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. I used to fish the Rapid river when I lived in Washington. It is a wild river. One year the forest service came in and tried to tie down logs and rocks to provide hiding places for the fish. This was in the area of the first three bridges. The next years high water came and all the work put into the river was gone. I guess you could say the same for hobby gold panning.

    At certain times of the year the fishing was excellent. These high mountain streams seem to change with the seasons. By change I mean their beds. That does as much damage to the redds as gold panning does.
  2. Seems this whole topic/issue just needs some balance...and who better on this forum to provide that than me.

    I checked out the Fish Not Gold website and now see who the principals are and that they are a spin-off of the WSC. Also did a little background search on these folks -- since they choose to make themselves public -- interesting. My take on these groups (which includes WFC) is that, for the most part, they mean well but that they tend to be ideologues who believe their position is the correct one. That tends to piss off a good many who feel there is another side to the storyline, that the "facts" are anything but, and there are other options to address the discord.

    On the other side are folks lawfully participating in a hobby who feel like they are being targeted as vermin for doing so. The Mining Act of 1872 provides the legal basis for them to harvest (gold not fish)... it's an outdated, pile of shit law that needs to be changed...but it is the current law. To put things in perspective, it wasn't that long ago that the measure of a fisherman's day was the racking and stacking of more dead fish on a hickory branch or laid out on the ground than he and his neighborhood could eat in a month...we've all seen the pictures. Recognizing the resource cannot continue to be pillaged as such, a new concept came into favor -- creel limits and C&R.

    Most of us are reasonable and get that with most all things comes the need for some compromise. I think the hobby gold miners know this too, but just resent being on the receiving end of the FNG attack. Much like the changes to fishing and hunting laws over the years, it's time to have a serious look at the outdated laws the control this hobby/sport. That I can and do support... casting dispersions on those who are lawfully mining for gold, I do not.

    The "save the earth" folks are all about saving the earth... well, until get to crunch time anyway. At that point, I have absolutely no doubt that earth will take second place. For me, that is why I feel much of their motivation is for the sense of being superior in thought and righteous in action -- a bit superficial.

    So there you have it... one mans opinion worth exactly what you paid for it :).
    sopflyfisher and Checkthisout like this.
  3. Well, actually, Freestone Angler, we are not a "spinoff" of Wild Steelhead Coalition. They have helped us, yes, but we are not part of their organization nor did we "spin off" from them. And to further complicate your assumptions, some of us have worked for Republicans some of us even voted for them in the last election. We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, ideologues. Rather, we are taxpayers concerned about making sure our dollars are well spent and that hobby miners, who don't pay a single dollar to the state, in other words, we subsidize them, at least pay for the enforcement costs and the destruction they cause.

    Making assumptions about people is never a good thing to do!

  4. You drew the conclusion as to political party affiliation not me. As I stated, I agree that it's time to change the mining laws to be current with the times; but doing it by portraying those engaging in legal mining as the bad guys is not a good approach IMO. Seems everyone's got an axe to grind these days... the popularity of the non-profit "fix the ill's of we humans footprint on earth" has gone viral.
    Checkthisout likes this.
  5. thats where the problem lies ,gold panning & power dredging are completely different methods. But by stating that all gold mining needs to be curtailed & regulated for the sake of the enviorment is like shutting down all p.s. river for steelhead because a couple of them have issues. these things get out of hand fast as soon as the lawyers and political groups get involved
  6. Freestoneangler:

    If only we were all reasonable. But, you should read what the miners say about people who seek to have reasonable regulation. The Karuk tribe in California tried to work with the New 49ers and ended up on the short end of the stick of attacks. Then in Oregon, the groups who worked on some reasonable regulation were parodied, threatened, and one enviro was visited at his home by a miner. When we went "live" with our Facebook page, we were pilloried. I get where you are coming from, and in a perfect world, would agree. But there is little room for compromise or "reaching across" the divide with some folks. Many miners believe they have a right to mine in the manner that they do. They believe a law created in 1872 gives them them an unfettered right to do whatever they way, regardless of the Endangered Species Act or other environmental laws, which is not how the US Supreme Court has interpreted the 1872 Mining Act. We want to get the miners out of waters that are protected by the ESA. We want the miners to pay fees so that WDFW has money for enforcement and studies. We want a database that shows where the miners are mining and where salmon/steelhead/bull trout restoration projects are happening. Reasonable?

    So tell me, what are other options you think are reasonable?

  7. Based on every comment or action I've ever seen from hobby miners, I'd say you are completely wrong. They have not conducted themselves in a "reasonable" way in any other attempts to regulate their activities.
    Kent Lufkin and Dan Nelson like this.
  8. maybe we could update some of the laws & treatys from the 1800's to reflect the modern times & problems that exist in todays world ? people don't like change, If you are going to try & effect a change in policy you have to be willing face up to the publics resentment to change.
  9. If you look at the original starting post to this thread the Fish not Gold guy is an asshole who makes people's hackles come out.

