Author Topic: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012  (Read 26383 times)

Chuck Pharis

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Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« on: August 21, 2012, 11:06:25 AM »
To all recreational prospectors:
It is very important that I post these photos. Over the years our GPAA chapter officers have worked very close with the Tellico Ranger District trying to protect the local wildlife, forest and waterways. In the past our GPAA chapter has gone out and cleaned up the roads, and local waterways to no avail.
Trash is still thrown on the roads and the creeks are still being torn up by dredgers and panners. YES panners. When dredging was moved from the Summer months to the Fall and Winter months all that was left at the Doc Rogers area of Coker Creek was panning with hand tools. Our GPAA chapter went out in the past 7 months and completely cleaned up the Doc Rogers area. We broke down the sluice dams, filled in holes and picked up trash. Panning and hand digging continued after the 2011-12 dredging season closed on Feb 29 of this year. I personally walked the creek and inspected it and it looked really nice after our chapter cleaned it up.
I was recently asked to walk the same creek again by the Head Tellico Ranger, Katherine Foster.
On Friday, Aug 17 we spent 2 1/2 hours walking most of the Doc Rogers area of Coker Creek. Below is a tiny bit of the damage we found. I do not have the heart to post all the photos I took. 
All the damage you see below happened AFTER Feb 29, 2012. The bears did not do it, the deer did not do it, and the snakes did not do it. Recreational gold prospectors did it. I have never seen so much damage in this area from panning before! There was also trash all over the creek banks and trails. Yes others use this area too, but the major damage was done by the prospectors.
I can't save you on this folks. You are your own worst enemy. Be ready for this entire are to possibly be closed to ALL recreational prospecting soon. Dredging season opens here on Sept 1st. The Rangers and the State will be out there citing anyone who breaks the Tellico District rules. I do not expect them to give warnings. Be expected to pay stiff fines if you break the rules. We are now on probation in the State of Tennessee.
I saw the look in the Rangers eyes when we saw this damage. How can we fight the State to restore dredging when the panners cause damage like this?
I suggest everyone get a fishing license. That is all we might be able to do in Tennessee soon.
Please don't kill the messenger here. The Rangers and the State already know about this damage.
It makes me SICK to look at the photos below! I have many more but see no reason to post them. The pictures below already speak a thousand words.
Who do we blame here; the locals or prospectors from out of State? It makes no difference unless we have proof.
We are slowly killing our favorite hobby. Shame on who caused this damage! 
Chuck Pharis
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 11:10:06 AM by Chuck Pharis »
Chuck Pharis
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 04:10:01 PM »
chuck i think somebody has been in there with a dredge!!!  there looks like WAY too much hole in some of the pictures to be shoveling, yes you can tell that some of that was done with a shovel but them real big holes just look too big to have been done with a shovel...   nope nobody can blame me i havent even been in the parking lot in 2 years :) :)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 01:08:07 PM by Tn Guy »

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 06:02:27 PM »
I understand some looks like dredging but so far no one has been caught with a dredge there since Feb 29. It really makes no different what equipment caused this damage, it is there for the Rangers to see.
Thanks,
Chuck
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 07:16:28 PM by Chuck Pharis »
Chuck Pharis
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 06:31:16 PM »
Boy looks like a mess down there.. I don't think its a fact of our hobby that can cause damage like this.. Legal to do it or not that won't change this from stuff happening.. I have seen way bigger holes and huge dams built by swimmers in the little river.. It's a shame but people who have no respect for anything or anyone will keep up this kinda act.. Sorry to hear about and see the pics of damage there..

ark

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 08:04:02 PM »
With more and more tv shows about prospecting I fear it will only become worse. All the newbies just don't understand or care what gets messed up as long as they don't get caught.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 08:57:58 PM »
Does the Forestry Service not patrol that area?

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 09:22:05 PM »
i had not been down to Doc's in a while, but i took the kids down to lower coker creek a month ago and got skunked, so we stopped at Doc's on the way home to try a pan or two. i drove down toward the bridge, which i just found out is not regulated by the rangers right?, anyway i assumed there was probably a dredge running there soon before our visit as the water was really cloudy and had the holes still open in the stream bed, and some trash scattered about.. i was surprised to see that place in such disarray with dredging being out of season. could've been a doped up hellbent panner i guess but it was sure a mess. even if it isnt in the rangers jurisdiction it was still a disturbing sight. i told my kids then that these trips may not last much longer with the way these places(lower coker creek too) have been left, all of it (prospecting) would likely be stopped soon. this was before the dredging ban. and i know its no KOA down at lower coker creek but the campsites people have left looked more like vagrant's quarters than recreational prospectors. get these pictures in the right(wrong) hands and it is surely the same for us as those in california. and who could blame them? (the authorities)

