Bohmker V. Oregon: Everything You Need to Know
By Rebecca Fox
Gold Prospecting has existed for over 150 years with pretty much the same set of rules, but recent legislation on the West Coast may soon change all of that. Bohmker V. Oregon, is a case that’s changing everything, and providing a lot of controversy.
What is it?
Bohmker V. Oregon is a new case that’s been brought forth by members of the Waldo Mining District against the State of Oregon over the state banning motorized dredging on their own claims, based on a State Bill 838 that’s trying to protect wildlife. They lost the first round but are now trying to take their case to the Supreme Court, and they need your help to do so.
Who does it affect?
SB 838 is currently active, and at this point is a law that is effective for perpetuity unless otherwise challenged. It affects anyone with claims in the state of Oregon that include essential salmon habitat, and prevents anyone from using any kind of motorized suction dredging equipment within those bodies of water, regardless of who owns the claim.
What is the punishment?
There have been no reports of punishment in Oregon, only California at this point, but it’s a “class A violation” -- which means that the punishments in Oregon are enforceable by fines of up to $6,250, one year imprisonment, or both.
Where did all of this Legislation Come From?
A few years ago, California began making changes to Fish and Game Code section 5653, and introduced legislation called Senate Bill 637. Basically, the section defined “suction dredging” and placed a moratorium on new suction dredge permits being issued. Oregon followed suit.
What can you do to help?
If you’d like to help, you can take the following actions:
- Write letters to local and Federal officials, and all of that information, including addresses, and a sample letter template, can all be found at the Waldo Mining District website as well. visit http://bit.ly/callingallminers to download a list of Supreme Court Justices and Sample Letters!
- Continue to follow GPAA updates, we will have more articles on this in the future and will update you on all new developments. Make sure that you’re subscribed to us and that you follow the blog, magazine, and newsletter to stay up to date on all of the Gold Prospecting news in America.