By Clay Diggins
Anyone who uses the BLM LR2000 search function knows it can be a challenge to get meaningful results. Often the service is down but you aren't notified of a problem with the system until you go through the whole complex search process to discover there was an "error". Frustrating at times.
Well it appears the BLM decided it was time to change the look and feel of the LR2000 search function. They notified users months ago that they were working on an improved version but they caught a lot of people by surprise when they introduced the NEW! IMPROVED! LR2000 on November 1 and shut down the functions of the OLD! BAD! LR2000 at the same time.
Problem was they didn't tell anyone. The old LR2000 still appears to be there and will allow you to do a search. That search returns an error, as mentioned earlier that's not unexpected or uncommon when using the LR2000. I use the LR2000 a lot when I need the most recent information on a land or claim case file. It took me nearly 24 hours after the changeover to get fed up enough with the old LR2000 not working to try the new LR2000 which has been available but not working for the last nine months. I'm hoping the BLM will set up that old LR2000 web address to redirect to the new LR2000 page so others won't have to waste their time beating a dead search system like I did.
The old LR2000 was clunky. It reminded me of an old unfamiliar broken down right hand drive truck with a Japanese language repair manual. It was really that awkward and counter intuitive. There were many blogs, manuals and videos devoted to explaining the esoteric mysteries of the BLM's version of public access to public records, I even helped write a few myself. I made good use of the old LR2000 on the days it was working and I was glad to have it when I could get results but it needed fixing.
The new LR2000 has a cleaner less intimidating interface with a slightly simpler set of options. I really don't like the "black topo" background the BLM now puts on all their web pages. If you like the black topo theme you are probably going to like the look of these new search pages better than the old ones.
The behind the scenes search function has changed a lot from the old LR2000. I tried it on several browsers and three operating systems. I had problems on every browser and system. The Search seems to hang in some circumstances, in others it returns results as quickly as the old LR2000. The actual search itself seems to be slower sometimes. Every browser I tried had problems when it had run a few searches. The searches would eventually hang and several loops would keep the browser so busy it would lock up. That's not something I'm used to experiencing. This is a new system so I'm hoping the BLM will get these glitches out soon.
The results of each search now displays in a new interface. Essentially there will be a window frame on the results page with the document displayed inside the frame as a PDF. Like the old LR2000 there are options to download the document in several formats including Excel, PDF and HTML. You can now modify or start a new search from the results page.
Land Matters has made an effort to bypass the clunky old LR2000 interface and allow you to directly access any claims BLM serial register page directly with a few clicks on a map. This turned out to be a lot quicker way to get information on claims in a specific area without having to pound through the old LR2000. Being a direct live link to the BLM the information is as current as possible unlike other mapping programs that present static information updated every month or so.
When the unannounced changeover in LR2000 search systems happened it broke Land Matters system of direct access. With more than 380,000 mining claims being actively tracked Land Matters had a problem. Claims Advantage Members also get several reports a month. In the last two days Land Matters had released two reports with a combined total of more than 20,000 maps and direct links to a broken LR2000. That's 400,000 missing documents. Sometimes life can be.... interesting.
Needless to say I have been busy. It took 24 hours but I deciphered the new LR2000 system, fixed the links to the serial register pages and corrected, compiled and uploaded new member reports. The mining claim serial register pages linked to on the maps load more quickly than the old ones did. If you have any problems with those maps or the Member Reports please let me know.
Please try out the new LR2000 and share your experiences here. Try the Mining Claims Maps at Land Matters and marvel at the new search results. If you like the way the map link system works we can add the feature for a lot more types of research.
Arent meteorites / meteorite hunting with a metal detector still exempt from placer or lode claims? I know there has been some nice meteorites found in the Rye area's. Just be sure to leave the gold right where its at if you detect it on someones claim... :)
By Clay Diggins
The beginning of the Federal mining year is September 1st of each year. That's the date all mining claims owners need to have either paid a maintenance fee or filed a small miners waiver. If they don't meet the deadline or submit all the proper fees and forms their claims will be marked CLOSED in the BLM case files.
Even though the final date is September 1st the BLM takes a lot of time updating their records. Generally most claimants that didn't file anything will be closed by January but the Small Miners claims are often not updated until the following year beginning in January.
This is the time of year to watch for good mining lands to open up to claim. The closures dribble in in chunks throughout these months. Each BLM State Office sets their own priorities and deadlines internally so some States get their claims updated quickly - others take forever. This year Utah completed updating virtually all of their claims files in September yet California traditionally runs nearly a year behind.
At Land Matters we track the progress on these claims updates. The most recent closures are reported to Claims Advantage members twice monthly. Those members get an interactive list of of the recently closed claims listed by state. It's not possible to get this list from the LR2000 because all closed claims actions are backdated to their effective date, usually September 1st.
Here is a look at how many claims have not yet been updated to 2016 in the BLM databases and have not been closed. These claims are the ones that might still be closed by the BLM but have yet to be determined. Many of these claims are Small Miners status that won't be settled out until January or February of next year, many are in adjudication and many are claims the BLM State office just hasn't gotten around to updating.
This chart is from November 1st. There hasn't been a lot of change in those numbers with the exception of Idaho. As Claims Advantage members know Idaho has since CLOSED 1,474 claims, opening up another 29,000 acres of land to claiming.
By Clay Diggins
I made this chart to provide a basis for discussion of some other comparative charts I'll be posting soon. Just to be clear this chart does not include Alaska or the few claims that have not been posted to the LR2000 yet. Data is from November 15, 2015.
This chart was a little awkward to make because of the elephant in the room. See if you can spot it. First one to spot it gets a free eBay claim (doc fees and shipping not included).
Hint: It's blue.
By Rail Dawg
We own several claims in Rye Patch and unfortunately we have witnessed something disturbing.
BLM land is in squares next to private land that used to belong to the railroads.
The private land for the most part is owned by some of the big mining companies like Newmont Mining.
Recently there were several prospectors seen on both claimed land and on the private land owned by Newmont.
We have been going to Rye Patch for years and know many of the claim owners.
Prospecting on private land or on anothers claim without permission goes against the "code" we miners hold dear.
They weren't on our claims (fortunately).
We probably should have stopped by and asked if they had permission but we aren't the police and didn't want conflict.
I'm posting this here because "claim-jumping" from what I understand is a felony.
Perhaps these prospectors had the required permission but if not any gold obtained is basically stealing...
Something most of us are very much against.
Not sure what to do the next time we see these types of prospectors although if they are on our claims I know very well what we will do.
Any advice appreciated.