for Fallfest 2023

October 5-8, 2023

Time to register!

We always fill up quickly so don’t procrastinate and get left out! Registration closes as soon as it fills up, no later than Oct. 2nd.

FALLFEST Mining education and BBQ time is here! More educational than ever! Did we mention fun?

Thursday Oct. 5th through Sunday Oct 8th, 2023

Four jam-packed days of Fall Mining and Learning how to do it responsibly and environmentally friendly. There will be a variety of prospecting and mining classes, including a drilling & blasting class!

Coming from Oklahoma! The Pros and Cons: Mike Pung (Mr. Gold Cube!) and Cash Best will be here sharing their expertise with fine gold recovery and detectors – Bring your questions and even your own concentrates- Try to stump the experts! Mike and Cash are now a Minelab Dealer.

We will have the delicious BBQ Potluck and Raffle Saturday evening along with fiddle music by world famous Fiddlin’ Farley. We’ve got some big prizes in the raffle including Spin-It-Off Tool, GEO Sluice, ROYAL Manufacturing Sluice, a Mad Mining Drywasher, and of course, or should we say COARSE gold Nuggets, high dollar AKAU Gold Bag, silver bullion and more!

Come share in the fun, fellowship, and mining knowledge! Sign up soon before registration fills up. We close registration early to purchase and cook the right amount of BBQ.

Once again, we have hard rock teaching/ demonstration presented by a hard rock miner with decades of experience. We will have 2 licensed blasters sharing their knowledge with you, including dummy samples and a LIVE DEMONSTRATION. Come and learn how to get started hard rock mining or take your Hardrock game to the next level!

We will be hosting an Historical Rand Mining District and Owl Museum tour by Historian Dan Stanton – No fee to participate, but you are encouraged to donate to the Owl Museum in Red Mountain when the tour stops there.

The Panning Contest was so much fun we are organizing another one. Will last year’s champion retain the title of “Fastest Panner in the West”? You know who you are…?

Also back is Marcia Betz with at least one special ladies craft event, maybe more! It was super popular last year! The ladies made some cool items, several of which they donated to the raffle!

Saturday Adult detector hunt still only $20 Details at check-in along with published schedule of events. Lots of 100+ year old coins will be in this hunt along with real gold nuggets!

FREE Kids hunt is back! The kids really enjoy honing their metal detecting skills in the area prepared just for them. The smiles on their faces showed that they sure liked what they found!

We plan to have a group campfire every night down in the lower meeting area. We’ll have entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. PLP will be updating you on our activities at the campfire gatherings. Please bring firewood to donate if you are able. Campfire mining talk with fiddle music, juggling and maybe a tall tale or two is always a good time!

Back again is retired from Disney’s Frontier Town, famous Fiddlin’ Farley and Brad Allen the World Class Juggler performing at the campfire in the evenings. Remember the knives and fire juggling? The bowling pins that light up in wild patterns and colors? Well come back and see the latest and coolest!

Thanks again to the Leppers, the Betz, Susie, Roger Sims, Kim and many, many others who have volunteered to help make this a successful event. We couldn’t do it without you! We really appreciate you!

All attendees will get a new PLP membership, or for existing members we’ll extend your membership another year. Each paid attendee receives a dozen 2024 GRAND RAFFLE tickets, tickets to the Saturday night raffle, common dig, all the classes and Sat. night BBQ/ potluck! We are gathering at a great mining claim and sharing the gold (keep all you find!), food, fellowship, drywasher common dig, detector hunts, huge raffle (gold nuggets, mining equipment, silver and more!), plus we will be sharing more updates about the success PLP members have had with suction dredge reclamation.

Cost is only $70 per person, Families $70 plus $20 per person after the first one, kids under 12 are always FREE! Bring your kids and your kid’s friends, so they can learn to pan, drywash, PLUS the kids even have their own free metal detecting area!

SIGN UP here: https://www.publiclandsforthepeople.org/fallfest-2023-registration/

We will be gathering on a very large private mining claim in the historic Stringer Mining District just south of Randsburg, CA. The claim is a short distance from Highway 395, just south of Red Mountain. Turn west on Osdick Road and follow the 8.5”x11” PLP logo signs on wood stakes. The claim is RV accessible with an area for RVs to park, and tent camping is allowed almost anywhere except the main area where we will be hosting the potluck dinner, panning area, and group campfire. The blasting area will be far away from camp areas and marked off limits.

