The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

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Jim Hatt

The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Jim Hatt » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:01 pm

I am reluctant to post this in the Prospecting and Treasure Hunting Forum, because I know that there is a Forum dedicated to Desert Environmental and Land Uses but the subject of my post is in regard to PROSPECTING so I am going to give it a try here.

The Superstition Mountains were already designated as a Wilderness Area when I came to Arizona in 1989. They officially became a Wilderness Area at Midnight December 31, 1983.

The first few years I was here, I heard many rumors about the Do's and Dont's of what you could and could not do in the Wilderness Area. (Prospecting for precious metals of any kind, I was told is one of the most important DONT'S) I believed them all at first. Then as time passed, I began to learn that some of the things I had accepted as Fact, might not be true. Finally decided to obtain a copy of the actual Wilderness Act and read it for myself to see what it said. And I DID.

After reading through it several times I came to the conclusion that nobody I had ever talked to had actually read it! Almost everything I had ever heard about it was incorrect.

Although there are several things in the Act (COPY BELOW) that I want to bring to the attention of everyone, the perpose of this post deals with the part I have highlighted in bold type, which clearly says that Prospecting in the Wilderness Area is not only ALLOWED, but that it SHALL NOT BE PREVENTED!
See section (2) of Special Provisions.








THE WILDERNESS ACT
Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136)
88th Congress, Second Session
September 3, 1964
A N A C T
To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.
SHORT TITLE
SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the "Wilderness Act."
WILDERNESS SYSTEM ESTABLISHED - STATEMENT OF POLICY
SECTION 2. (a) In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future
generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. For this purpose there is hereby established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by the Congress as "wilderness areas," and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American
people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness; and no Federal lands shall be designated as "wilderness areas" except as provided for in this Act or by a subsequent Act.
(b) The inclusion of an area in the National Wilderness Preservation System notwithstanding, the area shall continue to be managed by the Department and agency having jurisdiction thereover immediately before its inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System unless otherwise provided by Act of Congress.
No appropriation shall be available for payment of expenses or salaries for the administration of the National Wilderness Preservation System as a separate unit nor shall any appropriations be available for additional personnel stated as being required solely for the purpose of managing or administering areas
solely because they are included within the National Wilderness Preservation System.
DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS
(c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM EXTENT OF SYSTEM
SECTION 3. (a) All areas within the national forests classified at least 30 days before the effective date of this Act by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as "wilderness," "wild," or "canoe" are hereby designated as wilderness areas. The Secretary of Agriculture shall:
(1) Within one year after the effective date of this Act, file a map and legal description of each wilderness area with the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, and such descriptions shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act:
Provided, however, That correction of clerical and typographical errors in such legal descriptions and maps may be made.
(2) Maintain, available to the public, records pertaining to said wilderness areas, including maps and legal descriptions, copies of regulations governing them, copies of public notices of, and reports submitted toCongress regarding pending additions, eliminations, or modifications. Maps, legal descriptions, and regulations pertaining to wilderness areas within their respective jurisdictions also shall be available to the
public in the offices of regional foresters, national forest supervisors, and forest rangers. Classification.
(b) The Secretary of Agriculture shall, within ten years after the enactment of this Act, review, as to its suitability or nonsuitability for preservation as wilderness, each area in the national forests classified on the effective date of this Act by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as "primitive" and report his findings to the President.
Presidential recommendation to Congress. The President shall advise the United States Senate and House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to the designation as "wilderness" or other reclassification of each area on which review has been completed, together with maps and a definition of boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of all the areas now classified as "primitive" within three years after the enactment of this Act, and the remaining areas within ten years after the enactment of this Act.
Congressional approval. Each recommendation of the President for designation as "wilderness" shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Areas classified as "primitive" on the effective date of this Act shall continue to be administered under the rules and regulations affecting such areas on the effective date of this Act until Congress has determined otherwise. Any such area may be increased in size by the President at the time he submits his recommendations to the Congress by not more than five thousand acres with no more than one
thousand two hundred acres in any one compact unit; if it is proposed to increase the size of any such area by more than five thousand acres or by more
than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres in any one compact unit the increase in size shall not become effective until acted upon by Congress. Nothing herein contained shall limit the President in proposing, as part of his recommendations to Congress, the alteration of existing boundaries of primitive
