actually walked down from the Granite Cemetery parking lot to hassle me for a while...  I can tell you I know Cache Creek better than they do.

Yep.  We need to work that red berm spot hard just as soon as we can...  Wink

Oh, no problem.  IF I am dying a slow death, I'll call you..............report my location...........not for a recovery of my carcass.........just leave it for all the rare Lynx, Bobcats & other scavengers BLM holds more dear than any human.....and come "recover" my equipment & cons.  Ha.

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by gold girl on Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:25 pm

That's funny!! Just curious, was the red berm spot where we were prospecting last July? All the dirt there looked pretty red to me in that area. If you get really bored, hitch hike out here to cold, wet, green Kalifornia! We're getting more rain this week ....there should be plenty of places to use your metal detector,pan or sluice. We should have some new flood gold this year for sure

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:59 am

Sis,

Yep... Good eyes... That IS the exact same spot I took you & Mom to prospecting last Summer.

It's my current favorite on the property. However, still under snow & ice. I need the melt to start and the water to flow so I can sluice some more of that red/orange "dirt". Wink

Sadly, the BLM is trying to implement a new 2016 Environmental Assessment/Mgt Plan at Cache Creek and cram a bunch of new restrictions down our throats there. The worst parts of the "plan" include:

1). Limits prospecting access to just half the year (Memorial Day weekend to 30 November), 2). Implement a $5 a day/$25 a "season" permit/fee system, 3). Implements OSHA safety/digging standards for holes/pits, 4). Limits in stream equipment to a simple hand pan only, 5). Limits prospecting on the 2,160-acre parcel to just 25 acres of BLM's choosing.

So, always from bad to worse with the BLM. They, the US Forest Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the whole bloody Dept. of Interior are 110% eco-Nazi owned today..........do ONLY as they dictate. We "humans" are seen as the cancer of the planet, can't ever get a "fair share" of anything, especially our public lands today. Nothing but more National Monuments, more Wilderness Areas, more "Endangered" and "Threatened" species designations for rats, toads, frogs, fleas & weeds......that drive "critical habitat" designations and zillions more acres of OUR public lands are closed off to us humans..........and especially us gold prospectors. Criminals all... Embarassed

Soon, they will completely shut us down up at Cache Creek so the plants & animals can have all that gold for themselves. Bastards.

I am fighting BLM, but I'll lose. Mad

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by dickb on Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:50 am

Hi Randy:

I sure wish I could tell you a way to beat them at their game. but I can't. They make their own rules as they want and have no interest in fair and equal use by all citizens. It's only about them! Really sad and mean spirited as I see it. It's like they have no regard for defending the rights of the people. Protecting their jobs is the agenda.

Dickb


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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:54 am

Dickb,

Yep...  DOI is totally ignoring it's Congressional mandate to manage our public lands for "Multiple Use".  Today, there's only ONE use........for extreme environmentalists.  Nobody else gets even a few crumbs.

Obama's abused the Antiquities Act of 1906 worse than ANY president before him.  In 7 years Obama's designated or expanded 22 National Monuments, for over 260,000,000 acres!  Now that land is forever off limits, withdrawn from mineral entry, claiming, access, use, enjoyment.  

We now have 120 National Monuments for 100s of millions of acres and add in the 759 Wilderness Areas totaling 109,754,604 acres and prospectors see incredible amounts of public land now removed from their access, use and enjoyment.  

Every year the US Fish & Wildlife Service, owned lock, stock & barrel by the eco-Nazis, grants "Endangered" and "Threatened" species status to every rat, flea, toad and weed out there.....which drives mandatory "Critical Habitat" designations that remove millions more acres from human use, access, enjoyment.

And with all that for the eco-Nazis, BLM can't give us gold prospectors a measly 2,160 acre parcel that for 52 years was nothing but the biggest & longest running hydraulic gold mine in Colorado state history.  Nope.  Have to run us off it and try and make it yet another plant & animal sanctuary.....despite all the "damage" from decades of mining.

Every acre for the eco-Nazis..........not one for anyone else. Embarassed

What BLM is doing at Cache Creek is criminal mismanagement of the highest order.

Also, locally here, the USFS has continually done the same......abused the public trust and given it all to the eco-Nazis.  Every new "Travel Management Plan" and every new "EA/Mgt Plan" revision only does ONE thing.....add new limits, new restrictions, new prohibitions, closes off more roads, access and establishes new fees and raises old ones.  Talk to the old timers here in BV and they'll tell you that when they were kids growing up you could DRIVE a car/vehicle to any one of 15 high mountain Alpine lakes in the area.  Some needed a 4-WD, others just a station wagon or sedan. Today?  NOT A ONE can be driven to...  Gates, boulders, barriers block the roads or the roads have been "reclaimed".  SO, in effect old people, handicapped people, vets with disabilities, families with small kids, etc., can't enjoy even ONE lake.  ONLY the able bodied folks, with 2 good legs and strong lungs for the 9,000 to 12,000 altitude can access them today.  Just the way the eco-Nazis want it.  Nobody but them...  Disgusting.

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by russau on Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:08 am

And like you say about the press "legacy" land .........what happens when the prezs use up all of the land as "their" legacy??? what will the last prez do for "his legacy" for land when the previos prezs have "taken" all of the ava. land????????????? I cant believe that bilery has the mounmentum that she has............a responsible person would think that the Clintons have proven themselves UNTRUSTWORTY / LIERS / and benn guided by the wacoenviromentalists like al bore and his groupies!!!!

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:24 am

Russ,

O.K.  With a pot of coffee in me I am fired up to rant...

Yep.  Sad as can be...  BUT.......absolutely nothing could or would ever stop a Democrat for voting for a Democrat..............

...........they ALREADY know Hillary is evil, criminal, corrupt, a liar, dirty, sleazy, a traitor to the Constitution......who sold our country and us real citizens out for donations to her & Bill's "Clinton Foundation" money laundering scheme.  

http://theblacksphere.net/2016/01/clinton-foundation-money-laundering-scheme/

They actually admire all these "qualities"............just like Ol' Slick Willie.......they revere him like a god.......because he cheated, lied under oath, lied to the American people to our faces......and "got away with it" over and over and over...  Slick Willie was Impeached by the House and tried in the Senate....and it drug on so long it was finally dismissed.  Slick Willie survived.  That made him a god to Democrats.  Nixon resigned after RNC operatives broke into the DNC headquarters, and he simply knew about it.  Nixon had more decency & integrity in his little toe than both Clintons combined.  Decency, honesty, morality, integrity....NONE of that matters a bit today...to a godless, Commie Liberal/Progressive Democrat.

Oh, as a little aside here...  When I went thru pilot training my best buddy was from Little Rock, Arkansas.  Born, raised there his whole life. His brother was on the Police Department.  He always laughed how Governor Slick Willie Clinton was perpetually being pulled over, found in parked cars, called to some "disturbance" or "suspicious" activity.....only to find Bill with some girl, or several girls....and not Hillary.  He was always getting off the hook.  The cops would just apologize, "Sorry Governor, didn't know it was you".....and then leave.  Just confirms to me what everyone already knows.

Yep. They are a soulless group of people that are all exactly the same way...think the same way.   They all have zero morals, values, no conscience ...... believe in "the ends always justifies the means" and in absolute power & control for THEM over all others...  All thru laws and government that dictate THEIR agendas...

One of the very FIRST laws the Democrats crammed down our throats here in Kolorado when they took complete power in 2012 was rewriting all our election laws.  Now we have the absolute worst "laws" in the nation:

Same day registration
Self-certification of voter status as to residency
No I.D. required
Friends can carry others' ballots to the polling station and turn them in for "them"...
Mail in ballots sent to every registered voter (so Democrats can scoop up all the abandoned ballots at post offices, school mail rooms, apartment buildings, etc. and fill them out)
Mail in ballots can be requested off the Sec of State web site endlessly, just "self-certify" and get another sent to your home, your P.O. Box, your work, your neighbor's house...
No limit to the number of polling stations you can vote at or ballots you can get, fill out, send in, submit...
No "provisional" ballots for any that seem "questionable".....all count instantly

Now WHY on earth would the Democrats do such a thing?  Well, simple.  To "disenfranchise" all real state citizens and allow & encourage illegals, refugees, out of staters to vote here, and for Democrats to vote all they want, as much as they want, and NO way to catch any of them!

That alone shows you the evil & corruption in the Democrat mind.  Lie, cheat, steal....rig elections and get away with it...."legally".

This FoxNews story shows intentional voter fraud with illegals because NO I.D. is required. Groups direct illegals to states and localities without I.D. requirements so they can illegally vote for Democrats:   http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-and-friends/blog/category/voter+fraud

SO, Hillary is the perfect Witch they want running the government as corruptly as Barack Hussein Obama has the last 7+ years.  Has his DoJ prosecuted or sent even ONE criminal in Obama's "administration" to prison?  NOPE.  Where's the investigations into the Fast & Furious gun running scandal, the NSA spying scandal, the DoJ spying on the Associated Press scandal, the IRS targeting scandal, the use of alias e-mails scandals to avoid FOIA requests scandals, the lying about Obamacare scandal, the VA healthcare scandals, the Benghazi scandal, on and on and on...  They have 2 blind Democrat eyes to justice.