The PLP registration table will be near the entrance to the claim which is less than a mile and a half from the highway on paved and good unpaved road. Our volunteers will be wearing bright yellow PLP Volunteer shirts and vests. Flag one of us down if you have any questions.

This historic gold and tungsten mining claim is still yielding gold in the washes, on the flat ground and even in the huge dirt piles. Rumor has it the piles were never processed, just sampled by the government contractor looking for tungsten during World War II. There have been nuggets found by attendees…they never get them all! Bring your metal detector and drywasher and keep all the GOLD you find! It is a dry, high desert claim with ample area for dry camping. Be aware there is wildlife living on the claim, we are visiting their home (in the part of the desert that the claim is in, we’ve seen foxes, coyotes, snakes, lizards, jack rabbits, etc.). Do not dig near their homes. We have clean porta-potties on site, extra drinking water and a group campfire every evening and Saturday is the potluck dinner and raffle. Our Miner’s Church and Fellowship is on Sunday morning at 8:30 am.

For Potluck, please bring your own camp chairs and a folding table if you want to eat on a table, we have a limited number of tables and will be using ours for serving the Saturday potluck/ BBQ dinner and for hosting the big raffle. Please bring your favorite side dish and /or dessert to share! After dinner we’ll once again update you on what PLP has been working on regarding the PROVEN ways you can now exercise your legal right to mine and perform dredge reclamation, not just CA but Oregon too. We will have the new PLP DREDGE Cards on hand that spell out exactly what to do to legally participate in suction dredge reclamation in CA. We will also be handing out our new and very useful PLP Forest Service green cards specifically designed to keep the Forest Service working within their actual jurisdiction and not overstepping onto your legal mining rights.

It can be hot and cold, but usually not too windy this time of year, so be prepared for any weather. Please bring your favorite main course or side dish and dessert to share with the group! PLP will be providing the main course of smoked BBQ and sourdough bread/butter/jam.

You can check in beginning at 9 am Thursday and stay until Sunday afternoon. Be sure and show off the gold you find, we all enjoy seeing that freshly dug up gold! Volunteers get to come in a day early and stay a day after Fallfest ends.

We want this to be fun and educational for experienced prospectors and newbies too. Once again, experts will be on hand to share tips and tricks to improve your prospecting and mining skills.

If you are new and need help learning how to set up and run your equipment, we’ve got you covered. Need gear? The mining community is always willing to share. We will have some loaner equipment available, and there will be experienced folks willing to help you, but the best option is to join the common dig (learn how a drywasher works and pan concentrates). Reach out to one of our volunteers on site. There will also be a panning station set up to use anytime.

Another HUGE shout out and thank you to all those who volunteered last year! You guys made it a successful outing! We are ever grateful! If you would like to volunteer to help us with chores, please email or call us, we could use your help- we appreciate you! Many hands make for a fun outing for everyone.

A big THANK YOU to the Mining Journal for publishing the ‘PLP UPDATE’ article every month and our Grand Raffle ad. They will have complimentary magazines available at Fallfest. A huge thank you to the Mining Journal! www.icmj.com

We are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new friends at our big gathering. Remember, we are still committed to “Exercising our granted Rights while we Make Mining, Reclamation and Multiple Use on Public Land Great Again!”

Your PLP Board of Directors look forward to seeing you all out there!

Registration closes as soon as it fills up, no later than Oct. 2nd


2019 article by Brad Jones that was published by GPAA in the June Pick and Shovel Gazette:

PLP proposes amendments to NDAA in support of mining rights


By Brad Jones


After many years of fighting costly court battles, Public Lands for the People has launched a new strategy to defend mining rights for all miners large and small.


This year alone, PLP — working in conjunction with Scott Harn, editor and publisher of ICMJ’s Prospecting and Mining Journal — has made four trips to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers, their aides and federal government departments. And, a fifth trip is expected soon.


PLP’s researcher Clark Pearson was invited to the White House in 2018 and he and Harn recently returned from a second meeting at the White House in April.


