Panorama Gem

Rock Hounding in Northeast Washington

Club’s Equipment, for sale?

August 7th, 2019

This is a list of club equipment that is at Gene Fisher’s shop. We need to vote on whether we should sell it or not. Then at which meeting should we auction these items? Remember, the money that purchased them came from the General Fund.

  1. Combination: Lortone 6″ saw with two grinding wheels and polishing pad.
  2. Large(heavy) grinding/polishing unit with four, 8″ diamond wheels: 80 grit, 180, 360, and 600.
  3. 10″ Raytech saw in fair shape.
  4. 18″ Lortone saw with good blade but needs a new motor or wiring. The present motor is 1/2 HP.
  5. New-in-box Elite water pump that spits water up on the grinding wheels.
  6. Rock Rascal for melting wax for dopping.
  7. Set of Dop Sticks.
  8. Box of Templates for designing cabochons.
  9. First Aid Kit.
#1. Combination: 6″ saw with two grinding wheels and polishing pad.
#1b Combination-Lortone 6inch trim saw
#2 Large(heavy) grinding/polishing unit with four, 8″ diamond wheels
#2b Large(heavy) grinding/polishing unit with four, 8″ diamond wheels
#3 10″ Raytech saw
#3b 10″ Raytech saw
#4 18″ Lortone saw with good blade
#4b 18″ Lortone saw with good blade
#6 & #8 Cabochon Templates and the Rock Rascal

DNR Story Maps

August 17th, 2018

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.

Field Trips and Newsletters

June 21st, 2018

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.

Field Trip to Horseshoe Mountain

June 16th, 2016

Oppose New National Monuments in California

February 5th, 2016

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! 

Forest Service Plans to Destroy Roads in Oregon

January 3rd, 2016

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.”