Colorado Prospectors Uniting, Justice Needed
Colorado Prospectors Uniting, Justice Needed
Dec 15 2003, 01:04 PM
Joined: 15-December 03
Member No.: 52
:D Hello everyone. I found out about this forum from the owners of ColoradoProspector.com. I own a mining claim in Colorado in the Crystal Peak area. I have supported myself from this claim for the past five years, despite the Forest Service's best attempts to run me out of business and of my claim. Though I am a responsible miner who comes with endorsements from the Colorado School of Mines, numerous teachers and professors, numerous other claim holders in the Crystal Peak area and other parts of Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico, and numerous residents in the Crystal Peak area. Despite my numerous endorsements and my obviously environmentally responsible manner of prospecting on my claim, the Forest Service insists that I am a menace and has attempted to drive me off my claim and out of business for the past five years. Every attempt becomes more and more harmful to my operations, and to all of our abilities to carry out the intent of the 1872 mining law. In the course of the last five years I've had the Forest Service illegally modify my plan of operations without my participation (in order to deny me my right to occupy my claim in accordance of the 1872 mining law, as amended), put me in handcuffs during inspections of my claim (the first time I was quoting the Shumway opinion from the 9th circuit, and they told me that they would not release me until I shut up, denying me my right to free speech, and the second time I asked an officer to accompany me to my travel trailer to get my camera so that I could document those present for the inspection. When they refused to accompany me to get the camera, I started walking in the direction of my trailer, at which point three officers came after me, tackled me, pulled my thumb and shoulder out of joint, pepper sprayed my dog, and put me in handcuffs. Once again they told me to shut up, because I was of course being quite vocal about my rights. Present for this transgression was Dr. Douglas Abraham, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Oxford universities in England. When Dr. Abraham also became vocal and indignant, they demanded his ID. When they found out who he was, they promptly released me and went away. Neither time was I arrested or ticketed, though I insisted, angrily, that they do one or the other.), denied me the ability to use mechanized equipment on my claim by making it impossible to comply with unreasonable amendments, forced me to remove my workshop and storage facility without proper due process (FSM 2818), forced me to fill in currently active digs without proper due process (as prescribed at 36 CFR 228), produced a Surface Use Determination Report which denied me rights which are currently being excercised by others in the area (one such individual's SUD was prepared 3 months before mine, and is directly contradictory to mine, though it is for a very similar operation), and released an Environmental Assessment to the public which declares me to be out of compliance with State law (the Forest Service contends that I need to have a mining permit from the State. This is preposterous, as my Notice of Intent to Conduct Prospecting, and concurrent reclamation bond-$2000-was deemed adequate by the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology on October 1st, 2003. Nothing about my operation has changed since then, except that I was forced to remove my storage and processing facility. If I wasn't in compliance with the state, I'm quite sure they would have let me know following the inspection on October 1st.) and declared that I had refused to place a bond with the Forest Service (at the supposed time that I refused to place the bond the Forest Service had not even asked for one!). This is an obvious illegal attempt to build public sentiment against me. Also, in the EA, the Forest Service declares that my bond amount would be over $20,000 for an operation which would only allow me to have necessary equipment and storage facilities on site for 60 days out of the year, would not allow me to use the spring located on my claim for preliminary rinsing of minerals (rinsing of these pematite specimen minerals does not release anything toxic into the environment, and the FS agrees, yet they still don't want me to use the spring), and includes the use of a backhoe or excavator to cause less than 1 acre of disturbance at any given time (again, such excavation does not release anything toxic into the environment, and the FS states that, even without mitigation, the operation will have negligible affects on surface resources and water quality).
Dec 15 2003, 02:29 PM
Joined: 15-December 03
Member No.: 52
;) Whoops, I'm not all that good with computers.
