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Monday, August 22, 2011

Claimjumpers!!


        It never fails… each time we post paper on a new claim, we get a phone call!

        Now there’s two ways to deal with this; you can laugh or you can cry… we prefer to laugh; it’s a lot less stressful!

        Friday we loaded Alex up in the pickup and made our way toward Hill City, finally just walking into an area we’ve been wanting to prospect again.  Yes!! We finally made it!

        We found evidence of an inactive claim (2008) we had researched on LR2000, but no new claim certificate that it had been re-located.  Mineral trespass signs bore the Mining Mineral Claim number of the inactive claim.

We hung a notice of discovery that day.

        Saturday we returned to the area, found a road in and further prospected the claim, hanging location certificates as we went.

        We arrived home Saturday night, exhausted, but still excited about what we had found!

        We’ve talked about how diverse the geology of the Black Hills can be.  The vegetation is at least and maybe more diverse!  Throughout the valleys we traversed on foot, Aspen trees proliferated in the gulches.  There were also many Ponderosa Pine (pine bark beetles setting in) and spruce.  Closer inspection brought Bob to the conclusion that the Aspens were predominately in the disturbed creek boundaries.  That created an ecological map to follow!  As we entered the Aspen groves we found so many historic diggings we knew we had entered into the “nugget zone.”

        There existed at one time what Bob thinks was probably a patented placer mine.  That explains the extensive diggings. Our inquiries at the Bureau of Land Management confirmed that a patent had been applied for, eventually denied and the property had reverted to the U.S. Forest Service.  This was further confirmed by using the BLM GLO web site, showing no patented property in that particular area.

        So we’re good… right?

        Sunday morning we receive the phone call.  For storytelling purposes, we’re going to name the caller Dave.  He proceeds to tell us that we’ve staked over the top of his claim and he is upset about that.

        Bob handled this call, he kindof likes bantering words about.

        Dave said he’d maintained the claim for 15 years (it was first staked in 2005, re-located from 2006-08) and when Bob stated it had been abandoned he said only for 6 months and he re-located June 1 of this year.

        The next question Bob asked was, “Where’s your claim boundaries and claim certificate?  Dave says he re-located June 1 and hasn’t filed yet with B.L.M., but he has filed with the county and repeats that we have claimjumped him.

        Then Bob asked, because the mineral trespass signs cover at least 200 acres (a single claimholder can claim up to 20 acres) of property by our estimation… “So just where is your claim?” Dave said he had added his daughter to the claim and it is at 40 acres.  A verbal description from Dave gave us at least a ballpark idea of his claim location.

        Dave decided at some point or another to not be quite so aggressive and Bob agreed to stay out of his claim area.  We still had the 40 acres we were interested in.

        While all this was going on, I did a little further research on Dave’s claim history, again on LR2000.  I found that he isn’t too well versed in locating or maintaining claims, evidenced by requests and actions taken by BLM.  I’m a little more compassionate now… in staking claims ignorance is not bliss!

        So Monday morning, first thing, we headed for the county courthouse.  It’s always good to verify what you’ve been told, as my four children had to find out the hard way!   “Sure, we believe you Dave… at least until we find out different,” we muttered under our breath.

        So we’re going to re-iterate a few things about staking claims.  Once you have located a claim you have 60 days to file at the Register of Deeds in the county where the claim is located. You have 90 days from location date to file at B.L.M.  The claim must be filed with the county before filing at B.L.M.

        So I can see you’re all perched on the edge of your chair (just kidding) to find out what happened.

        We filed our 40-acre claim, then researched Dave’s claims.  He had filed a location certificate dated July 1, so he is good there.  Another filed in January had never been filed with B.L.M.  The rest is iffy at best.  The location certificate is not notarized, his description lays out approx. 48 acres and is way off his mineral trespass signs as posted.  There is no map, so we had to rely on what is a questional description with discrepancies.  The main thing is, though, our claim does not trespass on his claim as described.

        All is good in the end.  We have another exceptional placer claim which appears to be an excellent candidate for a small mining permit.  Dave still has his claim, if he can get it pushed through BLM without a bunch of trouble.

        Staking a claim sounds easy… just put up your paper and start mining, right?  Are your laughing yet?

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