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My Two Cents Worth..
October 29, 1999 at 08:01:16
I was on a vacation about 5 years ago. Went out West and toured the Rockies, Tetons, etc. Was a wonderful trip. One of the things I wanted to do while out there, was to go gold panning. I bought the equipment, a good book that gave site information, and went looking for gold. I was excited and sure that I WAS gonna come home with a nugget to show all of my Ohio friends.
When I went out, I never imagined what I would really find. Many of the sites were privately owned and posted "No Tresspassing" which I respected. Some of the others were totally defaced. I remember creek beds that had the trees on the banks fallen over because the ground underneath was removed. Large ugly holes were dug in the banks and just left. The worst was when I came upon a small parcel of land that was for sale. It had a small creek going through the center of it. There were dozens of "prospectors" working (or should I say destroying) that land. They were digging holes and undermining trees and littering (pop, beer cans, snack food bags, you name it). I was appalled. When I asked who owned the land I was told that they never came around so I didn't have to worry about it. I watched them for a while as they took bucket after bucket of soil out from under the trees. It was a sad sight.
The point of this post is this. As long as there are people who take advantage like those I saw, there will always be the need for rules and regulations. Many large commercial prospecting companies, just like the above "prospectors" have raped this beautiful land. And just the like the owner of that parcel, I want my Birthright as an American to stay healthy and beautiful. I want my Grandson to be able to pick up a gold pan someday and go prospecting with his Grandma and not fall into a hole or find downed and dead trees along meandering creek banks. Is this too much to ask???
I know there has to be some kind of compromise. The prospectors and hobbiests have a right to utilize the land. I do not argue with that. But we must show some respect and responsibilty to this land of ours. Not only for the good of the country but also because it gives the "powers that be" the ammunition they need to make restrictive regulations.
I love this hobby. I metal detect and I also pan when ever I get out West. We need to fight to keep the rights to do this by policing ourselves and becoming good examples of proper prospecting and restorative techniques.
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