Hello all GPAA members, this was posted on the Coker Creek chapter site. East coast prospectors take note, especially the underlined part near the bottom.
To all Recreational Prospectors.
The TDEC (The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) has just sent us their final draft of the 2014-15 Recreational Prospecting Permit. The news is not good. Many changes were made from the last draft that we posted and from the way Allen Trotter and I (Chuck Pharis) read it, it looks like over 90% of the gold bearing waters in Eastern Tennessee will be closed to all prospecting. This includes panning and dredging. We just received this and have a lot of reading to do. The final draft refers to web site links that define what waters are restricted and or totally banned. There are 185 pages in the 303d list alone!
Please read the attached Final Draft, then look at ALL the web links and make your comments here. Do not just read the Final Draft.
If this permit goes through on June 30, 2014, recreational prospecting as we know it in the state of Tennessee will virtually be over.
Public hearings will be on Thursday May 15 in the 3 locations shown in the attached notice. Note that anyone may make written comments and send them directly to TDEC. We ask that everyone who reads this notice, send in your comments ASAP. We ask that you do not panic; In addition to your personal comments, tell the state that banning recreational prospecting in Tennessee will hurt tourism, family outings, and a good source of income for the Eastern part of the state. All we need is some simple State prospecting rules and if we follow them we will NOT hurt the Tennessee State waters! Strong words might help but panic and threats will not. Please use common sense when responding with your comments and suggestions. If there is any way you can show up at one of the public hearings, please do so but be prepared to speak and have your facts straight. If you can’t attend (I am sure it was set up on a Thursday for a reason), then send them your comments ASAP.
You do not have to be a resident of Tennessee to send in your comments or to attend the hearings. Many come from out of state to prospect here. This permit will affect everyone, not just the prospectors in Tennessee.
I have posted the Final Draft and web links on our GPAA chapter forum. You must sign into the forum to read everything. There is too much to email. Go to http://cokercreekgpaa.com Click on the forum link and join. Then look at the topic “2014 Tennessee Recreational Prospecting Permit Final Draft. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. TDEC and other Tennessee State agencies do read our forum.
What else can we do: Allen Trotter has a call into TDEC to talk with them about the permit. Allen will let us know if anything comes from that phone call when they both talk. TWRA and TDEC had taken over a year to put this together, now we only have a few months to respond.
We suggest that if you have any contacts on the State level: Senators, Congressmen, Governor, etc; Please send them this mess and see if it can be blocked ASAP.
When you read 303d, you will see the Tennessee waterways that will be banned or restricted. On that list is Little River and 11.5 miles of Coker Creek. We believe this means we will lose Doc Rogers and the rest of Coker Creek from the head waters to the Polk County border. Yes that means our GPAA property too. This permit covers all public and private land in the State of Tennessee.
I will not comment anymore at this time. We need to do something right now to stop this madness. Please step up and help keep recreational prospecting in the state of Tennessee.
President: Coker Creek GPAA Tennessee chapter.
Posted: Monday April 14, 2014.