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 09:47:50 PM »
i had not been down to Doc's in a while, but i took the kids down to lower coker creek a month ago and got skunked, so we stopped at Doc's on the way home to try a pan or two. i drove down toward the bridge, which i just found out is not regulated by the rangers right?, anyway i assumed there was probably a dredge running there soon before our visit as the water was really cloudy and had the holes still open in the stream bed, and some trash scattered about.. i was surprised to see that place in such disarray with dredging being out of season. could've been a doped up hellbent panner i guess but it was sure a mess. even if it isnt in the rangers jurisdiction it was still a disturbing sight. i told my kids then that these trips may not last much longer with the way these places(lower coker creek too) have been left, all of it (prospecting) would likely be stopped soon. this was before the dredging ban. and i know its no KOA down at lower coker creek but the campsites people have left looked more like vagrant's quarters than recreational prospectors. get these pictures in the right(wrong) hands and it is surely the same for us as those in california. and who could blame them? (the authorities)

I hear you on Lower Coker. Last time I was down there the lower camping area looked rough. Garbage everywhere. I threw a few bottles and cans in the bed of the truck, but garbage bags (and quite a few) would be need to clean it up. A lot of campers there aren't prospectors, but that isn't an excuse.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 09:53:14 PM »
First, the Rangers DO patrol Doc Rogers but also patrol thousands of acres of other National Forest land. They are spread very thin.
2nd, the Coker Creek bridge area is not in the Tellico Ranger District. The Ranger and I walked down there and not only is the area almost destroyed from dredging it looks like a bomb hit it. It is worse than a trash dump and not only the Rangers know it, so does the State. This is on private land and with the current dredging ban, this area and all private land is off limits.
Some only care about themselves and not the enviorment. If this continues we might lose prospecting and they will be the first to yell and scream.
No matter how many laws we have, some idiots will break them. All I ask is don't blame everyone for the stuipd actions of a few.
This is why I want to see Statewide recreational prospecting regulations. You get a permit and put a number on your dredge just like a license plate. Commit a violation and everyone will know who you are. If caught you should pay a heafty fine and lose your equipment.
I have no mercy for those who cause the damage we see in the photos I took. I refuse to post the photos I took near the bridge. I do not want to make our readers physically sick.
Posting these photos is not showing the State how bad some can damage nature. They already knew it.
How simple is it to pick up your trash and carry it out? Fill in your holes and do not dig in the banks?
Most of us find a lot of gold when we are out, and do not have to tear the place up to find it.
Chuck
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 09:58:12 PM by Chuck Pharis »
Chuck Pharis
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 10:07:09 PM »
There are some things we can do when we out on the local waters. Bring trash bags with you and pick up after the idiots who pack it in but don't pack it out. Take photos of what you bring out and post them here. Also knock down the sluice dams and fill in the holes the best you can.
This might not stop those who tear up the forest land but it will show the Rangers and the State that WE care and are willing to help in any way we can.
Our GPAA chapter assists the Rangers in clean up days and we will continue to do so when needed and even on our own.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 10:09:02 PM »
Who is the owner of the private land?

Chuck Pharis

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2012, 10:13:37 PM »
It is owned by a real Estate company (sorry probably by a bank). It went up for aution with no sales. It was then divided up into tracts. I am not sure of the status of the land right now.
Last Friday when we were down there everyone had cleared out. I hope they stay out!
I am not sure who is going to go in there and clean up all the trash. Since it is private land, we legally can't do it. I would hope the Real Estate company posts NO TRESPXXXING signs around there.
Chuck
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 05:08:33 PM by Chuck Pharis »
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2012, 10:20:52 PM »
I may have more on that tomorrow. I'm glad you posted the pictures. If you had only described it, alot of folks would have thought it to be over exagerated.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 11:50:16 PM »
Just go out there and look for yourself. I have many more photos that I did not post. We need chapter members to go out there and clean the area up, break down the dams and fill in the holes.
As for the private land, if anyone know who the Real Estate agent is, tell them to post signs to keep the dredgers away. PRIVATE LAND!
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2012, 12:34:17 AM »
That is a bummer because that land was the land I got outbid on.  Now a real estate company owns it?  Figures.  I hope they eat it outbidding me in the final minute to just try and resell it. 