HOWEVER, Obama's corrupt DoJ considered prosecuting "Climate Deniers":  http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/loretta-lynch-DOJ-climate-denial/2016/03/10/id/718511/?ns_mail_uid=96565599&ns_mail_job=1659139_03102016&s=al&dkt_nbr=udskarye   Remember, the debate is over, the "science is settled" and anyone that refutes their agenda is now a criminal.  Democrats in action.  

They need to go here to get some truth on the subject:  http://iceagenow.info/  This site has real, un-manipulated data, facts, figures, info.  But, they don't want the truth because it refutes their agenda.

When I went to my local Chaffee County Public Library, to get a card, I had to show them a photo I.D. AND proof of county residency....like my power bill with my name and address on it.  BUT now.....I can vote easier than checking out a book at the library.............all thanks to the Democrats.   

One more tiny little example of corrupt Democrats in action.  Here in Chaffee County, in the last election, we had a County Commissioner seat up for election.  The incumbent was a RINO, so we Republicans in our caucus "fired" him and threw party support behind a Tea Party Conservative candidate.  Well, the Chaffee County Democrats decided that our incumbent RINO was such a good Democrat and since they didn't have anyone "better", they decided to NOT run a Democrat against him in the race because he was a better Democrat than they could put up...  Well, since the Democrats elected to not run a Democrat the winner of the Republican primary would by default win the seat.  Well, when it became apparent the RINO would actually lose to the Tea Party candidate they panicked.  SO, what did the Democrats here do?  They sent out e-mails to all the faithful Democrats in the county asking everyone to quickly reregister as supposed Republicans, so they could vote for their RINO and against our Tea Party candidate.....then quickly switch back to be able to vote Democrat in the general election in November.  Well, out of the thousands of votes in the county cast, our Tea Party candidate lost by a measly 152 votes.  Any guess how many Democrats flip flopped to essentially get 2 votes per election cycle?  Just shows the depravity of Democrats.  The ends justifies the means in every case.

Here's the ad that ran for weeks in all the local papers telling Democrats and Independents to reregister as supposed Republicans, vote for the RINO.  The newspaper article where the Democrats said our RINO was better than any Democrat they could put up:




All corrupt...

Randy  C-17A   Embarassed
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:15 am

Hey Russ,

Just MORE Obama corruption, idiocy & criminal action...

Just yesterday Obama's Dept of Interior announced a "surprise" flip-flop ban on all oil & gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.  So, zillions of jobs will be lost, cheaper energy lost, the economy will suffer all the more.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Obama-oil-drilling-Atlantic-Ocean/2016/03/15/id/719151/

Just one more example of Obama's radical and criminal "Climate Change" B.S. in action.  Only serves the eco-Nazis and Obama's "legacy" as the absolute most traitorous, criminal president in all U.S. history.

Randy  C-17A  Smile

P.S. We got a "surprise" 2 more inches of snow here last night. Everything's white again, the hills solid white. NO Global Warming here....18F outside.
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by russau on Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:52 am

And the American people keep putting up with this by voteing them back into some office and saying how great they are! makes my sick to think of it!!!! Im scared to think of what might happen at this election , for our Country and Her people !!!!!!!!!! and you say snow?? I just got done cutting my grass.......my plum tree is blooming and the maples are all budded out!

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by russau on Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:53 am

And it just goes to show you how soon "we" forget!!

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:53 am

Russ,

The problem is this..........the country is at a tipping point.  Left vs. Right is at or near 50/50, with some Independents in the middle.

Sadly, way too many low information & misled soft minds in the country believed Obama & godless, Commie Liberal Lies and Obama won not once, but twice.  8 years to rule. So, Obama & the Left pulled off 2 wins by the thinnest of popular vote margins.  Basically a 51% to 48% contest in many ways, in total popular votes.  Obama got a vast majority of electoral votes, but MANY of the 12 "swing" states were all within a percentage point or two.....real close.  His big wins don't show the true divide in the country today.

Bottom line is Obama won, but not by a super majority by ANY means.  What we have had for the last 7+ sorry years is Thomas Jefferson's "Tyranny of the Majority" in action.  48% of us who opposed Obama & all he and the Democrats wanted to do with this country or stand for have been shit on left and right, with NO power, no voice, no way to escape the stupidity & lunacy.  A great recipe for revolution.

The Democrats acted like they had a supreme "mandate" from the people to do whatever they wanted, against ALL opposition or common sense....and they acted like it.  Bastards.  Pelosi in the House was a total witch.  Reid in the Senate was a complete asshole.  They both still are...

So, Democrats have RULED like tyrants, took this country as far, far, far Left as they could thru their laws, Liberal judge appointments and Obama's endless EOs.  Trying to irrevocably get America to be Amerika...a Marxist/Socialist state......with them in power over the enslaved, idiot masses.   To get the population so drugged up, so dumbed down, so hopelessly indoctrinated & dependent on the government thru welfare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, healthcare, childcare, every care imaginable.........and ideology of "government knows best".......that they create a endless situation of dependency and voting Democrat for all the freebies.

The Democrats also want to import every stinking illegal alien and Muslim refugee on the planet. Any wonder Obama has kept the borders intentionally wide open and refuses to deport illegal aliens, per the law?  Why?  To over night give them all "status" and "amnesty" so they can then have them all instantly "legal", although millions already vote Democrat illegally in our elections, so as to irrevocably tip the balance of power in elections to a 1 Party system -- Democrat.  They want this estimated 12 to as high as 30 million illegals to "come out of the shadows"......join society overnight......and vote Democrat as the next bought & sold voting block of enslaved people.

Democrats are the party of welfare, government dependency & stolen lives/dreams.  Their "fairness" isn't really fair at all...........it's just legalized theft to steal from one group and give to a group that neither earned it nor deserves it......all to buy votes.

So sad to see what the Democrats have done to the blacks.  The Democrats are today's new slave masters of old.  Starting with LBJ's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" programs in January of 1964 we see nothing BUT bad for the blacks.  Back then blacks were Bible believing, Conservative, family-based folks.  Maybe poor, but honest, hard working, stayed out of trouble with the law and jail. Back in 1964 the out of wedlock birth rate for the country was small, like 6% overall.  Today?  The CDC will report 72.2% of all black babies and now 54% of all Hispanic babies are born out of wedlock.  The Liberal Democrats' War on Poverty has been a long-term War on Family/War on Marriage.  Socialist government has become the "daddy" to the blacks and they are slaves to their Democrat masters.  

We've wasted an estimated $22 TRILLION dollars at the federal & state levels since 1964 on so called "anti-poverty" programs and social programs & welfare and what do we have to show for it?  $22 trillion wasted dollars and poverty at 35 year highs, more blacks & Hispanics in our jails & prisons than on the streets, no fathers at home raising & paying for their kids.  Nothing but bad.  MLK would spin 10,000 RPM in his grave if he could see what the Democrats have truly done to his people...and to see the depravity of the race hustlers like Obama, Sharpton, Jackson out there as the biggest racists & hate mongers in the country, getting & staying rich on the backs of their own enslaved black community.  Simply sad beyond belief...   Embarassed

Last night my son wanted to watch a family movie, so we watched a movie called "Sicario".  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8tlEcnrGnU

It was a very disturbing and non-feel good movie that showed the daily brutality of the Mexican drug cartels & drug lords.  What it also showed was the totally wide open Southern border where daily illegals stream across into Amerika, where drug lords send "mules" to smuggle hard drugs, guns, people, whatever into our country basically unchecked.  There are tunnels for the smuggling, open range too vast to contain the problem.  The numbers are eye popping. Most get thru, some get caught. When illegals know the message is "free food, healthcare, housing, welfare and eventual citizenship" under the Democrats & Obama they just stream here.  NO penalty for them to break our laws.  Only the promise to vote Democrat.

In 2008 98% of all blacks voted Obama.  In 2012 95% of all blacks voted Obama.  Sure, they all wanted a first "black" president, BUT they mostly wanted a Democrat in power and more welfare and freebies from the government.  They knew a "brother" AND Democrat could & would deliver.  Blacks have trended more and more to vote Democrat over the years.  Non-whites voted for Obama 89%, as most again are registered Democrats.  In the 1992 presidential election, just 13 percent of the Democratic vote came from black voters. In 2014, it almost doubled to 23 percent and yet blacks make up only 12.6% of the population. 80% of all blacks are registered Democrats. 56% of all Hispanics are now registered Democrats.  Look at the states Hillary recently carried over Bernie Sanders.....all in the South, all had huge black populations.  Hillary sure wouldn't have won them without the blacks voting for her.  Polls show that most "Independents" usually end up voting Democrat and for Liberal issues, and Independent politicians usually "caucus" with the Democrats, so they are really just Democrats by another name.  It sounds so GOOD and so SELF-Determined to call yourself an "Independent", but actions speak louder than words....if you caucus Democrat and vote Democrat.....you're a godless, Commie Liberal Democrat without the guts to man up and be labeled as such.

http://www.people-press.org/2015/04/07/a-deep-dive-into-party-affiliation/
http://www.gallup.com/poll/139880/election-polls-presidential-vote-groups.aspx
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_States

So, sadly, the country is at a tipping point.  Are we AMERICA, the country of freedom, opportunity, enterprise.............or are we AMERIKA, a Socialist/Marxist police state run by the Liberal Democrat elites that are all so, so smart, know how to rules us little people?

