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Metal Detecting Hobby Talk
   January 2020         Metal Detecting Hobby Talk News Brief                                             Volume 11 Number 118
Metal Detecting Hobby Talk Support The Hobby
I would like to point out to the News Brief readers that there are a number of organizations taking on the challenge against various types of legislation dealing with metal detecting and gold prospecting. MDHTALK's recommendation is to visit their website and give strong consideration to joining the fight. In some cases your support may be to send emails and / or write a letter to specific legislators or to provide funds to help with the fight. Here are the organizations and a link to their website.
Go to the Join The Fight MDHTALK Webpage to read more about each of these organizations


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What is a News Brief?
The news brief provides a brief look into any news event. The intent of the news brief is to provide you, the reader, with news clips on what was taking place in the hobby last month. To read the whole story select the Article Link or go to There are more news stories placed on the MDHTALK website for December the news stories listed in the MDHTALK News Brief are just a portion of all the hobby related news reported the past month.  The news Brief is now available in Adobe PDF format, there is a link at the top of this webpage. The news brief is no longer emailed; it is only available on the MDHTALK website and can be downloaded.

The Website's featured article for this month is: Is Recreational Metal Detecting on the Endangered List? ---Next Step
Download and Read the Complete Article

Introduction. This article is a follow up to Is Recreational Metal Detecting on the Endangered List? YES
Each year there are more direct or indirect barriers to recreational metal detecting. The result is that these barriers make detecting more unlawful in the U.S. There probably are no silver bullets or break though solutions to change this environment; just hard work by those dedicated to preserving the hobby.

This article (Next Step) will be centered on Figure #1 which highlights the Recreational Metal Detecting Community and the Metal Detecting Supply Chain. Try to keep Figure #1 in your thoughts and refer to it from time to time as you read this article.
Metal Detecting Structure
A very important negative aspect of the hobby is that the Recreational Metal Detecting Community is very fragmented. There are no cohesive alliances between the four major sections of the metal detecting community (Figure #1). Another important missing attribute is the lack of any outreach program to bring detectorist, clubs and associations together.

There are a couple of cohesive detecting state associations but they are the exception. Developing a state association in any state should be a very high priority since they fill a communication vacuum and offer the best avenue to a cohesive strong and supportive state metal detecting community.

Fragmentation is very apparent between area clubs and the individual detectorist. Clubs generally have no contact with other clubs except though an occasional metal detecting event. Most clubs have no outreach program to get individual detectorist to join their club.

Individual detectorist feel that they do not need to be associated with any organization since they may prefer to metal detect alone. Belonging to a club or organization will not inhibit an individual detectorist desire to metal detect alone but club participation does offers many advantages and opens new opportunities for the detectorist.

Something to consider: the recreational metal detecting community may need to take a more activist approach for preserving the hobby by holding planned protest demonstrations to get their message across to public officials.

As this article progresses there will be an effort to address fragmentation, the importance of using an outreach program and other ideas for the Recreational Metal Detecting Community.

National Association. An aggressive national association could play a major role in the metal detecting community by providing some very important matter. One important item would be to develop a national self-teaching metal detecting course for all detectorists to take. The course should be comprehensive, provide a completion examination and upon passing the examination, a certificate of accomplishment. The course must be web based, downloaded by clubs and 100% supported by the national association.
Hobby Related News

Mary Benjamin, Producer, Prometheus Entertainment.

I am one of the producers for a new series for the History Channel called OAK ISLAND PRESENTS WORLD'S GREATEST TREASURES. I have been producing documentaries for TV for many years including THE STORY OF GOD WITH MORGAN FREEMAN for 4 years for National Geographic.

We're researching stories now for a new series which focuses on Treasure Mysteries. One of the stories we're doing is the legend of the Silver Madonna, which occurred in southern NH at the time of the French Indian War. We'd like to find a detectorist who we might be able to include in the story.

If you're interested, we'd like to speak to you about the story after January 6th. So let me know if you are interested and we can set up a time to talk the week of January 6th.