“Both meetings were very important to express the concerns of small miners to President Trump’s key advisors,” Pearson said. “For the last three years, PLP has distributed education materials to members of Congress, and for the last two years has been engaging in ongoing meetings with top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Interior and even the Pentagon, providing specific language needed regarding regulatory certainty for the mining industry.”


PLP has long held the position that without consistency and clearly defined regulations, America’s mining industry will continue to find itself in peril. For the last few decades, mining groups have been railroaded into state courtrooms to fight the onslaught of overregulation spurred on by sue-and-settle lawsuits from radical environmental lobby groups which have been accused of working in collusion with federal, state and local agencies to restrict mining operations and peddle government land grabs.


Individual states trampling on the federal rights of miners under the law has been the crucible of contention for decades. And, at the crux of all the court battles is the miners’ steadfast belief in their congressionally granted mining rights under the federal Mining Law of 1872, and federal preemption. In other words, miners believe that federal mining law supersedes, or preempts, state law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States, which states that federal law is the “supreme law of the land,” and therefore trumps state law.


“Without a reasonable permit system and access to known and potential mineral deposits, there cannot be regulatory certainty. Without regulatory certainty, there will be no development of critical minerals in the United States and no critical minerals supply chain,” Harn said. “And, without a critical minerals supply chain in America, our national security is continually in jeopardy.”


National Defense

For these reasons, PLP has proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposed legislation, “Critical Minerals: National Security Amendments to the NDAA,” is subtitled “Breaking China’s grip on America’s mining and production of critical minerals.” It is further subtitled, “China’s well-executed plan, complicity of the American tech industry and U.S. policy failures led to a major national security vulnerability in critical minerals.”


The proposed amendments, if adopted, would:

  • Provide regulatory certainty that is critical for the mining industry and American investment in critical minerals.
  • Provide relief from America’s dependency on China and other unfriendly nations for critical minerals essential for our high-tech and military needs, which is essential for America’s national security.
  • Help curb the devastating environmental destruction occurring in China, which has profound and unwelcome effects on the United States and the world.
  • Help prevent the theft of intellectual property by eliminating the need for American companies to relocate manufacturing to China in order to secure a critical mineral supply chain.


The proposed legislation is available on PLP’s website: PublicLandsForThePeople.org/ndaa


Congress oversees the defense budget mainly through two yearly bills: the NDAA and defense appropriations bills. The authorization bill determines the agencies responsible for national defense, sets funding levels and policies under which money will be spent.


PLP President Ron Kliewer said the NDAA provides a practical means for miners’ voices to finally be heard.


“Our best bet is to get mining rights legislation into the NDAA because Congress has to pass it every year. I don’t see any other way,” Kliewer said. “In the last three years, American companies have made $1.66 billion in mining deals with the Chinese.”


The actual mining, he said, is taking place in China and other countries, and although this is a lucrative arrangement for the Chinese government and American tech companies, it is putting American national security at risk.


After countless hours of legal research, PLP began to develop a new strategy to connect with the powers-that-be in D.C. by educating lawmakers about the importance of mining to national security.


PLP board members were also shocked to discover that some of the so-called national mining advocacy groups appear to be working against the best of interests of small-scale miners.


So, with nowhere left to turn it seemed, PLP decided to go to where the buck stops: Congress and the Trump administration.


“We’ve learned that we can’t get a fair shake in the California courts,” Kliewer said. “The bigger picture is what’s going on nationally and internationally. We’ve learned where to put our efforts to get the biggest bang for the buck, and by getting this proposed legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act, it will take precedence over state jurisdiction.”


“We’re making inroads but we haven’t gotten any legislation through yet,”  The proposed legislation is currently going through the final edit and formatting by legislative council on Capitol Hill.”  Kliewer said.


The Trump Factor

PLP remains optimistic with the pro-mining and national security policies of President Donald Trump compared to the restrictive anti-mining policies of former president Barack Obama and his administration.


PLP Treasurer Walt Wegner concurred that the Trump administration is more mining friendly and has shown a much deeper interest in the need for securing the availability and independent production of strategic minerals for national defense.


