Friday, December 20, 2013

Udall calls river mining by proposed monument 'disastrous,' gold hobbyists differ

A trio of gold panning enthusiasts has found themselves caught up in Sen. Mark Udall's push to create Browns Canyon National Monument. Udall called on the Bureau of Land Management this week to "challenge" mining claims located in the Arkansas River and his proposed Browns Canyon National Monument. "Mining on the river could destroy the pristine water quality and scenery that has made Browns Canyon one of the top rafting and fishing destinations in the country," Udall said in a press release that characterized the claims as potentially "disastrous" for Chaffee County. The three men who hold the claims, however, have a different take. CaƱon City resident Dan Scavarda and his cousin Tom Tella bought four mining claims covering 80 acres near their property at Chateau Chaparral, an RV campground in Nathrop. The pair described themselves as amateur gold panners who had never owned a mining claim before. They planned to follow the lead of other prospectors using dredges to glean the precious metal from the river bed. "We're not gold miners, we're not looking for profit, we're just recreational guys," Scavarda said, describing the dredge they planned to use as a "lawnmower on a vaccum cleaner."...more

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