areas or recommending the addition of any contiguous area of national forest lands predominantly of wilderness value. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may complete his review and delete such areas as may be necessary, but not to exceed seven thousand acres, from the southern tip of the Gore Range-Eagles Nest Primitive Area, Colorado, if the Secretary determines that such action is in the public interest. Report to President.
(c) Within ten years after the effective date of this Act the Secretary of the Interior shall review every roadless area of five thousand contiguous acres or more in the national parks, monuments, and other units of the national park system and every such area of, and every roadless island within, the national wildlife refuges and game ranges, under his jurisdiction on the effective date of this Act and shall report to the President his recommendation as to the suitability or nonsuitability of each such area or island for preservation as wilderness. Presidential recommendation to Congress. The President shall advise the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of his recommendation with respect to the designation as wilderness of each such area or island on which review has been completed, together with a map thereof and a definition of its boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of the areas and islands to be reviewed under this subsection within three years after enactment of this Act, not less than two-thirds within seven years of enactment of this Act, and the remainder within ten years of enactment of this Act.
Congressional approval. A recommendation of the President for designation as wilderness shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Nothing contained herein shall, by implication or otherwise, be construed to lessen the present statutory authority of the Secretary of the Interior with respect
to the maintenance of roadless areas within units of the national park system.
Suitability.
(d)(1) The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior shall, prior to submitting any recommendations to the President with respect to the suitability of any area for preservation as wilderness Publication in Federal Register.
(A) give such public notice of the proposed action as they deem appropriate, including publication in the Federal Register and in a newspaper having general circulation in the area or areas in the vicinity of the affected land;
Hearings.
(B) hold a public hearing or hearings at a location or locations convenient to the area affected. The hearings shall be announced through such means as the respective Secretaries involved deem appropriate, including notices in the Federal Register and in newspapers of general circulation in the area: Provided. That if the lands involved are located in more than one State, at least one hearing shall be held in each State in which a portion of the land lies;
(C) at least thirty days before the date of a hearing advise the Governor of each State and the governing board of each county, or in Alaska the borough, in which the lands are located, and Federal departments and agencies concerned, and invite such officials and Federal agencies to submit their views on the
proposed action at the hearing or by not later than thirty days following the date of the hearing.
(d) Any views submitted to the appropriate Secretary under the provisions of (1) of this subsection with respect to any area shall be included with any recommendation to the President and to Congress with respect to such area.
Proposed modification.
(e) Any modification or adjustment of boundaries of any wilderness area shall be
recommended by the appropriate Secretary after public notice of such proposal and public hearing or hearings as provided in subsection (d) of this section. The proposed modification or adjustment shall then be recommended with map and description thereof to the President. The President shall advise the United
States Senate and the House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to such modification or adjustment and such recommendations shall become effective only in the same manner as provided for in subsections (b) and (c) of the OF WILDERNESS AREAS SECTION 4.
(a) The purposes of this Act are hereby declared to be within and supplemental to the purposes for which national forests and units of the national park and wildlife refuge systems are established and administered and:
(1) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to be in interference with the purpose for which national forests are established as set forth in the Act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat. 11), and the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of June 12, 1960 (74 Stat. 215).

(2) Nothing in this Act shall modify the restrictions and provisions of the Shipstead-Nolan Act (Public Law 539, Seventy-first Congress, July 10, 1930; 46 Stat. 1020), the Thye-Blatnik Act (Public Law 733, Eightieth Congress, June 2, 1948; 62 Stat. 568), and the Humphrey-Thye-Blatnik-Andresen Act (Public
Law 607, Eighty-fourth Congress, June 22, 1956; 70 Stat. 326), as applying to the Superior National Forest or the regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture.
(3) Nothing in this Act shall modify the statutory authority under which units of the national park system are created. Further, the designation of any area of any park, monument, or other unit of the national park system as a wilderness area pursuant to this Act shall in no manner lower the standards evolved for the use
and preservation of such park, monument, or other unit of the national park system in accordance with the Act of August 25, 1916, the statutory authority under which the area was created, or any other Act of Congress which might pertain to or affect such area, including, but not limited to, the Act of June 8, 1906
(34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 432 et seq.); section 3(2) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796 (2); and the Act of August 21, 1935 (49 Stat. 666; 16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.). (b) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character.
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use.
PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES
(c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act
(including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.