Sadly, way too many have simply given up their individual rights, self-determination, lives for the daily promise of a few crumbs.

Alexander Fraser Tytler (October 15, 1747 – January 5, 1813) was a Scottish-born British lawyer and writer, summed it up very well, way back when:  

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

Look at the popularity of self-described "Socialist Democrat" Bernie Sanders today.  He's promising to give everyone "free" college tuition, "free" healthcare and "free" Social Security to everyone, even people that haven't PAID INTO the system their whole lives.....says he'll expand SS for "those in need too".  Ha.  The lowball estimate is Bernie would have to raise taxes a whopping $15.3 TRILLION a year to pay for all this "free" stuff.  Hillary has promised to give more "free" stuff to buy votes too....her new taxes would be about $1.1 trillion more.  Tame by comparison.  BUT, the BL is today it resonates with way too many people that they all DESERVE something for nothing, they deserve someone else to pay for their school, their lives.

One of our revered presidents, Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address in 1865 saw the injustice of slavery and one man taking advantage of another.  He famously said, "It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged."

Well, that same injustice is being perpetrated on the producers, the working people, the businessmen & businesswomen today. Today HALF the people in this country don't pay one cent in federal income taxes, yet get 100% of the benefits of doing so.  Zillions of millions don't work, live on welfare and the 100s of social programs created over the years.  These people have allowed politicians to create the same injustice Lincoln sought to eradicate with his Emancipation Proclamation of 1 January 1863.  Today, millions "wring their bread from the sweat of other men's faces".....having government steal from one and give to the other.

So, any wonder too that Donald Trump is as popular as he is?  He's promised to "take a flamethrower to Washington D.C.".  He's promised to build a wall and deport illegals.  He's promised to "make America great again" and bring back jobs and reign in government.  He's an outsider rich enough not needing to be bought and owned by special interests.  Congress today has a paltry 11% approval rating.  In the past it was as low as 7%.  Go figure.  The few that said they approve of Congress are probably illegals, all hoping for Obama & a RINO controlled Congress to grant them amnesty and a free citizenship.

BL:  We're doomed as a nation unless things turn around.  If a Donald Trump can't make things even marginally better, we're surely doomed under the status quo of "establishment" politics & political correctness and our now $19.11 TRILLION national debt growing unchecked by billions a day and a future bill to pay of over $100 trillion.  The SAD numbers shown here:  http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Randy  "C-17A"  Smile
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by russau on Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:29 pm

Randy , walls and fences along the U.S. - Mexico Boarder are passé ! they no loner jump the fence for the bigger drug lords , they use big tunnels and I would imagine they will have bigger tunnels as time goes by that go to other cities and NOT just "on the other side of the fence tat they have now.

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:24 pm

Russ,

Sadly, yep...  Probably so.

BL:  we must enforce our existing immigration laws...........deport them one and all..........NOT reward CRIMINAL behavior and sure NOT give them welfare, housing, food stamps, every benefit of being a U.S. citizen w/o earning it...  This country is BROKE!  We're bankrupt.  We have over $19 TRILLION in debt and growing by billions a day.  Should NOT be spending 100s of billions a year on citizens of another country.

Law breakers ARE criminals.  Period.  Dot.  End of story.  Illegal aliens are here illegally.  Democrats love to reward bad behavior, criminal behavior, excuse it all.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

We simply must end the "anchor baby" travesty too.  NO, babies born to illegals here illegally, NOT already U.S. citizens are NOT U.S citizens...   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_baby

One MUST go back to the timeframe when the 14th Amendment was adopted...in 1868.  The U.S. Senator that authored the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard, and included in clarifying debate on the Senate floor clearly said the "intent" of Congress and the 14th Amendment was children born to "aliens" were NOT citizens automatically:

"During the original congressional debate over the amendment Senator Jacob M. Howard of Michigan—the author of the Citizenship Clause[43]—described the clause as having the same content, despite different wording, as the earlier Civil Rights Act of 1866, namely, that it excludes Native Americans who maintain their tribal ties and "persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers."[44] According to historian Glenn W. LaFantasie of Western Kentucky University, "A good number of his fellow senators supported his view of the citizenship clause."[43] Others also agreed that the children of ambassadors and foreign ministers were to be excluded.[45][46]"

So, let's follow the INTENT of Congress.  Deport them all.  Let them follow the same naturalization process as all others have done before them.  NO amnesty, no free passing of "GO" and no "social & welfare benefits" to criminals here illegally.

Oh, love this group of voters in South Carolina being interviewed, voicing their disgust at "political correctness" and government doing everything wrong and against the REAL U.S. citizens. They lay it out there pretty well. NO surprise to me why Trump is resonating with voters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-z_wRErK2E

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by russau on Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:12 am

Admin wrote:Russ,

Sadly, yep...  Probably so.

BL:  we must enforce our existing immigration laws...........deport them one and all..........NOT reward CRIMINAL behavior and sure NOT give them welfare, housing, food stamps, every benefit of being a U.S. citizen w/o earning it...  This country is BROKE!  We're bankrupt.  We have over $19 TRILLION in debt and growing by billions a day.  Should NOT be spending 100s of billions a year on citizens of another country.

C-17A  Smile
Criminal behavior? Do you mean like what slippery willy and his .........................wife has done since Menna , Arkansa to the White House and now trying to pull another fast one over on America and Her people? theres several movies out about the destructive path they left on the way to the White House. and they keep getting voted in????????????

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by plainsprospector on Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:49 pm

So Randy.......Is this it? If so, when will all of this start? If they are going to cram everyone into this box and say enjoy your prospecting experience......I'm done. I enjoy the cemetery area, but it sounds like that area would be out of limits along with the live water.

http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/royal_gorge_field/planning0/rgfo_cache_creek.Par.73342.File.dat/DOI-BLM-CO-200-2012-0069%20EA_Decision_Record.pdf
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 26, 2016 2:05 pm

Plainsprospector,

Well.................the fight is still ongoing...  

The plan was first signed on 2 Feb 16. There's a 30-day Protest/Appeal period. When I told BLM I was going to file a Protest/Appeal, they had to revise the paragraph with the process and resign it, which was on 23 Feb 16. So, the 30-day period ended on 24 March.

I recently drafted a letter for Congressman Doug Lamborn's office and he sent it to the Colorado BLM Director Ruth Welch on 22 March.

It basically says we're NOT happy with BLM's gross mismanagement of Cache Creek, and he asks them to rescind their new EA/Mgt Plan and consider designating Cache Creek a Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) for us gold prospectors.  No answer back yet.

I am also working with Senator Cory Gardner's office too.  No idea IF I'll get a letter or some other support from him against the BLM.

Doesn't look good.  We'll see.  I'll try to keep everyone updated.

Sure wouldn't hurt to have other folks contact Senator Gardner's and Congressman Lamborns' offices and speak up, say you too want BLM to back off, let us recreational prospectors prospect.

I have filed a Protest & Appeal and a request for a Stay to this BLM plan up to the Dept of Interior's Interior Board of Land Appeals.  Their regional solicitor wrote a 10-page briefing full of legalese and past BLM precedents to have the board dismiss my appeal as moot.  So, NO doubt the IBLA will dismiss my Protest/Appeal.  That's what they historically do.  They are NO "disinterested" 3rd party judges....they're DOI paid employees, so they're supposed to dismiss any/all Protests/Appeals.  That's their job.

This is why the ONLY way to keep Cache Creek open to prospecting is to get Gardner & Lamborn to put Congressional pressure on BLM.  Barring BLM playing nice we're toast.  Then, the ONLY way to "save" Cache Creek from BLM will be Congressional legislation.

Well see.

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by plainsprospector on Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:07 pm

I will contact Gardner's office also. He is from Yuma CO. My neck of the woods. I wrote Kalem with BLM a couple of letters last January. I can't believe that only 12 responses were received by BLM last year when they were open for comment on this. Rattle some cages people.
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 26, 2016 6:42 pm

Plainsprospector,

Ha. Well..........sadly, of the thousands of people that come from out of the local area and out of state, almost NOBODY knows what BLM has been and is up to as to their EA/Mgt Plan. BLM likes it that way.... They can get almost no complaints, dismiss any & all concerns and then publish their plan as law in the Federal Register.

Sadly, 99.999999999% of the prospectors will show up this year, expecting things to be the same as last year and get a BIG surprise that:

1). We can ONLY prospect in the designated 25-acre "placering area".
2). We have to pay a $5 a day or $25 a "season" permit/fee.
3). We only get 1/2 year access.
4). BLM will implement OSHA-type excavation rules/standards on digging to keep us "safe" from ourselves.
5). Limit in creek equipment to ONLY a hand pan.

