Help support Fish Not Gold eliminate the damage caused by Hobby Miners to our streams

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Fish Not Gold, May 22, 2014.

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  1. We've been out of the spotlight the past several months as we implement our campaign to give Hobby Miners the boot from our streams and stop the damage they cause to our state's fish and riparian habitat. The next few months are shaping up to be full of surprising developments and we'll be sharing them with you when the time is right.

    In the meantime though, you can show your support for our cause by proudly displaying our new FNG sticker on your fishing rig, boat, gear box or cooler. These durable, weatherproof stickers will stick like glue to just about any hard surface.

    Get yours today by making a donation of any amount at

  2. Not sure I can get on board with "Sticking It to the Hobby Miners". I agree with your cause but "sticking it to" someone seems inappropriate. Let's change the law, educate the public, educate the miners and mitigate for the damage, but I don't think you help yourself with this narrative.

  3. Mark I agree with your statement. Fish Not Gold I agree with what your guys are doing but your manner of presenting yourself made me "Unlike" your facebook page.
  4. Agree with the above with the added, I know where you guys can stick it!
  5. Oh the irony. A clever play on words and people kill the messenger because they don't get it? I'll order five and send them to the hyper-sensitive folks above.
  6. 'Sorry world" when one group who is beaten with a stick see's another who exercise's their freedom, they try to make sure they are beaten with the same stick.
  7. WTF?

    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  8. ITT: People not getting the "stick it"/sticker play on words.

    Take a breath, guys, FNG is trying to help fish habitat. If trying to "stick it" to someone is all it takes for you to blow up, maybe the internet is not the right place for you. Guaranteed the hobby-miners are saying way worse things about people trying to protect fish habitat.

  9. Yikes. My humor detector may not be firing on all cylinders.
  10. What Derek said. And how in the hell is that anything like spitting on a soldier!? WTF?
    Suction dredging doesn't belong on public land. Gold panning I can see, it isn't intrusive and detract from other users' experience like dredging.
  11. Title updated as requested. Mine your manners!
  12. Stickers. Stick one on a dredge. Stick it to the miners. Get it?

    We're truly sorry our lame attempt humor in pointing out our efforts on behalf of Washington's fish and habitat failed to connect. We've asked the mods to change the post title to be less edgy.

    But the simple fact is that the Hobby Miners continue to damage our fish and habitat without a second thought to those who think that fish are more important than instant riches. The miners following this thread are probably laughing their asses off that not all of us are on board with the FNG mission.

    If our goal was eclipsed by a politically incorrect thread title, we apologize for being too obscure, flip or cute. And we still very much value your support.
  13. I thought it was a nice play on words.
  14. Love the stickers.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  15. I'd get a few of those stickers. We have some miners here in California that are killing native trout in areas that are protected.
  16. Please clarify "exercising their freedom" for the benefit of the thread.
  17. You know: the freedom to suck up the streambed into a 4" hose, send the gravel and all the critters and fish eggs residing there down the sluicebox and into disorganized piles within the Ordinary High Water Mark, winch large boulders and woody debris out of the way to get to the heavy metals that may rest underneath, and then don't put anything back the way you found it. That freedom.

    Never mind your and my and everyone else's freedom (responsibility?) to enjoy, preserve and protect our last best places. There might still be gold down there (even though practically the whole state's been mined and the gold isn't replenishing itself real quickly). :rolleyes:
  18. Just to clarify, I'm on board with the cause. I think we must be careful in the extreme to avoid divisive language, though.

    The people on the other side of this equation (and Pebble as well) could point out the seemingly self indulgent nature of our argument by pointing to the fact of our use of high technology to spread the word about the destructive nature of gold mining. High tech devices are large consumers of gold, as we all know, and they may justifiably ask where do we think that gold should come from? Or, for that matter, any of the other gold (or other metals) we all consume.

    It may be I am especially sensitive to the "not in my backyard" mentality and my conviction is to build consensus for change, not to make war. War may come, but we must do everything possible to avoid it. We do ourselves no favors by giving those opposed to our position any reason to become more entrenched in their beliefs.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  19. Mark, I can appreciate your caution about divisive language that might alienate or provoke the hobby miners. You've been here long enough that I'm sure you'll agree that I'm normally the guy advocating for balance, caution and reasonable compromise (well, at least I think I am!) Yet here I am telling you those attributes are a waste of time in dealing with the hobby miners.

    Since you seem to have conflated hobby mining with industrial-scale mining operations like Pebble, it might be worth drawing a distinction between the two. Although they're both focused on the riches associated with extracting gold, the hobby miners and the large hard-rock mining companies like Newmont and Barrick or the folks behind Pebble couldn't be more different.