SPECIAL PROVISIONS
(d) The following special provisions are hereby made:
(1) Within wilderness areas designated by this Act the use of aircraft or motorboats, where these uses have already become established, may be permitted to continue subject to such restrictions as the Secretary of Agriculture deems desirable. In addition, such measure may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases, subject to such conditions as the Secretary deems desirable.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall prevent within national forest wilderness areas any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about mineral or other resources, if such activity is carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.


Furthermore, in accordance with such program as the Secretary of the Interior shall develop and conduct in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, such areas shall be surveyed on a planned, recurring basis consistent with the concept of wilderness preservation by the Geological Survey and the Bureau of Mines to determine the mineral values, if any, that may be present; and the results of such surveys shall be made available to the public and submitted to the President and Congress.
Mineral leases, claims, etc. (3) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, until midnight December 31, 1983, the United States mining laws and all laws pertaining to mineral leasing shall, to the same extent as applicable prior to the effective date of this Act, extend to those national forest lands designated by this
Act as "wilderness areas"; subject, however, to such reasonable regulations governing ingress and egress as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture consistent with the use of the land for mineral location and development and exploration, drilling, and production, and use of land for transmission lines,
waterlines, telephone lines, or facilities necessary in exploring, drilling, production, mining, and processing operations, including where essential the use of mechanized equipment and restoration as near as practicable of the surface of the land disturbed in performing prospecting, location, and, in oil and gas leasing, discovery work, exploration, drilling, and production, as soon as they have served their purpose. Mining locations lying within the boundaries of said wilderness areas shall be held and used solely for mining or processing operations and uses reasonably incident thereto; existing rights, all patents issued under the mining laws of the United States affecting national forest lands designated by this Act as
wilderness areas shall convey title to the mineral deposits within the claim, together with the right to cut and use so much of the mature timber therefrom as may be needed in the extraction, removal, and beneficiation of the mineral deposits, if the timber is not otherwise reasonably available, and if the timber is
cut under sound principles of forest management as defined by the national forest rules and regulations, but each such patent shall reserve to the United States all title in or to the surface of the lands and products thereof, and no use of the surface of the claim or the resources therefrom not reasonably required for
carrying on mining or prospecting shall be allowed except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act: Provided, That, unless hereafter specifically authorized, no patent within wilderness areas designated by this Act shall issue after December 31, 1983, except for the valid claims existing on or before December
31, 1983. Mining claims located after the effective date of this Act within the boundaries of wilderness areas designated by this Act shall create no rights in excess of those rights which may be patented under the provisions of this subsection. Mineral leases, permits, and licenses covering lands within national forest wilderness areas designated by this Act shall contain such reasonable stipulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture for the protection of the water of the land consistent with the use of the land for the purposes for which they are leased, permitted, or licensed. Subject to valid rights then existing,
effective January 1, 1984, the minerals in lands designated by this Act as wilderness areas are withdrawn from all forms of appropriation under the mining laws and from disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral leasing and all amendments thereto. Water resources. (4) Within wilderness areas designated by this Act, (1) the President may, within a specific area and in accordance with such regulations as he may deem desirable, authorize prospecting for water resources, the establishment and maintenance of reservoirs, water-conservation works, power
projects, transmission lines, and other facilities needed in the public interest, including the road construction and maintenance essential to development and use thereof, upon his determination that such use or uses in the specific area will better serve the interests of the United States and the people thereof
than will its denial; and (2) the grazing of livestock, where established prior to the effective date of this Act, shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable regulations as are deemed necessary by the Secretary of Agriculture.
(5) Other provisions of this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the management of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, formerly designated as the Superior, Little Indian Sioux, and Caribou Roadless Areas, in the Superior National Forest, Minnesota, shall be in accordance with regulations established by the Secretary
of Agriculture in accordance with the general purpose of maintaining, without unnecessary restrictions on other uses, including that of timber, the primitive character of the area, particularly in the vicinity of lakes, streams, and portages: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall preclude the continuance within the area of
any already established use of motorboats. (6) Commercial services may be performed within the wilderness areas designated by this Act to the extent
necessary for activities which are proper for realizing the recreational or other wilderness purposes of the areas.
(7) Nothing in this Act shall constitute an express or implied claim or denial on the part of the Federal Government as to exemption from State water laws.
(8) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests.
STATE AND PRIVATE LANDS WITHIN WILDERNESS AREAS
SECTION 5. (a) In any case where State-owned or privately owned land is completely surrounded by national forest lands within areas designated by this Act as wilderness, such State or private owner shall be given such rights as may be necessary to assure adequate access to such State-owned or privately owned
land by such State or private owner and their successors in interest, or the State-owned land or privately owned land shall be exchanged for federally owned land in the same State of approximately equal value under authorities available to the Secretary of Agriculture: Transfers, restriction. Provided, however, That the United States shall not transfer to a State or private owner any mineral interests unless the State or private owner relinquishes or causes to be relinquished to
the United States the mineral interest in the surrounded land.
(b) In any case where valid mining claims or other valid occupancies are wholly within a designated national forest wilderness area, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, by reasonable regulations consistent with the preservation of the area as wilderness, permit ingress and egress to such surrounded areas by means
which have been or are being customarily enjoyed with respect to other such areas similarly situated. Acquisition.
(c) Subject to the appropriation of funds by Congress, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to acquire privately owned land within the perimeter of any area designated by this Act as wilderness if (1) the owner concurs in such acquisition or (2) the acquisition is specifically authorized by Congress.
GIFTS, BEQUESTS, AND CONTRIBUTIONS SECTION 6. (a) The Secretary of Agriculture may accept gifts or bequests of land within wilderness areas
designated by this Act for preservation as wilderness. The Secretary of Agriculture may also accept gifts or bequests of land adjacent to wilderness areas designated by this Act for preservation as wilderness if he has
given sixty days advance notice thereof to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Land accepted by the Secretary of Agriculture under this section shall become part of the wilderness area involved. Regulations with regard to any such land may be in accordance with such
agreements, consistent with the policy of this Act, as are made at the time of such gift, or such conditions, consistent with such policy, as may be inch bequest.
(b) The Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to accept private contributions and gifts to be used to further the purposes of L REPORTS
SECTION 7. At the opening of each session of Congress, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior shall jointly report to the President for transmission to Congress on the status of the wilderness system including a list and descriptions of the areas in the system, regulations in effect, and other pertinent information, together with any recommendations they may care to make.
Approved September 3, 1964.
Legislative History:
House Reports: No. 1538 accompanying H.R. 9070 (Committee on Interior & Insular Affairs)
and No. 1829 (Committee of Conference).
Senate Report: No. 109 (Committee on Interior & Insular Affairs).
Congressional Record:
Vol. 109 (1963): April 4, 8, considered in Senate.
April 9, considered and passed Senate.
Vol. 110 (1964): July 28, considered in House.
July 30, considered and passed House, amended,
in lieu of H.R. 9070.
August 20, 1964, House and Senate agreed to conference report.[/b]

