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Bill McCoy

Feels Like Groundhog Day - I'm the Groundhog

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Well after being couped up for the better part of 2 months, I ventured out today to swing the detector. Didn't find anything other than the usual junk but man it sure felt good to get out again. As I'm sure we all feel some trepidation about going out during this pandemic, I have to say it did a lot for my spirits to be outdoors again and as usual I didn't see a soul while hunting. So if you've been hunkering down like me for the past several weeks, take some advice and sneak out to one of those spots you've been noodling about on Google Earth. You won't regret it.

PS: Already planning on where I want to hike into tomorrow. 

-Bill

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Hi Bill

I found my first California nugget near you in Marble Canyon. It was a 2 dwt found raking layers off a tailing pile using a Whites DI 6000 coin detector. That was in 1980, after I got my GPZ 7000 I intended to go there again but found that Death Valley had extended the park boundaries to incorporate that area.  

Good luck and have a good day,
Chet

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Thanks Chet!

I know the area you're talking about. I was talking to a ranger last year about that area. The road is the recognized boundary line as it drops into the canyon. So if you were working west of it, you're still ok. Otherwise no go. :( 

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Bill

It was east of the road. It was an underground ancient river that the miners had tunneled through with vertical shafts where they had lifted the sand and gravel to the surface for processing. There were tailing piles at each vertical shaft. I only had time to rake and detect one of the piles so there was great possibilities for the other ones.

Chet
 

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Good on ya Bill!

Thanks for a good post, and you too Chet.  

Do you reckon there are areas of interest more westerly?  Is that in the Inyos, and what are your thoughts on the Inyos?

I have been up Mazurka (sp?) a ways twice and I know there is claimed placer ground there.  A report I read talks of deep overburden on the Western slopes of the Inyos in that area.  Possibly something to look into for the club.

Keep it going.

Jeff G.

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Posted (edited)

I'm very interested in Mazourka Canyon. That's exactly where I'm poking around. 

There are a number of both hardrock and placer claims in the area. Many of them have been held for several years so I assume they must be somewhat productive. It's difficult to find a lot of information on the area though. I've only found a few historic reports and many seem to be derived from the same original text so they don't add much.

There may also be some ground worth investigating up top on Badger Flat from what I've read. I'll attach an old article. Maybe a spot to use a bigger coil.

If I can find something worth chasing up there I'd definitely be interested in making it a club claim. It's a relatively accessible area. Good for camping if that's your thing and not all that far from civilization if you need it.

As for westerly, there are a couple areas, one called Santa Rita Flat and another area south of that, not sure if it's named. Santa Rita has evidence of prior work but not much going on today. The area south of Santa Rita has a few claims. Haven't poked around there much yet.

Also found an area that I think is an old Hydraulic pit from the 1900's - was called Birch Creek Placer Mine. Up near Big Pine. Need to drag a dry washer out there to see if I can find anything.

 

BadgerFlat.png

Edited by Bill McCoy

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Looking at maps I found the location where my 2 dwt nugget was found. There are two Marble Canyons; the correct one is about 20 miles SE of Big Pine. If you look on Google Earth at N 37.091604, -117.964783 you will find a cabin and old mining junk. This is where I found the nugget before it was 1 mile inside the Park Boundary.

Looking at Land Matters there is only one active 20 acre claim that is just west of the Park Boundary that is in the same drainage. There are a lot of inactive claims in this area that are west of the Park Boundary. Maybe there is an area here that is worth claiming.

Have a good day,

Chet


 

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Yes, that’s the canyon I was referring to as well. I’ll add it to my list of places to investigate further.

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Hi Bill, Marble canyon gold is 70 to 115ft down in the bottom there are 3000ft of drifts on the bedrock It came from a ancient river bed still sections left up by Crooked creek 10,000 ft up but it is now in a wilderness area. Used to be placer claims on the hills surrounding marble canyon especially in the area where the road drops into the canyon, they are not in the  D.V. park area. Check out the closed claims there.. North east of Chalfant are the Springs claims now closed. Some nice nuggets have been found there years ago, but steep rugged terrain. Don't give up on Mazourka there is gold there. One of the largest called the 3 finger nugget was a sun baker that came off the top off a  mountain. Dennis and I know some areas up there that we have found gold in we just have not been able to get up there yet. You also have the Lida area Gold point and the Tule placers all have produced nuggets and it is high country been there when it was 105 in lone Pine and only 80 up there. You live in a great area to find gold not far from you. Good luck!

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I have a friend that has detected in Wilderness areas. On one occasion he was challenged by a Ranger. He defended his prospecting activity by the paragraph below from the Wilderness Act.

I think this is how oil exploration is allowed in the Alaska Wilderness area. The real problems come when permissions for extraction of minerals is sought.

 PUBLIC LAW 88-577-SEPT. 3, 1964 "Wilderness Act"

SPECIAL PROVISIONS

(2)Nothing in this Act shall prevent within national forest wilderness areas any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about mineral or other resources, if such activity is carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.

https://wilderness.net/NWPS/documents/publiclaws/88-577.pdf

Have a good day,

Chet

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Yes indeed prospecting is allowed in Wilderness areas as long as it is not a national monument or wildlife reserve.

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Did not know that. When I was up in Mazourka years ago with my wife I wanted to take a 4x4 road back to a spring area and camp. There is a placer operation with shallow drifts along the bedrock, looked real interesting. When we got to the road there was about 10  people there moving large rocks across the road to prevent access a group called "Friends of the Inyos" the group that had pushed to put the areas into wilderness protection. They told me the area was now a wilderness area and I could not drive back there and prospect. I could walk back in but removal of minerals was not allowed well I believed them and never went there. Their group that instigated the wilderness area  said it was put into wilderness area to protect the Inyos from mining and off roading. the roads heading back in theses areas are not shown on the forest service maps anymore but they are on topo maps. I will try to contact the Forest Circus to see if those high mountain roads into the designated wilderness  are open or closed now. The placer area by the spring is only a few miles back in I can walk that but the other area is over 10 miles of steep 4x4 roads to get it, to far for this guy to walk. Does anyone know if the vast area of the Mohave called the Mohave Preserve is open to detecting because there are lots of great detecting areas there like the old mining town of Hart and others that are in the providence Mountains?

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I'm pretty sure even Mojave National Preserve is a no-go.

 

I was hoping to get out today but we've got some pretty high winds today so I'll try to get back up Mazourka later in the week. Thanks for all the tips guys. I'll be sure to follow up on my progress.

 

-Bill

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 I think you are right about the Mojave Preserve, its off limits. All the historical sights are protected in the preserve.

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California Desert Protection Act of 1994.

PUBLIC LAW 103-433—OCT. 31, 1994 108 STAT. 4483

To designate certain lands in the California Desert as wilderness, to establish the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, to establish the Mojave National Preserve, and for other purposes.

 (c) WITHDRAWAL.—Subject to valid existing rights, the Federal
lands referred to in subsection (b) are hereby withdrawn from
all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land
laws; from location, entry, and patent under the United States
mining laws; and from disposition under all laws pertaining to
mineral and geothermal leasing, and mineral materials, and all amendments thereto.

Subsection (b) that precedes (c) above is a long subsection that lists several Wilderness areas including Death Valley.

They don’t use the word “Prospecting” but the intent may be implied in the language “under the public land laws”.

Have a good day,
Chet

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