I recognize a couple of those pics are near my old honey hole.  It's really sad that gold has gotten so much publicity on TV.  I remember not seeing anyone on opening day.  It is a shame some chase the gold to the point that they can't obey the rules.  Where is that second pic, is that the old creek bed after the split?  If I can find my old drive I'll post some pics of what the lower end looked like about 6 years ago for comparison.  I photographed the whole bottom section year after year so I could recognize any changes that might yield gold. 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2012, 10:19:17 AM »
Well maybe I miss-spoke. I am sure some Bank owns that land, but it is managed by a Real Estate company. I do not know what bank or Real Estate compnay?
I can't remember where I took most of the pictures. I have around 50 taken in a 2 1/2 hour period.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2012, 09:53:15 PM »
That's even worse Chuck. ;D  I was really digging the idea of putting a cabin on my little section of Coker and having to dig a 10 acre hole trying to find somewhere for septic.;)

I do know where most of the pics are from and it is a shame that people don't take the time to clean up after themselves.  I used to pack out full Kroger sacks from the lower end of DR every time I would camp.  It was just sad because I knew I had cleaned it up the last time.  The price of gold needs to drop back down enough that the bandwagoneers will jump off. 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2012, 11:47:45 PM »
I do not know the current status of the land. I know it went up for auction and did not sell. After it was split up into tracks I have no idea. I know there is a old auction sign near the bridge. It should be fairly east for someone to find out who actually owns or manages it.
I am not sure how to do that. I have enough land anyway  :D
All the photos I posted are from the beginning of Doc Rogers where the trail hits the water, then up the creek about 1/2 mile or so.
It really makes no difference as the damage is there.
I hope many will go out there and clean it up. Some already have. Sept 1st will be an important day with dredging opening. The main problem now will be the water level. It is very low and I don't think many dredges will fit in there with the distance rule.
Dredgers will have to get there very early to get a decent spot.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2012, 06:49:25 AM »
With that much damage and that many occurences (that was not done in a couple of hours) what was the cause of the rangers not being able to catch someone or can we assume they have some leads or what? Do you know when they first noticed the damage?

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2012, 08:21:17 AM »
I do not know when the Rangers first saw the damage. I did not ask about leads to who might have caused the damage. They do not give out citation information. The damage we saw happened since March of this year. I only posted photos of SOME of the damage. There is more. 
There is a lot of National Forest to patrol so they can't be at one place all of the time. If they issued citations in the past, they will not tell us.
The main issue here are the prospectors who are causing this problem.
They only care about themsleves and not about the environment.
I keep warning everyone (and I did over 2 years ago) if this keeps up, we will slowly lose everything.
They let us prospect in this area, and to keep it, all we have to do is to follow a few simple rules.
Some can't do that, and all of us will eventually suffer.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2012, 08:28:23 AM »
I'm curious - do the Rangers just work during weekdays like they do up at the Ranger Station?  Know there are all sorts of political and financial considerations; but it would seem that the Ranger Station would be needed more during the weekend when folks (tapayers) would be out and about. 

As a thought; if the Rangers are spread thin; would some of us retired and available prospectors be willing to designate a certain day each to 'babysit' Doc Rogers.  Pass out the regulations, chit chat with folks prospecting, take pictures, etc.

A great deterrant used when I lived elsewhere was posting court findings and arrests in the newspaper.  If we could somehow get listings of upcoming appearances before hand and a rep there report back to an offenders hometown newspaper or TV clip.(if found guilty)

Know I'm on the punitive side; but at my age and at the threshold of investing more into my love of prospecting as a retired activity, I am LIVID  over Tennessee Trash jeapordizing a freedom I've worked and fought for.  It is a shame if the legal process gets involved that it would take more time to undue restrictions than I have available to utilize my rights.
     

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2012, 08:29:59 AM »
First a citation is public record. Second I'm not judging but I do think it's important to know if the rangers are doing everything they can to stop this. If they are not then someone needs to build a fire under them. If they are then we need to support them. I was going to suggest that during planning, a suggestion to lawmakers would be to give them more manpower to help patrol. That type of plan and action has already worked in another county for a different sport.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2012, 08:55:10 AM »
I asked the head Ranger if they post those who get citations and she said "NO". I do not know if the National Forest areas have different rules or not on this issue. Their rules might not make citations public records.
Anyone may patrol our Stste waters and talk to offenders. We can't enforce the laws but can ask the ones who are breaking the rules to please stop. Some do not know the rules but most don't care about the rules.
You may call the local Rangers or Police if you see issues. As I said before, they do not have a large Ranger force and that is due to money. They do the best they can. Yes they work on weekends!
I always carry a camera with me when I am out prospecting.
I hope we can get some state wide rules set up. I want to see a registration number on all dredges, sluice boxes and motorized equipment. We might not like this, but we are fighting for our rights here to recreational prospect. We are going to have to give a little to get a lot back.

