Author Topic: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!  (Read 3071 times)

Rich Robinson

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Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« on: May 26, 2015, 10:28:26 PM »
Hello Everyone,

On Thursday, may 21st, I met with the USFS District Supervisor, D. JaSal Morris and the acting Tellico District Ranger Mike Wright at the District Office in Cleveland.  As you may know there was a meeting concerning our IP at TDEC several weeks ago which included TDEC, TWRA, US Forest Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This meeting left many questions and left us feeling that the only prospecting equipment we would be able to use within the Cherokee National Forest would be pans, classifiers, a bucket and a garden trowel.

After this meeting, I spoke with Mike Wright who is the Ocoee District Ranger as well as the acting Tellico District Ranger. He offered to set up a meeting between the District Supervisor, Himself, the district Hydrologist, Biologist and myself.  The Meeting was set for May 21st at 1:00.

I carried as many Class 1 tools as I could cram in the car and had them displayed on the conference room table. Both Mike Wright and JaSal Morris had many questions and were open about the fact that they had a very limited knowledge of prospecting and the equipment we utilize in our hobby. They had a lot of questions about the equipment and I showed them how each piece works. They both said that they do not have an issue with any of the equipment that we use. The issuance of the IP made them look at the legal side of prospecting on forest service land. So Mr. Morris had Mike do research on what other USFS districts are allowing for in their forests. What they found was that most were adhering to the pan, classifier, bucket and garden trowel...

The real issue comes down to the fact that laws governing Prospecting and mining are somewhat in conflict and not were written with us in mind. The issue of the east has never been truly dealt with in a definitive way. The regulations are based on how the lands were acquired. There seems to be confusion within the BLM / Forest Service as to which statute applies to the East. The law is very unclear. Under one statute we would not be allowed to do anything on forest service land at all. Under another we would be able to prospect with limited equipment but would not be allowed to take, and other another we could take limited amounts. It is very confusing, to the point that the Forest Service does not even know what applies.
So here is the answer that the District Supervisor has come up with. Having talked with other Supervisors and forest service representatives, this issue has been referred to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and to the Office of General Counsel for the USFS in Washington. This is where the interpretation of the statutes will be made. Mr. Morris told me that the ruling that comes down from the OGC will set the standard for the Eastern United States. So for now there is no definitive answer on what will happen.  We will have to wait and see, but this is the time to contact your Representatives and Senators in Washington. This is a federal issue now and has to be dealt with on a national level. Don't wait on this.. It is too important, not just to us, but to all prospectors in the East.

Right now we have until June 30 to operate under the old rules for Class 1 in the National Forest? Please feel free to contact me personally with any questions you may have.

Richard
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 10:32:20 PM by Rich Robinson »
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BigAl

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2015, 10:46:08 PM »
Something similar to this occurred in the Chattahooche NF in Georgia a few years ago. Lots of outcry and they backed off a bit.

A shout says more than a whisper. Pass it on!

Al
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chiptrip

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 06:31:34 AM »
Al,
  Somewhat along those lines, we have had many of the folks we're working with at both the state and federal level express an interest in attending the Gold festival and kids day event.  Some of these have been supportive, others are willing to listen to us.  In both cases, the reason they've expressed the interest is they want to see the equipment in action and get a good feel for our hobby.  Some have expressed an interest in bringing their kids (or grandkids) too.  This gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate our hobby to them.
  While there is nothing wrong with discussing differing points of view with them,  It would be unfortunate if they were put in a confrontational situation when they are trying to understand what we do.  This is especially true if they bring kids.  Please don't misunderstand me. I am not asking anyone to remain silent,  I am however asking that everyone be civil, and calm should the opportunity arise to discuss your frustrations with any of these folks in attendance.

Thanks

Chip
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hlyarbrough

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 10:19:59 AM »
If this is now a federal issue that will set the policy for all eastern US prospecting, do we have a mechanism for spreading this action alert to other eastern prospecting groups that might assist in letting our voice be heard?

Howard

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 12:09:38 PM »
Al,
  Somewhat along those lines, we have had many of the folks we're working with at both the state and federal level express an interest in attending the Gold festival and kids day event.  Some of these have been supportive, others are willing to listen to us.  In both cases, the reason they've expressed the interest is they want to see the equipment in action and get a good feel for our hobby.  Some have expressed an interest in bringing their kids (or grandkids) too.  This gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate our hobby to them.
  While there is nothing wrong with discussing differing points of view with them,  It would be unfortunate if they were put in a confrontational situation when they are trying to understand what we do.  This is especially true if they bring kids.  Please don't misunderstand me. I am not asking anyone to remain silent,  I am however asking that everyone be civil, and calm should the opportunity arise to discuss your frustrations with any of these folks in attendance.

Thanks

Chip,

I did not literally mean to shout. I mean more voices were louder than fewer. lol!

Al

Chip
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Chuck Pharis

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2015, 12:29:22 PM »
It is important that we thank Richard for all the hard work he has done on this. I have provided phone support but he is the one who spends half his life in Nashville at meetings.
He also works full time at his normal job, so he has given above and beyond for Tennessee Gold Prospecting.
Chuck Pharis
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BigAl

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2015, 08:57:53 PM »
Definitely thank you Richard. Everyone won't agree and some will blame you in the end if things don't work out as they want, but it is the effort that counts and you have my thanks.

Al
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chiptrip

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2015, 09:23:40 PM »
Chip,

I did not literally mean to shout. I mean more voices were louder than fewer. lol!

Al

 :D
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Gordon6729Zippo

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 10:36:47 AM »
Howdy All:  I may be behind the 8 ball on this, is there any new word or information about this issue that has not been posted on the forum?  I know about the TDEC-ARAP  and the old regs. for Nat.For. anything new would be helpful.
A little gold is better than no gold

chiptrip

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2016, 08:27:26 PM »
We are continuing to work on this but not as publicly as before.  Most of the recent effort has been related to searching for new property and building support within the community.  We have made some great strides in the community which is a good step towards finding land.  That said we have been researching additional avenues for access to the forest.  To date these have not made it far but we are hopeful that we may have a break soon.
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Gordon6729Zippo

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Re: Meeting with USFS (Update) Action Alert!!!!!
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2016, 10:31:39 PM »
Thanks for the update chiptrip.  The more info that you have the less trouble that you get into.  Thanks
A little gold is better than no gold