Vol. XXXXI, No. 8 --- August 2004

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
President's Message
Good News
Big Pine ECS Cancelled
CFMS Endowment Fund
Health & Safety Tips
Requests for Nominations
Field Trip to Echo Mt. stone
Junior Activities
Legislation Update
2005 Show Flyer
CFMS 2004 Bulletin Contest Winners Click here


President's Message

By Lois Allmen, CFMS President

CFMS President

The combined American Federation/Eastern Federation Show and Convention hosted by the Gem & Mineral Society of Syracuse, New York took place July 8-11. Al meetings. breakfast, lunch and banquet were held at the Ramada Inn Headquarters. This made it very convenient for those slaying there to avoid the intermittent rain, thunder, lightening, and wind.

The Exhibits. Dealers- (approximately 60) Demonstrators, Programs and Restaurant were all at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse- under one roof. The Exhibits were very interesting, made up 90% minerals and fossils, 7% carvings and educational and 3% jewelry.

CFMS was well represented with Scholarship Secretary / Parliamentarian-Ruth Bailey, Ways and Means/Lewis & Clark booklet Ch Isabella Burns, Historian/ Editors Hall of Fame/3rd AFMS V.P.Shirley Leeson, Newly inducted AFMS 2nd Vice-President-Pat LaRue (our CFMS Executive Secretary/ Treasurer), Director- Colleen McGann- (CFMS Vice-President covering for our Vice-President Marion Roberts), Director- Lois Allmen (your CFMS president), and Junior Activities Program Chairman- Jim Brace-Thompson.

Barbara Matz was recognized for her good work with clubs selecting their "Rockhound of the Year. The Bulletin Editors Hall of Fame selected Laurie Haines "Rock Chips "of Stockton to honor the CFMS Regions lapidary and mineral clubs. All-American Club Awards found CFMS coming home with five of the eighteen awards given out: large Bulletins (100 members or morel Contra Costa Gem & Mineral Society; small bulletins (99 or less members) Fossils for Fun Society Inc.. Orcutt Mineral Society. Sutter Buttes Gem & Mineral Club, and Roseville Rock Rollers .Isabella Burns had 100 of the 58 page booklets on the Rocks Seen Along the Lewis and Clark Trail printed to pass out at the Convention. With the permission of the Long Range Planning Committee, the information will be placed on the AFMS Website. Jim Brace-Thompson was recognized for his work in developing a merit badge program for youth.

Due to the cost of investigating the former AFMS Scholarship Treasurer, it was voted by the Scholarship Committee to reduce the scholarships by one per region for the year 2.005. The situation to be reevaluated in a year. After discussion with the bonding company, new Operating Procedures and Foundation Bylaws have been put in place to prevent a recurrence of the situation. Also, from now on, donations will he recognized with a certificate.

The Show and Convention were well planned and carried out. It was a very enjoyable time. Next years AFMS show will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, August 19-21, 2005.





Good News

By Marion Roberts and Wife Vivien, 1st VP

Marion and I want to thank everyone who put Marion in their thoughts and prayers, because I think it worked. Yesterday Marion went to see his M.D. for the psi report and he showed 0.001 which is the lowest possible reading. The doctor was very satisfied with his progress. So now he has to have the test in December and every 6 months from now on.

Marion is really feeling good now, who wouldn't after that.

Thank you,





Big Pine Earth Science Seminar Cancelled

By Cal Clason, Chair. Earth Science Seminars

As of July 15, 2004, I cancelled the Big Pine Seminar due to a lack of participation & registration. There were less than 15 people registered so far and most of them on the day camp routine. I just could not justify proceeding without the revenue to at least defray most of the expenses. I still feel that it is a good project and will review what we did and didn't do and perhaps resurrect it in the future.

I am requesting that Pat La Rue make a full refund to those who did register. I regret having to take this action; but under the circumstances felt it was necessary.

Camp Paradise is September 12-19 and 19-25, 2004. Registration forms were in July newsletter and on website after June 15. It will fill quickly. I encourage everyone to send forms in early, limit to 60 persons per session. We offer classes in soft stone carving, lapidary, silver fabrication, head making and Dichroic glass fusion, copper enameling, faceting, lost wax casting (first week only) Flex shaft gem stone carving. I asked instructors prerogative to limit their classes to newer students, so your first choice of class may he full. The CLOSING DATE is AUGUST 1, 2004.