“Trump has changed the direction of where we were going as far as environmental issues. If he could just wave his magic wand, he would help us tomorrow, but this president has a big part of Washington including the Democrats and Republicans against him,” Wegner said. “You’ve got to remember he beat the hell outta the Republicans, too. He’s been fighting an uphill battle since the day he got into office.”


While Trump has voiced many concerns about China’s unfair manipulation of currency and theft of intellectual property rights in the global marketplace, the issue of strategic minerals for America’s national defense rarely, if ever, surfaces in the mainstream news cycle.


“This president is all about national security. He’s going after China. He’s put tariffs on them. China has been ripping us off. This has been one of his main platforms,” Wegner said. “We are importing over 90 percent of our strategic minerals from China, so it is a national security issue. Hands down! We have taken it to the top level of our government’s concern.”


China could shut down the production of rare earth minerals overnight and it would take the U.S. at least two years to recover with its own mining production, he said.


“The military is on board with us but they’re not a political arm. So, I think this president has done a lot to help us, but he’s got a lot on his plate. We’re encouraged that these amendments will go into the National Defense Authorization Act,” Wegner said. “Trump is doing some great things! We haven’t seen a president like this ever. I would say this president is more conservative than any conservative president we’ve had in years and years.”


PLP’s Mission

Despite the new strategy, the fundamental mission of PLP and the vision of its late founder Jerry Hobbs have remained the same since its inception in 1990, said Wegner.


“We haven’t changed our course. We’ve stayed with his vision and we’ve stayed with our no-compromise philosophy. Of course, there is no way to say, ‘Well, Jerry Hobbs would have done this’ or ‘Jerry Hobbs would have done that.’ A lot of people do that, but very few people knew Jerry as well as I did. I was vice-president, so I knew him as far as PLP goes better than anybody.”


For many years, PLP was involved in court battles in support of mining rights, most notably those in support of suction dredge mining when California imposed a statewide ban in 2009.


“What we’ve found through years of litigation ­­— and Jerry Hobbs really recognized this too — is that the courts are corrupt and we weren’t getting justice, especially in California,” Wegner said.


And, although PLP wanted to appeal Judge Gilbert Ochoa’s ruling on the suction dredge cases in California Superior Court, the mining community had grown weary of legal wrangling after small-scale gold miner Brandon Rinehart’s federal preemption case was overturned, and funding completely dried up, Wegner said.


“This left the prohibitive 2012 California suction dredge mining regulations in place that had been promulgated illegally, relying on a phony Supplemental Environmental Impact Report,” Kliewer said.


Educating Lawmakers

One of the problems miners face in the courts is that federal mining laws are often vague and should be updated to cover technological advances and more modern mining methods, Wegner said. And, because creating laws is the job of Congress — not the courts or sometimes partisan, rule-making bureaucrats — the best place to start is in Washington, D.C.


Considered archaic by some, the Mining Law of 1872 doesn’t spell out that it’s legal to use a suction dredge on your mining claim, for example, because suction dredges didn’t exist when the law was written.


“We need Congress to speak about a lot of issues on what has happened between 1872 and now. Congress really hasn’t spoken on this,” Wegner said. “We are not going to win in court here. In our opinion, it’s a corrupt system in California. But we can win in court if Congress speaks. That’s why we’ve taken this journey to get our amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act.”


Though PLP’s board of directors pondered the idea of proposing stand-alone legislation, the board knew it would mean digging deeper into miners’ pockets to pay for lobbying.


“We realized that miners, with our meager money, are not going to get stand-alone legislation,” Wegner said. “And, the State of California is never going to help the small-scale miners. We don’t need their permission and that’s why we’ve taken this route.”


Instead, PLP is encouraged with its latest move to educate Congress on strategic minerals and mining rights through proposed amendments to the NDAA.


A Practical Approach

“It’s about national security and minerals. It’s not all about gold,” Wegner said.


While some gold miners may scoff at PLP’s proposed legislation because it’s not hyper-focused on gold mining specifically, Wegner said skeptics may be failing to see the forest for the trees and asked that they try harder to see the big picture.


“Read it, and then read it again,” he said. “They will benefit. What we are pushing for in our proposed critical minerals legislation will support small miners as well.”


