Then, Now, Future. Nutshell Version

Oro Expediton 15… An hour of hard work on the Klamath River, Northern CA


Was April 2013. That was the month and year I kicked off Oro Expeditions. It was also the year I ended a 30 year career driving a truck across this great country. It was kinda funny and ironic how that all ended and maybe I will tell more of that story someday but for now I am going to start this “nutshell” with a beginning instead of an ending.

The first Expedition kicked off without glamour. I gathered up all of my basic camping gear along with a weeks worth of food and plenty of clean clothes. The last thing to be loaded into the “Nugget Buggy” was everything I owned to prospect for gold. It was a short list. 2 5 gallon buckets, a short-handled round pointed shovel, a home-made 1/2 in. classifier, and my lucky gold pan given to me as a gift for joining a famous gold club. The last thing on the list was the directory of all the places in the US this club had the rights to prospect and mine for gold.

On the 14th of April, 2013, early in the afternoon, two things happened at the same time. I pulled out of the driveway in western Maryland to begin Oro Expedition 13, a dream of mine for sometime come true and at the same time on the same day a cute little puppy was born that would drop into my life 7 months later in central California during a Christmas blizzard.


I spent 13 months on the gold trail that first year with only one 4 day stay at the house for my wife’s birthday. I traveled to quite a few south-eastern states including North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee all of which were abundant with the shiny yellow stuff along with numerous different semi precious stones of all colors and shapes.

East Tennessee Gold
NC & GA Gemstones

After many rain filled days spent working the small streams of the east my operation was able to move to the eleven western states in pursuit of much larger gold and much more plentiful gold.

Starting in Colorado and working my way across to Oregon I was able to prospect and find gold every time I crossed a state line. Landing in southwest Oregon and then working my way south as September turned into November, I followed the gold trail to central California high in the Sierra Nevada.

Chinese tailings SW Oregon
Outpost Stumble Down
Gold Camp in the High Sierra, Central CA

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one also felt like something new for Oro Expeditions was about to start as I made my way back to Maryland in late January of 2014.


I’m not sure where to start with the “now” part of this story so I will begin with what I know about my physical well-being and how it may or may not affect the 2017 gold and gemstone season and beyond.

I have had a history of back trouble since my early twenties when I was involved in a serious fall from a carnival ride I was working on. Then in 2001 I was struck by lightning and of course the back took the worst of it. Then back in 2006 I injured the lower back bad enough I couldn’t walk or sit up straight for almost a week. Once again somewhere around 2015 while helping a friend I blew multiple disks out and found out what lifetime chronic pain feels like.

Lumbar Traction… feels great

I have been on a pain program for over a year and the meds I use to get pain relief work well. These are meds I will be on for the rest of my life unless something better is invented. The use of cannabis is a large part of my medical battle with pain along with other problems that use letters to describe them. THC heals them all.

My right shoulder was recently operated on to remove bone spurs and other fun stuff like shortening my collarbone and relocation of my bicep muscle. The good news is it is healing nicely and will be ready for the coming season.

Once again I regress. Back to the season at hand.


I look ahead to the 2017 gold and gemstone season and I see an Expedition that could be the biggest one yet and also one that could be worthy of a spot on one of the reality TV channels. The plan includes multiple locations in the lower 48 along with plans for at least 1 trip up north to the Yukon and interior Alaska. Thanks to the arthritis in my back it might be my last chance to see the Land of The Midnight Sun.

Something I want to focus on this year is a program that involves teaching people, especially children, how to prospect and pan for gold. We will be promoting this wherever we may go and will be posting locations and dates as early as possible. If you check the upcoming schedule we will be posting and we are in your area you will be able to come hang out with us in Gold Camp and learn the basics of finding the shiny yellow metal.


We will be focusing on creating two permanent spaces which will allow us to work year round depending on the season. One will be located on our desert claims located in central Arizona. The other will be somewhere in the northwest with possibilities in Canada and Alaska. Returning back to a plan from 2013 and the first Expedition, I would like to have the whole north south program located in the lower 48 states with future Expeditions expanding northward and also world-wide to exotic locations like “down under”, and also South America. Big ideas or BIG plans to be turned into reality? You decide. For me and my lovely wife we believe it is all doable and more.

