Rock Hounding in Northeast Washington
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has a new “story map” series online that shows places to rockhound in Washington.
It also spells out the rules you should take into consideration for State, Federal and private land. Click on the Mineral and Fossil map option. The little spots on the map show collecting sites. You can zoom in to get a better idea of the locations but there are not always driving instructions or exact coordinates. What surprised me was that it shows many more collection sites for things like trilobites, fossils, petrified wood and gemstones than I knew about.
The newsletters for May and June are now online. Check the 2018 newsletter page for links. Use the search function to find topics in previous newsletters.
There is a field trip scheduled to the LeFarge Quarry for Trilobites on Saturday July 28th. Meet at the Tiger Store at the intersection of Hwy 20 and Hwy 31, 10 AM. (New Place due to events in Ione.) This is one of the most popular trips of the year. Be prepared for hot weather and splitting layers of rocks safely.
Saturday the 23rd of June There is a trip to the Flagstaff Mine near Northport. Meet at the gas station at the north end of Northport at 10 AM to collect Barite Crystals. Bring rock breaking tools.
We are going to the Railway Dike on July 7th to collect Beryl Crystals. Meet at the Safeway parking lot in Chewelah at 10 AM. Bring rock breaking tools.
You don’t need to be a member to go on trips with us. Check out previous trips using the mine names or rock types in the search box on this website.
New over-restrictive regulations are threatening the rights of anyone to collect fossils and limiting research which has been mainly driven by discovories by amatures over the past 100 years. Please comment here: https://www.savefossilcollecting.org/
I just stumbled on this “live” report going on every day from the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. If you wonder what it is like down there, check this out:
Reports Indicate that the President May Move to Make Designations in the California Desert
Despite legislation moving in both Houses of Congress, there are rumors that the Administration is considering National Monument designations in the California Desert. Please Take Action now to send an email urging the President NOT to move forward with these designations!
ARRA has previously alerted you that Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Cook (R-CA) each have introduced legislation (S. 414 and H.R. 3668) that would provide for the management of the lands being considered for National Monument designation. These bills were developed over time and are the result of collaboration and compromise between various groups with often competing interests. These bills call for a federal advisory committee with a seat to be filled by a Rockhound. Yes, a named seat reserved for a Rockhound.
It is unlikely the Administration will designate the multiple OHV recreation areas designated as such in the Feinstein and Cook bills. As for the areas that will be designated as National Monuments – while motorized recreation and other multiple uses are not specifically prohibited in National Monument areas, history has proven that even the most responsible multiple uses are banned or restricted once an area is designated. (No Rockhounding) There will be no collecting of Biological, Geological, Historical or Minerals within these 3 National Monuments. There goes the Cady Mountains, Afton Canyon, Lavic Siding, WIley Wells and most other collecting areas remaining in the California Deserts.
Please send an email urging you’re Administration NOT to move forward with National Monument designations in the California desert!
The US Forest Service has recommended the destruction of 1,261 miles of roads in Union, Baker, Wallowa and Northern Grant Counties at the expressed concern of the people of Eastern Oregon. Link attached to maps is below, any road in red have been recommended for destruction.
We have named each map with a geographic area to make it easier for you to find the area you are concerned about.
We will be holding the monthly FAFA business meeting on Saturday, January 2nd, at Baker City in the Sunridge Inn at 3pm to discuss this matter along with other issues.
(I know that the following link is broken.)
We very much appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you on Saturday, or hearing from you at any time.
———- Here’s an update to the article above: ————–
Posted March 17, 2019 by Rob
Blue Mountain Forest Plan Withdrawn Amid Enormous Protest By Public
By Katy Nesbitt
for Wallowa Valley Online
ENTERPRISE, Ore – A management plan designed to guide decisions on three eastern Oregon forests was withdrawn yesterday amid enormous protest from the public.
The decision was announced in a conference call between Chris French, acting deputy chief of the Forest Service for national forest systems, and county commissioners representing communities affected by the Blue Mt. Forest Plan Revision, an environmental impact statement begun in 2004. According to Wallowa County Commissioner Todd Nash considerable pushback from forest users convinced the agency’s leaders to agree to scrap the plan.
Nash said, “ The objection team heard loud and clear the disconnect between the Forest Service and our communities. They said they want to make some positive changes in building trust with the agency and the communities.”
Mark Owens, Harney county commissioner, has been at the forefront of forest issues for his county and the Eastern Oregon County Association at home and in Washington, D.C. as recently as the first week of March. He said the Eastern Oregon County Association members didn’t believe there was an alternative they could support.
“The proposed plan was not workable,” Owens said, “but the fact they are willing to get rid of the plan shows they understand our issues and are listening.”
Forest access, particularly vehicle access, was the biggest issue followed by disagreements in timber harvest levels and livestock grazing restrictions.