Anyway, I would be overjoyed to be a part of the MRT and help in any way I can, though at the moment I am the one who needs the help! I am currently charged with criminal violations of 36CFR261. Two charges are for use and occupancy of the forest without special use authorization when such authorization is required for maintaining identifying signage (in the SUD the examiner called them identifying claim markers) around the immediate area of operations on my claim and having my travel trailer on site for storage of minerals and equipment, processing, display of minerals for marketing and investment purposes, and occasional overnight stays (once again, in the SUD the examiner determined it was resonably incident to have the trailer on site for those purposes, but I guess the District Ranger thinks she knows better than the examiner). I am also charged with maintaining a fence aroun the immediate area of operations for public safety and security of my operations (the examiner determined that it is reasonably incident for a claimant to maintain such a fence around the immediate area of operations for public safety and security of my operations. In fact the fence was the only way that he determined that I was complying with my responsiblity to protect the public from dangerous conditions and equipment and the fence was the only concession he made to allow me security of my operations, but it seems that the District Ranger knows better on this one, too). Though numerous others are prospecting or mining in the Crystal Peak area with excavating equipment, none of them have been require to place such an unreasonable bond, though some of them have larger disturbances than my proposal. One such person is allowed to disturb up to 3 acres, only has a $6,000 bond (the state requires $2,000 per acre, and I guess the FS decided he didn't need more than what the state required for his operation, though for my operation the FS seems to have decided that they need ten times the amount the state requires!), operates less than one mile from me, and is searching for the very same type of minerals that I am.
Currently, there has been an indefinite continuance to the trial, which was scheduled for December 10th,2003, based on the outcome of the decision on my plan of operations, which, by the way, was submitted October 3, 2002 (seems awful long to approve a plan for an extremely small-scale operation, doesn't it?). The EA is available at the Fairplay Ranger District, 320 HWY 285, P.O. Box 219, Fairplay, Colorado 80440 and public comments are being accepted until January 12, 2004, I believe. Anyone who does not comment in this period is not eligible to appeal the decision, which decision should be made by February 12th, 2004. I would be extremely grateful for any comments submitted by like minded mineral enthusiasts, or just anyone interested in public processes and justice. If they are allowed to get away with this stuff in my case, you're next! And once they've set precedent, it will be that much easier for them. Please help me and help us all by commenting!
It is also of great importance that everyone knows that the two adjacent claim owners to me have also been brought up on similar charges. One claim holder has been told, by the FS, that he may not even dig with a pick and shovel on his claim unless he posts a $2000 bond! Currently he cannot afford the bond and is being, I believe, prevented from undertaking legitimate prospecting/mining operations, and caused an undue hardship. THIS IS SERIOUS!
Though I have witten a longer entry than anyone else in this forum yet, I have not told you one-hundreth of the story! I, and my associates and friends, have done an enormous amount of research on mining law, and have extensive knowledge of mining law, but we always need more case law! We are not anti-government. We only wish to excercise our statutory rights, and to hold those in the government who would steal those rights from us accountable! As I said, we have extensive knowledge, and would be happy to share it with anyone interested in learning. A friend of mine has written up my story using FS documents and files, court transcripts, and the knowledge that can only be obtained by being there. This document is 26 pages long and only getting longer so I won't post it, but I would be happy to provide anyone interested with a copy. This document has already been presenteed to numerous government officials, two of which (Representative Joel Hefley and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell) have already initiated congressional inquiries into my situation, but I feel we still need public support in this. After all, congressmen are much more concerned with the will of the people as opposed to the will of me. We need to speak out as a group and show that we are strong, and will not be driven to extinction! We, the small miners and prospectors of America, are the endangered species! If I can be of any assistance, don't hesitate to ask, and please, if you can help me in any way, don't hesitate to do so.
I do not have internet service myself, so please be patient. I do check E-mails and I will check this forum at least once a week. If you need to contact me immediately, tell Mr. and Mrs. CP.
You can consider me a very serious and sincere member of the Miner's Response Team. We have been waiting for this. Thank you for getting it started!
Dec 15 2003, 05:41 PM
Joined: 28-October 03
From: The 45th Parallel in Oregon
Member No.: 16
Man what a mess, you had me laughing on the floor with your sentence about hollering "Shumway"...."Shumway"... I could just picture them cringing in their boots and trying to shut you up. but I am sorry that you had to go through that.
I need the specific charges 36cfr260.?? that you are charged with, I believe it is 36CFR261.10 for staying on your claim...The fence is not an issue as it pertains to the safety of the public.
Sec. 261.10 Occupancy and use.
The following are prohibited:
(a.) Constructing, placing, or maintaining any kind of road, trail,
structure, fence, enclosure, communication equipment, or other
improvement on National Forest system land or facilities without a
special-use authorization, contract, or approved operating plan.
(b.) Taking possession of, occupying, or otherwise using National
Forest System lands for residential purposes without a special-use
authorization, or as otherwise authorized by Federal law or regulation.