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Mary Benjamin EMAIL

General U.S. and World Wide Hobby News
  • Are Volusia beaches narrower than in the past? Article Link
  • Toulon man finds WW I dog tags. Article Link
  • Man says he has discovered Forrest Fenn’s treasure. Article Link
  • Missing class ring helps feed those in need after it's returned to its owner. Article Link
  • The best Garrett metal detector. Article Link
  • Mother looking for necklace with son's ashes. Article Link
  • Saving the comics: Local shop owner helps collectors evaluate their stash. Article Link
  • Minelab Makes Its Debut At Dick's Sporting Goods With The Mighty VANQUISH. Article Link
  • Metal detecting hobbyists back in action after permit process passes. Article Link
  • Diving into a mystery: Local teacher part of team that found sunken warship. Article Link
  • The Curse of Oak Island: Team uncover 200-year-old shaft and learn of possible Spanish treasure on the island. Article Link
  • 80-year-old man heartbroken over lost wedding ring. Article Link
  • Charleston’s amateur relic hunters dig up signs of Lowcountry’s history. Article Link
  • Kalamazoo Resources discovers zone of gold nuggets at DOM’sHill Gold Project. Article Link
  • Couple loses wedding ring at Enchant Christmas, the world's largest Christmas maze, in St. Pete. Hope to find it before their first wedding anniversary. Article Link
U.K. News
  • Boy’s metal detector Christmas gift uncovers bombs on beach. Article Link
  • Metal Detectorists Looking for a Lost Ring Discover a Rare Fortune From the 1500s. Article Link
  • The metal detectorists adding to Scotland's history one treasure at a time. Article Link
  • Iron Age treasure. Article Link
  • UK’s ‘oldest Iron Age gold‘ is revealed. Article Link
  • 227 treasure troves dug up in Oxfordshire. Article Link
  • A battered ring that could be more than 800 years old... not what you'd expect to find in Stockport. Article Link
  • Treasure-hunter, 50, who unearthed 99 silver Anglo-Saxon coins in farmer's field in Suffolk is 'amazed' when 1,000-year-old hoard sells for £90,000. Article Link
North America Archaeology News
  • Archaeologists discover remains of vast Mayan palace in Mexico. Article Link
  • Discovery of iron anchors raises hopes of finding Hernán Cortés's ships. Article Link
  • Working in Clark County: Elaine Dorset, National Park Service archaeologist. Article Link
  • Archaeologists uncover 12,500-year-old site in Avon, showing evidence of the earliest known population in Connecticut. Article Link
  • FBI And Archaeology Institute Team To Recover Stolen Artifacts. Article Link
  • Archaeology shock: Experts discover US Civil War soldiers dyed their hair to 'look better'. Article Link
  • Mysterious stone structures in North Carolina's rivers linked to prehistoric people. Article Link
  • Council says no to Archaeological Research on Cemetery Property. Article Link
  • Research team to take fresh look at delicate artifacts. Article Link
Other News Sources
  • Archaeology and Metal Detecting Magazine present the BIG metal detecting podcast. A weekly show bringing all areas of history together with our guests, news and much more. Pod Cast Link
  • American Digger Relic Roundup. For diggers and collectors of history. An hour long program every Monday Night at 9:00 PM eastern standard time. Join your hosts Butch Holcombe, Jeff Lubbert and Heath Jones as they explore the past. Learn more about Metal Detecting, Treasure hunting in all it's forms, and the preservation of history. Hour Long Pod Cast Link
  • American Mining Rights Assn is not a gold club but rather an advocacy group for miners and public land users to preserve and maintain their rights as they pertain to access to their public lands. December News
  • Coin World - Numismatic and Coin Collecting Coin News
  • Gold Prospectors Assn of America (GPAA) - News on legal issues for the gold prospecting community  December News
  • Minelab December Newsletter
  • PLP December Press Release
  • Prospecting and Mining Journal (IMCJ)  December News
  • 1715 Fleet Society January Newsletter
Jewelry Returns
  • Man finds woman's high school ring missing for nearly 50 years. Article Link
  • Ring lost in field near Oswestry 61 years ago back with owner. Article Link
  • After 34 years, Hempfield grad reunites with lost class ring. Article Link
  • Friendship forged from finding a ring. Article Link
  • Army veteran, South View graduate is returned a class ring he thought was lost. Article Link
  • After Reading Random Facebook Post, Hikers Retrieve Lost Wedding Ring From Snowy Mountain Trail. Article Link
  • Ring, lost and found on a Maine beach, returns to its rightful owner after 49 years. Article Link
  • Man with metal detector finds ring lost in sand for 50 years. Article Link
W.W. Meteorite News
  • Turkey's third-largest meteorite found in Çorum. Article Link
  • STROKE OF LUCK Massive Friday the 13 asteroid skims safely past Earth at 18,000mph. Article Link
  • Museum in small Maine town home to one of world's best collections of meteorites, much more. Article Link
  • Two gigantic ‘Christmas asteroids’ are heading for Earth, sa reveals. Article Link
  • How a Meteorite Ruined an Alabama Woman's Afternoon 65 Years Ago. Article Link
PLP December 23, 2019 Press Release  PLP Press Release Web Link
FOR 30 YEARS: PLP exists to "Represent and assist outdoor user groups and individuals interested in keeping public and private lands open to prospecting, mining and outdoor recreation through education, scientific data and legal means."