I started out calling this piece a “Nutshell” version but I always get a little carried away with excitement when it comes to warm weather and the pursuit of gold and other shiny things so bear with me …  hehe

More later…


Live Free or Die but not in New Hampshire, House Bill 591

Article reprinted from Appalachian Prospectors Gold Prospecting Adventures

As many of you know I am a gold prospector and if you don’t know, you know it now.  I enjoy the great outdoors by prospecting for gold, I would hike miles and miles, over mountain ranges just to get to a good gold prospecting location. For me to hike I need a destination and a purpose. The same with camping, I will camp in the worst weather, for days and even weeks for gold prospecting. Gold prospecting is my serenity, just like fishing is to some, or hunting to others it is my passion. I like to prospect in New Hampshire, and I love to dredge for gold. I love New Hampshire, especially the state moto “live Free Or Die”. This is the state I was born in, I call New Hampshire my home state, most of my relatives still live in New Hampshire, my ancestors settled in New Hampshire while it was still the Massachusetts colony, one day I plan on going home. I want to spend my retirement in the mountains prospecting and dredging for gold.

Earlier this week I read an article in the Concord Monitor online titled: Bill would halt dredging machinery in N.H. gold prospecting , my blood pressure sky rocketed and I thought I was going to have a stroke because what I read was a proposed bill, HB 591 to ban gold dredging in New Hampshire. The entire bill is based on misconceptions about small scale suction gold dredging, possibly even lies. What happened to live free or die? There goes my whole plan for retirement. I would like to clear the air on some of these misconceptions about gold dredging especially those listed in this news article.

“There’s a surprising amount of damage that can be done by one of these things,” Claims Rep. Lee Oxenham, a Plainfield Democrat, which by the way indroduced and sponsored this bill. What I want to know is what is this surprising amount of damage. What is the merit for this bill? I don’t want to hear opinion and conjecture or flat out lies, show me the data that supports your claim. what I need to see are studies and or reports that have been peer reviewed, performed on the practice of small scale suction dredging because the ones that I have read prove otherwise.

It is obvious that who ever provided the information for this article knows very little to nothing about the subject of gold prospecting , gold dredging or anything associated with the practice thereof. The article states and I quote ” The bill also would outlaw similar processes and technologies with names like “rocker box” and “highbanking,” which suck up stones and water from steambeds via small gasoline-powered pumps and filter them in some way to help the users spot tiny flecks of gold that might be there.” Rocker boxes and highbankers don’t suck up stones you shovel into them. Rocker boxes don’t even have a motor on them it is a hand operated device that you pour water in with a pail. How does legislation get introduced on anything without even the basic facts even being known and better yet how does it pass a House vote? Something is wrong with our government.

Here is another quote from the article: “New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says these processes stir up too much silt and mud, “releasing fine sediments back into the stream” that can harm life in the waterway.” Flat lazy water is where mud and silt covers the bottom, rivers on flat land, swamps, ponds and lakes is where you would find this condition, this is not at all ideal for gold dredging. We don’t dredge here. What is ideal is a river that drops at least 10 feet per mile which means faster moving water, silt and mud does not settle in these areas for us to dredge up, we need to dredge in gravel, rocks where only the heavy materials, minerals like magnetite, hematite, garnet and gold will settle, the lite materials have already been washed away by nature.

Another quote from the article:

“The turbidity can go for thousands of yards – it’s not just localized,” said Oxenham. “It’s disruptive for fish, insects, the benthic community in all its forms.” There are occasions where you may dredge into a pocket of clay and there is a moment of noticeable turbidity, it is not constant, travels about 50 to 100 yards and 100 is stretching it, not thousands. Notice in the picture below how clear the water is, this is typically how it runs.


Yet another quote: “Further, she added, the noise and smell of the machines “can drive those searching for the unmediated, unspoiled experience of our natural wonders out of the state, along with their tourist dollars.” Yes there is the noise of  a small engine, the size of a lawn mower engine, a push mower not a riding one.  What smell? This makes it sound like we are running a paper mill out here and we are driving all the tourist away, simply not true. We have just as much right to the wild as a hiker or any one else who is recreating out in the state of New Hampshire. I am spending my money too, on campgrounds or other lodging, groceries, restaurants, gas stations, ice cream stands not to mention the $50.00 I pay for the permit to dredge.

New Hampshire residents should be outraged by this legislation because it is all based on fiction and if this is how legislators deal with a matter such as this imagine how legislation is passed on matters that you really care about. Maybe they should focus their efforts more on things like the heroin epidemic in the state.

