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Ghost Miner

Impoundment Threat from FS

Hello, everyone. I have been watching and reading this forum for a couple years now. I have read almost everything here. I commend your efforts to learn and communicate the truth about mining law and our rights as claimants and prospectors. The government has done a very good job of obfuscating the facts and convincing the majority of prospectors and miners that they have much less rights than they really do. I have been battling these wicked people for over seventeen years now. It has taken a great toll on me. For many years I tried to do as I was told and made many compromises. Those compromises are now biting me in the ass. In the beginning I was tricked (intimidated) into getting a plan I wasn't required to have. I wound up rescinding my signature on the plan. I tried digging without a plan. I was convicted of damaging United States property (for digging on my own claim!) and I wound up placing another POO in order to continue working, by order of a magistrate. But that did not stop the FS from doing their best to hamper my bona fide mining activities. I am convinced they will not stop until I cannot mine at all. The latest is the new District Ranger has told me I must remove all equipment and my fence (all of which was approved in the POO) or they will initiate impoundment proceedures for "abandoned" property. The best way to explain is just to show you a few correspondences. I know that the general rule here is to never submit a NOI, but I was ordered by a magistrate to get a plan or stop my activities. It is important to note that I did use signing statements to show that I only meant to comply with applicable law and had no desire to enter into contracts. I hope someone can provide me with some insight, and maybe more than anything, I want people to know what has and is being done to me.
Ghost Miner