Our dredging task force is currently working on all issues. I will post their progress when we get some positive information. We seem to have some interest from some State officials. This will take some time, but they are working on this every day. 
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2012, 09:00:25 AM »
Just a thought, what if we made up a poster to put up at the trail head to Doc's with some of these pictures saying something like leave it the way you found it not you will be fined area patrolled, idk just thinking out loud. I know everyone should know better but sometimes if people think they are being watched it can be a deterant.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2012, 09:29:08 AM »
I believe we can't post anything in any National Forest without permission. You should call the Rangers office and find out. I am sure anything we post would be torn down the same day it went up anyway.
This whole thing is very sad.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2012, 10:49:36 AM »
I'm sure they don't "post" the citation. They are available. Also people can enforce the law. Kinda sorta. If you see someone breaking the law you have every right to affect a citizens arrest (not in the Barney Fife fashion :)  ) Anyone can gather proof of a crime and swear to an affidavit to take to a judge or magistrate to have an arrest warrant issued. Not trying to over simplify but it can be done. As Chuck said the first action would be police or rangers if available.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2012, 06:12:42 PM »
Chuck, I bid after the split on the CC tract.  Too bad I no longer have the means if it is back for sell. 

On the other note, the creek is low from the pics which will amplify the piles.  The trash is inexcusable.  They need a good reset on it like about 6 years ago.  I went after that and it was pristine again.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2012, 07:53:57 PM »
Does anyone have any pictures of any damage like what has been posted from the last several years? From any creek or river in the area?

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2012, 09:34:48 PM »
Sadly, even when I started 7 or so years ago it looked the same when the water was low.  One good rain reset it EVERY time and you couldn't tell where who dug what.  The lack of rain and idiots digging the banks is the big deal really, that and undercutting the banks. 

I will post something interesting in a new thread from a personal study I did on CC when I started.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2012, 09:40:36 PM »
That was actually where I was headed. Another post on a different forum used old damage pictures and then showed the same area after a flash flood where nature had corrected herself. Now you see it now you don't. Saying it happens is one thing. Proving it is another.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2012, 10:52:02 AM »
Hold on just a second!  Now I was up there last Saturday and walked through.  Those holes are on the little feeder creek, not in Coker creek at Doc Rogers.  The next big rain will fix it.  There is no permanent damage there.   No one even goes to Doc Rogers except gold panners, surely to God they have seen a hole or two.

Now as to this hole business, every year thousands and thousands of holes are dug and left open in the forest floor by Ginseng and ramp hunters.  No one says a word about those holes or where they are dug.  In fact the very reason they are dug is to destroy forest vegetation.  Face the real facts, the extreme left don't like gold mining, period.  Supposed damage is just the excuse to stop you.  For a hundred years, people dug as much and where they wanted and the forest is still there, your not going to hurt it with a sluice and shovel or a 3 inch dredge.

Now if you want to seek MORE regulation and get state permits for dredges, fine, I don't care.  But this notion of even getting numbers put on sluice boxes is not a good thing at all!  Leave the edicts of the 1872 mining law alone.

If it's motorized, fine,  but I am not interested in paying a fee or registering a sluice and shovel!  Your gonna wind up like Br' rabbit and tar baby.  The more you swing at this left wing bureauracy, the more damage you will do to yourself.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2012, 09:53:52 PM »
The 1872 mining law does not apply in Tennessee, sorry.
Many have gone out to Doc Rogers in the past week and picked up trash, broke down sluice dams and filled in holes. It really does not make any difference when the damage was done. In the main creek or in the feeder creeks. When I was there I saw damage everywhere. I only posted 6 of a lot of photos we took.
I do not think the state wants sluice box numbers, but personally I think is is a good idea on dredges.
When we get dredging back, it will take some time and some give & take from both sides.
Chuck
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flagoldminer

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2012, 08:39:58 AM »
Registering our dredges?????
That will start a witch hunt!!!! We all should be responsible for our actions. If someone wants the dredge hole you are dredging in or doesn't care for  you, all they have to do is turn in the number on your dredge!!!!! We know there are people out there who would enjoy doing this sort of thing. We think this is over regulationing.
We should be able to freely go out and enjoy mining, and clean up after ourselves. Last year when we were dedging Coker Creek, we carried trash out everyday and it was not only our trash. Gold mining will become a defensive sport.
Thanks

 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2012, 09:57:13 AM »
So flagoldminer, what suggestions do you have concerning our creek damage issue here in Tennessee.
Remember, we only have a handfull of Rangers and a lot of damage from some who only care about themselves. The Rangers see the damage and not the hard work we do to try and clean up the area.
I would like prospectors like yourself to take before and after photos and post them on our forum.
Our chapter goes out during the year and cleans up the creeks. Days later the damage starts again!
One way I can see possibly stopping this is to ID the dredgers and sock it to them when caught. Just calling in a dredge number can't do it. The Rangers actually have to see proof, through photos, video or actually through their own eyes. I do not understand how someone can turn you in for dredging in "their hole". That is not breaking the law. if the hole goes into a bank, or they walk away from it and leave it, then take photos. Yes some will abuse the system no matter what we do.
Right now we have almost no places to dredge. The State is simply not going to give it back without a deal between both sides. Do I like it, no, but we are fighting an unhill battle right now.
Please offer any logical suggestions you might have. Contact our task orce and get involved.
Chuck
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flagoldminer

