U.S. Forest Service (USFS) intimidating, and lying to prospectors - Non-Responsive to Citizens

U.S. Forest Service employees continually harass prospectors in our National Forests by intimidation, lying and misstating Laws and Regulations. When confronted by facts in writing, they either site additional untruths or simply refuse to respond.

Public Lands For The People
Oct 26, 2011 - 

A long trail of discussions between Mr. Gary Goldberg of Rancho Cucamonga,Ca and the U.S. Forest Service has been going on since June 20, 2011. Mr. Goldberg is a Gold Prospector living near the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. He has been prospecting for gold since 1987 in the local areas as well as in the gold-rich “Mother Lode” area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Mr. Goldberg is a 61 year old U.S. Navy - Disabled Veteran,who owned his own business before becoming “economically unemployed”.As the spot price of gold has increased to unseen levels of more than $1,600 per oz. in recent months,Mr. Goldberg wanted to resume his prospecting in the Angeles National Forest’s East Fork of the San Gabriel River.While he has prospected there in years past,the U.S. Forest Service has lately been intimidating prospectors who try their luck in the area.

In addition to falsely telling prospectors that prospecting is illegal in the San Gabriel District of the Angeles National Forest,they have begun ticketing prospectors’ cars for not obtaining an Adventure Pass for the area.The Forest Service has several parking passes available to the public for recreational purposes.

They also have what is called an Administrative Pass,which is to be issued to people who “may visit their public lands for purposes other than recreation.”The USFS web site goes on to explain, that Administrative Passes “are also issued to…persons conducting mining and prospecting activities.” (ref. http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/questions-and-answers#admin)

On June 20th,Mr. Goldberg sent a letter to the San Gabriel River Ranger O’Dell Tucker,requesting an Administrative Pass for the East Fork of the San Gabriel River,for the purpose of Prospecting.Not receiving a response,he escalated the matter to Ranger Tucker’s supervisor–Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras,calling his office repeatedly,without reply.

Finally getting a message forwarded to Contreras, Mr. Goldberg received a “panic” call from Ranger Tucker demanding that they have a “face-to-face meeting” immediately at Ranger O’Dell’s office.(Note that this was Friday,July 8th at 3 P.M. Mr. Goldberg said that there was no way he would meet with the Ranger on at that time  without and previous notice.An agreement was reached that the meeting would take place on Tuesday,July 12th at 10 A.M. when Ranger Tucker could have two of his “experts” at the meeting with him.

Mr. Goldberg was concerned that this was going to be a three against one meeting,so he chose to invite Mr. Jerry Hobbs–President of Public Lands for the People(PLP)organization and Mr. Paul Coambs–a retired law enforcement investigator and Board Member of PLP.

At the meeting,with much discussion and no resolution,Ranger Tucker was asked to reply to Mr. Goldberg’s June 20th letter in writing.Again several weeks without response,Mr. Goldberg again escalated the issue to Contreras.After a brief, evasive response,Mr. Goldberg was assured that he would be receiving a letter response very soon.
On August 8th, Mr. Goldberg receive a letter from Ranger Tucker stating that his request for the Administrative Pass had been denied and was referred to Forest Service’s Surface Use Regulations found in 36 CFR 228, Subpart A.

Read More


Mining Rights (dot) org is copyright 2010 by the South West Oregon Mining Association