Desert Cruiser
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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Desert Cruiser » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:14 pm

Perfect place for this as it pertains to prospecting on Wildlife grounds. Nice to know and thanks!

Don...

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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Goldseeker » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:41 pm

As 1 point of clarification, this pertains to the entire USA, not just AZ. Correct?

Jim Hatt

Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Jim Hatt » Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:32 am

Correct GS,

This is a Federal document, that applies to every area designated as a Wilderness Area in the United States.

On January 1, 1984 the Superstition Mountains became a Wilderness Area as described in this document.

What I have been slowly working my way into here, is the story behind photos 6 & 7 in the story at http://www.desertusa.com/mb3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=355 where U.S. senator John McCain was engaged in a dispute with a Forest Ranger, over the interpretation certain parts of the Wilderness Act, and how it applied to the Superstition Wilderness Area.

Most specifically the part that says: (Highlighted in red)


SPECIAL PROVISIONS

(2) Nothing in this Act shall prevent within national forest wilderness areas any activity, including prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about mineral or other resources, if such activity is carried on in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.

The part of the clause that is highlighted, has been the subject of many disputes between Prospectors and The Forest Service (Who are responsible for enforcing the Wilderness Act) and has been ongoing for many years. These disputes revolve around what IS and IS NOT compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.

Over the years, some Forest Rangers have gone so far as to tell people that swinging a metal detector within the Boundaries of the Superstition Wilderness Area IS NOT compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment. Others have said that it is OK to swing a detector, but if you get a "Hit" with it, you cannot dig it up to see what it is.

This battle over the interpretation of (compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment). became a critical point of interest when Greystone Communications was planning to film the documentary THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE for the A&E channel, on location within the Boundaries of the Wilderness Area.