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1. The first words I ever heard from a federal forest service employee in relation to my claim were, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” A friend and I were digging a small pit with hand tools, activities which did not require (according to 36CFR228) the submission of a notice of intent or plan of operations. Mr. Dunfee (the forest service LEO) erroneously told me I was required to submit a plan of operations, which, being ignorant of the true facts at the time, I proceeded to do immediately.
2. My plan of operations was approved after a small bit of fuss. The ranger at that time claimed that the activities did not require a plan, but my plan would be accepted in “lieu” of a notice of intent. The ranger sent me a copy and asked me to sign it and send it back. I had funny feelings that, if I signed it and sent it back, the forest service might change my plan around and use my signature to make it look legitimate (call me paranoid, but check out what happens next). The forest service came to my claim and said they had a new plan of operations for me to sign. Huh? I read through the “new” plan of operations. It was more restrictive than the original. I showed the old plan to the forest service law enforcement officer (it was signed, I just had not sent it back). He tried to keep the old plan but I snatched it back, and returned the “new” plan to him.
3. The forest service posted notice at the local post office that they intended to impound “abandoned property”. The property that was alleged to be abandoned was my mining equipment and the equipment of a neighboring claimant, and the forest service knew full
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well that it was not abandoned, as they had been arguing with me over having my travel trailer on site, which was being used on a daily basis. Finding this to be absolutely unacceptable, the neighboring claimant and I marched into the federal courthouse in Denver and told the clerk we wanted to file an injunction against the forest service in order to prevent them from stealing our stuff. The clerk was not comfortable with what we were attempting to do, and wound up arranging a meeting with a US prosecuting attorney. We went next door, up to the 13th floor, and met with the attorney. We told him we thought it would be a violation of our rights for the forest service to impound our equipment without any semblance of due process. On the spot, the attorney called the district ranger in Fairplay and told him not to take our stuff prior to a court order. The ranger agreed. We thanked the attorney and left.
4. The forest service came out and brought a sheriffs’ deputy with them. I told them, loudly, and clearly, that I thought they were trespassing, and I wanted them to leave. I threatened to bring a lawsuit against them. I wound up getting tackled, my shoulder pulled out of socket, and put in handcuffs, and my dog got pepper spray in the face. I was told I would be released from the cuffs when I shut up. Now, I was really mad! But I did quiet down, in order that they would take the cuffs off. A Forest Service LEO (I never knew his name, he only came that once) stepped just over the hill and fired off multiple shots from his weapon. I assume he did this out of an uncontrolled rage, or the desire to intimidate. Well, it worked. He scared myself and a neighboring claimant quite badly. That was one of two times I was put in cuffs for speaking my mind. This is the kind of thing we were taught in school about
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authoritarian governments. We were taught that the reason our country is better is because we have all these rights that are recognized by the government, because we are a “free” people. Well, one of those rights is the freedom of speech, and it is unconscionable that I should be deprived of my freedom for speaking my mind, and told that freedom will be
restored once I shut up. And all this happened on my own property. No charges were filed, and no tickets issued. That’s because I had done nothing wrong. There was no reason for handcuffs to be put on me but to shut me up.
5. The forest service wound up taking me to court, criminal proceedings (that's what they called it, it anyway, even though the constitutional rules for criminal proceedings were said
not to apply, by the magistrate, such as the right to a trial by jury, the right to a speedy trial, and the right to have intent proven (mens rea).(Had those constitutionally guaranteed
protections been adhered to, the case would have been very different.) A freedom of information act request was made for all information related to me or my claim and held by the forest service. Some very important discoveries were made after reviewing the material
generated by the request. There was an e-mail, where it is said, “Remember Mr. (   )has rights. He has a right to mine his claim. What I suggest is that you give him what he wants, within reason, so he doesn’t go to his congressman or the US Attorney’s office, but put so many restrictions on him that he decides to do something else.” Another e-mail said “sometimes you have to break the chain of command to get the ball rolling.” Wow! A rebel faction within the forest service! The plot thickens.
6. The other important discovery within the FOIA packet was that someone in the forest
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service had used white out or something to change the wording of my plan of operations in the forest service file. Could it be? It was. Forest Service employee Megan Kabeles’ testimony was deemed incredible in a court of law and stricken from the record because she had knowingly and willingly altered documents held in the files using “sticky tape”. Blatant bad faith.
7. The forest service tried to convince the magistrate to order me to remove the trailer and fence, but the magistrate said “I will not order him to remove anything that can be approved”.
8. The Forest Service had charged me with “Interfering with a Forest Officer.” I was found not guilty because all I actually did was exercise my right to freedom of speech. False charge.
The Forest Service wanted the Judge to put me in jail for exercising my right to freedom of speech! Doesn’t this sound like the kind of things that happen in an authoritarian country?
9. Then the forest service brought additional charges against me, for maintaining the fence
and the trailer, but, after substantial discovery had been exchanged, and the matter was set for trial only a short time after (it was set for only several days later), the charges were dismissed by the US attorney’s office. This dismissal came after an onsite visit to the mining
claim by the prosecuting attorney from the US who was handling the case against me, this attorney having demanded that I build the new fence or face trial. I built the fence. It was
costly, and took a significant amount of time, but I did it. I was told to put up this fence or face trial in a criminal court. Wanting to stay out of trouble, I put up the fence.
10. Now, the forest service and I were in “negotiations” over a plan of operations I had
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submitted during the first court case. This plan of operations described the full extent and duration of mineral activities on the Dreamtime claim as foreseeable at the time, as prescribed by the 36CFR 228 regulations. A surface use determination was conducted for my activities, and the mineral examiners determined that the operation could take twenty years or more, but yet the ranger was refusing to approve my plan for more than five years, which is plainly contrary to the intent of the 36CFR 228 regulations. (The surface use determination had also documented that it would be reasonable for me to maintain a fence up to 200’ from any active or proposed digsites, which was eventually approved by the ranger.) Also, the forest service was well outside (by over a year) of applicable timeframes for approval, as per the 36 CFR 228 regulations. Matter of fact, if they would have adhered to said applicable timeframes, the plan would have been approved prior to the trial in the first court case, making said trial unnecessary. It is my opinion that the forest service was deliberately dragging their feet on the approval process in order to cause me as much trouble as possible. Remember, “so many restrictions he decides to do something else…”
