2015 WWATS Rendezvous Two Day Open Hunt

May 22nd – 24th 2015
(Memorial Day Weekend)

K River Campgrounds—Antlers, Oklahoma
www.kriver.com

(Camping/Primitive/all size campers/some full hook-ups and few cabins.)

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
WWATS (World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers)
Metal Detecting Hunts.
Gold, Silver, Copper and more prizes to give away.
Saturday May 23rd and Sunday May 24th

 You and your family are invited to a fun-filled weekend. Enjoy and Learn Metal Detecting, Dredging, Panning, Coin Hunting, Nugget Shooting, Water Hunting, & Gold Prospecting

 Northeast, Texas GPAA Chapter of Gold Prospectors will be there to give you hands-on experience from the professionals in the field!

“Gold Panning Training This Weekend”
(YES: Gold has been found here on the Kiamichi River at this campground!)

You will notice in this event on Memorial Day Weekend on May 22nd thru May 24th that we have a “Copper Hunt” that has all copper planted to find including many type US coins and prizes tokens for one ounce copper bars, rounds, 5oz rounds and 1 & 2 pound bars. THIS hunt is dedicated to Jerry Hobbs of PLP (Public Lands for the People); to our loss of Jerry a few months ago. All proceeds of this Saturday Hunt will be forward to PLP in Jerry Hobbs name. For the many years I have worked supporting the hobbies, Jerry was of great help and a strong supporter. His advice will be greatly missed, for PLP is the only defense I known of that has been dedicated in the fight and on the front lines all these years. Please support this event and enjoy our Sunday ALL DAY HUNT as well!

PLP to Defend Small Miner in the 9th Circuit Court

The Board of Directors voted unanimously to take up and fund the defense of John Godfrey in the Ninth Circuit Court on the two remaining charges brought against him by the Department of Agriculture for mining with hand tools on his mining claim. PLP Northern Director Clark Pearson has been working with the federal defenders office from the beginning of this case. To date, three of the five charges brought against Mr. Godfrey have been reversed. PLP admires Mr. Godfrey’s willingness to stand firm on his rights and not cave to an oppressive agency that often abuses the authority given to it by the people. The two charges left are:
Count #3 36 C.F.R. 261.9 (a) Damaging any natural feature or property of the United States.
Count #4 36 C.F.R. 261 which prohibits “constructing, placing, or maintaining any kind of road, trail, structure, fence, enclosure, communication equipment, significant surface disturbance, or other improvement on National Forest System lands or facilities
without a special-use authorization, contract, or approved operating plan when such authorization is required.”
Public Lands for the People is honored to take up this case on behalf of Mr. Godfrey and the mining community at large. Please consider taking ownership of this fight with us and the many PLP supporters across the United States. Many, many of you have stood with us in the legal fights for your rights over the past 25 years, and we sincerely appreciate that (as do your fellow miners and public land users)! We can’t do what we do without you doing what you do.

The New Prez Sez!

First, I would like to wish all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015. Great things are happening this year for the small scale mining community and all public land users!

For those of you who are not aware, we lost our President and our most courageous advocate, Jerry Hobbs, on December 28, 2014.  Jerry will be sorely missed.  I am honored to take over where Jerry left off.  I am grateful for the time we spent together, what he taught me and the experience I gained by watching his actions over the years.  I am also grateful for the new board of directors that have stepped up to support PLP as we move forward.

Jerry left us with very special gift.  On January 12, 2015 Judge Ochoa ruled in PLP’s favor regarding Federal preemption overriding the State’s blanket prohibition on suction dredge mining.  PLP is very excited about this ruling and I know Jerry would be too.  We would have not achieved this victory without Jerry Hobbs.  We would not have been able to fight this fight without the financial support from GPAA/LDMA.  They have been the #1 contributor to support this battle over the past five years.  Thank you GPAA/LDMA!  In addition Keene Engineering, Prospecting and Milling Journal, American Prospector and Treasure Seeker, Gold Cube, Jobe Tools, MineLab, Whites and Fisher are all major contributors to our cause and we Thank You!  We are especially grateful to the individuals and clubs who are members of PLP for your support for all these years.  PLP wishes to thank everyone.  A win for PLP is a win for the small scale mining community and all public land users.

Now what does this ruling mean to the small scale miner now?