If you like to prospect for gold and dredge in New Hampshire then please stand up for your rights and attend the public hearing that is going to be held by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee which the date and place is yet to be determined.  You should be able to find the date here when it is determined:



Call To Action ~ Oregon ~ American Mining Rights Association ~



A new bill has been created to ban all forms of mining in Oregon. They are even declaring it an emergency to pass this ban.

Here is an excerpt from the bill:

Senate Bill 3
Sponsored by Senator COURTNEY (Presession filed.)

The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor’s brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced.

Modifies area where moratorium on mining using motorized equipment applies.
Exempts certain mining operations from exclusion certificate requirements.
Operative January 2, 2019, excludes certain upland placer mining operations from moratorium and requires certain upland placer mining operators to hold operating permit. Requires motorized equipment used for certain upland placer mining operations to be operated only during certain hours. Punishes upland placer mining operation outside certain hours or without permit coverage by maximum of $2,000 fine.
Establishes permitting requirements for motorized in-stream placer mining. Requires Director of Department of State Lands and Director of Department of Environmental Quality to enter memorandum of understanding allowing Department of Environmental Quality to issue certain removal fill permits. Authorizes Department of Environmental Quality to issue consolidated water quality and removal fill permits for motorized in-stream placer mining. Places certain restrictions on motorized in-stream placer mining.
Punishes motorized in-stream placer mining without permit coverage by maximum of $2,000 fine.
Requires motorized equipment used for motorized in-stream placer mining to be inspected at aquatic invasive species check stations.
Provides that motorized in-stream placer mining permitting, use restriction, inspection and penalty provisions become operative January 3, 2021.
Requires consultation to determine whether state and federal mining programs can be better coordinated.
Declares emergency, effective on passage.

An emergency? You must stand up to horrendous ideological bills like this or be steamrolled by their hatred for public lands, small miners, fishermen, hikers, hunters and property owners.

We urge you to read this bill and oppose it. We also urge anyone in Oregon to attend the public hearing this coming Monday at the State Capital in Salem.

Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, Room 347, Salem, Oregon 97301 Phone: 503-986-1751

Here is the entire bill:…/MeasureDocume…/SB3/Introduced

Oregon, rise up and defeat this tyrannical bill.

Source:  AMRA – American Mining Rights Association Call To Action

~ February Newsletter ~ Public Lands For The People ~

Hello Folks,

Here we are in a new year with a new government settling into place in Washington DC, and a new set of challenges in front of us. Yes, it is great that our new President is pro-American business and willing to do what he can (which is a lot!), to Make America Great Again, But ‘We The People’ still need to do our part and be actively involved in the process. You can’t sit back and expect that everyone else will get it done. We The People have spoken and We The People must act on our convictions. It’s time to stay involved, write letters to your Congressmen and Senators and make phone calls. A hand written letter is worth thousands of form letters! There are still fights in progress such as the Eagle Mountain land annex where the National Park Service is working hand in hand with BLM to take 22,000 acres of mineral rich land into the National Park to be locked away. Get involved and write letters. The comment period closes Feb. 16th  Eagle Mountain National Park Land Annex Comments PageEven in a national emergency where our enemies refuse to sell us any rare earth minerals that are crucial to our national defense, once locked in the National Park, the minerals may as well not exist. Even if the land could be moved back into Public Domain, it would takes years to develop the mines so as to be useful in the defense of our nation.

We have an update to our dredge lawsuits here in California. It appears Judge Ochoa has for the second time cancelled the upcoming hearing on the CEQA and “one subject” motions, this time pushing the hearing out to July 12, 2017.

You all may recall that these motions were initially to be heard in January 2016, then stayed on account of the Rinehart case, then set for April 21st 2017, then cancelled at Judge Ochoa’s instance and moved to May 12th 2017. Although we are very confident that we can get the CEQA process and the 2012 regulations thrown out due to the faulty science and violations of the process by the State of California, that won’t get us back in the water dredging due to the water board permitting process lumped on by the legislature.

We do have a solution that will remove all states from regulating unreasonably on Federally managed lands and give the power back to the MMAC affiliated mining districts.

We are working feverishly to get new legislation in place that will put more teeth in the 1872 Mining Law for the miners. This must happen within the next 2 years while the Republican majority is in place. Do your part to help us Take It Back And Keep It! Renew your supporting membership in PLP and make a donation above your normal membership to help us make the extra push supporting the Mining District revival under the expert guidance of the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council! The power of the mining districts is beginning to be realized in Congress. Our advisors were in DC for the inauguration. Joe Martori, Clark Pearson and Scott Harn, all MMAC advisors are in Washington DC right now for a rigorous week of work on our behalf to get our Federal legislation through and signed by President Trump!  You can read the bill here:  House Resolution from the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council.