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2012, 06:46:08 PM »
You know we all wish we had a magic bullet to correct this problem of unresponsible miners but of course none of us have one. There are rotton apples in every barrel!
We all have to work together to keep mining open to all. We were in Tellico Plains all last dredging season, and enjoyed mining at Coker Creek. We are members of your Coker Creek GPAA, and attended every meeting from spring til Fall. We also worked with your groups to clean up the creek and also worked very hard on our own. So please don't think that we have not been involved.
I think you may have misunderstood what I meant by someone turning you in for dredging, just to take over dredging in that spot.There are a lot of ruthless people out there. Yes,  No one owns the creek! ;)

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2012, 07:14:55 PM »
flagoldminer, I do not know everyone by their screen names  8)
I could not tell who you are by just reading your emails.
That is why Iasked you to contact the Task Force.
Please understand I am not a mind reader, LOL!
Thanks for what you have done, and lets hope we can get dredging back soon.
I ask everyone to check our Task Forge topic page for current updates.
I will post them when I get them.
Thanks,
Chuck
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ARC

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2012, 09:36:24 PM »
Chuck,

I was in the upper Coker Creek area off of Unicoi Lakes Rd. Up stream looked really bad with large dredge holes and a tailing pile about ten feet long. After prospecting one spot my wife and I filled in 4 holes (2 very large dredge holes) and tore down 2 wing dams. We moved the tailing pile up against a high bank to allow the water flow better.

With what I saw in neglect with the dredge holes and tailing piles, it is no wonder that dredging is in so much trouble.

If we don't have respect for the creeks and streams, the only place we will see a gold nugget is in a museum! 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #37 on: September 19, 2012, 10:26:58 PM »
dredge holes create fish habitat, 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2012, 11:47:08 AM »
TN Guy, tell that to the Ranger when he is writing a citation!
I agree that dredging education is important about how the dredgers can help the environment.
I know TDOC knows that and so do the Rangers.
For now we have to follow the rules.
I gave up counting all the metal, glass and trash I have dredged up and removed from the rivers and creeks.
I love seeing the fish hanging around me when I dredge waiting for goodies to eat.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2012, 12:18:32 PM »
A good point. Of course the only way you can get a citation for a dredge hole is to bee seen IN it, then leaving with all your equipment and not filling it in. It does suck as we dredge in existing holes all the time, but once you work an existing hole it then belongs to YOU!
I do not think any Ranger will cite you for being near another hole you did not dig. Honest is always the best policy  8)
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2012, 01:53:33 PM »
Tn Guy make a good point that we all need to think about. Several, myself included, have refered to the dredge holes as damage. He points out that it makes for good habitat. If we're trying to recruit supporters I guess we should desribe it in the best light we can. Does that make sense? In one post we proclaim how it benifits a fishery but the very next post we refer to it as damage. I'm not sure I'm typing what I'm thinking but I hope everyone sees my point. 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2012, 02:40:58 PM »
i see the point on top your head !!   LOL


seriously though, the dredge holes do add some habitat for the fish and things, But if they are dug into the creek banks or right up against the banks the banks will collapse into the creek and do damage, so i think IF the dredge holes are in the middle of the creek they have a good purpose, this year when the water was real low i seen tons of fish on the dredge holes on the little river, it was about the only place that had any water, AND because the little river has so many "man made dams" on it the fish are trapped in a drought condition, BUT it all comes down to what the "man" says we have to do, there geeks that never step off a sidewalk is who will ultimately make the rules :(

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2012, 04:08:14 PM »
So you can see that even with my cap on? :)

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2012, 11:45:10 PM »


I have found several dredged out spots in the middle of the creek that actually help the creek but the ones I fill in are near the bank or diverts the flood waters towards a bank. Several other holes are either in deep water or just too big with very little pilings to make a repair.  I fill in all my holes, I do my best to leave a area the way I find it. With all the controversy directed towards dredging, it would be a good practice to have some sort of respect for our public lands and at least try.  Not pointing fingers at anyone.

I spend about 2 hours every outing repairing damaged areas of the creek where someone else just didn't care and neglected any responsibility for what they have done.

I really like having an opportunity to go out into a area of a creek and pan for gold freely. I will also do my best to protect what I love to do.  I see prospecting for gold days numbered every time I round a bend and see more and more holes left open for tougher restrictions if not shut it down completely.

You do know, in the public's eye we are not viewed as recreational miners or hobbyist. They see us as commercial miners destroying public lands and getting rich off of the destruction. If they only knew how much money I spend vs the gold we have found. It's never about getting rich for us.  We enjoy having a hobby outdoors that rewards us with something new every time we venture out (it is not always gold and definitely not holes to fill left by someone else).