PLP argued several points before Judge Ochoa:

  • Miners and prospectors on Federally managed land have a statutory right; not just a mere privilege;
  • Administrators may not unreasonably restrict or prohibit, temporarily or permanently, the exercise of that right;
  • The issuance of a permit from DFW is a non-discretionary act
  • SB670, AB120, SB1018 and the 2012 regulations are PROHIBITORY not regulatory in their fundamental character and that they are in direct conflict with Federal laws and violate the Supremacy Clause and Article IV of the United States Constitution.
  • And on a Federal mining claim where a waterway runs through it that a suction dredge is the ONLY viable, economic and environmentally sound manner to recover placer gold.

In the Judge’s ruling he declared that “prevailing parties to prepare notice and order”!
That means that PLP, as one of the prevailing parties, will write the order of the court, file it with the court and upon approval of the judge he will sign it. Once again, PLP is very pleased with this (!) while the State and the environmental extremists appear to be very frustrated with this.  

We are scheduled to resume the Mandatory Settlement Conference on January 23,2014 with the intent of settling on reasonable regulations that will not prohibit us illegally.  The momentum is clearly on our side.

Now, the question is, “Can we go dredging”?

That, as far as the State is concerned, is still illegal!  As far as Federal law goes, you have statutory rights to mine that cannot be preempted or prohibited by an arbitrary State action.  Since the State still does not concede your right to suction dredge mine, despite Judge Ochoa’s ruling, the individual will have to determine what actions to take or not to take at this time.  PLP strongly recommends that if an individual should decide to exercise one’s federally granted rights that one should first apply for a suction dredge permit from CDFW. If you are denied a permit, record the date, time, location and the name of the CDFW official that has denied your request.  This will be valuable in the event that one is cited by either a Federal or state agency.
As the newly elected President of PLP, I will continue to fight to keep our rights to mine and access our Public Lands!  PLP needs your continued help.  Please join or renew your membership now to keep this winning juggernaut going!  Go to publiclandsforthepeople.org to become part of this movement and let’s TAKE IT BACK AND KEEP IT!

Tribute To Jerry Hobbs

It is with extreme sadness and regret that Public Lands for the People announced the passing of one of its founders, Jerry Hobbs. Jerry passed away peacefully in his sleep Dec. 28th, 2014, after six weeks of struggling with heart issues. He will be missed terribly by Public Lands for the People, the mining community and especially by his family and friends. The Board of Directors for Public Lands for the People pledged to continue to carry the torch in the fight for public lands and mining rights. They have always been committed to doing this, but they are now even more determined to do so in Jerry’s honor. In lieu of flowers, it was Jerry’s wish that people would join PLP; not only donating funds, but getting involved, volunteering to link arms in the cause that he gave his life represented.
Some men seem larger than life by their size, others by what they accomplish in life. Jerry was definitely the latter. He accomplished so much in his life for small scale miners, and especially for property rights and for freedom granted us by the Constitution, that any one tribute could not cover it all. Jerry was a mountain of a man when it came to fighting to keep our Public Lands rights, and he stood up to everyone no matter the odds, fighting for what he knew to be right, fair and just.
He was a visionary, seeing the onslaught of the environmentalist groups and government regulations long before anyone else hardly had an inkling of the threat to our freedom. He was rare in that he not only identified the threats, but acted proactively to thwart those threats by forming what is now known as Public Lands for the People, a 501-c3 non-profit organization that has been spearheading the fight to restore dredging rights in California over the last 5 years, as well as many other, lesser known battles (with many victories!).
Even while lying in his hospital bed, Jerry was more concerned about the affairs of PLP and the legal battles that are underway than his own welfare. Those of us that have known and worked with him over the years were not at all surprised with his dedication to his life’s work, right to the end. You see, these past many years he has dedicated his entire life, morning till night, to helping others. He would often do legal research for anyone that requested answers to public lands/ mining rights/ roads issues. When he wasn’t doing that, he was working on fundraising to keep PLP able to stay in the legal fights.He always had a good sense of humor, except if you were on the wrong side of the issues, then, well, you just don’t cross a man on a mission!
Jerry Hobbs, we will miss you. Your legacy will continue in the capable hands and leadership of PLP. We will continue to build on the solid foundation you have laid. We will never give up my friend; for you, for our kids, and for their kids. We will continue to carry the freedom torch in your honor, the one you inspired to be lit in each one of us. You were a rare leader, a man among men; and in many ways, larger than life. We were blessed to be counted among your friends. You are missed. Good bye friend.Ron Kliewer,
On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Judge Ends Fees at SoCal National Forests for Visitors who Park and Hike

Visitors do not have to pay a fee to enter national forests in Southern California if they do not use bathrooms, picnic tables or other amenities, a federal judge determined this week.