PLP volunteers will be set up at the big Quartzite, Arizona Gold and Mineral show Feb. 10-12, so come out and show your support! We will have gold bags for sale, a panning area, PLP T-shirts, expert prospecting advice, Challenge Cards, PLP bumper stickers  and speaking at the show. We are excited to be there! Find out all about the show here:

Though our membership voted in new By-Laws last year which we are now operating under, the Board Members that resigned last July are still having their charade meetings, pretending to be PLP Board Members at Keene Engineering’s office. We are saddened to announce that because of these actions, by GPAA’s request, PLP will not be allowed to set up at any of their events until GPAA is satisfied that the Board dispute has been resolved. As far as we are concerned, the dispute was resolved when the PLP Membership overwhelmingly approved the new By-Laws last fall.  We will miss so many of you we consider our friends at these shows, but will keep in touch other ways like through our newsletters, website, new shows we’ve never worked at before, and “out there” in the gold fields.

We are continuing to fight for miner’s rights, and are still Plaintiffs in the two dredging cases in San Bernardino. Your board of directors are all volunteer! Please help us help the mining community by renewing membership and making an extra donation.

Until next time, Let’s Keep Taking it Back while we Make Mining and Multiple Use Public Land Great Again!

Ron Kliewer


Source:  Public Lands For The People

Prospectors Fight for Rights in Black Hills

Forest Service cites fairy slipper orchid as reason to ban new mining claims


Prospectors fight for rights in Black Hills

For the GPAA

The U.S. Forest Service proposed nearly 18,000 acres of land in the Black Hills National Forest to be “withdrawn from mineral entry,” which means no new mining claims would be allowed.

 The proposal was recorded in the Federal Register on Sept. 24, 2015, but Sam Griner, a member of the Northern Hills Prospectors — a local chapter of the Gold Prospectors Association of America — said he wouldn’t have even known about the proposed withdrawal had he not scanned the Forest Service’s Schedule of Planned Action (SOPA) website.

 “They were surprised that anybody had caught it,” Griner said. “They expected it to just go through. The Travel Management Plan … just went through and nobody knew to comment on it. It went unchecked and nobody made any comments.”

 The Travel Management Plan that the Forest Service issued back in 2010 shut down roads, affecting area prospectors but primarily impacting hunters, Griner said.

After learning about the proposal to designate nearly 18,000 acres as new Research Natural Areas (RNA) and Botanical Areas (BA), Griner took action action, attending public meetings and sending letters of opposition to nearly every agency and public official he could think of. The public comment period for the proposed mineral withdrawal closed Dec. 23, 2015.

 Griner attended a National Forest Advisory Board Meeting on March 16 at the Mystic Ranger District to oppose the withdrawal. During the meeting, Deputy Forest Supervisor Jerry Krueger said that if approved, the mineral withdrawal would last for two decades. After 20 years, the Forest Service would have to reapply with the Bureau of Land Management for another withdrawal, according to the meeting minutes. Because BLM manages the minerals within the Black Hills National Forest, it — along with the Secretary of the Interior — must give approval for the withdrawal.

 In response to Griner’s land closure concerns, Former Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien said, “What we are also doing is preserving. During the Forest Planning process in 2005, we found that a number of these areas should be preserved,” according to the meeting minutes. But, Krueger said the plan to withdraw the various sites from mineral entry goes back as far as the late ’90s.

 Northern Hills Prospectors President James Van Hout said the Forest Service’s response to the prospector’s concerns has been disingenuous, at best.

 “They just give us lip service, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll take your comments and concerns and we’ll discuss them,’ ” Van Hout said. “We know exactly where they went. They went into file 13 because they weren’t what they wanted to hear, and we know that. We’re not stupid.”

Van Hout said the Forest Service geologist treated prospectors with the same attitude during a meeting with the agency last October about the areas where mining would be banned.

 “Their geologist had the gall and thought we were just stupid. He made the statement that the U.S. Geological Survey says there’s no minable minerals,” Van Hout said. “I plainly asked him, ‘Have you tested it personally?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Then how do you know there’s not?’ Boots on the ground is the only way you’re going to find out. Then, I asked him how old the report was. The ’50s? And, he didn’t deny it.”

