Adventure Gold Prospecting for Fun and Profit
People gave up homes and families and risked everything – including their lives, to “stake a claim.” In fact the “New World” itself was known for its gold, and the original conquerors and settlers sought it at all costs.
Bonanza Thar’s Gold in Them Thar Hills
Gold mining is still big business. While it is a large growth industry, there is still ample room for the general public to go out and “strike it rich.”
That is the dream of almost every boy who sees the old movies like The Treasure of Sierra Madre, television shows like Gold Fever, or documentaries about the Klondike. In fact, the Gold Prospectors Association of America, GPAA, still encourages active prospecting today for both individuals and families. They provide guidance for fun and adventure for the entire family – and yes, perhaps some profit as well.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there are still areas where one may prospect, and if a discovery is made, one may stake a claim. Many areas are still unreserved. Many are on Federal public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service. Public land records in the proper BLM State Office will show land status and are available for public inspection, and sometimes for purchase.
Prospecting for Gold for Fun and Profit in the Top Ten US States
So where can prospective prospectors try their luck? According to the article “Where to Find Gold in the United States”, by Gold Fever Prospecting (aka Motherlode Outfitters), Coarsegold, CA, 2007, gold can be found
- In Alaska, numerous gold localities have contributed to a gold production if some 29,225,071 ounces. Gold sites are numerous, for example, near Gulkana, in the Chitna River and its tributaries, in the Slana River, etc.
- In Arkansas, gold can be found in the Ouachita Mountains.
- In Georgia, gold has been found in forests both West and East of the city Blairsville, and streams and washes south of Gumlog Lumpkin County.
- California was named “The Golden State” because of the great “Gold Rush of 1849.” Even today gold ranks 3rd in California’s mineral production, and the state has produced over 150 million ounces of gold. California has numerous sites in both Northern and Southern locations, including Auburn State Recreation Area, South Yuba River State Park, Malakoff Diggins, Hangtown’s Gold Bug Park & Mine, etc.
- Colorado, ranks second among the gold producing states having produced over 40 million ounces of gold, with most of the mines being in the mountainous western half of the state.
- In Washington, gold production has been steadily increasing year by year. It has the third largest lode mine in the US and sites are found in almost every county from Benton to Yakama.
- In Wisconsin, gold could be found almost anywhere where the glaciers went through.
- Arizona also has numerous mines, especially in the Turquoise district (east of Tombstone), with gold finely distributed in slope gravels.
- Montana also has over 24 counties where gold has been found, from Beaverhead to Toole county.
- New Mexico counties for gold include Colfax, Grant, Hildalgo, Lincoln, Otero, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Sierra, and Taos.
Camps and Guides Available for Assistance
There are many camps that are open to the public and help to provide maps, shelter, food, fun, adventure, and guides to minimize problems and make prospecting an enjoyable experience. One can locate them in the yellow pages, by calling the Chamber of Commerce, or by contacting the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA.)
With a little luck, one can find enough flakes or nuggets to pay for their vacation, or perhaps even make a handsome profit. For many, prospecting can be the adventure of a lifetime.