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I am currently working a GPAA claim in Arizona. Seem like every time I start working an area with my dry washer someone seems to think they can get my spot when I leave it. The next day I return and some body will some times be in it. Is there any rules that govern the spot you are prospecting so you can return to it the next day without some one being in it? Not looking for a gun fight or any trouble. I would just like to return the next day and finish where I left off.

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Up here in northern California we usually leave an inexpensive tool/ shovel, a 5 gallon bucket and possibly a gallon milk jug with a name on it. This is along the streams where we would be digging in a gravel bar or close by for placer gold. Pretty well respected up here.

Mike

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Honor isn't a well-respected trait much anymore.  Further there are two sides to this kind of issue.  The other side is some greedy person marks several spots so he can decide later which one to work, or maybe all of them when he gets around to it.  Ever see people cut in line at a movie theater?  How about Southwest Airlines' open seating (just a few days ago an article in USA Today) where one person gets on early and then saves prime seats for friends/relatives who didn't get an early boarding card?

GPAA claims are for all members.  Personally I don't think reservation policy will work, and being one who respects others' territory I'd end up being one of those getting screwed.  Why not e-mail Kevin Hoagland and ask him?  I bet he's been asked this kind of thing before.  But AFAIK there is no written policy.

I've been to several GPAA claims (as a member) and found plenty of unfilled holes and recent trash.  I know that is against GPAA policy but certainly doesn't stop some selfish slobs from doing it.  I doubt that kind of person gives a hoot about honoring someone else's spot.  It's a good idea in theory but unfortunately a bad one in practice, IMO.

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The early miners had a tradition (rule) that leaving ones tools established an unofficial claim to an area while they were  working...that tradition has continued to modern clubs...however, most don't have the history of these traditions and hardly any one is teaching them...and some just don't care.

fred

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New guy here - long, long time lurker.  I've seen what both Mike and Fred have expressed in terms of honoring a claim, and what GB_Amateur has experienced.  My first time in NoCal, my son and I saw a dig beside a creek that was obviously recently worked.  We were curious and when we got closer, we saw a bucket, trowel and (partially filled) water jug with a member number on it.  I was a new member of the club in the area, and with no knowledge of what this all meant I simply assumed and acknowledged that someone had dug this hole intending to come back to it, so we moved on.  I have also experienced the situation that GB_Amateur describes.  I joined GPAA a few years ago when my interests/challenges turned to finding wild gold.  While I can only visit gold country occasionally, I am at times quite disheartened by the prevalence of recent trash on the claims, as well as unfriendly people on one occasion.  Sadly, as Fred observes, some folk just don't care.  

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On most clubs claims you dig the hole you fill the hole before leaving-big or small-I guess that would also apply to finished or not-if unattended it becomes a possible hazard for animals and manamals  :wink: Mike C...:ph34r:

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I went back to my spot today and the guy was not working my little area but he had started his own little claim a few yards from mine. At least I kept my spot. Its kind of like deer hunting on opening day. You hope people don't sit right on top of you but some do anyway. I have also noticed trash, plastic water bottles all over the claim. I picked up 6 beer bottles and cans today. Doesn't seem as there is anyone from GPAA policing the claims. It maybe only a matter of time before the BLM cuts off the hole area to prospecting. Whats wrong with people!

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11 hours ago, billdean said:

Doesn't seem as there is anyone from GPAA policing the claims. It maybe only a matter of time before the BLM cuts off the hole area to prospecting. Whats wrong with people!

I don't think GPAA has the resources to police claims.  They just have to trust others (members, guests, etc.) to do the right thing.  95% do.  Unfortunately the other 5% damage everyone else's experiences.  Nothing new here; such is life.  I don't belong to any small clubs (don't live in real gold country) but I suspect they can have better control over what goes on.

Most here know that a mineral rights claim gives you only that.  If someone wants to camp on public (e.g. BLM and Forest Service) land which happens to have an active claim they have the right to do so.  Sometimes the trash we find wasn't left by a GPAA member, and for that matter the holes might have been dug by people who are prospecting without the right to do so.  I'm a proud member of the GPAA and like what they provide.  But the characteristics of such a large organization (with very affordable membership dues) means there are limits on what they can do, particularly in the area of enforcement.

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I had this problem when I used to lease my claims to the GPAA.. people felt that they could "claim" an area and leave their equipment, trash, tarps and junk there the whole summer and sometimes over the winter.  This lead to me almost getting a massive fine..  LONG story short, the way I see it is that you are paying only for the right to use claims owned by someone else.  If you want your own "claim" then buy one.  It's no fun to have to pay to rent a 580L backhoe (out of your own pocket) to re-contour the sides of the river, fill in holes, dig out garbage and tarps that people decided to bury instead of pack back out, having claims now that are destroyed now for metal detecting because somebody who hated metal detectorist's decided to throw 50lbs if buckshot everywhere and as the claim owner I was responsible for everything that happened on them.

Please don't take this the wrong way.. I thank you for bringing up the subject.  Just a few facts (from a long story) behind my opinion. 

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Brian says it straight up " If you want your own claim then BUY ONE " I've seen photo's of the mess that those irresponsible, inconsiderate, diggers left behind. " Can't call them miners " They Totally Screwed Up a Good Thing for themselves & others.

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