Forest Service stomps on miners legal rights… again.

by Corey T. Shuman
President, Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc.

The Forest Service is at it again or at least trying. Long known as a bane to public land use, the United States Forest Service seems to have forgotten that they manage “public lands”. They profess their ownership and domination of these public lands like a petulant child. 

Today the issue at hand is a small road, leading up to a few mining claims that have been prospected for gold for the past 160 years. The road has no problems, no excessive use, no adverse environmental impact, no real impact at all. The road was established in roughly the 1870s when prospectors began using wagons and mules to get up to their claims. This road actually provides public access to these mining claims without creating new roads and trails. The very existence of the road keeps the public off the undisturbed land, providing a direction and path to the old mining claims.

The Forest Service website proclaims: “The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.” Quoting their slogan: “Caring for the Land and Serving People.” However, their actions seem quite the opposite, catering to the narrow-minded,   environmental groups discouraging people  from continuing the traditions of mining and land development that have made this land great.

How can a nation expect to succeed and grow when its own government agencies thwart its people and their ideals at every turn?

The claimants of these mines are using the land as our forefathers originally intended, for the support of themselves and the perpetuation of society. It’s no accident that the United States grew into a superpower as we did, it was on the back of miners, dragging gold and precious minerals from the ground that made the United States one of the richest and most powerful countries on the planet. And the Forest Service wants to defecate all over that legacy under the guise of “reducing Human impact”? We are the people, and we have the rights to use public land! How can you utilize the land and “reduce human impact”?

In the last 70 years, The US Forest Service has destroyed more roads, historical sites and national treasures than any combination of vandals, mining companies and general public combined. Ancient land marks, parts of the Spanish Trail, evidence of pre-Escalante infiltration across North America. 

GRE has seen the Forest Service physically destroying mining sites that are documented to be at least 125 years old. The reason given was the same old bureaucratic jargon about public safety and health. Except that the mines and workings have been there for 125 years with no injuries, deaths or even much notice on a road that was only open a few months out of the year. 
Mining is not something to be taken lightly; it’s the opportunity that each US citizen has to make a living, or to make a fortune, working the land that our forefathers bled for. It’s not a hobby; it’s not a cute little couple of guys out in the mountains breaking rock. It is our American Heritage and it’s as relevant today as it was 100, 150 even 200 years ago. 

It’s time that the Forest Service heard the voice of the people and stood up and took notice. Let’s make this road the starting piece in the recovery of our public lands. 

The Forest Service staff has jobs, just like you and I. They are subject to hiring and firing just like you and I, if they are not servicing their customer. With enough public and political pressure those Forest Service employees who are unwilling to listen to their customers can and should be removed. Any Forest Service employee who is unwilling to listen to the public and promote the standards and ethics that made the United States strong should be fired, immediately, no severance, no pension, no vacation.  I would rather see them homeless and starving on the streets that continuing to destroy the laws and rights provided by not only the Constitution but the Mining heritage that helped make this country so strong.

Start here, by calling the Cleveland Forest Service at (858) 674-2901. Tell them you don’t want more roads closed. Tell them you have an interest in our Mining Heritage and plan to do something about it.

Email William Metz, the Forest Supervisor, and tell him what you think about road closures and Mining Heritage!

Email Senator Barbra Boxer, tell her how she is destroying what is left of California’s economy and legacy of independence.

Call Senator Dianne Feinstein and tell her you want the Forest Service Staff that would even consider this closure to be fired!  (619) 231-9712 

Editor's Note: Mr. Shuman's call to contact the Clevaland National Forest is in reference to a recent news story reported on December 23rd, 2013, by Michael Turko of KUSI News out of San Diego, California, entitled "Shut Out!". KUSI reports that: "A group of gold miners called KUSI's Michael Turko about a plan to shut down the road to their claim. Turko says the road is deep in the Cleveland National Forest and Forest Service bureaucrats want to destroy it. The Forest Service says the decision is not yet final. They're taking public comments on the road issue until January 6th and then they'll consider any adverse impacts closing the roads might cause. Stay tuned... but don't hold your breath because this one sure looks like a done deal."

The story can be watched here.