Furthermore, the report related to commercial mining, not prospecting and small-scale mining, Van Hout said.

 “Basically, the report was saying there’s no commercially viable minerals there, meaning no large mining company is going to want to go in and mine it because it us such rough territory and terrain that it would be cost prohibitive for them to go in and mine,” Van Hout said. “But for the small miner, there’s lots of gold in there. Seventeen of 22 of the largest nuggets that came out the Black Hills came out of the major area they want to close.”

 At the same October meeting in Rapid City, Krueger said: “We need to take special measures to protect them [Black Hills] in terms of what can occur there, and so one of the concerns is commercial mineral withdrawal entry,” according to a news report by KEVN Black Hills FOX.

 Krueger later said that it was not the Forest Service’s intention to keep out the small-scale miner, but that because of the way the mining laws are written, there is no distinction between small-scale miners and commercial miners.

 “Initially, we thought that by doing the mineral withdrawal that it would not affect the recreational prospecting groups,” Krueger said. “When we pursued that —again through the public meetings — we were asked to take a look at that through legal channels. The mineral withdrawal covered any mineral withdrawal within these designated areas, and that included recreational prospecting.”

 Although prospectors may not feel like their voices are being heard, Krueger said they managed to get the withdrawal area down from nearly 18,000 acres to 11,000 acres by negotiating terms of the contract with BLM.

 “During the public meetings, which included members of your group, we received feedback that they would like us to pursue in terms of the legal description,” Krueger said. “We’re trying to capture a non-linear polygon with a square block legal description.”

Initially, BLM instructed the Forest Service to submit the proposed withdrawal using a minimum size of 40-acre blocks, so everywhere a 40-acre block touched the perimeter of the withdrawal, the Forest Service had to include that 40 acres. But, the Forest Service was able to negotiate the legal description down to 2.5-acre blocks, Krueger said.

 “It really helped us all out. We could much more accurately capture the research footprint of the Research Natural Area or Botanical Area using a much smaller legal description,” Krueger said.

 According to the Forest Service website, the RNA areas “were selected because of their relatively pristine nature and form part of a national network of ecological areas designated in perpetuity for non-manipulative research, education and biodiversity conservation. Botanical Areas were selected because of unique biological features and rare natural communities.”

 One of these “unique biological features” includes the calypso bulbosa, also known as the “fairy slipper orchid,” which has a G5 national rating and a S3 state rating, according to the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks website. The scale runs from 1 to 5 with 5 being the most plentiful and 1 being the scarcest. The flower has held a G5 ranking for more than a decade, according to the Forest Service website, which noted that the species is “secure, widespread and abundant” in the United States.

 Still, these Cinderella sounding flora are being used as a premise to ban new mining claims.

 “Among those are the lesser yellow lady slipper, which is one of my personal favorites,” Black Hills National Forest Botanist Chelsea Monks said in an interview with South Dakota Public Broadcast. “But, the neat thing about these areas is not just the species that are there, but the assemblage of species that are there, meaning there are species that are co-occurring that don’t normally occur together. So, that’s one of the values that we designated these areas to preserve.”

 Monks is responsible for taking public comments on the proposed withdrawal and oversees the Botanical Areas within the Black Hills National Forest. The orchids may not be endangered, but they are a favorite meal for deer, Van Hout said.

 “Deer love to eat [the fairy slipper] because of the vanilla aroma to it,” Van Hout said. “You can go down one draw, and there will be huge numbers of this flower. You can go over the next ridge into the next draw and you won’t find any or just a few, so they go into those and go, ‘Oh dear, this is a scarce flower.’ It’s ridiculous.”

 Krueger said there is no actual risk of endangerment for the plant life in these areas. Instead, the main purpose for withdrawal is scientific study and preservation.

 “So I guess, in the current management scheme there is no threat. All we’re looking to do with this is to remove the potential for development, which would disturb the sites,” Krueger said.

 The Forest Service currently has five Research Natural Areas and eight Botanical Areas in and around the Black Hills National Forest. Four of the five RNAs were designated in September 2011, including: Hay Creek in Crook County, Wyoming; Fanny/Boles in Custer County, South Dakota; and Canyon City and North Fork Castle Creek in Pennington County, South Dakota.

 Withdrawal means that no new mining claims can be staked, but creating RNAs and BAs have the added limitation of only allowing non-motorized transportation, meaning these areas can only be reached via horseback or on foot, according to the Black Hills National Forest’s online brochure titled “What are Research Natural Areas and Botanical Areas?” This problem with access also came up in 2010 when the Forest Service issued its new Travel Management Plan.