11. The ranger approved the plan, but only for five years, and refused to approve the "workcenter”, as it was referred to in the plan. Said workcenter was a 20’ x 20’ building which caused no disturbance to surface resources. It was built on poles, and left no footprint, and was to be used for storage and display of minerals, storage for tools, shelter from the elements for myself and visitors, and a meeting place to discuss mineral related
matters. Obviously reasonable for an operation that was deemed by forest service mineral experts to have a lifetime of “twenty years or more…”. The refusal to approve said
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workcenter was not consistent with other approved operations nor controlling statutes and case law. Said refusal to approve this item resulted in extra time and money spent, by myself (and others) to carry on the activities on my legitimate and bona fide mining property. And the refusal to approve my plan for more than 5 years causes unnecessary time and money to be spent by both myself and the forest service in hashing out a new plan every 5 years. And, from my experience, it always takes the Forest Service years to approve a plan, so miners and prospectors wind up sitting on their hands during trying economic times. It is downright wasteful, and the only reason I see for it, is the forest service hopes the law will become more restrictive and they don’t want anyone to be “grandfathered in”. This is a plain case of outcome based decision making. From my perspective, it seems obvious that the forest service people in this area do not want people like myself to engage in our right to mine, therefor they throw as many roadblocks up as they can. I wonder why someone who works for the government would want to inhibit mineral related activities, contrary to the intent of the United States Congress? Isn’t their job to administer to the fulfillment of the intent of the congress? Further, isn’t it their job to help me carry out the objectives of Congress? I have read the mining laws of our country, and they support me in my quest. They were written by educated and just men who had a great deal of foresight. Obviously, Congress feels the same way. Why would a government employee try to get in the way? Moreover, why would numerous government employees, over a span of over 14 years, (these employees assumed to not be in cahoots through some unknown organization) carry on the tradition of “give him what he wants, within reason, but put so many restrictions on him that he decides to do something else.” I know the truth. Others
know the truth.
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12. So. I had gotten a plan approved for 5 years. 4 years into it, knowing I would be continuing my activities beyond the 5 year period, I requested that the ranger approve me for another five years. Somewhere in this period, the position of ranger was shaky, and it took a little bit before I received a response, which was from the new ranger, Sexton. Ranger Sexton informed me that I would need to place a “new” plan of operations, contrary to the 36CFR228 regulations, which state that an application shall be for the entire extent and duration… which is what I submitted. There had been no change to that foreseeable extent and duration, and there had been no change in the methods used, there was no need to amend the plan. I was looking for approval of the ranger to continue in the way I had been
mining, in order to avoid hassle with the forest service. I am well aware that it is a fact of law that the forest service does not have any authority to impede or prohibit legitimate, well planned mineral activities, such as mine. The ranger insisted that I must have a “new” plan of operations. I insisted that I had already submitted a plan for the entire scope and duration. The duration that I had placed in my submittal was until the minerals have been exhausted. That makes sense, doesn’t it? I am in possession of a rare and valuable load, which meets the prudent man and marketability standards, and I intend to continue my activities until the mineral potential has been exhausted. With the care and time it takes to extract the types of minerals found on the (      )claim, it is hard to determine just how long it will take. But I think the mineral examiners’ determination that it could take 20 years or more is highly conservative. Valuable mineral specimens are (relatively) abundant on the claim, and extreme care is required to extract said minerals without damaging them and thereby decreasing their value. I have maintained a physical presence and conducted mineral related activities on the claim for over 14 years, and I have only touched the potential. Tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
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13. It was during this period that Mr. John Ames came to work for the Fairplay ranger. Mr. Ames was a piece of work. He insisted that I had no ownership to the claim at all, but that I was leasing the land from the “Forest Service”. One time, when he said something to that effect, I responded by quoting the law. He said, “Where does it say that? In the Miners’ Manual?” Mr. Ames liked to pay surprise visits to the claim; to what legitimate end, it is impossible to say. Once, when I asked him, “Is this an official inspection?” He said “No, just a visit” He got me to stop working my load for “a visit”. Wasteful and a material interference and endangerment of my bona fide mineral activities. One time, Mr. Ames was doing an inspection. I showed him an area that I had reclaimed, and asked him if it was adequate. He said it wasn’t. I asked him why. He said I hadn’t spread any seed. I asked where did all the fresh blades of grass come from? He said the seed must have blown in.? I said, “Why don’t we do this? I would like to run the video camera while you describe what is inadequate with this reclamation?” He said, “No.” ? “No? Why not?”. Mr. Ames said, “Because you might use it against me.” Infuriating! This is what I have been forced to deal with, and I am quite weary of it. If there was something inadequate about the reclamation, why not document it
on the spot? The reclamation was accepted in the end. And the spot looks great!
14. The ranger issued a “decision” that I cease and desist mineral related activities at the (           ) mine, saying that I needed a “new” plan of operations for the mine. I appealed the cease and desist, and the “decision” that I must have a new plan. The ranger responded,
saying that a notice of noncompliance is not an appealable decision. Only the cease and desist was appealable, and that had been dropped. She referenced the 251 regulations, but
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failed to understand them, I guess. Because the 251 regulations plainly show that a notice of noncompliance is appealable. After I responded to the rangers’ reply, the forest supervisor sent me a letter, saying that the appeal record was closed, and a decision would be made. To this date, I have received no “decision” for that appeal. I need you (forest supervisor) to address the issues raised in that appeal as well as the issues raised in this document. +
15. And now, the ranger has sent me the current notice to cease and desist and notice of noncompliance, which has no basis in fact. This has already been addressed above. I have jumped through hoops again and again for the Fairplay ranger district, but instead of fostering and encouraging me in my lawful activities (as required by law), the forest service has tried to throw up yet another roadblock. I am not postulating a conspiracy theory. This is a conspiracy fact; to “put so many restrictions on him that he decides to do something else.”
All these years later, a whole different crew, and yet, the violation of my rights under color of authority continues unabated. So, what once seemed like a rebel faction is beginning to look a bit more ubiquitous. I need you (forest supervisor) to alleviate this continuing harm.
Ghost Miner

