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Friday, February 10, 2012
A Southwest Oregon miner's second conviction for illegal mining has led to a jail sentence. The Oregonian reports that Clifford Tracy was cited for ignoring the BLM's gold mining procedures at a mining claim on Galice Creek. The creek is a direct tributary of the National Wild and Scenic Rogue River. It would be withdrawn from mineral entry, subject to valid existing right, by Senator Ron Wyden's Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion.
U. S. Department of Justice photo of illegal mining operation on Galice Creek
Click here to read the Oregonian's news brief and here to read the U.S. Attorney's press release. See the photo essay below of the mining at Galice Creek and description of Mr. Tracy's unlawful mining operation on Sucker Creek.
Read this guest opinion in the New York Times by two fisheries scientists on the need to change the 1872 Mining Law.
Both Galice and Sucker Creek are critical habitat for Southern Oregon Northern California Coast (SONCC) Coho Salmon. View the Draft SONCC Coho Recovery Plan here.
Mr. Tracy was convicted on a similar charge in 2009 at his mining claim on Sucker Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River. However, he didn't receive any jail time and because he filed for bankruptcy he wasn't required to pay for reclamation. Instead the taxpayers bore the $30,695 cost required to mitigate the damage to the Riparian Reserve of Sucker Creek.
originally posted by: AboveBoard
At this point, it seems like the only information coming through is from people with a vested interest in being seen as victims - not saying they aren't being victimized, but I have a strong sense the entire picture is not yet clear.
When I hear "taking Federal lands back" I see greedy corporations wanting to set a precedent to take land that belongs in our state parks, etc. for their own. They could use a judgement like this to begin further eroding "publicly held land." To "take back land" means to take back something from me and from all of us, for their own personal business use.
Maybe I'm just not seeing clearly, I don't know, I just don't have enough information to pass sweeping judgements at this point. It's like trying to decide a legal case using only the testimony of the plaintiff.
originally posted by: Sremmos80
So are they free loading at the tax payer dime and not paying taxes?
Since we are comparing this to bundy.
Sources seems to be all pretty sensationalized, but still sounds like more of a legit claim then old man bundy.
originally posted by: Sremmos80
a reply to: Granite
Says one side of the issue...
Do we just need to take the miners words as fact at this point?
originally posted by: aethertek
In 1992, the United States General Accounting Office estimated that under the patenting provision of the 1872 Mining Law 3.2 million acres of federal land was transferred from public ownership to private ownership. For these 3.2 million acres of land belonging to the public, the United States Treasury received either $5.00 or $2.50 per acre. In 1989, the GAO estimated that for the 20 patents it reviewed, the federal government had received less than $4,500 since 1970 for lands valued between $13.8 million and $47.9 million.
The longevity, injustice and strength of the 1872 Mining Law is hard to comprehend at the beginning of the 21st century. To this day, its central tenets remains in effect requiring that the federal government giveaway, for free, all valuable (hardrock) mineral deposits on publicly owned land—usually National Forests or Bureau of Land Management lands—that remain open to operation the antiquated statute. It also requires that these priceless heritage lands be given away for as little as $2.50 per acre if an individual or corporation can demonstrate that the area contains a valuable mineral deposit.
Most of the commercial activity during the territorial period centered on gold mining and the supply of provisions to miners. Miners had been active in the Rogue and Illinois valleys since 1851. By the late 1850s, however, gold mining was beginning to decline and population dwindled as well. In 1859, gold was discovered along the Fraser River in British Columbia and numerous people left Josephine County to search for valuable claims there.
Josephine County shares the Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley wine appellations with Jackson County. The U.S. government owns the majority of the land within the county boundaries, with the Bureau of Land Management owning 28% of the lands within the county boundaries, most of which are Oregon and California Railroad lands, and the Forest Service owning 39%.
Grants Pass is now the departure point for most Rogue River scenic waterway guided fishing and boat trips, one of the destinations being Hellgate canyon. The Illinois River, one of the Rogue's tributaries, has also been designated a scenic waterway.