 
 

   

       

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2012, 01:36:05 PM »
No one will ever convince the rangers or the State that nature will correct the damage caused by reckless prospectors. That excuse is lame. It takes millions of years to repair a bank that has been undermined. What Mother Nater does do is fill in the dredge holes.
It is great when prospectors take the time to try and repair damage left by others. But the banks are almost impossible to repair once they have been dug into. There is no way to pack the dirt back in that took millions of years to create.
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #45 on: October 05, 2012, 04:52:51 PM »
I am not condoning any type of illegal activity or digging into the bank in any way, but the banks at Doc Rogers didn't take that long to form.  Any studies that are done on the area should keep in mind that the soil around Doc Rogers in largely made up of pevious mine tailings.  Buckets dredges covered most of the area.  Look at the relativly young ages of the trees along the creek.  Most are less than 80 years old.  You can still large tailng piles in the area.  I have read that we don't even know where the creek ran during the original gold rush.  It has moved many times.  We should treat all streams with respect including Doc Rogers.  We should not try to classify Doc Rogers as a pristine wilderness, it is actually a good example of what 100 years can do to an area that has been large scale mined.  Nature has taken care of most of the damage.  Most of the general public would think that it has not ever been touched, just looking at it.  If everyone, not just miners, treats our water with respect and obeys the laws, then nature will continue to do it's thing. 

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2012, 05:49:38 PM »
I agree with what you say. But digging into the banks and undermining what is there now will take a very long time (if ever) to recover. The water justs eats away at the places that were dug into, more and more. It gets much worse before it gets better. In our lifetime, we will never see those banks again. We need to protect what we have now and not hope that nature will eventually repair it. We are on the same page, but some do not care. They do the damage and walk away, never to return to the mess they caused.
Sigh,,,,,
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2012, 12:04:52 AM »
You raised a very good point cloudwalker.  Most people would have never known or noticed what happened 80-100 years ago, I didn't know that myself.

The problem is what is happening now. Our world now is completely different from back then. Nearly everyone now has a cell phone that takes pictures and video. All it takes is some extreme nature nut to walk along the creek and snap pictures and post it on the web. Once that happens it gets blown out of proportion and a even bigger nut is knocking on the Governors door ( trying to make a name for themselves). Demanding prospecting should be abolished because they had a picture of a dead butterfly (a bird had dropped) floating in the creek where a hole was dug out in the creek by a prospector.

I know it sounds silly but that is all it takes anymore.

It's best to not give them a reason for harsher restrictions or end it entirely.  If everyone could follow the rules and take a minute to look at the big picture, then they would understand.  But there is always that 10% of people that don't care and can't see past their greedy selves and realize that because of their neglect and total disregard, they would end it for all of us.
 
Chuck,

With some of the banks that were undermined, I have started packing them with the larger rocks I find. 

Dredging is a productive tool but in careless hands it is destructive. I built a sucker tube to pick up what the shovel misses and I quickly realized what I have been missing! The best way I can explain it is the difference between cleaning your house floors with a shovel vs a vacuum cleaner. I have started working on putting together a portable dredge after working with that sucker tube. It would be nice to use one but probably too late now.   

I hope no one here is one of those people wrecking Coker Creek. I don't want them to think that they can just leave the holes open for someone like me to fill it back in. I have put alot of time and work into repairing the section I am in and I will not let it continue.  If need be, I have game cameras to see who is creating more work for me. 



   

cloudwalker

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #48 on: October 06, 2012, 09:28:13 AM »
I 100% agree that no one should be digging into the banks in Tennessee.  I just wanted to point out that every area needs to managed differently based on the terrain and history of the area.  A determination will have to be made on what is considered "damage".  If someone digs into the banks and the next flood washes two feet of soil away most of us would call that "damage".  If a tree falls naturally and causes three feet of soil to be washed away in a flood, then we call that "nature".  I just don't want all erosion to be blamed on prospectors.  All laws regarding this should be based on valid science, not politics or emotion. We should not have a blanket law covering the entire state when every area is so different.   To do so will waste resources in some areas while neglecting others.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #49 on: October 06, 2012, 11:38:46 AM »
Everyone here is making great points. It is very obivious who creates the damage when you walk along a creek and are able to stick your arm up in a hole cut into the banks. Of course Mother nature falls trees and errodes banks. "Acts of God"is another way to put it.
We all can see when careless prospectors tear up a stream or creek. It is just stuipd and thoughtless.
We all need to follow the basic rules of water conservation in every State.
A few breaking those rules have caused the mess we currently have in Tennessee. Now we have to fight our way back to what we had. We are very lucky to still have the telllico Ranger District to dredge and prospect in. We work with the Rangers and they work with us.
In December I will have a meeting with the Head Tellico Ranger and talk about the 2013 prospecting rules. I willl post them as soon as I get them.
They should come out the last weekend in Dec of this year.
Remember, your 2012 dredging permits expire at midnight on Dec 31, 2012.
Everytime you are out on the creeks, clean up the mess others make and that might assure us of another year of prospecting in our area.
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #50 on: October 06, 2012, 03:50:18 PM »
Would it be possible to add gold prospecting with metal detectors to the new rules?  Just using these on the creeks would not be intefering with  artifacts that would be of little value after being in the water. 
As they are allowed on the beaches, posession in the NF district would not be an issue.
This would also help in removal of trash from the waterways except of a few like Tn. Trash.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #51 on: October 06, 2012, 10:11:50 PM »
The only good thing about all the holes is, I know where not to dig and eventually there will be nothing to dredge, just bed rock and blue clay. Everything moves down stream unless someone puts it back in place.