Greystone had entered into an agreement with Ron Feldman (Owner of the OK Corral and Stables in Apache Junction) to supply the horses for everyone (that did not already have their own) participating in the filming of the movie, and the pack animals required to pack all of the food and essential equipment.

When Ron Feldman was discussing this agreement with Rick Davis (Director of the film), Ron told him that a Permit would have to be obtained from the Forest Service before and filming could begin.

When Rick Davis requested an application for the permit, The Forest Service flat out told him that there would not, under any circumstances be any permit issued to do any commercial filming within the Boundaries of the Wilderness Area, because to do so would not be compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.

Rick Davis challenged the Forest Service on this interpretation, and asked how filming a movie would be incompatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment?

Their reply amounted to no more thaN "Because we say it is".

The battle was ON!

Greystone Communications filed a formal appeal to the decision, and it was finally agreed that the Forest Service would hold a meeting with everyone involved, to discuss the disagreement over the interpretation of compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment. A meeting was scheduled for a formal discussion and review of Greystone’s appeal to the decision.

By this time, everyone had already been selected for participation in the movie.. Myself, Clay Worst, Bob Corbin, Tom Kollenborn and Ron Feldman, and we all attended the discussion with the exception of Clay Worst. Rick Davis had also requested that Senator John McCain be present at the meeting so he could represent the Congress of the United States, and provide the interpretation of compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment. as is was intended when approved by Congress.

Sen. McCain was unable to attend the meeting because of prior commitments, but did send an Aid of his to represent him. The Aid sat in a far corner of the room quietly listening to arguments for and against the permit for most of the meeting.

The Forest Service had stood fast in their position that filming a movie in the Wilderness Area would be incompatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment?

I believe it was Bob Corbin that asked Sen. McCain's Aid to give us an interpretation of that statement. His reply was that he himself was not an Elected Representative of the U.S. Congress, and could not speak for them in that respect. He said he would have to report back to Sen. McCain and attempt to get his interpretation, which would be forwarded to the Forest Service.

Keep in mind that before Mr. Corbin asked the Aid to speak, the Forest Service (to my knowledge) had no Idea who the nicely dressed Gentleman, sitting quietly in the back corner of the room was. Once his identity was out in the open, the whole atmosphere in the room changed. It appeared to me that they (Forest Service representatives) actually began to look for a way to approve the Permit, to keep the Senator from becoming personally involved in the dispute, and taking a hard look at how the Forest Service had been interrupting the words compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment?

After a little more discussion, and the idea of Senator McCain actually appearing in the movie was brought up, the Forest Service's highest representative in attendance made the decision that the Permit would be APPROVED, IF… Senator McCain was personally involved with, and made a personal appearance (in the form of a speech) in the movie.

They saw this an opportunity, to get Sen. McCain to stand in front of the camera, and quote the "Law of the Land" directly from portions the Wilderness Act, carefully selected by the Forest Service, to discourage anyone from Prospecting or Treasure Hunting in the Wilderness Area.

The word finally came that Senator McCain could make himself available to participate in the film on a certain date. The Permit was approved, and a date was set to begin filming. Sen. McCain's appearance was set to take place after ALL other filming was completed in the Wilderness Area. Or… More correctly… All filming in the Wilderness was strategically set, to take place before Sen. McCain’s statement was filmed. (No matter what Sen. McCain said in his speech, Rick would already have his footage on location in the Wilderness Area).

While the rest of us were filming in the mountains, the Forest Service was busy preparing a script that they wanted Sen. McCain to present to the American Public, which supported many of THEIR interpretations of certain portions of the Wilderness Act, that they had been beating Prospectors and Treasure Hunters over the head with since the day the Superstition Mountains officially became a Wilderness Area.

If you look at Photo #7 at http://www.desertusa.com/mb3/viewtopic. ... 4695#p4695 you will see Rick Davis reviewing that script. Sen. McCain had just explained to Rick, that the Forest Service had provided him with a script of what he was supposed to say. He went on to explain that he had only had time to briefly review it while in flight between L.A. and Phoenix, and did not have it memorized. He asked Rick how important it was that he stuck strictly to the script, and did not omit any part of it?

Rick's reply was... "Could I have a look at it"? Sen. McCain handed it to him, and that is what you see in photo #7. Now... remember that Rick Davis has just fought and won a major battle with the Forest Service to get this far. In his mind the battle was over a very self-serving interpretation of an overbearing Forest Service to begin with. He was not a fan of the U.S. Forest Service.

