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WelcomeStriking it rich! Finding the mother lode! 'Tis the stuff of miners' dreams. Unlike professional gold seekers, recreational gold panners benefit mostly from the adventure. The entire family can share in the fun of prospecting and gold panning.
In this booklet, we explain basic gold panning techniques, how to find gold, discuss mining rights and guidelines, and identify areas available for recreational panning on the Chugach National Forest portion of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
Recreational gold panning on lands withdrawn from mineral entry is not a mining activity--it is a privilege. Be aware that panning, sluicing, and suction dredging can adversely affect water quality, thereby impacting vegetation, fish, wildlife, and ultimately people.
During the process of separating soil from minerals, silt may be washed into streams, creating turbid water. Fish, fish eggs, and the aquatic insects have difficulty living in heavily silted water because of its reduced oxygen supply.
Avoid washing soil and vegetation into streams, and do not dig in stream banks. This increases silt in the stream and is also dangerous. Many banks are unstable and can slide without warning.
To reduce silt, dig only in active stream gravels. Return rocks or boulders moved during your efforts to their original positions. Aquatic insects, an important food source for salmon, often make their homes under these rocks. A little care will help ensure a healthy water ecosystem for both miners and anglers.
Good luck and good prospecting!
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