Let me make this as simple and as straight forward as I can. I need your help.
The GPAA is proud to be the largest non-commercial claim holding organization in America - yet I feel that we can do more for our members in the claims area.
As I am sure that you have read, the GPAA claims department is changing rapidly and we are expanding our Membership claims offerings with new claims while evaluating many of our current claims.
This means that I need boots on the ground PROSPECTORS to work with the State Directors (and independently) to prospect and locate new claims.
Here’s what it takes to be a part of the “GPAA Claims Crew”
· Willingness to do research
· Prospecting to locate viable mineral reserves (in other words, prospecting to find gold)
· Willingness to prospect new areas that you find, or that we have leads on.
· Understanding or a desire to learn how to stake and file a claim.
· Verify that the area is not under claim using the BLM LR-2000 and other web based programs.
· Mark the location on a Topo map, plat map, or using a GPS, then mark that location on the location notice.
· Record the claim in the county where it is located and file the paperwork with the BLM.
· Walk the claim and place corner markers.
· Create a review including driving directions and prospecting report in the Online Mining Guide.
o Including turn by turn directions and photos of getting to the claim
o Photos of prospecting the claim and a report of how and where you worked the claim.
· Work as a Team Member of the GPAA Claims Crew.
· A desire to help your fellow members.
Does all this mean we’re only looking for seasoned sourdough prospectors that know the ins and outs of prospecting and filing claims? Absolutely not.
While it is always good to have seasoned crew members, the reality is that the GPAA Claims Crew is an educational program as much as it is about locating and filing new claims.
Becoming A Better Prospector
Now you may ask, “how does filing a claim help me to become a better prospector”? Well, imagine this scenario, you are out on a potential claim area that another Claims Crew member or State Director may suspect has gold. You have never been to this area and you ask the team leader, “What was the deciding factors for choosing this spot”? The answers may vary “From historical mining information and research” to something as different as, “When I was looking over Google Earth I just got a hunch”. Either answer brings up more conversation and when it is time to prospect, you most likely will be looking at the ground differently.
You begin the work by assuring that the area you are prospecting is not under claim by looking for claim markers or current claim and location notices. The BLM LR-2000 is a great resource, but it can fall behind in information by months during certain times of the year. Even if you have a BLM serial register page of claims in the area, many times there will be errors, so it helps to use a little common sense and some due diligence to assure you are not working on a filed claim.
If, after all this, there is no evidence of a staked or filed claim, then you can begin your prospecting.
Now, you and others on the team find some gold and must decide if it is viable enough to create a claim. Believe it or not, a speck here or there is not what it takes to stake a claim. However, a few specks in EVERY pan can be.
So it is up to the team to determine if there is enough gold that is accessible through normal methods of prospecting to make it a viable claim and what is the potential life of the claim.
Knowing what is expected of a claim that makes it into the GPAA Mining Guide are key factors in staking a claim. Of course, the claim must have gold, but there are other factors as well.
· Is it accessible and how? (2x4, 4x4, ATV, hiking?)
· Does the area have long term potential of reserves that makes it viable for GPAA members to use for years to come (or does the team see a limited reserve and life span)?
· Is the area somewhere that will challenge GPAA members to become better prospectors?
It is after taking all these extra steps into consideration, will you see how you’ve become a better prospector.
Now, there is a great deal of opportunity in the Claims Crew program beyond just being the “go-to” prospectors responsible for all these additional claims. Because the GPAA has no intention of filing and placing all of these claims in our name, we’re offering the Claims Crew opportunities to become claim holders themselves with the agreement to share these claims with all of your fellow GPAA members as well. As a Share-A-Claim holder you will be a part of the organization in the way that the GPAA was founded in the 1960’s and a vital part of our claims holding today.
As a claim holder you will receive benefits for your effort and dedication from the GPAA, including a lease back incentive for claims in the small miners’ exemption program with the BLM. Couple this with your membership being covered by the GPAA or paid LDMA maintenance fees while the claim is in the program. Plus, special recognition by the GPAA for your work in the “Buzzards” mission for the membership with land and education.
Becoming a part of the GPAA Claims Crew starts with a simple email or a phone call to your State Director. If you do not have a State Director in your State, contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org and I will work with you to become a part of the GPAA Claims Crew in your area.
The GPAA was built by a family dedicated to the membership. A membership that in sharing their claims and working to find new claims has made the GPAA what we are today, the world’s largest prospecting organization. Become a member of the GPAA Claims Crew, become a part of the legacy. Be a part of the team that believes and holds to the GPAA mission of members - helping other members become better prospectors.
Kevin Hoagland is the GPAA Director of Development and can be reached at email@example.com