Doug Clark of Clark-Wiltz Mining opened the Ganes Creek property near McGrath, Alaska to recreational miners in 2002. The pay-to-mine operation ended in 2012. This page is being left up for historical purposes.
Ganes Creek is famous for the large nuggets found there in years past, and it was conjectured that people would pay for an opportunity to search for large nuggets lost in the tailing piles by past mining operations. The operation was a resounding success and was in operation for a decade. Visitors in that time have found over 1700 ounce of gold and added a great deal of revenue to the mine above and beyond the mining operations.
Approximately 12 people per week were allowed to visit Ganes Creek at a cost of $3000.00 per person. They got room and board and access to the old mining operations.
Why they pay to visit Ganes Creek - 33.85 oz Nugget found by a visitor!
33.85 Ounce "Heart of Gold" Found June 16, 2004 at Ganes Creek near McGrath, Alaska by Steve Burris of Idaho with a Fisher Gold Bug 2. The nugget was found in an area where many others had detected, but all the previous detectorists had missed the nugget.
Transportation to the mine was not included. The majority of visitors came from the Lower 48, with airline tickets running anywhere from $600.00 to $800.00 per person. Nearly all the visitors flew from Anchorage to McGrath via Peninsula Air at a round trip cost of about $420.00. The next leg of the journey is from McGrath to Ganes Creek via Tanana Air of McGrath at a cost of approximately $200.00 per person.
I was fortunate to have been at Ganes Creek many times over the years. You can tag along on some of those visits by looking over the Ganes Creek articles at Steve's Mining Journal. Here is just one story to get you started - Memorial Day at Ganes Creek, Alaska - 5/25/02