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Illegal Mining on Public Lands

Radical miners have threatened violence, blocked access to public lands, and have been conducting illegal mining in ecologically sensitive areas without permits or authorization. This needs to be taken seriously by our state leadership.

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Mining stripRemember when Clifford Tracy illegally mined Forest Service lands in 2009, clearcutting a riparian reserve for Sucker Creek, excavating soils down to bedrock, diverting cold-water tributaries and releasing dirty water into Coho salmon habitat? The end result of his mining frenzy: Taxpayers were hit with a $29,000 clean-up tab and Mr. Tracy walked away with the gold. (1)(2)


He's at it again. According to a federal affidavit, in early June of 2011 Mr. Tracy brought in heavy equipment and started extensive mining of the Galice Creek riparian reserve on BLM lands. He began streamside logging and mining of these public lands without authorization from the BLM and without any clean water act permits. Once he started mining, BLM geologists documented a sediment plume fouling the Coho salmon-bearing creek for over a mile and a half. (3)(4)(5)

Click here to see the imacts of illegal gold mining in southwest Oregon here.

Unfortunately, Mr. Tracy's actions are not occurring in isolation. Rather, he is receiving encouragement and guidance from the Southwest Oregon Mining Association. This Mining Association is so extreme that they rallied to the defense of convicted miner Eugene Spears in his trial for shooting an unarmed man who was recreating on a Forest Service road "too near" to his federal mining claim. (6)

Tracy and Spears are only examples of miners who believe they are above the law. Threatening violence, limiting public access to public lands, and conducting unpermitted heavy mining in important habitat for endangered salmon, illegal miners are threatening our streams and fish, and are posing a risk to recreation. 

We're seeing a dramatic increase in mining proposals in southwest Oregon. Many of the new proposals are from speculators hoping to make a quick buck off of public lands by stripping the wealth from streamside public lands that belong to all of us. That’s why we wanted to write you this special alert. It’s important that you learn about this issue and take action.

Here is what you can do: 

Know what's Going On
Watch this short and informative KS Wild slideshow on Illegal Mining on Public Lands and learn about what's going on in your forest.

Take Action
Together, we can urge the Governor Kitzhaber and Attorney General John Kroger to take this issue seriously and stand with us to protect public lands. Click here to take action. 

Act Now and Take a Stand Against Illegal Mining!