Accomplishments

  • The East Fork of the San Gabriel River (Angeles National Forest) was proposed to be closed to all prospecting. PLP intervened and the U.S. Forest Service kept the area open.
  • PLP and one of our members were instrumental in getting the first Special Use Suction Dredge Permits for the upper East Fork of the San Gabriel River.
  • The U.S. Forest Service attempted to close the entire Angeles National Forest, under the guise of the 1928 Watershed Act (withdrawn to mineral entry). PLP and our members invited them to cite us for this violation, to this day there has been no citation issued and prospecting is still being done.
  • PLP members have been participants in educating the agencies on the fact that Wilderness Areas do not disallow prospecting. The Wilderness Act states: “This Act does not prohibit prospecting for the purposes of gathering information!” What is prospecting, if it is not gathering information?
  • PLP assisted a member in litigation against the BLM’s $100.00 Claim Rental Fee.
  • PLP had member representation on the ADHOC Committee in the California Department of Fish & Game process for Suction Dredging Regulations. Originally the DFG wanted a 4-inch maximum size suction dredge for the entire State of California. We were able to maintain a 6-inch dredge size with 10 rivers in the state having an 8-inch size.
  • PLP assisted a member in a Pro Per lawsuit against the California DFG in an effort to maintain the regulations that were in place prior to 1994. The lawsuit was demurred as to being filed three days late. Live & Learn!
  • PLP has assisted in or reopened metal detecting in places such as: Florida, Monrovia, Ca., Temple City, Ca., Whittier, Ca., San Bernardino, Ca., and areas of un-enforceable policy where Federal law should be applied.
  • The BLM closed to prospecting and mining 80 square miles of the Coolgardie District for 20 acres of surface disturbance. PLP assisted two pro per litigants in appealing this decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. The pro per’s prevailed and this closure was lifted.
  • PLP was able to challenge an illegal closure on Piru Creek in the Los Padres National Forest and the Judge informed us that we could go back to the area and mine. Later, the USFS re-closed the area due to the listing of the South Western Arroyo Toad.
  • When the USFS went to a Trust Fund which had been established by a joint L.A. County/State and USFS Agreement, for a parking permit fee in the San Gabriel Canyon, (which had acquired some $200,000 to be used to maintain the canyon facilities), found much to their dismay that this money had been removed by the county to help balance their budget. PLP checked the facts and then took it to the LA County Grand Jury for a full investigation. The money was immediately returned to the USFS to be used in the San Gabriel Canyon as intended.
  • PLP and its member participated in the Desert Protection Act process; our input was invaluable in keeping many of the areas open to public use. To this day PLP and its members are still participating in this on going process in the hopes of preventing any unnecessary land closures
  • For the last twelve years PLP and its members have fought with CalTrans and the USFS in our endeavor to reopen Highway 39 through the Forest to Highway 2(Angeles Crest Highway) for safety purposes. Our success in getting the road repaired came back to be a lifesaver on two occasions. The most recent one was where some 8,000 people were evacuated over the recently repaired road to escape the CURVE Fire in the Angeles National Forest. This was the only escape route available!
  • PLP had the no-trespassing signs removed in the Tahoe National Forest. A rafting group, to help discourage entry by anyone other than rafters, had put up the signs.
  • PLP had an erroneous sign removed from Highway 49 in the Tahoe National Forest. The USFS had put up a sign stating “the North Fork of the Yuba River teemed with Salmon until the Miners arrived and depleted the Salmon population.” This was untrue, the installation of the dams was deemed responsible.
  • PLP is assisted a pro per on a Mineral Exam challenge from the USFS on the Smith River in the Six Rivers National Forest. This claim is one of only three left on the river due to reclassification of the river to “Wild & Scenic & Recreational” status.
  • PLP, CORVA & AMA District 37 joined together to bring Amicus status to the off road and mining community in a lawsuit filed against the BLM by the Center for Biodiversity. This suit was an agreement between the BLM and the Center to close millions of acres of land in the deserts of California. The Judge signed the agreement, but that the BLM could not use the court order or his signature to close anything. The BLM was put in a position to have to go through all of their normal procedures to close anything. In the past the BLM and others had circumvented their procedures and used the court order to close many areas. PLP is assisted a pro per litigant (Bob Arnold) in the 9th Circuit of Appeals on the various desert closures.
  • PLP assisted pro per litigants in the Center for Biological Diversity’s laws suit against the four southern California Forests. The Judge made the same ruling as in the BLM case. The agency must go through all of its procedures before closing any areas.
  • PLP assisted Don Eno in his occupancy case along with Tim Zindel, Public defender in Sacramento. Mr. Eno was acquitted of the charges. It appears that the USFS had been citing people on a policy instead of a law, on occupancy of a mining claim for more than 30 days .
  • PLP is also assisted a pro per (Clark Pearson) in a Declatory relief suit against Plumas National Forest. This was also an issue of occupancy on a mining claim. The USFS was not able to get this case dismissed and we have an answer to the occupancy problem! Mr. Pearson was also assisted on another pro per case on the upper Slate Creek project of the USFS in Plumas National Forest. This case was about the USFS and the Public as to equity. If You can’t do it without an Environmental Impact Study, then neither can the Forest Service.
  • PLP & GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) assisted a pro per litigant (Dee Stapp) in her lawsuit against the Department of Interior B.L.M. on their 43 CFR 3809 regulations. Dee won!
  • Raising over a million dollars for the fight, PLP led the litigation against the State of California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife regarding the illegal ban against suction dredging. After over 6 year years fighting in court, the judge issued a ruling on Federal Preemption in favor of PLP and the small scale miners, stating that the State’s scheme of requiring a permit and then refusing to issue one was in effect, a ban on dredging. This is still ongoing as the state has now ruled against Brandon Rinehart in a related case where Brandon was cited for dredging without a permit. The California State Supreme court reversed a century of case law in ruling against Brandon. This is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.