April 3-10, 2005 are confirmed for Zzyzx. We will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Earth Sciences and Zzyzx with special events. An Open House on April 9th with steak & chicken Bar-B-Cue. A tour of the facility, highlighting it's historical past, present status and future. Applications should he in the November newsletter and on the website in November. Long range for Camp Paradise, dates are the week following Labor Day, September 11-25, 2005 with applications available in May or June, 2005.





CFMS Endowment Fund

By Lois Allmen

Have you any idea the benefit the CFMS Endowment Fund has been to the clubs? We have been busy getting the Fund to grow, now interest has been used twice to our advantage. First, when we started with McDaniels Insurance an advance of $13,000.00 was made, and the second for $10,000.00 in 2002. 2003 saw a loan of $22,000 when McDaniels needed the entire insurance payment at one time. The loan is being paid off as the yearly fees from the clubs come in. (The alternative was to ask the clubs to dig into their pockets for extra money.) Insurance comes due in October and most clubs do not have their dues sent in until the first of the year.

The way I heard it, the Endowment Fund was the idea of Bill April in 1988 during the presidency of Ellen Schulz. Ellen asked Shirley Leeson to have a plan ready for the following year. This she did. Shirley had a professional parliamentarian write it up the same way as the CFMS Scholarship Fund. She then turned it over to the attorney Francis Marshall, a long time CFMS member. He fought with Internal Revenue Service to gain the 501 (c) (3) status, which became the precedent for all our clubs to claim the same exemption.

At the beginning, Modesto Club gave the money from their show to start the Fund. Various clubs donated $100.00.Shirley was the first patron. Shirley Leeson sold notepaper, posters, and took pictures of people dressed up for the Feddy Bear Parade and sold the pictures back to them. The Fund was now nearing $50,000.00

About this time, Mike Kokinos took on the IRS and fought their attempt to revoke club exemptions and assess $5,000.00 in tax, interest and penalties. Mike took no payment, charged no brokerage fees, there was no cost to CFMS, but asked the clubs to donate to the Endowment Fund in appreciation of his services. Those donations took the Fund to over $100,000.00. Only the interest can be used, any funds coming in go directly to the principal.

Others who have chaired and worked hard for the Endowment Fund are Bural LaRue, Wes Lingerfelt, and now for the third time Ray and Florence Meisenheimer. It is with great appreciation we laud the foresight and efforts of all these people.

It is a great beginning, people, but we need to keep those donations rolling in!

Information above was given by Mike Kokinos, Shirley Leeson, and Ray Meisenheimer. Errors contributed by the president.

***************************************************************

It is in the interest of All of us that the Endowment Fund continue to grow. Its purpose is to help provide funds for operating the business of CFMS and funding those activities needed by the clubs that would otherwise demand an extra contribution from them.

Its growth comes from you, the CFMS Clubs and their Members. All donations go directly into the principal and are restricted. Interest only can be used.

How do you contribute to the Endowment Fund?

  1. As a memorial to a member by a person or/and club.
  2. As a donation from a member or club.
    1. For a $25.00 donation —the persons name is put on a plaque
    2. For $100.00 the person or couple receive a pin(s)..
    3. A $100.00 donation from a club plus $1.00 from each member the club's name is engraved on a plaque.
  3. The Foundation Fund Chairman holds a sale at the CFMS Show and will gladly accept good saleable items. (The chairman is always in need of good donations for the sales. Give those items to Chair Ray Meisenheimer)

How do I make a donation?

Make your check out to: CFMS Endowment Fund

Send donations to:
Pat LaRue PO Box 1657
Rialto, CA 92377-5664

State the name of the individual or club making the donation. Give the name and address of the individual or club making the donation. If it is a memorial or recognition of someone, please give the person's name and address so a card can be sent to the family or individual- making them aware of the donation.

(Editors are requested to place this in their Newsletters)





2004 August Health and Safety Tips

By Chuck McKie, CFMS Safety Chairman 2004
via the American Red Cross

Heat-Related Illnesses - It's summertime, and that means activities and fun under the sun! Whether you love putting on shorts and feeling the warm outdoors, or find it hot and sticky, everyone must be careful not to let a heat-related illness spoil the day.

Normally, the body has ways of keeping itself cool, by letting heat escape through the skin, and by evaporating sweat (perspiration). If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, the victim may suffer a heat-related illness. Anyone can be susceptible although the very young and very old are at greater risk. Heat-related illnesses can become serious or even deadly if unattended.