    The anti's may have some reasonable points but Americans also appreciate people who are polite and not assholes like that Piers Morgan guy was. (as an example).

    The inflammatory and "I'm Superior" rhetoric bring out the worst in people. Even though I love fish, fishing and the environment and don't mine, if I was a miner and one of you guys talked to me that way I would vacuum up every fish and redd I could find on purpose.
    sopflyfisher and bennysbuddy like this.
  10. Checkthisout:

    Last night I watched "The Normal Heart" on HBO. If you have time, watch it. Sometimes it takes people with passion, guts, and a willingness to be a "jerk" to effect change.

  11. Here we go. Internet posting finally comes full circle in this thread. It is inevitable that when one side feels the ground slipping under their feet they resort to name calling. Nice. Call it a day dude you are dredging up the very ground you are standing on.
  12. So this is where the two sides of the issue would get together and hammer out the details. So far I see no such willingness from the dredge it all up side. They live in a fantasy world of 1872.
    Gary Knowels, Kim McDonald and Josh like this.
  13. I failed to mention that I do tip my hat to you, Kent and Freestone for taking up the cause. I'm guessing a good many (myself included) agree with the basic premise that some sensible regulations should be established for this activity. If I hiked into a favorite section of stream one day only to find it looking like a kid's sandbox after a neighborhood party, I'd be irritated. I think the challenge is to have the passion, guts and willingness... but not be one. It's seems pretty damn clear to me that hard lines and polarized positions end up going nowhere. More often than not, there is room for compromise that both sides of the argument can live with.
  14. Freestoneangler:

    Indeed, the art of takes all hands on deck, each doing their job, to get folks to find middle ground. And sometimes that means people take extreme positions or postures, others take a more moderate or middle ground, and somewhere in this whole process, compromise is achieved. It isn't pretty, it never looks nice, and things are said or done that make for bad Thanksgiving dinners among families. If you read the miner's forums, Facebook postings and tweets, they are "out there." Some talk about pointing guns, you read one miner here threatening litigation, a number of them have made some pretty extreme statements about me and my beliefs, others photoshop pictures of the Executive Director of one of our partners and parody him, call him names. I've stopped counting the number of times I have been called stupid or other things that would make my mother (if she was alive) quite upset.

    We do believe that there are hobby miners out there who do see that reasonable restrictions on streams that are critical habitat for our endangered species is the right thing to do. And hopefully, as this process unfolds, they will take a leadership role in the discussions. If not, you will see a lot of miners talking (emphatically) that they have a right to do what they are doing and that there should be no restrictions. In fact, just this year, a miner petitioned WDFW to eliminate any of the restrictions on streams and rivers (the so-called work windows) and there is another miner currently suing the State to do the same thing.

    I personally wish it was easier than this. I don't enjoy being called names, having someone swear at me, libeling me. I don't enjoy conflict, to be frank. But I also believe that any help we can give endangered fish and their habitat, we have an obligation to do that.

  15. The next thing they will attack after hobby miners are jet boats. I'll think I'll stand by the Hobby Miners on this one.
  16. Have it your way. I hope you find more sympathy for your position at resources

  17. "There are none so blind as those who will not see. None so deaf as they who will not hear."

  18. While we certainly appreciate all the noble sentiment expressed here for hammering out a compromise with the hobby miners, that's not what the ultimate solution that prevents damage to our streams and habitat will look like.

    Laws are already on the books that provide checks and balances to prevent such damage. Problem is, they're either ignored by the miners (like the requirement to notify federal agencies like USFS when they file an HPA) or not implemented by WDFW, who refuses to put real bite into their toothless Gold and Fish pamphlet to truly regulate suction dredge mining despite their obligation to enforce existing laws that protect ESA-listed species and critical habitat.

    We're not here to negotiate with the hobby miners. We're here to hold the state and federal agencies' feet to the fire and make them do the job they've already been tasked with doing.

  19. Kent is right. The big elephant in the room, here, is the Endangered Species Act. It requires the US Forest Service to consult with the wildlife agencies when they allow hobby mining on Forest Service land (public land). That consultation is triggered by the miners following federal law which requires them to notify the USFS when/where they are mining. The miners are now being advised by a lawyer in Portland, to not file the required Notices of Intent. It would be like fishermen being told to not submit our catch cards because it might trigger some action by the federal government, like shutting down a stream. In addition, WDFW has told miners, through some of their HPA permits, that they are mining in areas with endangered species and that they "shall" notify the appropriate federal agencies. WDFW even gives them the names, telephone numbers, and emails. Yet no one in the agencies are contacted.

    If being outside with their families, looking for the few flakes of gold, is truly a hobby, then there are plenty of other ways to mine for gold that minimize impacts to habitat and have time with families and friends.

    smelt047 and Gary Knowels like this.
  20. And this is why they won't file anything and won't talk with you.

    You want their hobby banned completely. That's not a reasonable position to take. All you leave them with is time to enjoy their hobby as much as they can until you and your ilk are successful at outlawing the activity.
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