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Miners Get the Shaft Once Again
Once Again, the LA Times writes a misleading and biased story regarding the Prospectors/Miners at the East Fork of the San Gabriel River in the Angeles National Forest. The Angeles National Forest's Forest Supervisor continues to blame prospectors
The area is under the responsibility of the Angeles National Forest and it boasts a larger amount of visitors than Yosemite National Park! Having lived in the area for nearly thirty years, I have watched this once pristine mountain get-away, turn into the garbage slums of the worst inner city slum imaginable.
The area, once rich in gold prospecting and mining history has been transformed into a virtual dumping ground for dirty baby diapers, discarded beer bottles and cartons, fast food bags and wrappers, and almost any form of trash and litter anyone can imagine. The article I am referring, to paints a picture that this is mostly caused by the few local gold prospectors who also visit the area, in search of the illusive yellow metal.
Yes, the article does mention the thousands of weekend picnickers who come up seeking relief from the oppressive heat down in their inner city homes, but leads the reader to believe that the prospectors are at the root of the problem. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Thousands of picnickers and gold prospectors park every weekend along a two-lane road overlooking the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, then trundle down to the mountain creek with ice chests, boomboxes, shovels, sluice boxes and baby carriers strung with diapers.
I have been prospecting and mining for a number of years and I have NEVER seen a prospector carrying “boomboxes”
I know this to be fact because I have seen the current Forest Supervisor purposefully mislead the public by going so far as to post an unapproved and illegal policy on a Federal U.S. Forest Service Web Site.
Forest Mining Policy
“All mining operations (location of mining claims, prospecting, and mining, including panning, sluicing, and dredging) under the 1872 Mining Law are prohibited within withdrawn areas of the Angeles National Forest. Public Law No. 578 (1928 withdrawal) withdrew areas from entry and location under the mining laws. There is no provision in PL 578 which provides for even a limited right to enter the withdrawn lands to prospect. Therefore, National Forest System lands within the East Fork of the San Gabriel River are not open to prospecting or any other mining operations.”
As a prospector and a miner, I felt it was my duty to know the law regarding my activity. As such, I have done extensive research and the 1928 Watershed Act does NOT prohibit prospecting and the 1872 Mining Law and the 1955 Minerals Act protects prospector rights to prospect on Public Lands. If you want the FACTS, contact Public Lands for the People, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization who protects the RIGHTS of people using Public Lands!
The article goes on to state:
Tom Contreras, supervisor of the 640,000-acre Angeles National Forest, said a few more rangers and cleanup crews would certainly enhance his ability to enforce laws on the river, but budget restraints have made that all but impossible. "We have one full-time technician assigned to that area — I wish we had more," Contreras said.
Further, the article says:
They litter, light campfires, defecate in the wild, dig for gold and engage in many other banned activities along the river. U.S. Forest Service rangers try in vain to curtail the abuses but are hopelessly outnumbered.
Now, just a quick note about the Angeles National Forest and the U.S. Forest Service:
Tom Contreras, Forest Supervisor can play the “OH POOR ME” card all he wants, stating that they don’t have enough money and staff to control the area, but ask him how much tax-payer money is being wasted on the renovation and additions to his Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s building. Ask him why he has the staff to harass local miners but does nothing to ticket the Los Angeles inner city “boombox” toting, dirty diaper throwing, defecating in the wilderness, fire building, river bathing, weekend party goers!
The real answer is that he and his small band of USFS Rangers are afraid to confront them. Instead, they will have three or four of their “law enforcement”
If the news media is going to print this type of SLANTED, BIASED report, they should at least have the courtesy and GUTS to print this version, which tells the REAL TRUTH!
Gary Goldberg, Prospector/Miner