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1. This letter contests District Ranger Joshua Voorhis’ decision that I must place a new plan of operations with the Forest Service by November 1st, 2015 or be charged with a 36CFR261 violation, and that I must cease and desist all mineral activities.
2. This letter is also in contest to District Ranger Joshua S. Voorhis’ decision that I must remove all “structures (i.e. trailer, gate, fence _including wire and t-posts, platform/stage, sign), mechanized equipment (i.e. backhoe, front end loader, etc.), and personal property” from my mining claim by November 9, 2015, or face impoundment of my property.
I received notice of these decisions on October 21, 2015. Said notice does not contain any appeal notice. Moreover, said notice does not even provide adequate time to comply.
The first deadline is November 1rst, a mere 11 days from receipt of the notice. I’m pretty sure that the whole purpose of a plan of operations is to ensure that mining operations are well thought out and well planned so as to minimize adverse effects. So, if one were to take less than 11 days to complete a plan, it hardly seems that said plan could fulfill the goal. Due to the unreasonable time restraints, this requirement is impossible to comply with.
The second deadline is November 9, only 19 days from the receipt of the notice! Such a demand is completely unreasonable!
In the letter, the District Ranger writes, “Until you have complied with the regulations in 36 CFR 228 by obtaining an approved Plan of Operations for your mining-related activities on your (         ) Unpatented Mining Claim, you must Cease and Desist all surface disturbing activities immediately.”
Then the District Ranger states, “I am enclosing a Plan of Operations form for you to fill out. Please note that filling out the enclosed Plan of Operations does not alleviate your obligation to cease and desist all surface disturbing activities. If you plan on lawfully conducting mining-related activities on
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your (         ) unpatented mining claim, you must fill out this Plan of Operations. Until then, you may not resume your operations.”
The Ranger states that he has included a Plan of Operations Form, and that I must fill out “this” Plan of Operations. But, if you look at the top of the form sent, you will see these words, “USE OF THIS FORM IS OPTIONAL!” So, for him to require me to fill out “this” form is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.
I already placed a plan of operations with the Fairplay Ranger District which complied with the terms of 36CFR228 part A, which says that a plan of operations must include the full scope and duration of the operations. And it did. That plan of operations was approved by District Ranger Sara Mayben. The 228 regulations do not require that operators submit additional plans of operation, except if they propose to conduct additional activities that were not included in the original plan, and in that case, it is proper to modify the plan, not propose a whole new plan. I am in no way proposing to conduct activities that are beyond the scope and duration described in the plan approved by District Ranger Mayben, and the site shows nothing different than that approved by the Ranger. Therefore, I have complied with the regulations, and cannot be required to do any more. It is the District Ranger that is not in compliance with the regulations and the law, due to a refusal to recognize the fact that I have already submitted a plan as per the 228 regulations. I put a lot of time and effort into the application, negotiations, and approval of that plan. It is unreasonable to try to make me do it again. Nowhere does law or the 228 regulations require that I do so. And nowhere in the law or the regulations does it provide the authorized officer with the authority to withdraw approval already given. Several times I requested continued approval of said plan. I was told I required a “new” plan, in contradiction to the 228 regulations. This is obviously an effort to un-approve what has already been approved.
Furthermore, I hold a reclamation permit with the State of Colorado that covers all activities, equipment, storage trailer, and the fence. According to 36 CFR 228.8(h), certification or approval through a “similar” document, such as the reclamation permit “will” be accepted as meeting the requirements. The use of the word “will” makes it plain that the authorized officer has absolutely no discretion here. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Forest Service and the State of Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety states that a reclamation permit is a “similar” document to the Forest Service Plan of Operations. The MOU also states that the purpose is to produce one document that meets both state and federal requirements. The activities approved in the reclamation permit are the very same activities already approved by District Ranger Mayben. The methods are the same. The reclamation measures are the same. The seed mix used is the same. The process I went through to obtain the permit included all the same requirements, such as notice to adjacent properties owners, public notice and comment. The Fairplay Ranger District was notified in a timely manner, but did not enter any official comments, and did not appeal the approval of the permit. There can be no reason that I could be required to submit a new plan. I have complied with the regulations at 36 CFR 288. My activities on the (           ) claim are unquestionably mineral related, are well thought and well planned, have been deemed reasonable by a US Forest Service certified mineral examiner, and have been approved by the District Ranger and the State of Colorado.
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Regarding the appeal process that Ranger Voorhis refers to in his letter. The appeal deciding officer (Forest Supervisor) sent me a letter saying that a decision would be made on the appeal within thirty days. No decision was made in the specified timeframe, and therefore the Forest Service does not have standing in judicial proceedings because they defaulted on the proper notice and appeal proceedings, denying me timely relief or notice of denial of relief. Either party must follow through with the appeals process as specified or they lose standing. The notice of noncompliance that led to the appeal is nullified, due to lack of procedural due process.
The demand that I remove all “structures (i.e. trailer, gate, fence _including wire and t-posts, platform/stage, sign), mechanized equipment (i.e. backhoe, front end loader, etc.), and personal property” from my mining claim by November 9, 2015 is an unlawful demand and cannot be complied with.