I've had the Forest Service illegally modify my plan of operations without my participation
Did you sign it after the changes were made?
forced me to remove my workshop and storage facility without proper due process FSM 2818
FSM is the latest attempt to get you out of the woods, by declaring you don't need equipment nor gaurds to prohibit theft
Procedures to eliminate uses of the surface where such uses are
not reasonably necessary or where the claimant is not actually
involved in authentic minerals-related activities are in FSM
2818. Such use is an encroachment upon National Forest System
What they are trying to do is get your Claim deemed Null and Void, Have they sought a trespass 5500-U against you?
concurrent reclamation bond-$2000-was deemed adequate by the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology on October 1st, 2003
Have you purchased this bond as required by the State?
Though I have witten a longer entry than anyone else in this forum yet, I have not told you one-hundreth of the story! I, and my associates and friends, have done an enormous amount of research on mining law, and have extensive knowledge of mining law, but we always need more case law! We are not anti-government. We only wish to excercise our statutory rights, and to hold those in the government who would steal those rights from us accountable!
Documentation of Indifferences must be shown, Documenting these acts by Forest Service is Helpful and complying with the Bond is a forward step.
The only way you are going to win this is to follow the written laws and stated in USA vs Shumway:
ADMINSTRATIVE AGENCIES LACK AUTHORITY EFFECTIVELY TO REPEAL THE STATUTE BY REGULATIONS and The locators of all mining locations...so long as they comply with the laws....shall have the EXCLUSIVE right of possession and enjoyment of ALL surface located within the lines of their location
I can also HIGHLY recommennd that you get involved with these people who are located near you.
Pacific States legal Foundation
The EA is available at the Fairplay Ranger District, 320 HWY 285, P.O. Box 219, Fairplay, Colorado 80440 and public comments are being accepted until January 12, 2004, I believe. Anyone who does not comment in this period is not eligible to appeal the decision, which decision should be made by February 12th, 2004. I would be extremely grateful for any comments submitted by like minded mineral enthusiasts, or just anyone interested in public processes and justice. If they are allowed to get away with this stuff in my case, you're next! And once they've set precedent, it will be that much easier for them. Please help me and help us all by commenting!
I will spread the word.....and lets see how much help the MRT can come up with.
Dec 16 2003, 02:16 AM
Joined: 15-December 03
Member No.: 51
B) Greetings to all, I am delighted to see this site. I heard about this forum from a friend and partner, who also posted a reply here, so this may sound a little repetitive. The kid and I have worked together for the past five years and known each other since highschool.
I have lived in either Teller or Park counties for the last five years. I have had to look for work elsewhere in able to support myself and my family. Although I have no doubt I would be able to support my family on what I could make off of my claim, If I had been given the oportunity to do so. Unreasonable mitigation efforts on the part of the Forest Service, Fairplay District, have all but smashed any hopes of being able to work my claim under the General Mining Laws of 1872 as ammended. Not to mention the Forest service enabling Statutes to regulate surface resources on mining claims found at 36 CFR 228A have all but been thrown in the trash next to the District Rangers desk. Diregarded with reckless abandon. When I first filed a plan of operations with the forest service( as is required for any operation that may cause significant surface resource disturbance) in 1999 I was told the only real disturbance is a 13ft travel trailer kept on site for numerous reasons. At the time the operation was only a pick and shovel operation and the only reason, Iwas told, that i even need a plan of operations was to cover for the exstensive damage a 13ft travel trailer would cause to the surface resources. The forest service made severe mitigation restrictions on this plan with the excuse that a northern goshawk lived somewhere nearby, but not on the claim. Some examples of this are not being able to use mechinized equipment anywhere on the claim from april 1st-October 31st. If the bird comes back I have been told not only no mechinized equipment but no digging at all. The plan was proposed for a duration of 10 years, but according to the forest service it had to be reviewed and approved every year. There are many more , but for sake of length of this entry I will omit them. I will give one more example; The plans modifications said the plan had been approved for six months and that a new or revised plan must be subbmitted, even though the operation was not to be changed from what was approved after the six month period. Iwill give the forest service credit, at that time the bond to be placed for the operation was $ 1827.00. A drop in the bucket compared to what they recently asked the kid to post, at least a $20,000.00 bond for the same activities. :(
I also have placed a bond with State of Colorado, Division of Minerals and Geology. I have recieved approval on a Notice of Intent, placed the appropriate bond and was given the go ahead to begin my prospecting operations. So thats exactly what I did. Now the bond from the State guaranteed the reclamation of the site if I was to bail out on reclamation. It also made them responible for on site inspections, which is done regularly. The last inspection from the State was in October of 2003. Now what gave me the idea that I could operate with only permission from the State. It's a little known law found at 36 CFR 228.8h, please read this very carefully and if possible give any ideas you might have on this. 36CFR 228.8h states: " Certification or other approval issued by State agencies or other Federal agencies of compliance with laws and regulations relating to mining operations will be accepted as compliance with similar or parallel requirements of these regulations." I had also talked with other claimants in the area who had filed with the State and was told by the forest service that the State was now responible for thier operation and heard nothing more from them for several years. After a couple of days of deliberation I decided I was legaly Able to operate under my Notice of Intent from the State. All operations, trailer,fences signs and roads are all covered under the bond from the State.