For now, Susan Roberts, Wallowa County Board of Commissioners chairman, said the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur national forests will be managed with a previous planning rule, with a few minor changes, overseen by Glen Casamassa, the Pacific Northwest Regional forester.
“The visitors of these forests are to be commended for the objections they wrote, their ability to attend meetings and succinctly articulate their feelings,” Roberts said.
Mike Hayward, former Wallowa County Commissioner who worked alongside the Forest Service on many planning issues including the Blue Mt. Forest Plan, said he believes the agency’s planning process is “broken” and isn’t focused on the issues the public is.
“I think the emphasis on the planning process is on science, or they want it to be on science, and yet what drives the local communities as well as the environmental groups is less about science and more about social and economic factors,” Hayward said.
Hayward said he would like to see the Forest Service start with social and economic impacts of forest management and then fit in the science.
Roberts said she believes in the coming months there will some changes in the agency and the citizens living within the Blue Mountains will be able to build better relationships with the agency.
“Withdrawing the plan gives us an opportunity to improve all of our connections with the Forest Service and the citizens,” Roberts said.
An incredible amount of opposition from 350 individuals and organizations around Eastern Oregon first stopped the planning process in 2014. Members of an interdisciplinary team tasked with drafting nearly 6,000 pages of guiding documents for the three forests re-opened public meetings and a comment period after a revised draft was published, but further restrictions on grazing, timber harvest levels that don’t keep pace with forest growth and increasing pressure to close roads culminated in the largest protest against a forest planning process Nash said the leaders in Washington said they had experienced.
French, who has worked closely with county leaders as well as private citizens and special interest groups, said in a letter addressed to Casamassa, that hisreview did not identify any specific violations of law, regulation, or policy, but there were many factors that made the revised plan difficult to implement.
“The resulting plans are very difficult to understand, and I am concerned that there will be ongoing confusion and disagreement as to how each Revised Plan is to be implemented,” wrote French.
A press release from Casamassa’s Portland office said existing land and resource management plans, as amended, will remain in place as the Forest Service determines next steps for the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests.In the coming months, Forest Service officials will engage stakeholders to explore ways of working together to support a path forward on shared priorities including strengthening local economies, reducing wildfire risk, ensuring access, and supporting healthier watersheds.
“We are committed to the responsible stewardship of National Forest System lands and confident that we can find common ground for the long-term sustainable management of these forests,” said Regional Forester Casamassa. “I look forward to joining local and state officials, partners, Tribes, and members of the public to explore how we can best work together in shared stewardship to pursue common objectives.”
Message from Hidemi Kira, NFMS President:
To ALAA Members and Rockhounds in the Pacific Northwest,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding a series of public meetings across the west to gather information on a proposal to withdraw lands determined to be crucial to the survival of the greater sage-grouse from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights. The BLM is also extending the public comment period on the withdrawal proposal until January 15, 2016 to allow the Secretary of the Interior to collect additional information relevant to the decision on whether to withdraw these areas from the location of new mining claims for up to 20 years. An interactive map of the areas included in the proposed withdrawal is available at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse.
Attached is a sample letter prepared by our 1st VP Jim Bosley for your use and edit as you see fit. Jim thinks each rock club needs to review the map of the proposed withdrawal areas and identify the specific area that they historically use for rockhounding and add to the letter.
Letters need to be submitted by January 15, 2016. The electronic address is included as well as the mailing address for the Director of the BLM.
Map of proposed areas
Amount of letters will count, so please write as your club and pass this sample letter to your members for them to write as an individual.
And this affects a lot of small communities, so please try to get those community leaders in your area involved.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
This is notice of a proposal to withdraw 10 million acres from public access to mineral resources. Action is required by December 14th. The alert was passed on by owners of the Dust Devil Sunstone Mine near Lakeview, Oregon.
From: Terry Clark [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 06, 2015 12:35 PM
Subject: Land Withdrawal
This email is to inform you of an upcoming meeting on December 14, 2015 at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time at the Interagency Office in Lakeview, Oregon. This meeting is about the withdrawal of 10 million acres of public and private land in seven western states. This includes potential mining claims and will have a major impact on existing claims.
Existing claims will be allowed to stay however they will be severely limited. Existing mines will be limited to one mine every square mile with the allowed disturbance of only 1% (6.4 acres) in every 640 acres.
This withdrawal will cripple the western states in their ability to access and use their mineral wealth. The withdrawal of these lands also directly impacts and severely limits grazing, recreational access, as well as renewable energy development.
It is very important that you contact your local and regional representatives regarding this withdrawal before the end of the comment period of January 15, 2016. Please send your comments to the Secretary of Interior, BLM, USFS, Fish and Game, your Senators and Congressmen as well as your local county commissioners and town councils.
This withdrawal will make a large difference in local and national economies so we ask that you please look at the attachments and if you would like a full copy of the attached documents please contact:
US Senator Jeff Merkley
404 Russell Building
Washington DC 20410-3704