Stages of Heat-Related Illness - Heat-related illness usually comes in stages.

  1. The signal of the first stage is heat cramps in muscles. These cramps can be very painful. If you are caring for a person who has heat cramps, have him or her stop activity and rest. If the person is fully awake and alert, have him or her drink small amounts of cool water or a commercial sports drink. Gently stretch the cramped muscle and hold the stretch for about 20 seconds, then gently massage the muscle. Repeat these steps if necessary. If the victim has no other signals of heat-related illness, the person may resume activity after the cramps slop.

  2. The signals of the next, more serious stage of a heat-related illness (often called heat exhaustion) include--
  • Cool, moist, pale skin (the skin may be red right after physical activity).
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness and weakness or exhaustion.
  • Nausea.
  • The skin may or may not feel hot.
  • The signals of the late stage of a heat-related illness (often called heat stroke) include--Vomiting.
  • Decreased alertness level or complete loss of consciousness.
  • High body temperature (sometimes as high as 105 deg. F).
  • Skin may still be moist or the victim may stop sweating and the skin may be red, hot and dry.
  • Rapid, weak pulse.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • This late stage of a heat-related illness is life threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

General Care for Heat Emergencies

  • Cool the Body
  • Give Fluids
  • Minimize Shock

For heat cramps or heat exhaustion:

  • Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position.
  • Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
  • Do not let him or her drink too quickly.
  • Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse.
  • Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths such as towels or wet sheets.

For heat stroke:

  • Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number.
  • Move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body. Wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, wrap them in a cloth and place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels.
  • (Do not use rubbing alcohol because it closes the skin's pores and prevents heat loss.)
  • Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear.
  • Keep the person lying down.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days. Take time out to find a cool place. If you recognize that you, or someone else, is showing the signals of a heat-related illness, stop activity and find a cool place. Remember, have fun, but stay cool!

Know What The Following Heat-Related Terms Mean

  • Heat Wave: More than 48 hours of high heat (90 deg. F or higher) and high humidity (80 percent relative humidity or higher) are expected.
  • Heat Index: A number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it really feels with the heat and humidity. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heal index by 15 deg. F.
  • Heat cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. They usually involve the abdominal muscles or the legs. It is generally thought that the loss of water and salt from heavy sweating causes the cramps.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is less dangerous than heat stroke. It typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of shock. With heat exhaustion, sweat does not evaporate as it should, possibly because of high humidity or too many layers of clothing. As a result, the body is not cooled properly. Signals include cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
  • Heat Stroke: Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high--sometimes as high as 105 deg. F.

More information contact the American Red Cross.





Request for Nominations for CFMS Honoree to AFMS Scholarship

This is a request to all the CFMS clubs to send candidate nominations to the CFMS committee of Lois Allmon, Marion Roberts, and Colleen McGann to choose our CFMS honoree to the AFMS Scholarship for 2005. The candidates should be active members who have greatly participated to further the earth sciences in our communities. Isabella Burns is the CFMS honoree for 2004.

Every year six regions honors one of their own as their honoree for the AFMS Scholarship Fund distribution. The honorees then choose a college to receive the scholarships and the colleges choose the student(s). The AFMS scholarships are awarded to graduate students $2,000 for two years.

The difference being CFMS Scholarship Fund distributions are awarded to undergraduate students.





Field trip to Echo Mt. Stone

By Dick Pankey

This was the most unusual, unique, fun and productive collecting sites that I have ever collected at. Located on the north slope of Glass Mountain, just south of the Lava Beds National Monument is the patented pumice claim of Glenn Malby. The Glass Mountain volcano is a rhyolitic volcano, that is its' lava is high in silica (greater than 70%). It was a high-pressure volcano with a lot of gases and steam. When it erupted approximately 900 years ago, in addition to a great quantity of pumice, it produced pumice bombs, pumice/obsidian bombs, great flows of black obsidian, gray, red, yellow, and orange ash, and green and brown glassy material. This lava slurry flowed down the forested mountain forming tree casts when the trees eventually burnt out. All this material and more were there to be collected.

Betty and I arrived about noon on Friday morning at the Malby's and set up camp in their stone yard. All around us was a stockpile of Glass Mountain material that they sell to landscape decorators and others. This was a great preview of what we were to find on Saturday. The rest of our group continued to arrive throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. We had 12 people in all, 2 motorhomes, a trailer, a tent trailer, a tent and one staying in his pickup truck. We also had 6 dogs in addition to 2 dogs at the Malbys.