    The big mining companies have both feet held to the regulatory fire regarding long-term environmental impacts. They're regularly required to put up millions of dollars in security bonds to guarantee cleanup and remediate damage after their activities cease. Is it enough? No. Is it a good start? Absolutely.

    By comparison, hobby miners in Washington don't even have to fill out a permit or pay a dime in fees. They don't restore the stream beds they've destroyed or put back boulders or large woody debris they winched out of their way. Yet for them, the issue isn't about the damage they cause, it's about their 'liberty' and 'freedom'.

    Some have suggested that the hobby miners are sponsored by and act as shills for the big mining companies. Any association with them would likely be a public relations disaster of epic proportions for the big mining companies. Here's why:

    Hobby miners are a small, raucous and disparate group of individuals who share a common desire to 'strike it rich' along with with a deep disdain for government, the preservation of our environment, and regulation of any kind. In other words, it's all about them and f--k anybody or anything else.

    In this state, the best estimate is that there are a thousand or so hobby miners, of which perhaps 5-10% mine and cause damage on anything like a regular basis. But as a group, their strident, property-rights rhetoric is distinctly at odds with the mainstream population - especially those of us who have watched some of the millions of our tax dollars spent to remediate damage to fish habitat wasted as hobby miners happily vacuum up stream beds that are otherwise so sensitive that fishing is prohibited. After all, it IS all about them and their 'freedom' and 'liberty'.

    The holy ghost for the hobby miners is the General Mining Act of 1872, an obscure and otherwise inconsequential law signed by then-president Ulysses S. Grant and intended to use the prospect of instant wealth through the extraction of gold as a lure to entice Americans to settle the sparsely-populated west.

    Since the Act permits largely unregulated mining activities, the hobby miners hold it forth as a carte blanche to do as they wish without government interference in any form. Attempts to regulate them based on newer laws or regulations provoke howls of protest that their 'freedom' and 'liberty' are being jeopardized and that their 'right' to mine is guaranteed by the Constitution. (One only needs to read the Constitution to confirm that it isn't, but I digress.)

    In practice, the hobby miners are really the kindred spirits of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who recently made national news for an entire week (along with LA Clippers owner and world-class bigot Donald Sterling) by refusing to pay fees to allow his cattle to graze on public BLM land. As you'll recall, faced with enforcement action by BLM, a self-styled 'militia' sprang to his defense, proclaiming their loathing for government regulation while flying the American flag in every photo. Like Bundy, the hobby miners pick and choose which laws they decide to abide by and which ones they refuse to acknowledge.

    The sad fact is that in Washington, regulation of hobby miners has fallen onto WDFW, which when faced with fierce opposition, effectively abdicated its responsibility. In daily practice, WDFW has no idea who is mining, where, or when, which of course, is exactly what the miners want. That's also what other hobby miners who have migrated here from California, Oregon and Idaho want, now that their activities are either banned or vastly restricted in their home states.

    There will be no consensus-building with hobby miners for the simple reason that they have no motivation to settle for less than they already have. They will continue to stonewall any attempt to regulate or modify the scope of their activities.

    As an example, when a committee of the the Oregon legislature held public hearings in 2012, hundreds of hobby miners descended on Salem with banners and bullhorns, each demanding their 3 minute allotment to address the committee and state their opinions for the record. While most simply parroted the talking points they'd been fed, their leaders brazenly lectured the committee members, scolding and taunting them as having no authority to regulate mining since their 'right' to mine was 'guaranteed' by law.

    The hobby miners' strategy backfired when the irate legislature overwhelmingly voted to impose a quota on mining permits. The hobby miners are now between a rock and a hard place since the original legislation included a poison pill that imposes an outright ban on ALL placer mining if the state and the miners can't hammer out a compromise by the end of this year. Once again, the miners are stonewalling, screaming and yelling about freedom and liberty. It's obvious to any who care to look how well that strategy is working since there's no compromise in sight. Barring a last-minute change in direction by the hobby miners and their lawyer, Oregon is on track to joining California in imposing an outright ban on ALL forms of powered placer mining.

    Yet Washington continues to stand alone in looking the other way while allowing hobby miners continue to desecrate our rivers and fish without regulation, fees or oversight.

    Neither Fish Not Gold nor any of us who have seen how the hobby miners operate suffers from the misconception that there's a brokered peace to be hammered out with them. We cherish no illusions there will be some noble compromise, a grand bargain with the hobby miners from which we'll all walk away feeling like we'd shared in crafting a mutual success.

    It will be war, and those of us who stand up for fish and the preservation of riparian ecosystems will win. If fish could vote, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  20. Nice play on words Ed.
    Bob Triggs, Ed Call and Kent Lufkin like this.
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