USFS Terror: USFS Fails To Learn Their Lesson

Readers will well remember the debacle in Placer County, California where employees of the United States Forest Service stole mining incident tools from California miner Mark Hepfner. USFS had no warrant for the gear, nor did they give Hepfner notice that his property was under threat. Criminal complaints filed by Hepfner with Placer County Sheriff's Department were ignored, as were legal notices to the United States Forest Service.

Miners from around the country came to Hepfner's aid, promptly applying pressure to the United States Forest Service and the Placer County Sheriff's Department through varying tactics. Eventually, Congressman Tom McClintock's office intervened and after catching USFS in certain "little white lies", was able to force the United States Forest Service into returning Hepfner's property (minus the property they destroyed, of course). It also appears that the Placer County Sheriff's Department ignored Hepfner's criminal complaints for the simple fact that they supplied the helicopter that was used to steal Hepfner's property and had colluded with the USFS to commit theft and to deprive Hepfner of his rights.

One would think that USFS District Ranger Chris Fischer would be a bit embaressed about all of this and would think twice about violating Hepfner's rights again. Instead, Fischer recently fired off a letter demanding that Hepfner "work with (his) office", insisting that "any mining activities, associated equipment or occupancy of National Forest System lands is prohibited" until Hepfner does so. In otherwords, Fischer is now prohibiting Mark Hepfner from enjoying his property rights, which are protected by the 1872 Mining Act and by the United States Constitution.

Once again, we are requesting that miners come to Miner Hepfner's aid. Please call USFS District Ranger, Chris Fischer at: 530-367-2224 and tell him to stop violating the rights of miners.

We also suggest that you contact the office of Congressman Tom McClintock at: (916) 786-5560 or (202) 225-2511 as well as Congressman Doc Hastings, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources: (202) 225-5816 and let them know what the United States Forest Service has been up to.


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