On Saturday morning Glenn led our caravan of collectors up to his patented claim at the 7000-foot level on the mountain. We parked in the middle of the claim because the road on up the mountain was still blocked with snow. It didn't matter much because we were right in the middle of everything we wanted to collect. Wherever you looked, there was neat stuff everywhere. A rhyolite dome pushed its way through previously deposited air fall pumice that had covered trees and other vegetation. During this eruption, molten globs were shot through the air, expanding on the inside and hardening on the outside creating very rare bread crust bombs. Hot gases, more than 2000 degrees melted through the loose, high silica pumice. Trees buried in the pumice were burned out by the extreme heat, often leaving their molds in the melted glass, creating this extremely rare combination fossil and igneous rock specimen. On occasion, we found charcoal or bark incased in the glass. We found all of these and more. The thing that makes this so unique is that it is formed of rhyolite, very thick, glassy lava that erupted under very unusual conditions. These conditions not only produced several very rare volcanic specimens, but the world's newest plant fossil, obsidian coated pine tree casts.

We took our time and spent most of the day checking out the area, looking at all the unique features and picking out the perfect specimens. On the way back to camp we stopped to look at 2 large pumice mine pits and 2 very large obsidian flows on the mountainside. Saturday evening we shared a delightful potluck dinner.

On Sunday 3 of our group departed for home while the rest of us spent the day touring the Lava Beds National Monument. The new visitors center at the monument held its' official dedication on Saturday. This new center had many displays about volcanoes and history of the area. This is a "must see" for all rockhounds.

Monday morning we broke camp and headed off to Davis Creek/Lassen Creek for some obsidian collecting.

Obsidian at Davis Creek/Lassen Creek

The second part of our field trip was to the classic obsidian collecting area of Davis Creek/Lassen Creek. Three more people from Grass Valley joined us so our group was back up to 12 people. We camped at the Lassen Creek campgrounds with its' open meadows, towering pine trees and rushing stream. A truly delightful place to camp. Things were a little different this year. Tree removal and site safety improvements at the 4 dig sites had not been completed, nor hardly started, so the issuing of permits was delayed. This means we could not dig at the 4 sites. However, we could still surface collect at the 4 sites and in all other areas of Buck Mountain under the basic Modoc National Forest collecting plan which allows collecting up to one 5-gallon bucket per day per person. This proved to be more that enough for the four days we spent there. We collected at the 4 main sites -- Pink Lady, Rainbow, Needles, and Electric Blue and other sites — mahogany/gold sheen, a sheen/rainbow area, a small needles area, cristobalite site, dacite site, 2 obsidian bomb sites and the needles/apache tears road cut. All in all, a lot of collecting and we limited out on our 5-gallon buckets per day.

We were usually back at camp between 4 and 5 o'clock where we all joined together for happy hours and had our potluck dinner on Wednesday. Each evening we had a campfire with roasted marshmallows and on two nights we had a late dessert. Betty and I picked up a nice Dutch oven at a yard sale this spring and used this opportunity to try it out. We tried two different cobbler recipes. Both were a "success", at least we finished them both. Now we are looking for other things to try.

We head for home on Friday so that we could start getting ready for our 2 month trip back east for the American Federation Show in Syracuse, NY, visit family in Illinois, copper collecting at Kewenaw Week in Michigan and whatever else we find to do on the way home. See you all in September.

Obsidian Mines to open following tree removal

The Warner Mountain District will be authorizing the free use and commercial digging of obsidian at the four designated mines following removal of trees within the mining areas. The District expects to he able to begin issuance of free use and commercial contracts by mid to late June.

The four obsidian mines located in the North Warners are the Pink Lady, Rainbow/Lassen Creek, Middle Fork Davis Creek and Needles Mines. These are the only locations on the district where digging for obsidian is permitted. Surface collection is allowed throughout the district. The rock collecting public is reminded also that care must be taken not to disturb or remove any artifact from the National Forest as that is against the law.

The obsidian mines are monitored throughout each use season and several trees have been identified this year for removal to allow safe access to the obsidian resource. Though no authorizations or contracts will be issued until the trees have been removed, the District surface collection policy is not affected. Under that policy, the public may collect surface rock including obsidian. Individuals may collect up to the equivalent of a 5-gallon bucket per day.

