Scott, I was looking at the Forest Service website and was amazed at how contradictory they say:
"Materials must be removed using small hand tools without mechanical
means or motorized equipment. Removing mineral materials with a pick,
shovel, sluice box or similar large tools can cause significant impacts
to resources is considered mechanical so therefore not allowed."
Ok well a shovel is a mechanical piece of equipment. So what is a "small hand tool" ?? A small shovel....is how small..????...a small pick or small sluice box? I dont know that a sluice box is mechanical since there are no moving parts and it is stationary and does not do damage, unless of course someone got wacked in the head with it. Where is "small hand tool" defined within the Forest Service definitions? I guess we would have to start with that. If a sluice box is allowed in 1 National Forest in the West why not another National Forest in the East.?
I think these rules were written just to purposely confuse the facts or they were actually written by confused people who think they know what is good for us.