The undermining is obvious. There are places where it is dug out right up to the bank and even back under it. Some have unnatural divots about 2-3 feet wide, 2 feet deep and a shear wall. The only natural way that could occur is if a huge rock was next to it diverting the current into the bank but there are none.

Emotional? Yes, of course! Like myself and others, I have spent alot of my time that I could have been prospecting fixing other peoples messes and it may all be in vane. The rules are simple to follow. Fill in your holes, stay 12 inches away from the bank, no digging in dry beds or bank and clean up after yourself. I think that is a very small price to pay for prospecting freely throughout the national forest. Restrictions and tougher guidelines will follow if those 10% can not follow the rules.

Take a good look at California. Does anyone want their regulations they have, here in Tennessee? That could happen here if not already being looked at.



     

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #52 on: October 07, 2012, 12:31:48 PM »
California is the perfect example of what happens when idiots run the government, and it's not only evident in the prospecting arena.  California has dug themselves into a hole much more damaging than a dredger could ever dig, and all based on their misguided stupidity that manmade anything is bad for the environment and nature.  The entities fighting commercial and recreational outdoor activities are powerful, well-funded and zealous in their quest to make nature off-limits to humans in anything they deem harmful to said nature.  Make no mistake about it.....these people border on religious fanaticism....and they want an inquisition.  For the proof of that just look to the San Juaquin Valley fiasco where they have bullied lawmakers into cutting the water supply off to thousands of farmers, to "save" a minnow that lives in that water. Priorities have become out of sync when thousands of families and their livelihood are destroyed and their lands are turned into dustbowls to appease the well-intentioned but totally unrealistic wishes of a few extreme hyper-environmentalists.  If we choose to let these people rule, and not fight them at every twist and turn....then what is happening in CA will eventually happen in TN....and the rest of the nation.  Be responsible with your activities, but don't let a few fanatics take them away from you because "they" think you are doing harm to "their" land!

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #53 on: October 08, 2012, 08:43:38 AM »
DaddyDave, there used to be a metal detecting permit in TN. They no longer issue it. Detecting in any National Forest is going to be tough to get permission. I wanted to talk about that when we were at the TDOC meeting, but did not want to hit them with too much. If we get our dredging permit I will then work on getting the detecting permits back. I do not think we will ever see detecting in any National Park or Forest. The best places to detect right now are on private land. Simply ask and you might get permission. I did that last week on some local property where an 1800s house was torn down. They welcomed me to search for and keep all I found. I always offer to show them what I find and return any Family artificats I find. Last week I found a lot of nails, wire and tractor parts. The property owners walked with me while I detected and enjoyed watching me dig. I am sure if I found a $20.00 gold peice, they would have taken it, LOL! They told me about a place over their hill where the old trash was dumped. They are going to burn off the 6' high weeds soon so I can get in there. I think they enjoyed it as much as I did.
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #54 on: October 09, 2012, 02:38:23 PM »
You can detect on some TVA land with free permit.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #55 on: October 09, 2012, 04:09:38 PM »
there's an old cabin next to some property I have in the Claxton community that is supposed to be the oldest know structure in Anderson county. it was a tavern with stables next to it. it dates back to the slave days when the Emory trail that ran from Knoxville to Nashville was just being cut. theres a cemetery next to it that has graves from the late 1700's. it is part of the land TVA is wanting to cover with a fly-ash  dump. the people that own the cabin now have been trying to get it put on the historical landmark reg.
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #56 on: October 09, 2012, 05:08:21 PM »
Saw in the news recently of a guy that acquired several uncirculated $20 double eagles. Article said that our government conviscated them under the gold currancy act from back when they recalled the gold coins and went to silver.

Long story short - think you can figure it out -  ifn' ya come across some of the old gold coins.  LOL

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #57 on: October 09, 2012, 06:27:29 PM »
Deserdog, I was told they no longer issue the metal detecting permit. Have you heard that they now issue them?
Chuck
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #58 on: October 09, 2012, 09:21:57 PM »
I had one that expired in 2010. Applied for one when I thought it would allow me to MD the Ocoee rafter sites in the NF.  Then was told the NF overrides the TVA when it passes thru their land.

