How many gold prospecting clubs and organizations have marine biologists working with them?
One of the first things to come out of our recent activities with a group of aquatic and riparian biologists from the National Forest Service, BLM and Colorado Dept of Parks and Wildlife was that one of the sections of Clear Creek that we took them too known as Arapahoe City/Arapahoe bar, should be "set aside forever by the State of Colorado for the specific recreational purpose of gold panning and recreational prospecting".
Yes, you read that correctly my friends.
With the Republic of Wheat Ridge perched like a vulture waiting for the land near this location to sell so they can quickly annex it for the tax revenue, we are facing a certain loss of accessibility here if something isn't done and done quickly.
According to these 5 top experts in their field (aquatic and riparian biology), nothing that recreational gold prospectors are doing in this section of the creek has any measurable or permanent or long term impact on the creek or the water quality regarding fish, wildlife and vegetation yet the perception by passers by on the bike trail is just the opposite.
Last weekend prospectors were approached by a woman who vowed to get whatever they were doing in that creek outlawed and banned as she claimed they were killing fish and scaring the ducks away. Panning is already against the law less than a few hundred feet from this location in the City of Wheat Ridge.
Arapahoe City itself is perhaps one of the most important gold panning locations in Colorado history. From John Hamilton Gregory to George Andrew Jackson, even Tom Golden and the Estes Party and Lewis Ralston.... all of these men lived at Arapahoe city where they could pan enough gold during the harsh winters to survive until spring year after year until the more famous mother lode gold strikes were made near Central City and Idaho Springs.
You might even say that Arapahoe City, the gold and the men who lived there built Denver.
If ever a site deserved to be set aside as a permanent tribute to the men and women who panned those waters 150 years ago, it is Arapahoe City where you can still find the best gold around to this very day and according to the School of Mines.... forever. Future generations should be able to come here and pan the same water and find gold just like John Hamilton Gregory and Lewis Ralston did back in the early 1850's and those of us charter members of Gold Unlimited are going to try and make that happen.
Please join us as we undertake this monumental task... it will take the teamwork of virtually every recreational gold prospector in Colorado, (along with our group of most generous and helpful state marine biologists, a couple of historians, native Americans and Gold Unlimited org) so we invite GPAA clubs and individuals alike to help.
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on how you can help make the Arapahoe City Gold Panning Park a reality!
Images from the Arvada Gardner Society.