This is where the legal battle begins. From the start of this operation up to present I have been charged with 10 36 CFR 261 regulations. I am currently charged with 2( these being maintaining the trailer and maintaining fences and signs). In April of 2004 my latest attempt to gain a plan of operations will be 2 years old. Now for those who have read the 36CFR 228A reguations know this is no where near the time limits set forth for approval of the operating plan. For those who havent this should be required reading for anyone wishing or already mining or prospecting on national forest. 36CFR 228 A sets forth in total the power of the forest service to regulate surface resources on a mining claim. The District Ranger does not have the authority to deny any plan of operations. For anybody interested in reading these regulations you can find them at findlaw.com. Especially important to understand is the language of these regulations. In 36CFR 228.5 gives the 5 options the District Ranger may use for any given plan. Now the important part is in between each of these options is the word or. The word or in between each option gives the indication that one of the five options may be chosen, once that is done the district ranger must approve the plan. The district ranger does not have the option to choose one then another and another and so on. On my plan of operations the district ranger had a maximum of 90 days to approve. As I said earlier I have had a plan submitted for nearly 2 years. I even had the plan submiited before the new charges were filed. The forest service stated policy is to foster and encourage mining and mineral development. Forest service manual 2817 also states that the forest service cannot file criminal charges until they have made resonable attempts to secure an operating plan. Does withholding approval of a operating plan for 2 years and then filing criminal charges sound like an attempt at either one of these directives. It was also attempted to throw me in handcuffs upon an unnotified inspection from the forest service, but I refused to be put in cuffs and the Park county sheriff did not feel it necassary to press the issue, although his eyes told me under different circumstances I would be in some trouble. I did this because I either wanted to charged with a crime or arrested or both. I was not going to put in cuffs at the whim of a forest service employee. Forest service Law enforcement personal, being present for site inspections have been known to fire their guns while present on the claim or leaving the claim. I have had mining property seized by the forest service without due process of the law. I have had vandalism destroy $10,000 worth of specimens in the middle of January within days of a forest service inspection. In discovery I have recived from the forest service, during the process of several court cases, I found this quote in a preliminary investigation report: ".... He then began to argue with me, and quoted an OLD OBSCURE MINING LAW that he believed allowed him to stay on National Forest indefinitely. I found this interesting due to the fact that he had spoken to Tim Garcia a Forest Service Mineral Specialist on several occasions and Mr. Garcia had made it clear to Mr. Uecker that the OLD MINING LAW DID NOT APPLY". Now which old obscure mining law was I quoting that day? None other than the General Mining Laws of 1872 as ammended! According to numerous forest service officials I have no rights under these laws! I had also mailed on several occasions to the District Ranger the case of USA v. SHUMWAY and was told it had no affect on their decision making. This I belive is the very heart of the problem: Geting the forest service to admit your and my rights under any of the current mining laws.
I could go on like this for a very long time, but i have outlined some of the basic but very serious problems with actions of the forest service. In writing at this forum I offer any help I can possibly give and welcome any ideas, thoughts or support from any of you out there. I offer any time I might have to spend at somebodys court appearances or my opinion or knowledge on any of the mining laws. I feel that it is so important that all the small miners from Colorado and around the country stand and be heard as one voice. We need to shout to the hard of hearing legislators in Washington that we are no longer going to take this abusive behavior from these agencies. We need to let them all know that we vote and were watching their every vote on these matters. I appreciate the oportunity to tell even just a fraction of my story and desperately need any help anyone has to offer. I will give a mailing address and an e-mail address.