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #59 on: October 09, 2012, 10:22:33 PM »
Yes I believe that is true. Now you basically have to ask permission anywhere you go except in your own backyard.
I am going to Utah this week where you can detect almost anywhere but you can't keep anything over 100 years old.
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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #60 on: October 10, 2012, 09:21:21 AM »
Just remember if you find anything old throw it back. LOL!

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #61 on: October 10, 2012, 12:18:12 PM »
You are right Chuck. I just checked it out on google.

When my son and law got our permit, there was a pretty restrictive list of areas you could metal detect on: Swimming areas, boat landing and camp ground that were not occupied or grass covered.

I read the response from TVA as to why they are reviewing their policy:

" Thank you for your inquiry on this activity. I wanted to give you an update on the status of our metal detecting guidelines. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) manages public lands and natural and cultural resources across the region for the greatest public benefit. Included in this responsibility is protecting over 11,500 known sensitive archaeological sites as required by multiple federal laws including the Archeological Resources Protection Act. Activity permitted under the current metal detecting policy has resulted in damage to some of these protected resources.



TVA is reviewing its current practice of issuing permits for metal detection on TVA?managed lands and is also considering consistency with the practices of other federal agencies charged with protecting federal lands. In particular, the National Park Service does not allow the use of metal detecting devices on property they hold in trust for the citizens of the United States. Renewal or issuance of new permits for this activity on TVA-managed lands remains on hold until a decision has been made.



Thank you.



TVA Environmental Information Center"
 Under the guidelines that were in place where  you could metal detect, you would not find sensitive archaeological sites. Sounds like some were breaking the rules, so the TVA is going to stop the whole activity. Sound familiar?

This shotgun approach is very dangerous to our country. What is next, some people poach so are they going to outlaw hunting? Some people go over the limit when fishing so outlaw fishing? And people speed when driving all the time, so outlaw driving?

This sort of approach must be fought any time it is used. This approach can take away all of our freedom, make no mistake about it.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 12:19:48 PM by deserdog »

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #62 on: October 10, 2012, 02:58:57 PM »
back in the 50's when TVA was acquiring the land to build Bull Run steam plant they took in a cemetery and promised to always keep it cleaned as it was for the past 150 yrs,  there are trees as big as 20 inch diameter growing on top of graves. they also found a spot on the other side of the river where an Indian village was they allowed the public to come in and dig for a couple months till someone found the burial mound then they stopped it and now the river covers that spot. so they have not always been so eco friendly. oh wait they may still not be. thats just my 2 cents worth from someone thats has had dealings with them for a long time.
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Chuck Pharis

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #63 on: October 10, 2012, 05:01:24 PM »
I believe since we are small in numbers it was easier to stop us. The boaters, hunters and people who fish are high in numbers. I do not believe they will stop them. They do have restrictions on fishing and hunting, and I would be happy to get dredging and detecting permits back with some restrictions. Nothing will happen unless we fight for our rights. As I said in an eariler post, if we get our dredging permits, then I will try and get the detecting permits back. One step at a time.
Chuck
Chuck Pharis
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baldar77

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #64 on: October 10, 2012, 09:14:41 PM »
Perhaps a monthly meeting should be held on the Capitol steps in Nashville, with as many GPAA members that can be mustered.  I for one would be willing to drive down from Louisville with as many people as I could get to attend.....let lawmakers know that there are people concerned about the rights that are slowly being taken away.....just sayin'.

bill redford

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2012, 11:40:13 PM »
Chuck, I own Vital Signs of Oak Ridge (25 yr) and if you talk to the rangers and they are ok with it I can make up some alum. signs with whatever text they need and supply the U-channel post at cost and will not charge for my labor to letter the signs if that would help. I have done the signs up at the Elk Overlook in Royal Blue if they have worries about the quality of the signs and I am in the TWRA system as one of their vendors.

Chuck Pharis

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2012, 06:49:01 AM »
Hi Bill, I am meeting with the Ranger in 2 weeks. Normally they can't do that, but I will ask anyway.
The do not have much money for anything these days.
Stay tuned,,,,,
Chuck
Chuck Pharis
East Tennessee Coker Creek GPAA Chapter President (June 19, 2010 to June 20, 2015)  Member of the Board Of Directors.
GPAA Lifetime member, Former LDMA[/size]

joebarb

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Re: Prospecting damage to the Doc Rogers area, 2012
« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2014, 04:45:03 PM »
I am From Indiana and regulations in our state are very stiff. Legally the are two areas that are public that you can get a permit, the rest of the state is closed to prospecting on public land. even if you have a permit for these two areas a pan alone is the tool, you can use no shovels or sluices. Thanks for the help Chuck.
Joe