The ONLY 2 improvements are:

1). We get to again use a wheeled barrel/cart to haul our equipment.
2). We get to now use certain small battery powered recirculating systems of 25 gals or smaller and hand cranked or battery powered dry washers of 1/2 a yard capacity or smaller.

Well, this is crap, as dry washers are a big waste of time as the gold's too fine and mostly in clay and the piddley 25-gal tub will let you put maybe 4 5-gal buckets of water you carry from the creek and then run 4 5-gal buckets of dirt before it's full, needing to be dumped, cleaned and refilled with water. Talk about extra work and things that won't work!

Here's the REAL problem. BLM writes their own "Decision Language" and THEN follows their own Decision Language. This gives plants & animals #1 priority in ALL "conflict" resolution or decisions. Humans have by default NO priority:

Decision Language:
1-16: Conflicts between Wildlife Habitat and other uses will be resolved in favor of
achieving vegetation management goals.
1-24: Conflicts between fishery habitat and other values will be resolved in favor of
fishery habitat.

SO, absolutely NO WAY we prospectors can or will ever get a fair deal, a fair shake. This basically drives their entire EA/RMP/NEPA processes to do only one thing......endlessly favor plants & animals............run humans off the land. Every EA/RMP or revision since 2000 when they bought the property has moved to do 1 thing......run recreational prospectors OFF the land. Soon, they WILL shut us down completely. Because BLM says when there's a problem to be solved and BLM says humans are the problem and have no priority by design. So, it's a huge self-licking ice cream cone. Only ONE outcome can EVER be had....

This is why more people need to know what BLM is doing.............screwing us all royally.............and contact Gardner & Lamborn's offices.

Thanks for your support!

Randy C-17A Smile
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by plainsprospector on Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:21 pm

Randy,

Just an FYI. I emailed Kalem today asking about the timeline for their plan. Evidently, since there was an appeal (yours). He said there would be no changes this upcoming summer. Your appeal may not be in vain.
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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:09 am

Hey plainsprospector,

Well..........great to hear! A delay right now is better than implementation.... Gives us more time to get Senator Gardner & Congressman Lamborn to help us... Very Happy

Now, that said....

It's a battle that surely isn't over from the BLM's perspective. They have time, their own self-written policy, past precedent and our tax dollars on THEIR side. They also have their taxpayer funded lawyers and the IBLA, which is a board of DOI employees that dismisses most every case against the BLM. They have employees that are following the U.N.'s Agenda 21 Chapter 15 to a tee, are raised as extreme environmentalists. Do you know the Canyon City BLM for all it's people has nobody with ANY prospecting and/or mining experience, yet they are the ones that make the rules, set the limits/restrictions, write these "plans"?

I told Congressman Lamborn last March when he came here and I toured him up at Cache Creek and even had him pan for gold, that BLM was FOREVER marching in 1 direction........only........to eventually close Cache Creek to all recreational gold prospecting. It was already considered as the next alternative action in their plan, that of the 29 "resource values" they say they "evaluate" no less than 27 of 29 would be neutral (like archeological) or would benefit and some greatly (like water quality) IF they closed Cache Creek to all prospecting activities. Just shut us down, run us off.

If you look at the plan..........ALL prospector inputs were summarily dismissed and never even considered. Of the dozens of "alternative" actions and directions the plan COULD have taken they ONLY chose 3 to consider: 1). Do nothing, 2). Implement THEIR plan as written and 3). Close Cache Creek completely to all recreational gold prospecting.

Well, since THEY said there had to be a new plan, NO WAY would they ever seriously pick # 1.....do nothing, leave things as they are. There has NEVER been a USFS or BLM plan, once proposed, that ever then decided to leave things as they were, ever. SO, they only left 2 choices, theirs and one WE surely wouldn't want....end all prospecting. Just like me giving my kids a "choice".....pick what I want you to do, OR pick something WAY worse for them. Ha. Wink

I told Congressman Lamborn last year BLM would never stop. They'd never change their mind. Their track record and plans from 2000 to that day was to only favor plants & animals and screw us. Just look at the plan and you'll see from Draft # 1 (14 pages) to Draft # 2 (61 pages) to their final Plan (98 pages) nothing changed as to content, it just got bigger, more bureaucratic, more red tape. Hell, even tough it was signed in February of 2016 the date on the cover page STILL shows February 2014! It's the SAME plan they conceived in darkness, hatched in secret, sprang on us all in March of 2014.....no improvements, no meeting us in the middle. Nope. Just exactly what THEY want, dismiss all others, cram it down our throat.

I told Congressman Lamborn the ONLY way long-term was to enact legislation that could be attached as an amendment to a "must pass" bill and force BLM "by law" to manage Cache Creek as a national level mineral resource area.....a "National Gold Prospecting Recreation Area" vis Congressional action. Or, force BLM to designate it as such....vis BLM administrative action......as a Special Recreation Management Area for gold prospecting.

Otherwise, me and my Protest/Appeal............even Congressman Lamborn............we're just "speed bumps" on the way for them. They'll just try again next year, wait until Lamborn is out of office, find a way with their lawyers to cram it down our throats any way they can.

So, tomorrow I get back with Senator Gardner's office and see IF he'll send BLM's Colorado state director Ruth Welch a letter too.

Wish us all luck!

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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:14 am

Plainsprospector,

FWIW, here's the Protest/Appeal & request for a Stay to the IBLA I wrote and sent in...

It was given Docket Number: IBLA 2016 -0104. The DOI Regional Solicitor wrote a 10-page opinion saying I had no grounds for appeal, no legal precedent to stop BLM's plan.

SO, soon IBLA will review my case, then do what they always do, dismiss my case as moot. Why we need Congressional help!

Randy C-17A Smile

-------------------

DOCKET #: IBLA 2016-0104

1 March 2016

To: Mr. Keith E. Berger, Field Manager
Royal Gorge Field Office
3028 E. Main Street
Cañon City, CO 81212

Regional Solicitor
Rocky Mountain Region
755 Parfet Street, Suite 151
Lakewood, CO 80215

U.S. Department of the Interior
Office of Hearings and Appeals
Interior Board of Land Appeals
801 N. Quincy Street, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203

From: Randy L. Witham
17600 County Road 367
Buena Vista, Colorado 81211
1-719-395-2081
randylwitham@gmail.com

Subject: My Protest, Appeal and Request for a Stay to the BLM Environmental Assessment (EA), Cache Creek Placer Area Management Plan, DOI-BLM-CO-200-2012-0069 EA, February 2014, Resigned 23 February 2016

(New 23 Feb 2016 dated/re-signed document located here: http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/royal_gorge_field/planning0/rgfo_cache_creek.Par.33383.File.dat/DOI-BLM-CO-200-2012-0069%20EA_final_022316_.pdf)


Dear Mr. Berger, et al.,

As you are the designated "Authorized Official", IAW Page 69 of the proposed new plan, under APPEALS, I hereby officially protest this BLM action and Appeal for a Stay from the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Because this decision is incredibly adverse to me and to thousands of prospectors nationwide and I believe it to be the incorrect action by BLM concerning the Cache Creek Placer Area, for the record, I respectfully submit the following:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

To BLM’s credit, two things in this new plan have marginally improved over previous plans:

1). Being allowed to again use a wheeled cart/buggy/barrel to shuttle equipment & personal effects from parking to a prospecting site and back.

2). Being allowed to use certain small battery powered re-circulating & dry washing equipment off the creek.

Honestly, both of these should have been previously allowed and in no way constitute a fair give back to recreational prospectors WRT the many unfair new negatives of the plan.

All the rest of this new 98-page, 23 Feb 2016 dated/re-signed, EA/Mgt Plan is for the worse, takes the Cache Creek Placering Area in the absolute wrong direction. Simply onerous, unnecessary, burdensome, bureaucratic, costly and patently unfair.

The main negatives for this new plan include: 1). Limits prospecting access to just half the year (Memorial Day weekend to 30 November), 2). Implement a $5 a day/$25 a "season" permit/fee system, 3). Implements OSHA safety/digging standards for holes/pits, 4). Limits in stream equipment to a simple hand pan only, 5). Limits prospecting on the 2,160-acre parcel to just 25 acres of BLM's choosing.

My Appeal: That the Interior Board of Land Appeals issues an immediate Stay. Time to move in a positive direction – and administratively create a Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA), designating the Cache Creek Placer Area as a BLM managed National Gold Prospecting Recreation Area.

An immediate Stay of this action is the right thing to do, as this new EA/Mgt Plan will:
1). Immediately & irreparably harm all recreational gold prospectors nationwide if allowed to stand.
2). Allow a display a negative bias against gold prospectors to stand and even continue.
3). Deny full public access, use & enjoyment of our public lands in spite of the “multiple use” mandates by law.
3). Display a move against the public interest in terms of our American ideals of fairness, equality, justice and anti-discrimination.