Anyone desiring more information on the obsidian policy of the Warner Mountain District please contact Jayne Biggerstaff at (530) 233-8740 or by email at jbiggerstaff@fs.fed.us Comments may also be sent to Jayne at the Modoc National Forest. 800 West 12th Street, Alturas, CA 96101.





FRA Merit Badge Program for Youth Is Up-and-Running: Enroll Your Club's Kids Today!

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Juniors Activities Chair

It's official! Thanks to the generosity of the AFMS board, which has approved funding, we now have a merit badge program for our clubs with youth members enrolled in the AFMS Future Rockhounds of America (FRA). I've placed an order with a badge manufacturer, and by September, we should have a supply of badges to begin awarding to kids. To enroll your club's kids, contact me (call 805-659-3577 Or email jbraceth@aclelphia.net). Alt you need is a group of kids (up to the age of 18), a sponsor, a name, and an application to FRA. Your group must be a member of your regional Federation, either through a sponsoring club or through an independent application into your local Federation. The number of youth is not important: you can have as few as 1 or 2 and as many as you can handle.

The new program consists of an FRA membership badge, 9 merit badges, and a "Rockhound Badge" that will go to youth members who earn 6 of the 9 merit badges. A 100-page guidebook describes and outlines requirements for each of the 9 badges. There are 52 activities, in all, to choose from, or about a half dozen activities per badge, with kids required to complete only 3 activities to earn any particular badge. Checklists in the guidebook make it easy for youth leaders to sign off on activities as a junior member completes them. In addition, brief hack-up pages and suggestions help leaders guide their kids through each activity. The guidebook is available in both hardcopy format (photocopied) and on the AFMS web site (www.amfed.org). To save on costs to the program, which is being provided entirely free to members, we encourage you to download a copy from the web. If this is not possible, contact me for a copy.

A few words of advice to anyone implementing this program with your club's kids.

First don't feel obligated to do each activity precisely as described in the guidebook. You should adapt each activity and adjust its level to best match the ages and abilities of the kids within your club. For instance, Activities 1.1 and 1.2 are on learning how to identify minerals using various characteristics and tests, such as color, streak, hardness, luster, crystal shape, cleavage, fracture, etc. If you have very young children, you may wish to focus on just a handful of easily identifiable minerals, using only a couple characteristics (for instance, color, hardness, and crystal shape). The older the kids, the more characteristics you should expect them to learn. Again, the main message: he flexible and adaptable in how you implement the recommended activities.

Second, try to do as many of the activities as possible as group projects. Many were designed with the thought in mind that they could be done during a club meeting or as a group outing. It makes it more fun for the kids and easier to set up and to monitor for the youth leader.

Third involve our adult club members in helping to oversee activities and to provide supplies and materials and involve your kids in selecting the activities they want to try. Make this a true club project! Kids should have choices about which activities they participate in, and they should have a chance to help shape those activities. It's through youth voice and participation that we engender empowerment and a social commitment and sense of belonging. It's often said that our clubs and societies are declining and, therefore, that we need to attract more young people in order to keep our clubs alive. But, saying it this way puts the cart before the horse. Instead, the focus needs to be on what is best for our youth. Only then will we fire the interest of kids in ways that engender a sense of belonging, with meaningful opportunities front which a lifelong interest and commitment will emerge naturally. Let's not put our clubs first - let's put kids first! If we can find ways to make youth responsible and fully engaged participants, not just recipients, the long-term health of our clubs will follow as a natural result.

It's my hope that this program proves useful and successful. To help ensure its success, I welcome feedback from youth leaders and kids alike on the existing activities and suggestions for creating new activities that will help us all learn and grow while - as always - having fun!





Legislation Update from Shirley and Dee

By Name, position

Original Message
From : Robert Cranston
To: Rap City SD G&M Soc ; Tulsa OK R&M Soc Ed ; Stillwater OK M&G Soc Ed ; Pone City R& G Club ; Ok
City Ok M&G Soc ; Enid Ok G&M Soc ; Bartlesville Ok G&M Soc ; Albuqer NM G&M Club Ed ; Deming NM
G&M Soc Ed ; Los Alamos NM Geo Soc Ed ; Silver City NM G&M Soc Ed ; Truth Or Conseq NM G&M Soc Pres
Cc: Dee Holland ; Bev Bockman ; Peagv Blickfeldl
Sent: Saturday, July 17, 2004 7:38 PM
Subject: Lawsuit To Challenge New Forest Service Regulations

Lawsuit To Challenge New
Forest Service Regulations

The Forest Service has been busy lately, promulgating rules and regulations that will negatively impact small miners and prospectors. Public Lands for the People (PLP) is taking action to put a stop to it.