P.O Box 407 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake George, CO
Dec 17 2003, 10:39 AM
Joined: 28-October 03
From: The 45th Parallel in Oregon
Member No.: 16
The KID & Jesse,
Give us an Idea of just what you would like stated in a Comment Letter, and I can draft up additional info for others to "just sign their name too" and then send it in.
Provide Addresses to send it to ( Your Legislative Reps & Senate Reps )
give us something to work with as we all have different Rules and Regs in every state, so help us to help you.
P.S. Give us some names of the Officials involved in the Harassment, so a background check can be done showing their involvement with Green Agencies...Proving a Conflict of Interest....
Dec 18 2003, 08:45 PM
Joined: 28-November 03
Member No.: 24
Hey all, Matt in Oregon and the Kid in Colorado prove to me that the most important piece of prospecting/mining equipment you can have is a camera! It seems as our Republic slowly decays into an expensive version of a third world totalitarian state, the neo-commisars still fear the camera!
I think (as a non-lawyer, citizen) a pocket tape recorder and a request for all communication in writing should be Standard Operating Procedure when dealing with Govt. "Public Servants"! A witness would aslo be invaluable and a big mean dog wouldn't hurt either! These people work FOR us and some judges still remember this fact! QJ
Dec 20 2003, 01:03 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
Got The Kids story, EA and his response on the puter but it is gonna be several posts.
His story will be this and the next 2 posts.....
followed by the EA which will be 8 posts......
ending with the response letter in one post.......
Sorry but you will understand as you read, the EA must be veiwed in it's entirety in order for the comments to be valid.
This topic will be locked at that point and responses will have a thread of their own. ;)
The Dreamtime saga begins.......... <_<
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Forest Service Welcome
A Time for Celebration
A Change of Heart
A Proposed Modification
The Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology
A Reasonable Attempt to Secure an Operating Plan?
Ms. Megen Kabele
A Visit with Bob Brown
A Notice of Non-Compliance
Mr. George Quist
Another Notice of Non-Compliance
Cuff Him, It's Inspection Time
The United States v. Quentin H. Good
The Hayman Fire
Mrs. Lois Van Hoover- A New Plan
The Freedom of Information Act
Processing the Plan
A Meeting of the Mines
Mr. Walter Rubeck
The NEPA Process
The Public Comments
The Surface Use Determination
The Waiting Game
Breaking the Chain of Command
I am writing you this letter because I am deeply concerned with activities
that have been conducted and decisions that are currently being made by
certain individuals working in the offices of the USDA Forest Service. I
feel that what I have witnessed is, in fact, absolute violation of at least
one individual’s rights, and a denial of that person’s right to
administrative appeals, through premeditated obfuscation of recorded facts.
It is my hope that this underlying premise will make itself apparent as I
describe to you these facts, and that you will somehow be able to help me
resolve some of my troubles.
Quentin Good, a friend of mine, is the owner and operator of an un-patented
mining claim located within the Pike National Forest in the jurisdiction of
the South Park Ranger District near Lake George, Colorado. This area is
world-renowned for its wonderful rare pegmatite minerals, and the mining
history of the area extends over a century. You may be familiar with the
area from last year’s news reports of the Hayman Fire. This was within the
same jurisdiction. Quentin staked his “Dreamtime” mining claim in December
of 1998 and has been working to develop the mineral resources at the site as
his full time occupation ever since. The General Mining Law of 1872 conveys
the right to locate and extract valuable mineral deposits on valid mining
claims. This law also conveys the statutory right of claimholders to occupy
public lands for mining purposes and to patent and purchase those lands. For
the last several years, there has been a moratorium on the processing of
patent applications, and therefore it is not possible for mining claimants
to patent their claims at this time. If the moratorium was not in place, I
believe that my friend would not be in the position he is in, because he
would already have a patent.
Because the Dreamtime claim is located within National Forest boundaries,
the claimant is subject to Forest Service regulations as prescribed at 36
CFR 228. In addition, the mining must be in accordance with applicable State
and local laws. These laws are generally designed to ensure that any mining
activities that are likely to cause a “significant disturbance” to surface
resources are carefully scrutinized in order to reduce potential adverse
environmental impacts caused by the operation, and that the proper bonding
is received to reclaim abandoned projects. Typically, the miner is required
to submit an operating plan outlining the activities he is proposing, which
will then be reviewed by the appropriate agency and either be approved as it
is written, or be approved with mitigation suggestions which are meant to
address environmental concerns. If the claim is located within BLM, then
this agency would process the operating plan. If the claim is located within
the National Forest, it is the responsibility of the District Ranger to
process and approve the plan.
