Politics unavoidable, GPAA editor says
6/29/2012 5:57 AM
Jones encourages GPAA,LDMA members to join the fray on land rights
By SARAH REIJONEN
For the GPAA
While Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association members are able to enjoy the freedom of prospecting on private property, they aren’t immune to the battle for land rights, says GPAA Editor/Content Director Brad Jones.
Speaking at the LDMA Caretaker Summit in Las Vegas, Jones touched on some hard-hitting issues that are currently compromising property rights and prospecting practices nationwide.
Jones urged members to be wary of United Nations Agenda 21 and to get informed about the Wildlands Project map, which he called a “blueprint for government land management policies and a guideline for ‘sustainable development.’ ”
The Pick & Shovel Gazette, which featured an article about UN Agenda 21 that is now on the GPAA website, is a good place to start, he said.
He urged LDMA caretakers and members to continue taking an active role in fighting for property rights and to keep public lands open by supporting groups such as Public Lands for the People and Western Mining Alliance.
“I know the issue of public lands doesn’t apply on the East Coast, but UN Agenda 21 affects the whole country,” he said, showing areas of the Wildlands Project where the government wants to ban humans.
“If you look at some of the red and yellow areas on the map, they are designated as little to no human entry. That’s the plan for the future,” Jones said. “Twenty years ago, if you would have shown people that map they would have thought it was a big conspiracy theory. Now we are finding out that it is a conspiracy, but it’s not a theory; it’s true. Forget about prospecting, you won’t even be able to go into some of these areas.”
Jones asked LDMA caretakers and members to support the battle to keep public lands open in the Western states and fight against the designation of public lands as National Monuments under the Antiquities Act.
When the federal government declares more than a few hundred acres of public land a national monument, it undermines the spirit of the law to protect areas of special importance and actually devalues their significance, Jones said.
“When it becomes thousands of acres, that’s not a [national] monument; that’s a land grab,” he said.
Jones said this shift in dynamics has left the GPAA and other small-scale mining groups no choice but to become more politically active on land rights issues.
While he said some members have complained that the GPAA should be apolitical, Jones disagrees.
Pointing out that the company’s founder, George “Buzzard” Massie, was political — perhaps even prophetic — about the environmental extremism that the small-scale mining community is facing today, Jones said it is time to get back in the fray.
“George Massie, for his time, was very political,” he said, adding that members need only view the Buzzard Land and Country commercials that recently aired on the Outdoor Channel and are now posted on the GPAA website to catch a glimpse of George Massie’s political views. LDMA Field Representative “Klondike”
Mike LaBox has used the “Buzzard commercials” in various presentations and said they really open your eyes about where this nation is headed.
“You have to take off your blinders,” LaBox said. “[Massie] was telling how it was going to be and it’s happening; it’s happening to us now.”
Dismissing some grumbling from a few members that the Pick & Shovel Gazette has become “too partisan,” Jones said the GPAA newspaper has published stories about both Republican and Democrat political leaders who have undermined the public’s right to access public lands.
“The GPAA is non-partisan and we don’t endorse political candidates, but we do cover the issues that affect small-scale mining, including land rights,” he said.
LaBox said he agrees with Jones and the Pick & Shovel Gazette coverage of political issues.
“I’m grateful for Brad bringing that up … he mentioned he’s getting feedback for being too political in the Pick & Shovel, but I don’t think so,” LaBox said. “This is an election year.”
Jones also urged members to fight back against extreme environmentalist views in the media by writing letters to the editor and posting comments on newspaper forums and blogs.
“A lot of news media just assume environmentalist groups are right without checking the facts,” he said. “There are so many of these radical groups, that pretty soon they will be fighting for market share, just like corporations do — if they aren’t already doing that.”
LaBox recently fought back against the Bureau of Land Management which was posting signs restricting motorized vehicles on mining claims. He set the BLM straight right away telling them it was illegal to restrict access of the claims. While the BLM agents said the signs did not pertain to miners, LaBox stood his ground and watched as the signs came down.
The BLM’s response and reaction seemed scripted and reiterated the sinking feeling that UN Agenda 21 is happening under the guise of other issues, he said.
Not only did the summit encourage caretakers to visit other LDMA properties, but it also encouraged them to initiate and continue conversation among members about pressing issues.
Part of that dialogue can start with news articles, feature stories and current events topics printed in the LDMA section of the Pick & Shovel, a special section of the newspaper, sent only to LDMA members, he said.
“I just really think it’s a missed opportunity for getting news out to LDMA members at the camps. It’s just something I’d like to see grow,” Jones said, adding that he welcomes submissions of articles and photos by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jones asked caretakers to nudge members to submit news articles, human interest and feature story suggestions and news items about happenings at the camps.
“We’re gonna try to get him some stories from eastern Oregon; we’re working on that,” said Burnt River LDMA Camp Caretaker Jim Haney, who was affected by Jones’ plea.
Sarah Reijonen is a GPAA member and freelance writer based in California.