Monday, April 9, 2012

Making Headway on Gold Panning Park?

                            (Photo of Arapahoe City historical marker courtesy of Denver Public Library)

We have arranged for a meeting with Colorado House Representative Sue Schafer on April 21st to discuss GU's proposal for setting aside certain historic sites as state gold panning parks.

Assisting us will be GU Board member Dave Winters and his team of Aquatic and Riparian biologists who will discussing the advantages and benefits and even the concerns of such a park to the host river or creek. Dave is also the State of Colorado National Forest Service Aquatic and Riparian biologist.

Colorado historian and GPAA Denver chapter club president Johnny Walker will provide additional support and background from a historical perspective.

We will demonstrate for Rep Schafer's chief of staff Mekyle Lockwood how to pan for gold and teach them everything there is to know about how and where.

Our goal is to not put the gold prospector in any kind of box, on the contrary, we desire to set prospectors free from only relying on the blm or someone else's claim to prospect.

As it currently stands, there is virtually no unified voice for the recreational prospector fighting for his right to pan in the local park or open space. Organizations like the GPAA and PLP are great and do great work, we are not in competition with them but support all their efforts as hopefully they will ours. However we recognize also that a great majority of prospectors will never file a claim and deserve to be able to continue going down to that local little creek that has been good to them for any number of years and dip their gold pan in that water.

With ever shrinking blm land available to file claims on and considering most recreational panners never file a claim, there is also a need to protect public lands not available for claiming commercially, (small scale or otherwise) but are ideal for recreational prospectors.

Cities like Boulder, Breckenridge and even Wheat Ridge have been able to legislate the gold prospector out of places as historic as "Prospect Park" without even hardly a whimper from the gold community and Wheat Ridge is looking to expand it's ban on panning further upstream on Clear Creek to the Coors private property boundary.

It is time that Colorado recognize the significance and contributions gold prospecting has brought to this state and celebrate the rich heritage and history gold mining instead of pretending this state was founded by accident.

Hopefully in the next few months and years we will work together to make that happen.

Don Finley

Did you know?
Colorado is one of the few Rocky Mountain states that does NOT have a gold panning park or preserve?

UPDATE: 4/19- Joining us at the meeting and down at the creek to learn about gold panning and the plans for the Arapahoe City gold panning park will be author and Colorado historian Rick Gardner of the Gardner Historical and Preservation Society.


  1. This is a fantastic idea to keep the importance of gold prospecting to development of the west in the forefront!

    I will be watching for updates with sincere interest!

    Take Care from a neighbor to the north in Wyoming!


  2. (Moved from another thread to here)
    how does one help with the development of this park?
    By Anonymous on Finally, The Secret Free Gold Panning Spots in Col... on 4/9/12

  3. Thank you for asking. Gold Unlimited will be able to take memberships within the next couple of weeks, we are looking at around $20/year for a basic membership. In addition, there are several other projects that you can also be directly involved with such as the S Platte River cleanup and restoration in coordination with Trout Unlimited, as well as the cleanup of Ralston Creek in Arvada CO.

  4. This effort is very exciting. A park would be a great way to make it easier for new prospectors to get gold fever. I think it would also draw tourism...even just to see the place and see local prospectors working (being so close to the Coors Brewery makes it an easy thing for tourists to stop in at). Also a great complement/supplement to the strong prospecting clubs we have here in Colorado for active prospectors.