Is There a Bit of Gold in Your Future? | Outdoor Channel
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Is There a Bit of Gold in Your Future?

By: Chuck Myers, McClatchy-Tribune

(MCT) - Believe it or not, there might still be some gold out in 'em 'ere hills. And, all it may take to find a few precious flakes is a sturdy river pan and stout dose of patience.

Recreational gold panning is still permitted today on some public lands in Alaska, Montana and the Dakotas, and areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

If you'd like to try your hand at panning, however, you should know that certain restrictions apply.

Gold Panning Equipment

Recreational gold panning can take place without a permit. But only traditional gold pans and hand tools, such as a shovel, pry bar and pick, can be used. Mechanized equipment is strictly prohibited. In some national parks, the restrictions on equipment can be tighter, with only surface sampling with a hand-held gold pan allowed. A person should always check with a National Park office beforehand to learn which types of panning equipment may and may not be employed, and the public panning area boundary limits.

Environmental Concerns

Simple recreational gold-panning tools can still cause harm to a wilderness environment. Panners should work only in the active stream channel or on un-vegetated gravel bars. No digging or excavating should occur in stream banks. Gold mining activities may be restricted at certain times of the year around streams, to protect fish and other organisms. Moreover, washing soil and vegetative material directly into a stream flow during panning activity can cut off the oxygen supply to fish eggs buried within gravel spawning beds. Digging in the gravel beds can also destroy fish eggs.

Source: National Park Service


© 2008, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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