------------

STATEMENT OF REASONS:

First, the ultimate failing of this new plan begins with the RMP process itself. The offending premise is that prospectors and prospecting activity has the absolute lowest (effectively no) priority with respect to the Cache Creek Placer Area. The Royal Gorge Resource Area, Record of Decision, dated May 1996, Pages 2-1-4 and 2-1-5 institutionalizes this unfair negative bias. Following this bias, the EA/Mgt Plan clearly identifies that plants & animals have top priority in all decision-making. Therefore, throughout this entire 98-page document, the whole tenor is anti-prospecting/anti-human activity and animals/plants above all else, even if the Cache Creek Placer Area is historically the biggest and longest running hydraulic placer gold mine in Colorado State history. The decision language that drives the unfair outcome of the EA/RMP/NEPA process is copied/pasted here:

Decision Language:
1-16: Conflicts between Wildlife Habitat and other uses will be resolved in favor of
achieving vegetation management goals.
1-24: Conflicts between fishery habitat and other values will be resolved in favor of
fishery habitat.

"Conflicts" between "values" are as BLM defines them, not recreational gold prospectors. There are no real conflicts at the Cache Creek Placering Area, only perceived or created ones. For 15 years the prospectors have prospected, the fish have swam, the beavers build their dams, the birds fly, the Elk and animals have come and gone as they have pleased. So, with a built in anti-prospector bias like this there can only be one outcome and that is recreational prospectors lose at every turn, in every decision, in every revision of the original EA/RMP and are clearly seen again in the many negatives of this new plan.

Therefore, is it any surprise that every EA/Mgt Plan for the Cache Creek Placering Area since 2000 has only gone from bad to worse, because the unfair built in anti-prospector bias dictates just one outcome. There is no "in favor of" recreational prospectors decision language whatsoever. Always more adverse limits, more substantial restrictions, more significant bureaucracy in the name of plants, animals and the environment.

For example, in this new 2016 EA/Mgt Plan, of the 29 individual "Resource Values" listed and considered in the analysis, only 2 of them, "Economic" impacts to the surrounding economy & "Recreation" value for the prospectors were deemed to be negatively impacted by ending any and all recreational gold prospecting at the Cache Creek Placer Area. All the rest of the purported "values", as assessed by BLM, were deemed to either be neutral or would benefit greatly by ending all recreational gold prospecting at Cache Creek.

Looking at the only three alternatives considered in the plan:
1). 2.2.2 No Action Alternative
2). 2.2.3 Closure to Recreational Mineral Collection Alternative
3). 2.2.1 Proposed Action

The only two that were ever going to be seriously considered were the last two. Since BLM says there is a problem to be fixed, no way ever would BLM choose to leave things the way they were, regardless of prospector inputs, otherwise they would never have initiated a new EA/Mgt Plan in the first place. The complete closure alternative listed is the commonly understood “throw away” alternative, the one that prospectors surely would never want and so it makes their Proposed Action seem the lesser of two evils, somehow acceptable when in fact little about it is acceptable. All other possible alternatives were simply never considered and dismissed under: 2.3 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT NOT ANALYZED IN DETAIL.

So, as it reads to many, in effect BLM appears to have already "baked the cake" into their planning again to eventually continue the trend since 2000 and eventually shut down all recreational gold prospecting completely at the Cache Creek Placering Area.

The new rules of this plan are substantial, significantly onerous, with limits so extreme, the plan so detailed and unworkable that it practically guarantees infractions and will by its very nature generate user conflicts by herding everyone into an incredibly small 25-acre portion of the 2,160 acre property and demand everyone prospect by these new rules. Many prospectors believe any “issues” cited by BLM will then be used as the justification needed to shut the property down completely to all prospecting. This is exactly what happened to end all motorized/powered ops back in 2012. All motorized ops users were limited to the same small 25-acre area, then forced to compete for limited water and dig spots and inevitable conflicts arose, as perceived by BLM anyway, that was used as the excuse to end all motorized activity.

Following BLM's path since 2000, and with every subsequent EA/Mgt Plan more restrictive than the previous, is this the true long-term goal BLM has for the Cache Creek Placer Area?

2.2.3 Closure to Recreational Mineral Collection Alternative

The focus of this alternative would be to manage the site primarily for wildlife values and
ongoing restoration. In order to further manage resources of concern including wintering elk and
fisheries and to reduce conflict between users of the area this alternative would close the site to
recreational placer activities, including panning. This would be done through the supplementary
rule making process. Travel management designations and season of use for the motorized
vehicle closure (December 1st – Memorial Day Weekend) would remain the same. Rules,
including the closure, would continue to be enforced in the area and education of users would
focus on the closure and resources being protected. Placer mining related management
partnerships would likely be discontinued and a campground host would no longer be provided
on site. Dispersed camping would continue to be managed so that sites do not cause undo
degradation of the resources in the area and barriers and signs would be installed as needed to
prevent unnecessary campsite expansion.
Under this alternative the primary site used for recreational mineral collection would be assessed
and a final reclamation plan would be developed. The existing road and parking area would
remain available for use by the public.

Unfortunately, whenever BLM gets legitimate and honest prospector inputs, comments, user desires, if any went against the proposed plan, they are simply ignored or dismissed. FYI, I am the "one commenter" identified below in red:

2.3 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT NOT ANALYZED IN DETAIL

A number of alternatives for management of the site have been identified both by BLM staff,
stakeholders and the public. Several of these have been identified as potential adaptive
management strategies under the proposed action. Some of these however have been determined
as not feasible or do not meet the overall management goals for the area.

One commenter suggested that the entire management of the parcel be focused on recreational
placer activities while accepting higher impacts to wildlife and fishery resources. This included
not having laws pertaining to where/how people can dig, allowing all forms of prospecting and
mining methods, not requiring a permit, allowing mining year round, and allow for wheeled
devices to carry materials and equipment. While some of these suggestions are addressed in the
no action alternative (open to mining year round, limited rules, not requiring a permit) and others
are included in the proposed action (allowing mechanized equipment, wheeled devices to carry
equipment) the combination proposed would not be in conformance with the Resource
Management Plan.

RMP decisions call for a balance between recreation and other resources and
specifically that if conflicts occur they will be resolved in favor of wildlife and fisheries habitat.

In addition, the parcel was acquired with Land and Water Conservation Funds to protect crucial
elk and riparian habitat as well as provide recreational opportunities. This suggestion does not
provide for protections of these habitats for which the grant to acquire the parcel was awarded.
It has been suggested that the area be “opened” to mining so that the Mining Law applies and
those restrictions can be enforced. This is not feasible due to the nature of the acquisition of the
parcel including the funding source, the reasons behind the acquisition, the purpose and need as
stated in this document and direction provided in the RMP regarding wildlife and fishery values.

Incredibly, my many valid prospector inputs were summarily dismissed in both draft # 1 and draft # 2. Please see Pages 77 thru 80 of the plan. Also, many other prospector inputs received the same lack of consideration. Why? See above (in red) that any conflicts, as defined by BLM, will always be in resolved favor of the plants & animals and by default, against recreational prospectors. Talk about unfair, institutionalized bias, especially when we are talking about the Cache Creek Placering Area, Colorado’s biggest and longest running hydraulic gold mine.

My honest hope today is that the DOI/USFS/BLM/USFWS can still be seen as fair and balanced -- in equal support of all constituencies and user groups – and why a Stay is absolutely required and why BLM needs to administratively designate a SRMA for the Cache Creek Placering Area.

From the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook H-1601-1 – Glossary:

“Special recreation management area (SRMA) ~ a public lands unit identified in land use plans to direct recreation funding and personnel to fulfill commitments made to provide specific, structured recreation opportunities (i.e., activity, experience, and benefit opportunities). Both land use plan decisions and subsequent implementing actions for recreation in each SRMA are geared to a strategically identified primary market—destination, community, or undeveloped.”

How could any recreational prospector, claim owner, small-scale miner today believe things have been stacked against them? Let us look at fees, policies, decision language and such:

In 2012 BLM dramatically raised placer claim maintenance fees from $125 to $155 per claim, mill site, and/or tunnel site and where also any placer claim over 20 acres must now pay an additional $155 per every 20 acres or portion thereof. So, for a 160-acre claim that was an astounding 992% increase from the prior year. Why? BLM gets 100% funding from Congress: $1.2+ billion a year budget, so it surely could not be for a lack of money.

BLM's Public Land Statistics summary for 2012 shows that when these massive fee increases took effect, there were 406,140 active mineral claims at fiscal year end. Just two years later, in the 2014 Public Land Statistics summary, the most current year available, Table 3-22, shows only 364,035 active mineral claims at fiscal year end. This is a loss of 42,095 claims, or a 10.4% decrease in just 2 years! When the 2015 statistics are published, does anyone think that number will not be lower again? Many in the prospecting community saw this as nothing more than a way to force prospectors/claimants/clubs/commercial operators to start dropping claims, as their limited budgets would not allow them to keep all the claims they held in prior years with just a $155 fee per claim.

President Ronald Reagan was no economist, but his economic logic was impeccable when he declared, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.”