Harn agreed that the proposed amendments, if passed, will have a far-reaching, positive impact on the entire mining industry.


“Gold miners will certainly reap the benefits of our proposed critical minerals legislation, but the focus needs to be on critical minerals to get our proposals through Congress,” Harn said.


Whether newly re-established or strengthened mining rights result in the excavation of rare earth minerals used in national defense or other minerals that are refined into metals used for manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, computers, smart phones, electric cars and all things green, all miners and America itself will benefit, Wegner explained. Critical minerals are a necessary component for everyday items from flat-screen televisions to lithium batteries to aircraft components, radar arrays and missile guidance systems.


“It’s all mined. We know this,” he said.


Mining Districts

Wegner acknowledged that mining districts remain one of the most powerful tools small-scale miners possess in their efforts to reclaim or strengthen mining rights on public lands in the western states, but motivating miners to re-establish mining district boards can be like trying to herd cats at times, he admitted.


Though PLP is no longer actively involved in coordinating the re-establishment of mining districts, it still supports the concept.


“Mining districts are the most powerful tool small-scale miners have, but lighting a fire under them or motivating them I don’t know how to do,” he said. “We encourage it. Mining districts could make huge progress on the ground level.”


Grassroots Support

Wegner stressed the importance of miners continuing to support PLP by backing the proposed amendments to the NDAA, purchasing a raffle ticket, becoming a member or donating funds.


PLP already has the attention of lawmakers in Washington, but with all the activity in D.C. and competition with other groups and causes, the challenge is to keep lawmakers focused on the importance of these proposed amendments, he said. Doing this means traveling to Washington, attending meetings and spending time educating lawmakers about the importance of mining rights.


“We’re a grassroots group on a shoestring budget but we’ve been able to make progress in D.C. because our cause is great. Everybody loves it. It’s for the nation and our security,” said Wegner.



  • TAKE ACTION! Participate by endorsing PLP’s proposed legislation:



2019 Grand Raffle is underway! Get your tickets early!



New prizes added as they are donated. For example, we haven’t added Spin-It-Off  to the official list yet. Thank you Spin-It-Off for donating to our raffle! This helps raise funds for things like helping get the “Small Miner Amendment” passed into law. We work hard for you, this is your chance to be part of changing what is broken in Public Lands Management. Thank you!

Calling Miners to BLM Meeting in Ridgecrest 3/24/16 6pm

Ridgecrest BLM Roundtable Committee

Time: 6:00 PM PST to 8:30 PM PST

Where: BLM Office 300 S. Richmond Rd. Ridgecrest, CA 93555

Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC)

Agenda for March 24th, 2016 to speak on the following:


Clark Pearson (PLP Legal Research, MMAC Advisor)

Scott Harn (MMAC Advisor and Owner ICMJ)

Joe Martori (Owner Sleepy Bear Mining, MMAC Advisor, Randsburg Mining District BOD)

Donald Fife (Geologist, Sedimentologist, Past four time DOI Advisor and Editor)

Mining Districts:

(a) How were they formed

(b) Congressional approval for the mining districts

(c) Do mining districts still exist

(d) The current power of the mining districts

Miners Making the Rules and Regulations Supported in Washington DC

The Power of the Mining Districts

What is a Mining Right?

  1. 1955 Multiple Surface Use Act Application (FLPMA) to Mining and Other Users

(a) Did FLPMA repeal the Mining Law of 1872

(b) How activist extremist are manipulating the law to the exclusion of man

(c) Material Inference

Armchair Environmentalism

3. Multiple Use Lands, Symbiotic Relations and Conflict Resolutions

(a) Man and nature as one

(b) Natural Land reclamation (Babcock Report for BLM)

(c) How mining stands with Land Management Plans

(d) Proposed MOU with BLM for model to go across U.S.

The Babcock Report

Multiple Use Lands, Symbiotic Relations and Conflict Resolutions


Papers/Reports to share at table:

* United States Mining Laws and Regulations Thereunder

* Codified Law 30 U.S.C. 21(a) – 54

* The Mining Law of 1872 A Legal and Historical Analysis ( book available for sale)

* Mineral Regulatory Reform Act – A Clear Path Respecting Mining Rights