The so-called “structures” create no significant disturbance to forest system resources. Items such as storage trailers, boards, pallets, gates and fences, tables, and signs are not considered to cause significant disturbance. (If they were considered to cause significant disturbance to surface resources, they would not have been approved, which is proven by the fact that the “workcenter” in the plan of operations submitted by myself was deemed to be a structure that was likely to cause significant disturbance, and was not approved.) The sign was referred to by the Forest Service Mineral Examiner in a Surface Use Determination conducted for the site as an identifying claim marker. And that’s what it is. It states the name of the claim, year established, and the Colorado Mining Claim number. The mechanized equipment is used to carry out mining activities in complete accord with the plan of operations approved by District Ranger Sara Mayben and with the reclamation permit I hold with the State of Colorado.
The trailer is used for storage of tools and minerals. This trailer (or similar) was determined to be reasonably incident to mining at the site by a certified mineral examiner during a Surface Use Determination conducted by the Forest Service in relation to my application for approval of a plan of operations. The use of this trailer for storage of tools and minerals, and occasional overnight stays was approved by District Ranger Sara Mayben. The current reclamation permit I hold with the State of Colorado includes the use of a storage trailer. And, last, but not least, I have faced charges in Federal Court before for having that trailer at the site. Those charges were dismissed just days before trial, after significant discovery had been exchanged. Therefore, any charges for maintaining said trailer as a part of my mineral activities at the site would be double jeopardy, and would be contrary to previous decisions.
The gate is a part of the fence, so both will be addressed together. This fence was determined to be reasonably incident to mining by a certified mineral examiner during a surface use determination by the Forest Service. This fence is included in the plan of operations approved by District Ranger Sara Mayben. This fence is included in the current State of Colorado reclamation permit I hold. I was taken to court for maintaining a fence on the site. At one point, the US attorney, George Gill, ordered me to build
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that fence, or we were going to trial. Desiring to stay out of trouble, I immediately spent significant time, money and effort to put up the fence. After a visit to the site by Mr. Gill, the charges were dismissed.
This fence was built by order of a United States attorney, with threat of a trial if I did not. The charges related to the fence were dismissed only days before a trial was set and after significant discovery had been exchanged. Therefore, any new charge associated with the fence would place me in double jeopardy, which is forbidden. And any demand that I remove the fence would be contrary to an order of a US attorney.
Also, the fence is included in the State of Colorado Reclamation Permit that covers all activities and appurtenances on the claim. This fence is stated as being the means of providing for public safety, a requirement for the approval of the permit application. There are dangerous pits and equipment on site. To remove the fence would violate my permit (and therefor Colorado law) and would leave my valuable load without any means of securing it. I cannot lawfully or in good faith comply with the Ranger’s demand.
The platform/stage is a couple of pieces of plywood laying on some pallets. Hardly a structure! These boards are useful for an area to lay out minerals to be graded and sorted, and otherwise inspected or viewed. Plainly incidental to mining.
The sign referred to here must be the wooden sign that says Dreamtime, est. 1998, and has the BLM serial number for the claim on it. I am required by law to maintain identifying markers on the claim, which is obviously what the sign is. The sign was referred to by the Forest Service Mineral Examiner in a Surface Use Determination conducted for the site as an identifying claim marker. Demanding that I remove it is completely contrary to law.
The mechanized equipment on the site is used to carry out the activities approved under the State of Colorado reclamation permit held by myself. It is plainly bona fide mineral extraction equipment. To demand the removal of this equipment is unreasonable and is a material interference with well-planned mineral activities on the site, which is prohibited by the 1955 Common Varieties Act. The plan of operations approved by District Ranger Mayben fully contemplated that kind of equipment. And it was determined during the surface use determination carried out by the Forest Service that use of such equipment was reasonable.
Personal property. All “personal property” at the site is actually private property, and is incidental and appurtenant to the mineral activities. Could the Ranger really be telling me that I must remove my shovels, picks, hard hats, and other hand tools? Absolutely unreasonable. I have a right to mine my claim. Even a prospector without a claim has a right to have hand tools for prospecting.
Ranger Voorhis states in his letter that I must cease and desist all surface disturbing activities on the claim. This is arbitrary and capricious, and gives someone with no bond, no permit, no claim even, more rights than myself. Anyone can cause surface disturbance with pick and shovel and other hand
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tools on any ground open to mineral entry. How could I be told that I do not even have the rights of the general public? This decision is trying to take rights away from me that everyone has.
The statements that I must submit a new plan of operations or face charges under 36 CFR 261, and that I must cease and desist all surface disturbing activities, and remove all my incidental mining equipment and property or the Forest Service will impound my property do not comport with each other. If the Forest Service were to file charges and impound my property, what could they possibly be filing charges for, since they removed all the “offending” equipment, negating the whole situation. There couldn’t possibly be any continuing violation at that point, could there? And if the Forest Service impounded my equipment and property and didn’t file any charges, that would show obvious bad faith on the part of the Forest Service. I believe I am being intimidated and harassed, under color of authority, which is a serious crime at 18 USC.
Please be advised, it is a violation of Colorado law as per CRS 34-46-103. Prohibiting destruction, appropriation, or deprivation of use. “It is unlawful for any person to destroy or appropriate to his own use any mining equipment of which he is not the lawful owner and possessor or to deprive the lawful owner the use or possession thereof.” A violation of this law is a class 6 felony.
