3/24/2010 10:54:00 AM Prospectors Club members clean up after other 'panners'
Members of the Prescott Valley Gold Prospectors Association of America and volunteers stand in front of the trash - including a lawnmower - they hauled out of Lynx Creek near Fain Lake earlier this month.
Woody Wampler and Bobby Shearon pan for gold in Lynx Creek near Fain Lake. They and nearly 30 volunteers helped fill in holes left by novice prospectors and picked up trash in the area.
When members of the Prescott Valley Gold Prospectors Association of America noticed a plethora of holes left behind by novice gold hunters in Lynx Creek near Fain Park, they decided to defend the reputation of responsible prospectors and fill in the holes.
Nearly 30 volunteers gathered this past weekend to pick up trash and take care of the large hollows in the banks of Lynx Creek.
The recent heavy rains washed a great deal of trash into the stream, including a lawnmower, said GPAA member Woody Wampler.
"A guy told me when that water came back from that big rain, it was 10 feet deep there. The guy was upriver by a bridge where the shed was up there, and he said the water washed that whole shed off and the lawnmower and everything with it," Wampler said.
Some of the trash included pieces of 4 x 8 particle board from the shed. The volunteers plan to bring in pickup trucks to help haul out the bulkier trash.
Wampler said they also plan to adopt Fain Park to patrol and continue their clean up efforts.
"We want to make it nice for everybody," he said.
Prospectors often dig into the banks of streams in search of gold or other precious minerals. Responsible prospectors, however, replace the dirt and rocks afterwards. Not doing so creates unsightly stream banks and can be dangerous for hikers and children.
Wampler and Bobby Shearon, GPAA claims coordinator, have organized a picnic for Sunday, March 28, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. They will have panning and metal detecting demonstrations, a panning competition, and games for the kids. All are welcome to join, and can bring a dish to share at the picnic.
Nolan Akin, vice president of the Prescott Valley GPAA chapter, said the nationwide organization has claims all over the U.S.
"As a member, one would have access to those claims. There are no dues to be a member of the Prescott Valley Prospectors, but we do require that an interested party be a member of the GPAA. The reason for that is because many of our outings and recommendations of where to go would be based on our knowledge of the claims owned by the GPAA," Akin said.
As the newly-formed Prescott Valley chapter grows, he said the club will purchase claims of its own.
"Many of our members have been doing it (prospecting) for a very long time - some longer than I have been alive. I would have to say that I may never be rich on the gold I find here in Arizona, but the friendships that I have made are far more valuable and will last much longer."