 “What really ticked me off is that they won’t allow disabled people to get to the claim. Everybody else can get to the claim, but it’s the disabled people who are a part of that club who can’t get to the claim, and the Forest Service isn’t doing anything about it,” Griner said. “That’s what really put me over the top and what really drove me.”

 However, Krueger said the proposed withdrawal to designate RNA and BA areas would not modify the existing Travel Management Plan.

 “I don’t have a map that overlays the current Travel Management Plan over the Botanical Areas or the Research Natural Areas, but I can tell you — knowing how many trails we have in the forest and how many roads we have — that I’m quite sure that there are existing trails or roads in those areas.”

 Griner has enlisted the help of the American Mining Rights Association to deal with this potential withdrawal. In fact, Griner was one of the first miners to call on AMRA for support three years ago when the Forest Service first started shutting down roads and access to mining claims in his area, said AMRA President Shannon Poe.

 “The Forest Service is trying to claim all these different flowers, and it’s all pushed by the environmental movement,” Poe said. “They just want to close all this land where these people have mining claims. They’ve been gating and locking and blocking. It’s the same story over and over again. It is frustrating, because he’s reached out to senators, representatives, and he’s not getting a lot of help or traction. Something we’re going to bring a lot more attention to moving forward is putting pressure on lawmakers to step up and help the people they’re supposed to represent.”

 Aside from getting AMRA involved, Van Hout said it is important to recruit fellow outdoor users.

 “We need to start getting the horseback riding groups and biking groups and hunters and fisherman involved,” Van Hout said. “Mining is the main target, but they’re a target, too. They started with the Travel Management Plan. The hunters used to be able to drive to their certain areas and then walk around and hunt, but now have to walk in two or three miles to get to their favorite hunting grounds. I don’t know if you’ve tried to drag a deer or elk three miles … They’ve hit the hunters a little bit, but they’ll hit everybody pretty soon.”

 According to the Forest Service’s Schedule of Planned Actions, a decision is to be made concerning the ban on new mining claims September next year.

 “September 2017 is two years from the date the Notice of Application for Withdrawal was published in the Federal Register and is the date by which the BLM should make a decision of whether or not to withdraw the areas,” Monks stated in an email correspondence with Griner on Aug. 25. “Right now the Forest Service interdisciplinary team is working on analysis for this project and does not yet have findings. Once we have completed our analysis, the Regional Forester will send a recommendation to the BLM and they will make the final decision.”

 The butting of heads with federal agencies has been rampant across the West in the past few years, but Van Hout said it has never been a problem in the Black Hills until now, and he definitely sees a shift in dynamics, he said.

 “We never had to deal with this … The Black Hills have always been pretty much conservative. You did what you want to do as long as you weren’t stepping on anybody’s toes or causing problems. They left everybody alone,” Van Hout said. “The new Forest Service — they’re starting to close us down now. They haven’t closed us yet, but they’re trying.”

 Griner said he feels stabbed in the back by an agency that is supposed to be representative of the people and working for the people.

 “With some people, you give them a bow and arrow for a present and they give you a T-shirt with a bulls-eye on it,” Griner said.

 Sarah Reijonen is a freelance writer based in California. She can be reached  at


Rules & Restrictions

Activities allowed in Recreational National Areas (RNA):

• Dispersed Recreation: Non-motorized / Non-mechanized dispersed use including hunting and fishing is allowed without developments such as trails or signs

• Research: Research methods are non-destructive and non-manipulative.

• Education: Opportunities are available to learn about natural processes using methods that are non-destructive and non-manipulative.

• Transportation: Foot and horse travel only

• Vegetation Management: Vegetation management including livestock grazing is used only as needed to conserve the biological characteristics for which the RNA was established using methods with the least impact on desired RNA ecological processes. All lease applications will have “no surface occupancy” stipulation.

• No mineral material permits will be issued.

Activities allowed in Botanical Areas (BA):

• Non-motorized dispersed recreation

• On-road motorized vehicles use is authorized in some areas; however other areas are
designated Roadless Areas

• Minimal timber harvest only when necessary to maintain, restore or enhance ecological values

• Livestock grazing if it does not conflict with the ecological values

• No new mineral material permits

— Source: Black Hills National Forest website

Article as featured in the Pick & Shovel Gazette October-November 2016 edition