PLP Member Wins “No Addition Argument” in CA State Court

For the very first time in California State court a small miner has won the “no addition argument”—this time against the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife.

As some of you may know, PLP member Godfrey won the issue against the Forest Service and CA Water Board in 2015. This win occurred on appeal at the federal level in US District Court.

In this latest case, gold miner Michael Osterbrink was charged by the Sierra County (California) district attorney. They claimed he had “polluted State waters with materials that are deleterious to fish” in violation of section 5650 of the CA Fish & Game code.

Michael Osterbrink is a prospector who was operating a gas-powered dry washer and vac-pack in a remote section of Sierra County. This high elevation area was a dry placer gulch for most of the summer and had piles of rocks left over from the work from miners during the gold rush and Depression era. Osterbrink had found some “chunky” pieces of gold with his metal detector, and then decided to work a pay layer within the gulch with his dry washer and vac-pack. This dry placer and gulch, at the time he worked it, was an intermittent stream course for which the CA Fish & Wildlife has regulatory authority.

The case was heard by Judge Yvette Durant in November 2019. PLP’s legal researcher, Clark Pearson, provided expert testimony on behalf of Osterbrink. Pearson testified that: …"no addition occurred in this case to trigger a violation of section 5650 because no foreign substances were added to the waterway” and he went on to say: “…that a violation of section 1602 is troubling because "substantially" used in this criminal regulation should be found void for vagueness by this court because it was not defined in the regulations or statute.” Pearson cited the Godfrey case as precedent to aid Judge Durant in her deliberations over the alleged violation of section 5650.

Locals who read an article in The Sierra Booster learned that Mr. Osterbrink was found guilty of violating CA Fish & Game code section 1602 and was ordered to pay a fine of $200 by the court (count 1). This is true. The court determined that there was sufficient evidence to show the defendant created a “substantial disturbance” in order to trigger the need for a CA 1602 (substantial stream diversion) permit. (PLP may follow this up and petition the CA Fish & Wildlife for further clarity on the existing 1602 trigger so that other miners do not get caught speculating what “substantial” means to their own work on the ground.)

Most significantly, what the drive-by media did not report is that Mr. Osterbrink was found NOT guilty of violating section 5650 of the CA Fish & Game code which prohibits pollution of state waters with materials that are deleterious to fish and wildlife (count 2).

PLP cannot understate the importance of this legal decision in our present battles with the political powers of the California swamp. This is a really big deal! The swamp in CA believes that miners are polluters—not so fast; how do we pollute if there are no foreign substances added or involved here? Judge Durant said something PLP has been saying for years:

“I really think 5650, the intent of the Legislature there is to deal with situations where a defendant has deposited something new, a foreign substance. …Here, there doesn’t seem to be any dispute that this defendant did not add anything new. So I am going to find Mr. Osterbrink not guilty on count 2.”

You may recall back in 2015, PLP member John Godfrey won the “no addition” argument (count 5) fighting the Forest Service

See In that case, the Forest Service even called a so-called “expert” lead engineer from the CA Water Board to testify that what Godfrey had done amounted to pollution—to no avail to the government. Godfrey won in federal court. While others did not recognize the magnitude of this important win, PLP was confident it was a solid argument that could also be won in California state courts. And now Osterbrink has won in California state court.