In "Forest Occupancy Decision Stands—US Forest Service Withdraws Appeal," (January 2004), we reported on the Lex-Waggener decision (US v. Ronald O. Lex and Ken Waggener; CR S-01-559 LKK; May 14, 2003).

In this case, Judge Lawrence K. Kadton, US District Court in Sacramento, reversed a lower court decision which wrongfully concluded that the miners were required to file a Notice of Intent for occupying their mining claim for more than 14 days in California's Klamath National Forest.

Judge Karlton said that section 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), subsection 261, does not apply to miners who are camping on their claims while engaged in activities related to mining, rather it was meant to cover recreational activities. He stated, "As the regulations are currently structured, so long as no earth moving equipment or tree-cutting is involved, a miner can camp on his claim indefinitely.."

The Forest Service, fearing a loss of control that they never legally possessed, published an interim rule to address the above issue, under 36 CFR 228, in the Federal Register on July 9, 2004. The Federal Register Notice is entitled, "Clarification as to When a Notice of Intent and/or Plan of Operation Is Needed for Locatable Mineral Operations on National Forest System Lands."

According to the Federal Register notice, the emergency rule will be effective August 9, 2004, though comments will be accepted until September 7, 2004.

The Forest Service states they will soon require a Notice of Intent "in any situation in which a mining operation causes a surface disturbance, regardless of whether that disturbance is caused by mechanized earth moving equipment or the removal of timber."

"After a Notice of Intent is submitted, the District Ranger determines whether the proposed operations will likely cause a significant disturbance of surface resources. If the determination is that the proposal will likely cause a significant disturbance of surface resources, the operator is notified that a plan of operations is required."

It is our opinion that the emergency rule would place severe restrictions on small operators if it were allowed to stand. Small miners, at the very least, would be subjected to the time and expense involved with the filing of a Notice of Intent for a minimal disturbance. The Forest Service cannot currently respond to applications in a timely manner, and delays would be inevitable if they receive hundreds or even thousands of Notices. Worse yet, some miners could be subjected to the long delays and excessive costs involved with a Plan of Operation and financial guarantees (bonding) for minimal disturbances, all at the discretion of a District Ranger who may or may not be favorable to mining. Merely bringing camping equipment onto a mining claim could be considered a significant disturbance in the mind of a District Ranger.

We have reviewed the emergency interim rule with Public Lands for the People (PLP). Jerry Hobbs, president of PLP, stated there are numerous avenues open to challenge the interim rule. These include non-compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, and others. After much discussion, it appears the best course of action is to file suit against the Forest Service to stop the interim rule, and a mining attorney has already been retained.

This should be a concerted effort on behalf of miners and prospectors, rather than a disjointed effort involving lawsuits filed by small entities with limited funds. Several mining and prospecting companies have already started the fundraising effort, including ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, donating thousands of dollars to PLP to pay for the legal fees that will be incurred in this case.

Special thanks goes to Keene Engineering for starting the ball rolling with a $5,000 donation.

Much more will be needed. I encourage you to support this effort personally, and by bringing it to the attention of any clubs or associations to which you belong.

I have personally met with the PLP board on several occasions. I have been very impressed with their knowledge of rules and regulations, and the ability of their members to apply this knowledge to successfully litigate government agencies. I encourage all miners and prospectors to support their efforts on behalf of all of us.

Contributions can be sent to: Public Lands for the People, 3700 Santa Carlotta St., La Crescenta, CA 91214.

A direct link to the Federal Register notice can be found on our website (www.icmj.com) under the Pending Rules, Regulations, Projects section. The Federal Register notice can also be located online at www.regulations.gov/freddocs/04-15483.htm

Concerned readers in need of further information can contact Sam Hotchkiss, Minerals and Geology Management Staff, at (703) 605-4852.

Comments can be emailed to:
35cfr228a@fs.fed.us

Comments can be faxed to:
(703) 605-1575
Comments can be mailed to:
Forest Service, USDA
Attn: Director, Minerals & Geology
Management Staff, (2810)
Mail Stop 1126
Washington, DC 20250-1125




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