Any attempt to remove any of my bona fide mining equipment from the (           ) claim without a court order would violate my right to due process under State and Federal law, and would be a plain violation against material interference with mining activities (As per 1955 Common Varieties Act). A mining claim is real property recognized by the courts and all equipment or structures that are incidental to the mining are appurtenances to that property. Colorado law recognizes mining claims to be real property. Colorado law provides for rather severe penalties for tampering with or taking equipment, signs or minerals from a posted claim. Are you aware of the recent cases where Forest Service employees were found guilty of wrongdoing by “impounding” mining equipment and structures without a court order? Are you aware that some of those employees were found personally liable? Not a good place to be. And for what? Why not follow the law, respect miner’s rights, and provide me with due process? If you are right, it will prove out in court, right? I suspect that the Ranger doesn’t think the Forest Service has a strong case in court or he wouldn’t threaten to violate my due process rights, the prohibition against material interference, and Colorado law by “impounding” my equipment and real property without a court order. Even all the things the Forest Service has tried to get away with in the past, they still took me to court before trying to take anything. But, hey, maybe the Ranger wants to be the first, the local example. I trust that you, the Forest Supervisor, do not wish to back him up and become an accomplice to his threatened crimes. Therefore, I request the following relief.
1. Immediate withdrawal of the decisions and mentioned at the beginning of this letter.
2. An immediate stay of the decision that I must submit a new plan of operations and cease and desist my mining activities when I have already submitted two plans of operation to the Fairplay Ranger District which meet the requirements of the 228 regulations (the one approved by District Ranger Sara Mayben and the one approved by the State of Colorado
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Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety), as the enactment of this decision would harm, hinder, and materially interfere with mining activities in violation of the Common Varieties Act of 1955, and interfere with my activities under the reclamation permit for the (                ). The decision that I must put in a new plan or be charged in Federal court would take valuable time, money and other resources from me, and would prevent me from being at the mine. My time at the (         )is something that is irreplaceable and in-compensable.
3. An immediate stay of the decision that I must remove all my property (appurtenances) at the (                )claim. Obviously, to follow through with impoundment of my property would be a violation of the Common Varieties Act, which forbids material interference with mining operations. All property on the site is incidental to mining and has been deemed reasonably incident by a Certified Mineral Examiner from the Forest Service. Obviously, the “impoundment” of my mineral related property and equipment would cause me severe hardship, as it would halt my approved, well planned, and bonded operations in their tracks and would deprive me of even being able to put my equipment to other purposes. Obviously, if the Forest Service wishes for me to remove my incidental equipment, appurtenances, and property, the only right thing to do is to take me to court and get a court order. Anything else is a blatant violation of my rights. The removal of the trailer, tables, buckets, would involve the moving or removal of valuable mineral specimens, which could easily be damaged. Such damage could easily be irreparable.
4. I need the answer to the following questions because there is an obvious lack of understanding between myself and the District Ranger, especially on matters regarding the law and Forest Service authority over my mining claim and activities. How can I make educated decisions as to what is or is not required of me, and what to do about it, if I do not understand the Forest Service’s position? Please show me lawful authority in the answer for every question.
1. Does the Forest Service own the National Forests?
2. If so, where can I obtain a copy of the title?
3. If not, who does own the National Forests?
4. And if not, what authorizes the Forest Service to control mining claims within the bounds of the National Forests?
5. Is a plan of operations as per 36 CFR 228 a contract?
6. If not, what type of instrument is a plan of operations as per 36 CFR 228?
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7. Is a plan of operations per 36 CFR 228 a negotiable or non-negotiable instrument?
8. What is the difference between public land and public domain?
9. If 36 CFR 228.8(h) does not mean that the Forest Service will accept the reclamation plan (which is stated to be a “similar” document to the Forest Service plan of operations in the MOU between the State of Colorado and the Forest Service) as meeting the requirements of the 36 CFR 228 Par A regulations, then what does it mean?
10. Does the Forest Supervisor take the position that the Ranger has the authority to impound valuable and incidental mining equipment and property without any sort of court order or even a hearing?
11. If so, by what authority?
12. And, does the Forest Supervisor take the position that taking my valuable and necessary mining equipment and property without a court order does not materially interfere with mining in violation of the 1955 Common Varieties Act?
13. If so, please explain why that prohibition does not apply to the Ranger or Forest Service in general, in this particular case.
14. Does the Forest Supervisor take the position that the Ranger or the Forest Service would not be committing a crime or trespass according to Colorado law by taking my valuable and reasonably incidental mining equipment and property without a court order?
15. If so, why would the Ranger or the Forest Service be allowed (by law) to do what others may not?
16. Does the Forest Supervisor take the position that it would not be a violation of my right to procedural or substantive due process for the Ranger or the Forest Service to take my valuable mining equipment and other incidental equipment without a court order?
17. If so, please explain. Show authority.
18. What, specifically, are surface resources, as the term pertains to the public lands administered by the USDA Forest Service? Reference laws, statutes.
19. Does the Forest Service have jurisdiction on private property?
20. Does the Forest Supervisor take the position that I do not own the (      ) Mining claim?
Ghost Miner