Osterbrink’s decision will go a long way in helping get suction dredging to legally return to California and Oregon, and can help miners in other western states as well. Now let that sink in.
PLP Assists with US Supreme Court Brief

Recently, PLP has been quietly working to assist, edit and refine the “no addition” argument in Pacific Legal Foundation’s brief to the US Supreme Court in EOMA & Waldo Mining District v. Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality. Pacific Legal Foundation has a stellar track record—they do not take on cases unless there is a clear argument and a high probability of winning, and we’ve been honored to help with the legal arguments.

PLP Assists with EPA Petition & Appeal

PLP assisted member Don Smith of Idaho in his appeal and petition to the EPA and Army Corps clarifying that suction dredges (used in stream placer gold mining and reclamation) “do not as a matter of practice constitute a point source discharge of a pollutant namely because they do not add a pollutant within the meaning of the CWA.” The goal is to receive clarification from the EPA and Army Corps that suction gold dredges do not trigger the need for a Section 402 EPA permit because they do not add a pollutant. (View the petition)

A total of 28 groups (counties, companies, mining clubs and associations) signed a letter of support for Don Smith’s petition. PLP followed up by contacting dozens of companies at the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) tradeshow in Nevada in early December and many of them also signed on as supporters. AEMA signed on to the original letter of support and you can view that letter online.

If your company, group or association would like to sign on as a supporter, here is the support letter distributed at AEMA you can use. (After signing, please scan and email a copy to or mail a copy to PLP at the address below and we will bring a copy with us on our next trip to visit the EPA in Washington, DC.)
Public Lands for the People
A Plan to Fix the Dredge Permitting Scheme

We completely understand the frustration of suction gold dredgers—many of our members (and members of the PLP board) are dredgers too.

Some organizations and individual miners believe the answer is to demand a permit from states like California, but we respectfully—and strongly—disagree. Surrendering to a California pollution permitting scheme when there is no such pollutant involved is accepting extreme restrictions and huge fees, plus opening yourself up to liability - not to mention compromising responsible mining rights. Some federal and state agencies have teamed up with environmental groups to use this current pollution permit requirement to limit the number of dredges, to restrict work locations, nozzle sizes, work hours and more. They dislike miners in general, while hiding the facts that modern miners add no pollutants while reclaiming heavy metals and cleaning the environment!

Groups like the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) use the current pollution permit requirement to file civil lawsuits and the group is currently suing AMRA president Shannon Poe personally under this permit premise. Poe applied for a State of Idaho dredging permit in his case but declined to apply for a federal permit. The ICL is asking for fines in excess of $37,000 per day and “reasonable litigation costs and expenses, including attorney and expert fees, incurred in bringing this action” from Poe for suction dredging without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

While we completely appreciate and respect the efforts and enthusiasm of Poe and AMRA, we disagree with the strategy. Defending yourself by claiming you weren’t properly served a cease and desist notice from ICL will not make a case go away; it will only result in the service of another notice. (And the judge ruled he was properly served.) You must have a defendable position and plan in place before taking this type of action, and expert witnesses who are qualified in the eyes of the court are a must.

PLP has demonstrated these cases can be won in federal and state courts if approached properly, and you must be able to properly argue the case so all of us don’t suffer from bad court precedent. Ignoring the current pollution permit requirement will likely get you sued or cited; requesting a pollution permit that should not apply to suction dredging may lead to unbearable restrictions and fees and can still result in a lawsuit even if you inadvertently wander outside the restrictions.

Getting the “addition” requirement clarified at the federal level will fix this pollution permitting scheme. We made 7 week-long trips to Washington, DC in 2019 for meetings with federal agencies and members of Congress. We’ve been encouraged by the support we’ve received from the Trump administration and their willingness to work with us on these issues. With your help and support, we’ll be back in DC in 2020. Read More
Event News
Metal Detecting & Gold Prospecting Events.
Now is the time to start planning and getting your club's 2020/21 hunt information on the web. The sooner it is out and available to the metal detecting community the greater the chance for people to see it and give your event some consideration.
  • January 18, 2020  (One Day)
    Quartzsite, Arizona
    2020 Super Hunt
    Quartzsite Metal Detecting Club

Select here to View
the Complete Event Details for January

Add Your Event Information Here


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