I am posting the letter (email) we sent to the USFS Minerals Examiner last night in response to their notice left on our windshields. You can read it below, but also wanted to say we did darn good dredging today …..all of today. We just came out of the water and it is 6pm. We found the largest piece of gold I have ever found on the South Fork Clearwater! (I’m sure my beautiful wife will claim it though).
We hope the USFS will recognize the egregious errors they have made and talk to us how it can be remedied. We don’t have our hopes up from past experiences with them. Adult, polite and professional conversations seem to be something they abhor and actively avoid. They did not answer this email.
To: District Ranger Terry Nevius, NPNF July 22, 2018 1803 hours
Dear Ranger Nevius, Ms. Probert and Mr. Marty Jones.
I am in possession of the little brown envelope Mr. Beegle placed on the windshield of my vehicle Friday July 21, 2018.
I oppose the assertion I need to obtain a PoO for suction dredging. In the USFS Manual under 2817.3, it clearly and definitively states the miner and the Ranger (Nevius and Poe) determine if the activities create or cause a significant disturbance. In February of 2016, during the public comment period and the conference call with Probert, Mr. Nevius stated, on the recorded call that he never said suction dredging creates a significant disturbance. I am of the firm opinion, based on factual science that it does not cause a significant disturbance either. In August of 2017, I flew over to Idaho and had a face to face meeting with Probert, Jones, Gay Richardson, Brian Koch and a few other USFS staff. Mr. Nevius stated again, on a call in to the room “I’ve never said it causes a significant disturbance, I didn’t write a letter saying so and never told Cheryl Probert it does either”. On July 18, 2018 above my dredge near mile marker 39 at 1608 hours, Mr. Nevius walked down the hill to my dredge with LEO Brooks Beegle, Under Sheriff Jim Gorges, Marty Smith and I had my dredge tender Jere Clements with me. All of them witnessed myself asking Mr. Nevius if he still believed suction dredging doesn’t cause a significant disturbance and he responded “I’ve never said it did and never told Probert that”.
Based on the black and white language in 2817.3, I have had one on one conversations with Ranger Nevius for 1 1/2 years and together, we have determined it does not cause, nor create a significant disturbance. I am not required, nor are the other miners on the river to obtain a PoO for suction dredging.
I am aware that Mr. Nevius signed the notice of non-compliance. I am curious as to why Mr. Nevius has contradicted his previous 3 public statements stating otherwise.
Again, I assert my first Amendment right and respectfully, but firmly disagree with any assertion that I need to obtain a permit for something their own District Ranger stated on multiple times that I do not meet the threshold for requiring one.
We will continue to dredge with our valid, current and approved IDWR suction dredge permits for 2018.
Ten Mile Mining District
American Mining Rights Association