As Rick read through the script, I could see his eyebrows rising and his jaws tightening many times as he paused and peered over his glasses into Sen. McCain's eyes.

After reading each and every word of the script, Rick told Sen. McCain that he could understand why he did not have it memorized. He further added that as far as he was concerned, the script was not consistent with the "mood" or intent of the movie that was being filmed, and that he (Rick) was not interested in the political aspects of the Wilderness Act, and would rather have the Senator's own words and feelings about the Superstition Mountains, and the many legends and Lore associated with them, as he handed the script back to the Senator.

A big smile appeared on the Senator's face, and he crumpled the script into a ball and tossed it to the female Aid standing to his left in the photo. For a minute, I thought a Forest Service representative standing just out of the photo was going to explode in anger when that happened. He started walking around in circles and kicking stones, in an attempt to keep the Senator from observing his disapproval of what had just taken place.

Once the filming of the Senator began, the Forest Service representative interrupted the Senator no less than three times (while the camera was running) and reminded him of certain requirements in the Wilderness Act that the Senator didn't seem to be familiar with, and what they meant, and that what he was saying that contradicted those requirements.

After the third interruption, Sen. McCain was obviously quite disturbed, (to say the very least) and "lit" into him like "ugly on a bear", (to the extreme delight of everyone watching). The Senator explained to him in a very loud voice, that he had co-written the legislation that included the Superstition Mountains into the Wilderness Act with Sen. Morris Udal. And... that he was very familiar with what it said and what the "INTENT" of those words were, and that it WAS NOT within his job description to make his own interpretations of the Law!

By the time the camera started rolling again, (for the 4th time), the Senator had decided to completely remove any reference to the Wilderness Act, from what he intended to say! What can be seen in the final take of Sen. McCain's part of the documentary. is indeed his own words and thoughts, compiled on the spot with no forethought or preparation of any kind.

There is a huge lesson to be learned from all of this. More often than not, It is not our Elected Representatives in Washington D.C. that are responsible for how some Laws are interrupted and enforced by lower level Government Employees.

I have personally observed a more "Citizen Friendly" attitude by certain U.S. Forest Service Employees since the above described events took place.

For anyone interested in Land Use issues, and possible unfair and/or incorrect interpretations of the applicable Laws. I would strongly suggest that they acquire copies of the Laws, and read them for themselves. Look for areas where interpretations of them made by unelected representatives, appear to be unfair, and/or not consistent with the original intent of the law. Then bring their complaints to the attention of the Elected Representatives, who may not be aware of the fact that INTENT of the Law is being incorrectly interpreted and enforced, by Government Employees that are not qualified, or competent enough to interrupt the intent of the Law. It is not their job to interrupt the Law. It is only their job to enforce the law, as interrupted by the U.S. Congress, or (in some cases) a Federal Court.

Jim Hatt

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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Margie » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:10 pm

Good information, Jim. I plan on relaying this website on to the club.

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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:37 pm

Margie wrote:Good information, Jim. I plan on relaying this website on to the club.
Out of curiosity Margie, may I ask what "the club" is?

Greg (aka PITD)

Jim Hatt

Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Jim Hatt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:28 pm



Hello there Margie.
And WELCOME to the Forums!


Margie has left the building Greg, so I'll answer you.
The GPAA club - Our little Margie is a big time prospector.
Has her little bottle almost half full of gold too!
You should see her <Grin> when she shows it off!

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Plays In The Dirt
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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:48 pm

KEWL!

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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Desert Cruiser » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:55 pm

Welcome to the forums Margie!

Don...

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Re: The Wilderness Act vs Prospecting in Wilderness Areas

Post by Margie » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:29 pm

Hey, everybody.
And thanks to Jim for letting Greg know that the "club" is the GPAA. And a bit more history about myself, as of January of this year I became Events Coordinator for the Phoenix Chapter of the GPAA. I am very new at this, and relatively new to Arizona. I moved out here in 2006, and joined my first prospecting club in April 2008. I wanted to learn more about gold prospecting and was tired of just reading about it. I wanted to get out there and dig in the dirt. So if anyone has any ideas as far as events for the club to do, or places I can go (I prefer not to go alone), please let me know. I look forward to learning all I can. The history of mining and the miners' that lived here in Arizona is fascinating.

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