What many see here from the DOI/USFS/BLM through the RMP/NEPA processes are two "taxes" on the prospecting community that is targeted to eventually shutdown all prospecting/claiming/mining in America. First, the fees initiated back in 1992 have only gone up, pricing individuals, groups and industry out of the market so to speak and off our public lands. This includes the bonding money now needed to operate above the "casual use" level. Second, all the increases in Notices, Plans of Operation, recording needs/fees, annual filing dates, red tape, paperwork, bureaucracy, etc., only serve to constitute a "paper tax" in time, effort, confusion and hassle all too many are unable to conform to or do not have the patience to withstand. When was the last time DOI/USFS/BLM made it cheaper, easier, faster, and simpler to prospect/claim/enjoy public lands?

With fewer private claim owners out there today, no-fee, open to the public gold prospecting places are all the more important, and yet another reason why the Cache Creek Placering Area is absolutely critical to remain free and open to the recreational prospecting community – and more reason why we need a Stay on this new plan.

As a point of reference, the federal government controls an astounding 28% of the 2.28 billion acres in the U.S., including a preponderance of the land in 11 Western states and Alaska, with most administered by the Department of Interior (seen in red below). These are also the states known to hold the greatest mineral wealth of the nation and naturally where the most prospecting and mining occurs. Please see the 2 maps below:





Add to this, state governments own and control another 19,752,410 acres. In reality, very, VERY little mineral rich land in the Western U.S. is privately owned. Therefore, without a DOI that lives up to its “Multiple Use” mandate, treats all constituencies with an equal hand, with fairness, dedicates special areas to prospectors as it does to other users, then the greatest part of the most diverse, mineral resource rich 12 states in the nation are essentially made off limits.

For those that are not aware, locally, here in Chaffee County, the Brown's Canyon National Monument (BCNM) designation (which most locals did not want) withdrew 21,586 acres from potential mineral entry/claiming/mining, after the previous 1991 withdrawal expired in 2011. After the designation by President Obama's Executive Order in February 2015, BLM moved quickly to withdraw an additional 230 acres of Arkansas River corridor immediately below the new BCNM, holding no public meetings or comment periods. The public only learned of this withdrawal action after the fact, when notice was then made public in a Chaffee County Times on 17 April 2015: http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/news/blm-limits-mining-on-acres-near-browns-canyon-national-monument/article_ce7932ae-e394-11e4-8a74-83e288bd606a.html

It seems that with the loss of over 21,000 acres to the local prospecting community, because of the BCNM designation, which was a major historic use of that land, that BLM could have offered up this 230 acres for prospectors to claim as a very small "give back", but that did not happen.

Additionally, President Obama alone has designated or expanded 22 National Monuments to date, more than any other president in history. We now have 120 National Monuments for 100s of millions of acres and add in the 759 Wilderness Areas totaling 109,754,604 acres and prospectors see incredible amounts of public land now removed from their access, use and enjoyment.

"Multiple use' is defined in the FLPMA Act of 1978 as "management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people."

Many in the prospecting community today would argue that their “present and future needs” are simply not being met/made a priority. The USFS used to have the motto, "Land Of Many Uses". That motto was officially changed in early 1993 to today’s, "Caring for the land and serving people." The land became first priority and the people were to be served second.

Another tiny example: Here in this new EA/Mgt Plan the USFS is moving to "decommission" between 70 and 100 miles of roads & trails, remove disbursed campsites in the Cleveland National Forest. Against public opposition they will implement their proposed plan, because their self-written rules and decision language dictates such. Soon, there will be more gates, more boulders, more Jersey barriers, more signage imposing prohibitions and limitations on public access, use, enjoyment: http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTUwMTAwgAykeaxRtBeY4WBv4eHmF-YT4GMHkidBvgAI6EdIeDXIvfdrAJuM3388jPTdUvyA2NMMgyUQQAyrgQmg!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfS000MjZOMDcxT1RVODBJN0o2MTJQRDMwODQ!/?project=43836

BLM's own 2014 Public Land Statistics states: "FLPMA mandates that the BLM administer the public lands under the concept of "multiple use", while protecting the long-term health of the land. Today, the BLM administers about 246.4 million surface acres of public land and approximately 700 million acres of Federal subsurface mineral estate in the United States. The BLM is responsible for managing these lands and their various resources so that they are used in a manner that will best meet the present and future needs of the Nation." (emphasis added).

BL: Today, the "present and future needs" of prospectors, miners, rock hounds, gem collectors, claim owners are simply not being met. But, that can be remedied.

The decision language used in the RMP process institutionalizes bias that forbids equal priority, equal access, use, enjoyment of public lands today. Has BLM ever administratively created a SRMA specifically for recreational gold prospectors? I know of none. But, we can help fix this deficiency by managing the Cache Creek Placer Area – a 50+ year historic old gold mine -- by making Cache Creek a SRMA -- a National Gold Prospecting Recreation Area. All it takes is good policy and good decision-making. Let us open Cache Creek up to greater recreational gold prospecting activities, not limit them even more and eventually end all activities there.

Amazingly, in spite of these many new restrictions, limitations and a new user fee/permit system, just to name a few, BLM claims in the plan that there is no "significant" impact on human access, quality of life, use, enjoyment at the Cache Creek Placer Area with this EA/Mgt Plan, or that this rare property is not special?

Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) DOI-BLM-CO-200-2012-0069 EA
"Based on review of the EA and the supporting documents, I have determined that the project is not a major federal action and will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively with other actions in the general area."

Unique characteristics of the geographic area: The EA evaluated the area of the proposed action and determined that no unique geographic characteristics such as: wild and scenic rivers, prime or unique farmlands, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, designated wilderness areas, wilderness study areas or Lands with Wilderness Characteristics; were present.

I respectfully could not disagree more!

1). All of these new limits, prohibitions and fees will dramatically hinder the recreational gold prospecting public's overall quality of life, use, enjoyment and overall "experience" and, 2). The Cache Creek Placer Area is absolutely unique in that it's one great big old gold mine, with easy access for the disabled, veterans, handicapped, old and young alike and the only off the Arkansas River area open to the public gold prospecting area for 152 miles of the Arkansas River valley from Leadville to Pueblo, Colorado, that has good gold.


Here is what needs to happen, once an immediate Stay is issued:

1). Manage Cache Creek for what it really is, an old gold mine, a national-level mineral resource, first and foremost, for the entire recreational gold prospecting community. Designate it a SRMA. Not another plant & animal preserve --that happens naturally.

Truth be told, Cache Creek is a big, old gold mine. That is the historic use. The largest & longest running hydraulic gold mine in Colorado state history. Prospectors need the # 1 priority at Cache Creek, not the last priority.

From 1860 to 1911 Cache Creek was commercially mined. Shut down completely in 1912. It is incredible torn up from 50+ years of old time hydraulicing, booming, ground sluicing and such, with evidence all over seen in the many miles of ditches, 70 foot cliff faces, flumes, rock/cobble piles, etc. Just look at the property with Google Earth. It's been slowly recovering over the last 100+ years, but it will never, ever be pristine, all natural, postcard perfect looking land like the 100s of thousands of acres of national forest land that surround it, or that we already have all over the state and the nation.

Mining never stopped because the miners ran out of gold, they were forced to end large-scale hydraulic operations, the most profitable method at the time, due to a lawsuit. Since Cache Creek is one of only three open to the public BLM gold prospecting areas in 120 miles of Arkansas River valley between Leadville and Canyon City and the only one usable when the Arkansas River is flooding/too high, or frozen over, or effectively closed for trout spawning season (1 Oct thru 31 Mar), therefore, we should capitalize on its amazing attribute......abundant placer gold.

This is off BLM's own web site page for the Cache Creek Placer Area: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/rgfo/minerals/locatable_minerals/cache_creek.html
"Brief History
The Cache Creek placer area is located west of the town of Granite in northern Chaffee County. Cache Creek flows into the Arkansas River just below the Granite Bridge.
Cache Creek was one of Colorado’s largest and most productive hydraulic mining operations that operated from 1860 to 1911. Water used for hydraulicking activities was diverted from Lake Creek to Cache Creek via the 16-mile long Cache Creek Ditch which was completed in 1863. Nearly $3,000,000 in gold is reported to have been produced from the placers of Cache Creek and some high-grade gravel remains!

Small independent placer mining first took place along Cache Creek from 1860 to 1863. Significant increases in production took place in 1884 with the introduction of “booming” and again in 1889 when hydraulic placer mining was introduced. These operations continued until 1911 when the entire operation was shut down in one of Colorado’s first environmental lawsuits."

Yes. The historical use..................for 50+ years............of Cache Creek was as a gold mine. Nothing has changed. It is still a gold mine and past history and present needs of thousands of gold prospectors all over the country demand that still be the case. It is not an animal & plant refuge. We already have enough of those in the 120 NMs, the 759 Wilderness Areas and millions of acres of regular forestland that are made inaccessible to prospectors today. What is most unique about Cache Creek is that it has good placer gold, which is easy to mine vs. lode gold (which is beyond the means or expertise of most recreational miners, families, kids). Cache Creek also has good and easy access, amazing views, fresh air, disbursed campsites that many crave and can hardly find anymore. It is out of sight, off the main highway and the vast majority of all visitors are recreational gold prospectors.

