Gold in the News!
In case ya didn't see it via FB or the blast folks...

Fellow GPAA Members,

It's time to start regaining our recreational gold prospector individual rights by asking our legislators to reverse the Department of Environmental Quality overreach of our environmentally inconsequential hobby.  We have a window of opportunity to eliminate a government (permit) regulation.

I ask you to contact each member of the State House of Representatives Natural Resource Committee and implore them to approve the draft legislation that prohibits the DEQ from requiring a recreational gold prospecting permit to sluice in Michigan's rivers and streams. The legislation removes our hobby from the general permit category that includes building river crossings, docks, culverts, and other construction projects where heavy equipment is used.

The draft letter is for your use.  It lets the Committee members know that citizens of this State believe the Administration is over controlling an action that doesn't harm the environment.

Please contact the representatives individually either by email to their office, email to the Committee or US Mail to each representative or to the Committee requesting distribution to each of the representative.  The most effective means of contacting them is via US Mail to their individual offices since each mailing is logged in to the member's office and a record of receipt is logged.  Emails may be deleted.

But either way, contact them.  Our legal recreational prospecting opportunities are severely restricted by this permit and it needs to be eliminated.
Send emails with attached or imbedded letters addressed to individual committee members to the Committee Clerk and Joy will forward to the individual members:

Members of the Natural Resources Committee:

Representative Andrea LaFontaine, Chairwoman, Natural Resources Committee
124 North Capitol Avenue
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

For US Mail all have the same address as Rep. LaFontaine,

Representative Bruce Rendon, Vice Chairman, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative Anthony Forlini, Member, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative Ken Goike, Member, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative Ed McBroom, Member, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative Mary Whiteford, Member, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative John Kivela, Minority Vice Chair, Natural Resources Committee,
Representative Charles Smiley, Member, Natural Resources Committee,

We need your help. The most effective way to contact them is by individual letter to each of the 8 Representatives by the US Mail.  If you cant't do that, please send emails to each with your letter.  Our attached draft letter is for you to modify as you see fit.  Please include your name and address on the letters whether by email or US Mail.

If you have any questions, please call.

Nick Straffon
President, Cadillac Chapter GPAA
(810) 794-0638

Below is the draft letter Nick refers to..

Dear Representative ………, Natural Resources Committee Member,

    I am a legal resident of Michigan and a member of an association of recreational gold prospectors (small scale miners) known as the Michigan Chapter of the Gold Prospectors Association of America. It is with great concern that I send this letter.
    I ask you to please exempt small scale gold mining from the sluicing permit requirement under the General Permit Categories in the State of Michigan: 1994 PA 451 entitled “Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act” under parts 301, 303, and 325.  It is one of the three rules that make environmentally inconsequential small scale gold mining impossible in Michigan’s rivers and streams.  As a representative for the People overseeing our natural resources, you need to know that the MI Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality are prohibiting you and your fellow citizens from engaging in a healthy and environmentally conscious gold prospecting hobby.
    After several meetings with the DNR/DEQ over the past two years, we have not made any progress in gaining relief from three onerous rules that either eliminate common equipment used in the hobby elsewhere or totally restrict our activities.  Their decisions are based on perceptions and innuendos while ignoring US EPA and the Corps of Engineers scientific evidence that our hobby does no harm to our rivers and streams.
    The Chairwoman has drafted a bill that would exempt our hobby from the DEQ sluice permit requirement in MI waterways.   The permit is overreaching, highly restrictive, and ignored.  Its development was a waste of taxpayer money because citizens do not follow.  They either take a chance or as I, spend vacation money in nearby Ohio or Indiana or states further south.  With over 78,000 miles of moving waterways, please ask the DEQ how many river sluicing permit requests were received and how many have been issued over the seven years the rules have been in place.
    Among our members we have a wide array of hard-working and high-quality people. Nation-wide, our 25,000 members enjoy the outdoors, nature, forests, hills and valleys, rivers, streams, and beaches.  We are engaged in metal detecting, prospecting for gold and other minerals, rock hounding, camping, fishing, hunting, trail riding, snowmobiling and teaching other people about these healthy and rewarding activities. We are admirers and protectors of the land.  I write this letter with the support of my fellow 200 + members and many of another 1000 + unaffiliated recreational gold prospectors living in our State.

    I ask that you understand the serious nature of this letter. Please represent our individual rights as you have sworn to do. Please insure the draft bill is reviewed by your committee and support a vote advancing to the House.

Thank You,
Your Name