current appeal doc 8

forest supervisor 8
21. If so, explain. Give authority.
I am a natural person, born in New Mexico and making Colorado my home for many years. I do not own any business or corporation. All so called “personal property” at the site is not related in any way to a business, but is merely my private property. There is no provision of law that states that my mineral related activities constitutes a for profit or non-profit “business”. All arguments I present have to do with the lawful possession, use and control of my private property. If the submission of this appeal document in any way can be construed as a waiver of any of my natural rights, as secured by the constitutions of Colorado or the United States, consider this document a notice of violation. (In that case, the District Ranger is hereby ordered to withdraw his decisions and is expressly prohibited from taking any of my private property without due process of law as per a court order or official warrant as required by constitutional law, and must respond, point by point, to my allegations of wrongdoing, provide full lawful authority for his actions and answer all the questions in this letter within thirty days of receipt of this letter. Failure to respond to all points in the timeframe will be construed as an admission of his wrongdoing and the correctness of my assertions.) I do wish to contest the Ranger’s harmful and unlawful decisions, but I do not wish to waive any rights, or enter into any contract. Due to the extreme and unreasonable time constraints, there may be an additional letter submitted within the 45 day period.

Ghost Miner, I do not have much time right this second, but will give you some cites, look up 18 USC sections 241 and 242, the forest service officers that ARE violating your rights are subject to criminal charges under this, James Edgar's case, Shumway v US, Curtis Nevada Mines V US, The Hon Jim Gibbons 2003 report to congress over the Jarbridge road situation. And go through The Classroom part of this forum. This Forum has educated me to the point that I have been able to stand up for myself and file a 50 million dollar suit against the Forest Service over their illegal actions. Oh, also read Tierney V US, the judge stated that significant disturbance was VOID for vagueness. Big Al

There is also something called a direct and constructive notice, I will look for it this weekend. Bigal
Ghost Miner

Thanks, Big Al.

Direct and Constructive Notice

Mr. (……..), Forest Supervisor
(put which forest here) National Forest
Address here
Subject: Direct and Constructive Notice
Dear (forest supervisor’s name). This is a response to you, and your employee’s harassment and discriminatory actions. I firmly believe you and your subordinates have no authority to manage minerals by denying my rights to surface use and occupancy for mining purposes. Uses by the Unites States,  it’s permittees or licensee’s, shall be such as to not Hinder, Delay, or Materially Interfere with Mineral Related Operations. To do so would be an infringement on my most basic and fundamental Constitutional and Statutory rights. In order to help you and your co-workers stay within the guidelines of the law I am giving you the following fair notice:
This notice constitutes Direct and Constructive Notice to you and all of your subordinates and to your replacement, successors, substitutes or sit-ins. If you under the color of law or usurped police powers violate any of my civil rights, constitutional rights, or legal rights; whether they are contract rights, or refusal of contract rights, or any violation of due process of law, or equal protection under the law available to me as a right, I will sue you for general and punitive damages for any and all that you may ever own. Immunity is not provided to government agents violating clearly established law, where officials who knew or should have known of the constitutionally violative effects of his or her actions.

All rights and due process retained without prejudice  UCC  1-308
Respectfully submitted on this ( ) day of(month) of (year)

Your name, then signature.

United States Criminal Code Title 18, Chapter 13, sections 241 and 242, make it a felony to use or conspire to use the color of law to enforce a code or regulation which results in the violation of a person’s rights. Violators will be prosecuted.

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
Conspiracy Against Rights
This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).
It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law
This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.
This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.
Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.
Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
Title 42 USC  1983 “when two or more persons conspire to use force, intimidation or threat, or to injure a person, and deprives them of the rights and privileges as a United States Citizen, the party injured may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.”
Harlow V Fitzgerald (1982) 457 US 800 102 S. CT. 2727, 73 ed2d, 396, The Supreme Court of the United States stated: “we therefore hold that government officials performing discretionary functions generally are shielded from liability insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” (102 S. CT. at 2739)
“a reasonable competent public official should know the law governing his conduct” (102 S. CT. at 2739)
“by defining the limits of qualified immunity essentially in objective terms, we provide no license to lawless conduct” (102 S. CT. at 2739)
Thus the Supreme Court outlined the contours of the qualified immunity doctrine in Harlow: “we affirm on the basis of qualified immunity alone”.
You as a government official are charged with knowing the law governing your conduct and obeying the law.
You will be sued personally in a civil action for violation of my Statutory or Constitutional Rights. A civil action does not depend on the willingness of a U.S. attorney to prosecute.
                                                        End of Document

You have the option of filing a claim in small claims court where attorneys are not permitted and each party has to represent themselves. This would be the fastest path to a decision, though the maximum amount available varies by state. For example, in Idaho, small claims are limited to $5,000, while California allows you to seek up to $10,000. If you are seeking a larger amount you would need to file your case in Superior Court.