Fear not, the fish swim and live in the creek regardless of any/all recreational mining activity and the beavers too for that matter, at the lower end of the creek by Hwy 24. Keep in mind, the trout in Cache Creek are non-native, invasive Brown trout at lower elevations and above the BLM property, at higher elevations are invasive, non-native Brook trout. We have no rare, endangered native subspecies of Colorado Cutthroat trout in Cache Creek......none......the Greenback, the Rio Grande nor the Colorado. The trout do fine in Cache Creek regardless of any mining activity and often hold in pools near me or even swim right up my sluice or down as they move up/down the creek. To somehow consider Cache Creek as an important "fishery" is simply laughable. The creek is incredibly small, more like a big ditch in most spots, most of the time of the year, especially at the upper/West end where in the late Summer it barely flows enough water to run a sluice. Looking at Appendix B of the plan, is almost funny, if not downright embarrassing. It gives the impression to anyone that has not been to Cache Creek, has not walked the property, that it's maybe a big, gushing river. Far, far from it. It is more of a big ditch most of the year and certainly NOT a major fishery as the plan tries to imply with the many colorful diagrams and charts. There are dozens and dozens of other and larger creeks besides Cache Creek between Leadville and Pueblo for the fish, and 152 miles of Arkansas River as well. BUT, there is only one Cache Creek Placer Area.

The Elk that BLM is so concerned with and all the other wildlife do just fine too and have 100s of thousands of acres of pristine forestland adjacent to live in. The Elk roam as they please and use Cache Creek regardless of mining activity, normally in the late fall & winter, if at all, when the cold weather and snow runs most prospectors off anyways. The relatively few trees and bushes that are undercut/killed each year due to digging & mining are absolutely nothing in the big picture......or compared to all the trees/bushes destroyed by lightning strikes, beavers, Elk browsing and especially by Pine and Spruce Beetles and fungus in this area and in nearby forests. Keep in mind if one looks at the old black & white photos of Cache Creek in the 1800s, there were NO native, natural trees in that glacial gravel valley area. Why? Because the water level was so low in that sandy/gravely glacial soil that no tree could sprout/root and survive. Just endless sagebrush, grasses & scattered wild flowers, but no trees.

FYI: I have attached 2 old 1800s black & white photos at the end to show these facts and how hydraulic mining was done on this property.

One has to get up to the natural tree line at the base of Quail Mountain to the West to get to where the water level thru percolation from snow melt was high enough in the soil to allow trees to root & grow. The trees seen today are all "volunteers" now growing in the old hydraulic mining scars, as now with much of the overburden washed away, they can now root and grow. Nice, but not natural, not native. Where is there a “common sense” allocation of trees to the prospectors? Maybe 25 trees damaged/removed a year over the 2,160-acre property is a good starting point.

2). Keep Cache Creek Placer Area Open All-Year Around:

The only other two open to the public BLM areas are Pointe Bar and the Elephant Rock campground areas and both of which are on the Arkansas River. They are directly affected by the annual snow pack melt/runoff, other flooding events, freezing over in winter and prohibitions on powered/mechanized ops from 1 Oct to 31 March each year due to trout spawning considerations. The AHRA/CPW runs their Voluntary Flow Management Program for the benefit of the rafting/kayaking/float fishing communities from after snowmelt subsides until 15 August each year. This keeps the river artificially high, cold and fast for them. However, this also forces gold prospectors up and out of the riverbed too due to artificially high/fast water levels. Therefore, for much of the year they are useless to prospectors as the good gold is deep in the riverbed clays & gravels. The Cache Creek Placer Area can be successfully prospected most of the year, even in the wintertime by a few hardy souls like me. So, we simply must keep it open all year around. The fish still swim in the creek, even below the ice, the animals come and go, all without BLM's help.

The recreational gold prospecting public simply does not have a better place to go than the Cache Creek Placer Area for hundreds, if not thousands of miles. Thousands of people come to Cache Creek from all over the U.S. because it has good gold and too many other good gold places have now been closed to the public to prospect and enjoy.

3). Open the Cache Creek Placer Area up to all forms of recreational prospecting & mining methods/equipment, both non-mechanized and mechanized:

Good to see two minor improvements in the proposed 2016 EA/Mgt Plan.....allowing for small battery powered re-circulating equipment and small dry washers. However, there are big "issues" with both as supposed “give backs” for prohibiting any in-stream equipment, except for a hand pan.

The proposed 25-gallon tub limit for re-circulators would basically mean a person would have to carry four or five 5-gallon buckets of water from the creek, set up and run maybe four 5-gallon buckets of material at most and then would have to cleanup, dump the tub, start over. This is an incredible amount of repetitive motion & effort to run a small re-circulator with Cache Creek's heavy glacial clay material or sand/gravels from previously mined areas.

As to the limit of hand cranked or single battery powered dry washers of 1/2 yard per hour or less, the situation is even worse. I have friends that have dry washed Cache Creek in years past with bigger, 2-cycle gas powered machines (the industry norm) and I can say dry washers are basically a huge waste of time. Why? One needs extremely dry and free flowing material AND bigger gold. The gold at Cache Creek is mostly fine to very fine, not what dry washers are good at capturing. Also, it could take until August in a dry year before many areas have reasonably dry dirt. Add to that the perpetual Summer thunderstorms that build up over Quail Mountain and occasional rains and the soil there tends to be wet just below the surface most all year. Then, to make matters worse, the best gold is usually found in the reddish & orangish glacial clay layers, not the coarser sand & gravels. Clay material does not work well in dry washers. This is exactly why the old timers dug a 16-mile ditch and diverted the water off the Twin Lakes drainage to the Cache Creek Placer Area to hydraulically wash the glacial clays and free the gold. One really must have water to extract the gold.

But, these two new proposed equipment allowances do not go far enough...

Technological improvements in prospecting & mining equipment today has been a boon to the recreational gold prospecting hobby, whereby fine gold lost by the old timers can now be effectively recovered. Cache Creek has a lot of fine gold.

Gas, solar & battery powered suction dredges, high bankers, powered sluices and many different types of spiral wheels, mini-sluices, Gold Cubes, etc., should all be allowed. Prospectors need to allowed pump water from the creek to a selected work spot via a solar, battery or gas powered water pump. The water in the creek can be used and reused endlessly. This modern equipment allows for less effort & wasted time in carrying buckets of gold bearing material, from sometimes great distances, to the creek to be processed there, or water to a selected work site in the opposite direction. Many older folks, disabled vets, the handicapped, kids simply cannot carry heavy buckets. This too would allow for less sediment and sand/grave to be introduced into the creek as well, a big BLM concern. Gas and solar/battery powered dry washers need to be allowed, if someone cares to dry wash. Hand panning and hand sluicing are slow, less productive methods and difficult for many older people, kids and people with disabilities to do. Prospectors need to be allowed to continue using sluices in the creek proper.

Suction dredging should be allowed too in the creek from 1 April to 30 September, to actually improve fish habitat, just like all other creeks, streams and rivers in the state. Nothing special or different about Cache Creek to say "no". Suction dredging improves fish habitat, cleans the creek, removes mercury and heavy metals and only moves material that is already in the creek from Point A to a Point B a short distance away. No new material or sediment is introduced. That should make BLM happy too.

One must keep in mind that the Cache Creek Placer Area is in fact an old gold mine. Prospectors come in all different experience levels and have varying levels of interest. Some are newbies that simply want to pan for a little color and go home happy. Others want to utilize the newest equipment, powered equipment and work hard at finding what they can. Prospectors should be the ones to decide on the equipment depending on the conditions, the goal for the day and what they can afford to buy and operate. What angler heads out for the day hoping to catch the smallest fish he can and having done it, packs up and goes home happy?

4). Absolutely allow wheeled barrels, carts and buggies to transport equipment & material:

Good to finally see this was one of the only two improvements in the proposed new 2016 EA/Mgt Plan...

Sometimes the best spots to work are a long ways away from parking at the Granite Cemetery parking lot or Placering Area parking lot. Many prospectors simply want to get away from the crowd, get out into the valley, out onto the vast 2,160 acre property, be alone to prospect, not be herded into a confined area, tripping over each other. Many people are older, have disabilities and cannot carry a lot of equipment, food, water, etc. great distances, especially in the thin 9,200 to 9,500 foot air. Families with small children would benefit too. Being able to load their stuff on a wheeled buggy or in a wheeled barrel would allow people to safely and more easily prospect. I am not talking 4-WD Jeeps, street vehicles, 4-wheelers and/or ATVs running all over the property, just human powered aids with wheels.