Four hikers, including two from Ojai, filed a lawsuit in late 2012 challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s right to charge visitor fees at Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. on Monday agreed that the fee, called an Adventure Pass, cannot be levied if people use the forests but not amenities such as campgrounds.

Adventure Passes are $5 for a day or $30 for a year.

“If all a person wants to do is park and have a picnic or go for a hike or camping or backpacking, they do not have to pay a fee,” said Matt Kenna, the hikers’ Colorado-based attorney. “Now if you go and use a developed campground then you will have to pay a fee, as you should.”

John Heil, U.S. Forest Service press officer for the Pacific Southwest Region, said the forest service is reviewing the decision and had nothing further to add at this time.

Alasdair Coyne, conservation director of the Keep Sespe Wild group, said he was pleased with Hatter’s ruling.

The Ojai man was ticketed a couple years ago for parking and hiking in Rose Valley. Instead of fight the ticket, he joined the lawsuit.

“The fee law that was enacted in 2004 very clearly stated that there could not be fees charged for parking (and hiking),” Coyne said. “This is a clear-cut ruling and the message couldn’t be more clear.”

The fee law is formally called the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. It allows for fees in “high-impact” recreation areas that have amenities such as picnic tables, developed parking and security.

The lawsuit that led to Monday’s decision followed several legal challenges to the fees in recent years.

In February 2012, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with plaintiffs who sued the Forest Service over fees at Mount Lemmon in Arizona.

The Forest Service went too far in levying those fees on visitors who parked their cars to hike, picnic or camp on land that hadn’t been improved, the Arizona suit alleged.

Fees are used for improvements such as purchasing toilets or picnic tables, officials have said.

Kenna said that while the decision in the Mount Lemon case applied only to that forest, he and others expected the Forest Service to apply the ruling at other sites.

When that didn’t happen, the local lawsuit was filed. Both sides tried to hammer out a deal last year but were unable to reach consensus, Coyne said.

In light of Monday’s decision, which only applies to four Southern California forests, Kenna said he expected the federal agency to eliminate the fee at additional locations.

“If they don’t start following this in other forests, we will just keep suing them,” Kenna said.

It is the Bottom of the Ninth

Be advised small mining community, suction dredging is about to disappear permanently in California if PLP does not immediately obtain substantial additional funding.  The California outcome will reverberate throughout all of the states with suction dredge mining. If we lose, the radical environmentalists have a roadmap to replicate their success everywhere.

PLP’s preliminary injunction arguing irreparable harm to the small miner was denied by our judge despite the fact that a Siskiyou County case found in favor of irreparable harm to the miners.  Our trial is again delayed, this time until May 2014.

Our deep pocket opponents: the radical environmentalists; the Karuk Indians; and the State of California; have no financial issues.  Their combined effort to delay our case has successfully run PLP out of money.  Without additional funding, PLP will not be able to continue hiring legal representation nor pay our share of the estimated $100,000 administrative fees required by the State to compile the complete record of all the previous trials.

There are two ways for miners to never be able to suction dredge in California again: have our judge rule against us on the merit of the case, which is appealable; or PLP failing to show up for the case because we ran out of money, which is not appealable.

Folks, we need a grassroots effort here.  PLP is requesting that each club immediately become creative and initiate fund raising opportunities.  Designate the resultant funds for our collective legal fight.

PLP is calling on all clubs to immediately encourage each one of their club members to enroll as individual PLP members.  The annual individual membership is $35.00. That is only 9.6 cents per day per member. Is there any small miner who cannot afford a dime a day? A family membership for $50.00 is only 14 cents a day.  But, why stop there?  Imagine what can be done if every small miner gave 30 cents a day.  PLP could really go on the offensive and take the small miner fight to the rest of the nation.  Thirty cents is just the change that you take out of your pocket and throw into a jar at the end of your day.

Let’s be clear fellow miners, suction dredging is only the opening gambit in the admitted radical environmentalist effort to eliminate all prospecting & mining in the country, not just California.  Highbanking, sluicing, dry-washing, panning and even metal detecting are all on the chopping block. You need to look no further than Oregon to see that prediction coming true.

For this case, it is the bottom of the ninth inning.  We either open our wallets or we permanently lose prospecting and small mining in California.  Remember folks, in so many ways where California goes so goes the rest of the nation. If they beat us here, they will beat us everywhere.  Let’s give the radical environmentalists and the complicit government a legal whopping that they won’t soon forget.