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Categories: GPAA State Spotlights, From the Pick & Shovel Gazette

 Friday, June 1, 2018

7 Questions with State Director Don Ashley

by Don Ashley

7 Questions with State Director Don Ashley
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As featured in the June/July Pick & Shovel Gazette

1) Where can GPAA Members prospect in Wyoming?

The GPAA has four claims in two primary locations in Wyoming:

Big Nose Kate & Yella Fever located southwest of Laramie

Carol Placer & MUPU Placer claims located near Lander   

South Pass/Atlantic City: South Pass has a restored mining town and the Carissa Mine


2) Are there any public places to prospect and treasure hunt?

Kemmerer has multiple locations to dig fossils


3) Any other relevant places of interest?

Cheyenne: visit us  July 20-29, 2018, for the CFD Rodeo (World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo)

Laramie: visit the University of Wyoming

Rawlins: visit the Carbon County Museum

Kemmerer: visit the many rock & fossil shops and pay to dig sites

Pinedale: visit the Mountain Man & Trappers Museum

Jackson Hole is a must see for the beauty of the Teton Mountain range and entry way to Yellowstone.

Cody: visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Irma Hotel

Gillette: visit the Devils Tower about an hour East and from there go to Deadwood.

Guernsey: visit the Fort Laramie and Signature Rock sites – Oregon Trail


4) What are the recommended tools and techniques?

To prospect in Wyoming, different areas have different rules.

Big Nose Kate & Yella Fever,  located southwest of Laramie:

Panning, Sluicing, and 3-inch dredging is allowed. Stay within the edges of the high water levels. A LOI (Letter of Intent) is requested by the USFS for this area.

Carol Placer & MUPU Placer claims, located near Lander South Pass/Atlantic City:

Panning & Sluicing are allowed. Dredging is not allowed in Rock Creek due to mercury contamination in the area and “old school” procedures.


5) Any rules & regulations prospectors should be aware of?

Wyoming DEQ 19 is the primary document for regulating our activities. It can be found at

U.S. Forest Service posts rules and regulations for the Medicine Bow Forest area at (LOI Copy:


6) What else should prospectors know before prospecting in Wyoming?

Some of the areas are at 8,500 feet above sea level and can have ice along the edges of the creeks in the morning, even in July and August, so bring warm clothing.

We had some Southern visitors a couple of years ago that showed up with flip flops, shorts, T-shirts and that was it. They spent one miserable night and left. If they had proper clothing they could have had an enjoyable experience.

Talk to the locals about where to go along the claims.

Watch for wildlife in the area, including camp. Remember they are wild animals! We have moose, deer, elk, fox, mountain lions and possibly bears in the area. Be alert and enjoy the beauty, take lots of pictures.

Most of our gold is fine flour gold but it is still beautiful.


7) Must see places for anybody visiting Wyoming?

1) Yellowstone National Park

2)  Grand Teton National Park

3) Jackson 

4) Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis 

5) Bridger-Teton National Forest 

6) Devils Tower 

7) Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.


Final Word

Wyoming is a great state to live in, we have a wide variety of scenery, wildlife and weather conditions. Unfortunately, the weather conditions limit most of our prospecting to the months of July, August and September. Part of that limitation is snow preventing us from getting to the claims and part is due to local regulations on prospecting. 

Wyoming residents are very friendly and helpful. Please follow the rules and regulations for prospecting here. We work very closely with local and Federal Agencies to keep from the hostilities that other states have between prospectors and government. 

The following activities will help you enjoy the entire state while you visit here: We have an annual outing event the weekend after the 4th of July on the Douglas Creek claims (Big Nose Kate & Yella Fever). Bring cold-weather clothing as it is at 8,500 feet and snow is possible.  The Cheyenne Chapter conducts multiple gold panning demonstrations for local schools, churches, rock and mineral shows, and state and county  fairs. At this year’s Rock and Mineral show in May, we raffled off a 17.35-gram nugget, a 6.85-gram nugget and a bag of concentrates.

We also have chapters in Casper, Gillette and Sheridan.

While in the area of the claims make sure to stop in historic South Pass City and see the Carissa Mine restoration.  Also in the area are multiple historical sites from the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Willy Hand Cart Trails.

We’ll check back with Don in the next issue of Gold Prospectors Magazine and dig a little deeper into what else is out there in Wyoming.


Don Ashley is Wyoming’s GPAA state director

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