5). Let the prospectors prospect:

No sense trying to protect people from themselves too much. Prospectors are overall safe/smart folks. People have to dig holes to find gold bearing material to work. A good spot may get enlarged by multiple prospectors/miners over time. Fine. That is O.K. Cache Creek is already "damaged" beyond belief. Look at Google Earth, please. Has anyone noticed that 1/3rd of the valley has been washed away? Expecting people to fill all their holes in when they leave and then re-dig their holes back open when they return is simply unrealistic. A lot of effort goes into pitching rocks, sampling for gold, finding a good pay streak/material and working it, wider or deeper over time. Nobody wants to hurt himself or herself, but on occasion one might. The draft proposes that prospectors must, "Following OSHA guidelines for excavations, rules would be developed to limit hole size and angle of walls that persons may dig. Details of the specific rule would be further established through the terms and conditions of the permit."

Talk about too much government! Is a BLM Ranger or agent going to spend all day, every day walking the property with a tape measure and angle finder to enforce OSHA excavation rules, really? Proposing dry washers limited to 1/2 yard production per hour, really? Is someone from BLM going to stand there and count shovelfuls or count buckets run to determine and limit to 1/2 yard an hour? Is someone going to be measuring re-circulator tub sizes? BLM already says they are supposedly under manned to "police" Cache Creek as they would like.

Making things too complex, too restrictive can and will only lead to failure. Many believe that is the goal. Proposed "Leave No Trace" ethics may apply handsomely to camping/hiking and the Boy Scouts, but the reality is prospecting/mining inherently involves moving dirt, digging holes, pitching & piling rocks, etc. It is a failure from the word go to believe one can prospect and "leave no trace", or have near zero impact. The Cache Creek Placer Area is an old gold mine, so let's just accept the digging and holes and evidence of mining activity old and new as reality and how this property should be utilized. The vast majority of people that go out to Cache Creek in my now 10 years of being out there are all recreational gold prospectors. Maybe an occasional hunter or two in the Fall. Maybe some mountain bikers in the Summer that want to ride FR 398 all the way to the top of Quail Mountain, to the Gold Basin Mine. For the nature photographer or landscape painter or hiker we have zillions of acres of pristine, untouched, virgin national forest, National Monuments, Wilderness Areas & other BLM lands. There are other special use areas across the country for other users, like 4-wheelers, off roaders, etc. Let us make the Cache Creek Placer Area a SRMA for recreational gold prospectors!

On all the "safety" concerns expressed in the draft, I would be very curious to know just how many prospectors have actually hurt themselves to the extent they had to be medivac'd to a hospital or have suffered serious injury since January 2000 when BLM acquired the property. I am not aware of a single fatality or serious injury. However, we have to rescue injured and lost hikers and 4-wheelers and snowmobilers who hurt themselves all the time, all year long in Chaffee County. In 2014, we had at least 15 boating related deaths on Colorado rivers, with 7 people alone drowning on the Arkansas River here last year, tying the fatality record from 2009.

Keep in mind too that the 25-acre Placering Area that BLM intends to herd all prospectors into is some of the worst land with respect to big cobble piles of large rocks & boulders. Forcing people to pile big rocks, dig in the big rock piles is a recipe for potential injury. Also, this area is one where volunteer trees have sprung up the most, so the silly orange painted bands and signs stapled to the trees that say to not dig within 8 feet of an orange marked tree is about impossible to comply with because it seems most every tree down to a 2 inch sapling is painted orange or has a sign on it.

Last year, in 2015, we had no campground host and a very low BLM presence and everything went great. More reason to issue a Stay, as this new EA/Mgt Plan is proven to not be needed.

6). No permit, no fee required:

The BLM is extremely well funded each year with over $1.2 billion taxpayer dollars. In fact, this year's 2016 budget boasted a $107.6 million dollar increase over 2015. Public lands need to be open, easy to access and free from unnecessary red tape, bureaucracy, permits, fees and the like. Government should remove roadblocks and hindrances to use and enjoyment, not add to them. Overly restrictive and complex rules/policy and a permit for fee will only ensure there will be confusion, misinterpretation and perceived conflicts between the BLM and prospectors.

BL: The taxpaying public should not be made to pay twice for what BLM should be delivering as part of its full-funded mission.

I adamantly reject the "math" used to justify this new user fee in the Business Plan section. The only two items in the Projected Expenses Table that are valid are: 1). Portable Toilets, estimated at $1,377 and road maintenance/grading of $500. These two total $1,877 for estimated 2016 expenses. These are chump change and well within BLM's ability to fund without a new user fee/permit system.

The supposed $2,500 for a campground host is unnecessary. For all of 2015 we had NO campground host and it worked out fine without one. Some of the conflicts in the past were actually campground host initiated. Again, one is simply not needed, save the cost.

Reclamation costs of $13,767.77 too is bogus, as the feeder creek next to the parking lot has been basically allowed to run dry since Summer 2014, owing to the water diversion removal, and except for very early native snow melt runoff periods it is dry, so the old beaver/settling pond below has no need to be bulldozed out anymore at the end of the year. BLM's past annual end of season bulldozing of open holes and pits too was unnecessary and not wanted by the prospectors. It has not been done last several years and that proves it is unnecessary to begin with.

The so-called Patrolling/Monitoring Costs figure of $17,740 is especially bogus and offensive. BLM employees are already paid by the taxpayers, with or without Cache Creek in existence and so is a sunk cost. Salaries are spent for all BLM employee activities -- such as training, administration, travel, bookkeeping, monitoring of BLM managed lands, sick days, leave days, etc. To try and somehow charge Cache Creek directly, a second time for something that is already been paid for by the taxpayer is patently wrong and even immoral.

If a commercial business was to bill/charge, make customers pay twice for the same good or service they would be arrested & charged with fraud and/or theft.

An Indirect cost factor of 7% just to drive the overall number higher is way too high. The government itself, using its own Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI data for 2015, says inflation first half was 1.7% and second half was 1.9% So, even if we use 2% times a legitimate $1,877 cost would only equal $37.54 of additional Indirect costs, plus the original $1,877 equals only $1,914.54 total. Still chump change.

I myself worked for the federal government for 26 years and dealt with, developed, managed and executed budgets at the squadron, wing and MAJCOM levels in the military. I can absolutely assure you that if we sat down and looked over BLM's Royal Gorge Field Office budget there's no doubt in my military mind we could identify in short order $2,000 of lower priority spending that could be reprioritized to cover any/all of Cache Creek's legitimate costs. So, NO fee/permit system needed, required or desired.

Also, another fear many prospectors have voiced about starting a permit/fee system is excess control and arbitrary limitations in the future. In the past when BLM allowed motorized ops at Cache Creek in the 25-acre Placering Area a permit was required. If memory serves, it cost $25 and limited users to something like 7 user days a year. I believe there was a section to be filled out to document each day and when it was full, you were done for the year. I wish I still had a copy for reference. Regardless, one can see that once a fee/permit system is initiated, all it takes is a new BLM determination that too many people in too small an area are causing "conflicts" or "damage" and wallah.....we would see limits placed on the number of permits to be issued or limits again on the number of use days a year or both.

7). We need BLM to be a Hero. Recognize the Cache Creek Placer Area for what it is --administratively designate it a SRMA and advertise Cache Creek nationally as a prospector friendly BLM destination!

While rafting & kayaking & float fishing may be the bigger tourist attractions in the Arkansas River valley, thousands of Colorado and out of state recreational prospectors come to Cache Creek and our local area each year. They contribute to the local and state economies by buying gas, food, sundries and even staying in lodging, if not camping, etc. Many gold prospectors divide their recreational time between fly-fishing, rafting, hiking and doing a great many other outdoor activities too. With all the anti-prospecting actions in other states and all the bans/closures/prohibitions by governmental agencies and departments with every new EA/Mgt Plan, it is getting to be impossible to find a “prospector friendly" location to go and enjoy, find some gold.

Recreational gold prospectors desperately need some “fairness” shown to them and places like the Cache Creek Placer Area dedicated to them, just as much as we need open rivers for rafters, kayakers and fishermen, back roads for 4-wheelers, trails for mountain bikers, horseback riders, trails for hikers, etc.

In summary: I respectfully Protest and Appeal this BLM decision. I respectfully request the Interior Board of Land Appeals issue an immediate STAY of this new 2016 EA/Mgt Plan. Then, let us all work to Administratively Designate Cache Creek a Special Recreation Management Area -- a National Gold Prospecting Recreation Area.

Recreational gold prospectors deserve, in all fairness, to be the # 1 priority at the Cache Creek Placer Area -- it's the 50+ year historic use of this property and few if any exist like it in the entire country.

Please –let BLM be the HERO we recreational gold prospectors need. It is only fair.

V/R,


<<<SIGNED>>>, 1 Mar 2016, r.l.w.


Randy L. Witham
17600 County Road 367
Buena Vista, Colorado 81211
1-719-395-20811


Attachments:

1). Photo -- Cache Creek, Colorado: Valley/Mining Buildings, Circa 1865 – 1875
2). Photo – Cache Creek, Colorado: Hydraulic Mining Ops – Circa 1890


Copies sent to:

Regional Solicitor
Rocky Mountain Region
755 Parfet Street, Suite 151
Lakewood, CO 80215

Department of the Interior
Board of Land Appeals
Office of Hearings and Appeals
801 North Quincy Street, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203





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Re: Colorado -- Metal Detecting Cache Creek -- 7 Mar 2016

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