You can bet that an officer, agent, supervisor or director would not welcome the scenario of representing themselves in court against a well-prepared miner who knows his or her rights.

As Americans we are granted certain rights by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As miners, we have additional rights granted under the 1866 Mining Act and the 1872 Mining Law. State mining laws cannot preempt federal mining laws, which Judge Gilbert Ochoa recently confirmed in San Bernardino Superior Court in California in the consolidated suction gold dredging case. However, law enforcement officers with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife continue to harass suction gold dredgers, issuing citations and/or confiscating equipment. Miners have used Direct and Constructive Notice in a few instances when the actions of a government employee or agent have violated the miner’s rights. Clark Pearson, northern director for Public Lands for the People (PLP), is one such miner.

Back in 1999, Pearson was facing continued harassment from Forest Service personnel even though his mining operation complied with current laws and regulations at the time. Pearson sent a Direct and Constructive Notice to the Forest Supervisor of the Plumas National Forest at that time, and followed up with a lawsuit with the assistance of PLP. This effectively ended the harassment.

Pearson was nice enough to provide us (California mining journal, June 2015 issue) with a copy of the Notice he sent back in 1999, and we are providing a copy of that Notice here for those who might wish to use it as a template to adapt to their own circumstances. (Pearson’s signature and contact information have been removed for obvious reasons.)

Imagine if each suction gold dredger in California, Idaho, Oregon or Washington sent a Direct and Constructive Notice to the appropriate government official. I believe it is past time to consider this as an option.

I’m not an attorney, but common sense tells me that if you decide to use this tool it would be in your best interest to have your Notice reviewed by a competent attorney and to serve the individual through registered mail or via a process server to establish proof of service.

Direct and Constructive Notice is not a piece of paper that allows you to act like an idiot. Even if you have served the appropriate individual with a Notice, there is a decent chance his or her subordinates won’t be aware of it right away.

Common sense also dictates—in the case of suction gold dredging in California—to carry copies of Judge Ochoa’s decision with you if you are dredging so you can respectfully offer one to any law enforcement officer you might encounter. If you have already served a government employee or official with a Direct and Constructive Notice it would be prudent to also present a copy of that Notice.

You still need to be courteous and respectful—your vindication will come when you get to the civil suit.

And remember that signing a citation is only a promise to appear and not an admission of guilt. In my home state of California, persons who refuse to sign a citation are required to be taken before a magistrate, so a miner who could have been on his way home with a court date could suddenly find himself behind bars until the next court day.

It’s quite sad that we’ve come to this juncture, where we need to sue government officials or agents personally to maintain our rights. But in some cases there is no other way to retain those rights.

Other than something like BigAl's idea, which would be my first choice, I'd say you cannot win dealing in the USFS' game. They have unlimited funds and manpower, and guns to back it up. These people are clearly intent on shutting you down, rules and law be damned. You might go to the local press, if there is one in your area worthy of the name. Also consider calling the Oath Keepers organization. They came and stood up for a miner here in Montana, near Lincoln. Bad PR and a slew of armed friends is one way to keep them wary of trampling on your rights.
Ghost Miner

Thank you, Wallrat. I sent an FOIA request yesterday. I requested the oaths of office, qualifications, reason for hiring, bond paperworwork, etc. for the rangers and supervisors involved in these shenanagins. Some of the things they said recently don't match with my records. They FS has altered documents on me before, but they got caught. It is hard to believe how far they will go. I mean, how is it any skin off the ranger's back to "allow" me to do what it is in my rights to do? Why would they resort to such dirty tactics instead of just saying, "He is within the law, there's nothing we can do." Why on earth would they be willing to commit crimes against miners. Oh yeah, I know why. Because they are almost never held accountable or punished for their transgressions, so they think they can get away with murder. It's a shame.

Well, I figure it's because they are ecological collectivists, or better yet Watermelons (green on the outside, red inside). Therefore they think you need to stop raping Mother Nature for the good of all mankind. The benefits one person derives doesn't measure up to the costs all of society must bear for letting you mine. That trumps all your supposed rights. Do it for the children.  

 Like most of our system, it has been taken over by overt Socialists, whether they know it or not.  
 I would consider going down to introduce myself to the local Sheriff and telling him the whole story with documentation. If this should escalate, which is always possible, it's better to have him know the whole story.  He is the highest  LEO in any county, and could be a good asset. Forum Index -> COURTS & CASE LAW
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