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Rye Patch Claim Jumpers?

Rail Dawg

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4 hours ago, cobill said:



Inquiring minds want to know.

Getting back to the original topic subject for those computer experts, are Sections 17 and 21 private subsurface status and therefore there can be no prospecting (including metal detecting) or mining on those sections without the mineral owners written permission?


Hi Bill,

Good question.

This is correct.

On the Master Title Plat (you can get one from mylandmatters.org) it shows 17, 19 and 21 as having Restricted Minerals which means that the minerals are privately owned.

As Clay Diggins has mentioned you do need written permission from the owner to prospect/mine on these claims.


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Thats tough getting written permission these days. I know of a few big mining corporations that have no problem with casual use detecting on their land. Also a big timber co that I talked to, but for liability reasons they shy away from anything in writing in case someone is  injured.


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  • 6 months later...

being a total newb I don't even own a detector yet!  but this thread concerns me.  I want to do the right thing  and not high grade  or trespass. IT seems to me just logic and common sense that if you go to the trouble of buying a claim you have  a duty  to protect it. why would you not post signs, contact info etc. 

 The desert is a pretty wide open place.  It is not like there are section lines . even on  the maps that do contain section lines the scales  usually 1:24000  are to large to pick  out  landmarks in wide flat  spaces. roads and other man made feature change over time,  so how could you tell where you are   besides an accurate GPS  which are as expensive for an accurate one as a detector.

So even doing all the research and  upfront work you could easily get mislocated in that type of terrain.  For all of those reasons it seems that  legit  claim owners should post  boundaries.


Am i  missing something? 


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Claim corners or markers are posted by law. Many people do post extra signs. Yet BLM often prohibits extra signage in some areas, and Nevada BLM seems prone to this. Further, it is extremely common for people to destroy claim markers. On the flip side old markers and signs can remain long after a claim is gone. The bottom line is legally it is your responsibility to know the status of land you set foot on. 

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Rye Patch is not "all claimed up". Very few areas are ever "all claimed up". It's a lot of research work to find them but just about every good mineralized area has spots open to prospecting and location.

Rail Dawg has done the research process at Rye Patch and located several nice claims. Land status research has been an important part of prospecting for thousands of years. It's a basic prospector's skill that thousands of people in the U.S. make their livelihood from. Those prospectors are usually formed into groups of three or four people and they are known in the industry as either Junior mining companies or Junior Exploration companies. They are an integral part of the world mining industry.

Prospecting isn't just about beeping up a few nuggets. It can be, and often is, the ticket for the little guy to make real money while learning about a mineralized area.

Don't get discouraged by the volume of claims in a popular easily accessed area. There will be unclaimed areas, often in very surprising places that everyone will tell you are "all claimed up".

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This has been a fascinating thread but does anybody have the knowledge and ability to post a simple map (Google Earth overlay?) of what areas are open to metal detecting in Rye Patch? I know that claim status changes but a snapshot would be helpful. We are all legally responsible to have this information, we all want to have this information but not even our experts seem to be able to give a crisp summary. Anybody up for the challenge?

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Randy I am more than capable of making such a map. It's what I do for a living. I do the research and make the maps that other professionals use to plan their mineral exploration.

Each of those maps is a snapshot in time as you pointed out. The currency of the information on mining claims and land status needs to be considered. At best a lag of at least 110 days behind the actual status of the area being mapped is a given. My disclaimers about the currency of information presented to my clients is extensive and specific to the data being offered.

Clearly if I were to do that work for free for public distribution the area would be quickly claimed up, possibly by one of the members on this forum. ? Then there would be no place for you discover and prospect. Sort of counterproductive to your wish wouldn't you say?

A middle ground would be to provide more generalized but as timely as possible information for prospectors to do their own research. That's been offered for several years at the Land Matters nonprofit website. There are mining claim maps located to the nearest section with direct links to individual claim's Serial Register Pages as well as links to the County Recorders, Master Title Plat downloads and instructional tutorials and videos. Essentially Land Matters provides you with the tools and instructions to do the bulk of your prospecting research work yourself from the comfort of your home. The answers are in there but they do require work on the part of the prospector to answer their specific questions about a specific area. Silver platter enough? ?

As for your "simple" map on Google Earth, GE has a valid use for getting a generalized view of the physical terrain. The 3D function is far from accurate or representative but it allows a view that no other free public mapping system provides. I'm going to share with you Google's take on the value of that form of mapping as far as locational accuracy and use:


Google makes no claims as to the accuracy of the coordinates in Google Earth. These are provided for entertainment only and should not be used for any navigational or other purpose requiring any accuracy whatsoever.

Our imagery varies from sub-meter resolution in major cities to 15 meter resolution for most of the earth's surface, with a global base resolution of 1KM. Since our database is constantly being updated, we cannot state a specific resolution for any geographic region.

Google Earth, Land Matters, the LR2000 and the County Recorder each have a role to play for prospector's research. Each has their own degree of reliability and accuracy. Knowing those factors I would have to say no "expert" will ever be able to give you an answer to your question that might not change before you arrive on site. Ultimately it's up to each individual prospector to determine the status of lands before putting boots on the ground. Due diligence is the legal standard required of prospectors entering the public lands. Relying on a map someone offered publicly does not absolve you of your legal duty to perform that due diligence.

I might share an open location privately much as someone might offer to share a patch. In neither case will you be guaranteed of success. If you don't get any gold on the shared patch you might go home disappointed.  If you trespass on a shared potential prospecting location without doing your own due diligence you could arrive home much later and with a new legal problem.

Do the research to find open ground, put boots on the ground and check for existing locations then prospect with confidence. It's been done that way for as long as there has been mining. Modern tools often make that process easier but you still need to complete the process before you can legally prospect, even if someone has given or sold you a map.



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