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Greaterville question

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#1 desertpilot



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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:19 AM

Hello All,

I have a question about the land use in Greaterville. Is the area that is closed to mineral entry ok to detect? Im unable to get a straight answer from people Ive asked down here in southern AZ. Ive purchased the footprints software for the area and read what is written in regards to the area closed to mineral entry, Im just curious if anyone here has detected in the area and have firsthand experience detecting the area.


#2 John B.

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

Hi Kevin

The weeks law land ( 50/50 parcel ) never was open to mineral entry (detecting) but the forest service didn't seem to care. Now is another issue since the Obama power grab. The Coronado Nat Forest has two spify new 4X4 enforcement K9 vehicles equipt with Barney Fifes and bowsers hungry to hand out tickets and generally cause hate a discontent for just about anything down there. Acourding to Carl and Richard at CNF mineral dept you need to have a copy of the claim map you are working, the approved Plan of Ops and Notice Of Operation on your person or suffer the consiqueces. Recently several tickets were issued for noncompliance. One poor fellow detecting was issued a $750.00 ticket for trash in his pouch and detecting artifacts without a permit. They are also of the opinion meteorite hunting on public lands is against the law. Which I think is questionable at best. I've been advised that carrying a tape player and taping conversations when approched by these guys has eleviated some potential problems for a couple of people but I'm getting sick of lugging my tape player around and not seeing a soul. There are several clubs that have claims In GV , the GPAT, Desert Gold Diggers and WSPA of which most of thier claims are in compliance or can answer any details as to using thier claims. Happy Huntin John B.

#3 El Dorado

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

Out here in CA, the F/S is stealing miner's equipent among other things...... and you are very right about the power grab. They are overstepping thier mandated agenda and we are getting the brunt end of it. Stand up for your rights!

#4 clay



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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

Hi Kevin,

I've had several conversations about detecting with the managers on the Forest and BLM lands around Greaterville. They say they have never issued any tickets for detecting and I was encouraged to detect the so called 50/50 lands.

The story of tickets written for possessing "artifacts" found while detecting are B.S. This is straight from the mouth of the Forest and BLM chief Archaeologist. He also pointed out that he would not support any such tickets in the future and he IS the man who would have to testify for the Forest Service. He is fully aware that the Antiquities Act exempts mining from it's provisions. He also made it clear that only a fool would try to prove that a nail or bullet is more than 100 years old.

The so called 50/50 land is not Weeks Law land. Neither the surface nor the minerals were purchased - they were part of a land exchange passed by Congress in 1988. There is a closure order on that area but the only prohibition is on location and entry (making a claim) not prospecting.

Many of the locals have done quite well in the closure area. I have personal knowledge of detecting, drywashing and wet processing conducted as ongoing operations with the full knowledge of the Forest Service.

Per the Forest Archaeologist and Law Enforcement:

Don't start wild fires.
Don't take your ATV off the approved trails.
Don't damage standing structures.
Don't take water from the stock tanks.
Fill your holes if they could be a danger to wildlife or livestock.

I have personally detected the 50/50 area with the full knowledge of the Forest Service. Many others here have also. A lot of nice gold has been found there and I'm sure there will be a lot more found in the future. The Forest Service will not give you or anyone else a written permission slip. It wouldn't matter if they did, the Forest Service is a surface management agency! The BLM is the administrator of the mineral estate on Forest Lands.

Where ever you detect you run the risk of encountering misinformed land managers and prospectors. This is just a part of prospecting. Respect the land and educate yourself as to your rights. You are very unlikely to even see a ranger in the 50/50 as John B. pointed out.

#5 John B.

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:31 AM

Hi Clay

I guess you should have heard Richard Aherns speach at the Desert Gold Diggers meeting ( he's lucky he wasn't lynched). FYI they are enforcing any type of prospecting on the 50/50 lands. I also have spoken to a few of those ticketed recipients including the one you say is BS. I know you've spent some time down here but there is big change in the works and almost all roads into the 50/50 lands are closed off blocked or gated.
Happy Huntin John B.

#6 Reno Chris

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

Clay -

I can tell you from expereince that you can ask 3 Forest Service employees (or BLM or IRS - whatever) and get 3 different answers. I know at the Reno BLM office I've been told stuff I know for a fact is wrong about staking claims. The other thing is that what was OK a couple years ago may not be OK today - policies can and do change. John B. is very up to date and current on the latest Coronado NF enforcement policies, and has been involved with prospecting in and around Greaterville for decades.

As far as this statement:


The Forest Service will not give you or anyone else a written permission slip. It wouldn't matter if they did, the Forest Service is a surface management agency! The BLM is the administrator of the mineral estate on Forest Lands.

While its true that the BLM has the claim records on all federal lands, if you need to get a Plan of Operations or other permits to mine on or disturb land in a National Forest, you get those permits from the local NFS offices, not the BLM. Thats true even if your mine is working underground. BLM is only the administrator as far as claim records are concerned, not as far as permitting of mine operations, or establishing rules or standards concerning mining on NF lands.

Finally, I was sorry I didnt get to see you at the recent Las Vegas GPAA show - it was a good event and we missed having you there to chat with.


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