When Quentin first arrived at the claim site to begin work in late 1998, he
had little knowledge of the intricacies of mining law. He was aware of the
fundamentals outlined in the General Mining Law of 1872 and knew that he had
a right to work his claim as his full-time occupation. He brought in a small
travel trailer to use as his base of operations and began digging at the
site. He had filed all of his location paperwork with the proper agency and
staked his claim according to State guidelines and procedures and therefore
believed that he was legally prepared to begin mining.
2. A FOREST SERVICE WELCOME
Six days after his arrival and while digging at the site, Quentin and his
long time friend, Jason Uecker, also a neighboring claimant were confronted
by Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Charles Dunfee. “What the hell do
you think you’re doing?” were the words Mr. Dunfee introduced himself with.
Quentin explained that he was the owner of the mining claim they were
working on. Mr. Dunfee informed Quentin that he and his partner were “mining
illegally” and needed to submit an operating plan for their pick and shovel
activities. Quentin and Jason describe this initial incident with Mr. Dunfee
in their personal records, and Quentin later wrote the District concerning
Mr. Dunfee’s conduct.
Although he did not believe his operations were likely to cause a
significant disturbance to surface resources at that time, as prospecting
seldom results in undue degradation, Quentin had no intention of “mining
illegally” so he promptly submitted an operating plan as Mr. Dunfee
demanded. On Janaury 16, 1999, he delivered his proposal in person to the
South Park Ranger District office in Fairplay where he briefly discussed the
occupancy of his mining claim with Barbara Heidel, who was responsible for
processing operating plans for the District Ranger. She told Quentin that
his occupancy would never be approved which caused him some distress, as his
family home, where he previously lived was in Northglenn, a more than
two-hour trip one-way from the site. How would he be able to mine full-time
if he had to drive up to 5 hours a day to and from the site?
Quentin briefly worked at a local restaurant in Lake George and lived at the
trailer park in town prior to the staking of his claim. Because he wanted to
work the claim full-time and anticipated the great amount of time that he
would need to devote to developing the site for mineral production, he
decided to leave his job at the restaurant to pursue his career interest. He
soon realized that security and efficiency of operations were serious
concerns, and decided it would not be feasible to operate out of the trailer
park. With respect to the security issues, the only economical option for
him was to remain at the site himself, as he could not afford to hire a
The plan Quentin submitted included the placement of his travel trailer on
site, and was limited to pick and shovel (hand-digging) activities that
were not expected to cause a significant disturbance to surface resources.
Although Quentin did not know it at the time, the District Ranger has 30
days to respond to operating plan submissions. However, due to some
undefined transitional period within the offices of the Fairplay District,
Quentin’s plan was “lost” in the shuffle. In the interim, Mr. Dunfee made
occasional contact with Quentin to tell him to remove his trailer and to
stop mining. Because the Forest Service had not acted on his proposed
operating plan, Quentin questioned where Mr. Dunfee derived his authority to
demand that the trailer be removed. He asked why he was not being given a
ticket or something if he did not have the right to mine his claim and was
there illegally. Mr. Dunfee was not very informative.
3. A TIME FOR CELEBRATION
Because he was ready to begin some reclamation activities at the site,
Quentin had written a letter to the District requesting information
concerning the reseeding of mining sites. District Ranger Donald Cosby
replied to his request on April 16, 1999. In the letter Mr. Cosby makes the
statement “Wishing you a successful year on your mining claim.” This seemed
to be an encouraging sign from the Forest Service. Less than a month later,
Mr. Cosby sent Quentin another letter. Finally, the Forest Service had
reviewed his operating plan. He stated “Because your operations do not
involve any significant manipulation of surface resources, a Plan of
Operations will not be required but we will use your submitted plan of
operation in lieu of a Notice of Intent.” Enclosed was a copy of the plan
Quentin submitted, approved and signed by Mr. Cosby on May 13, 1999. On the
form there is a space for the “Forest Service evaluation of plan of
operations” which contained the statement, “Any campers or trailers will be
removed from the area when not actively exploring, locating or identifying
any part of the claim.”
This was truly something for Quentin to celebrate. On June 2, 1999 he signed
the operating plan. He finally had Forest Service approval for his
operations and could tell Mr. Dunfee to leave him be. Quentin told many
friends and fellow miners about his aspiring future as a gem miner, as he
proudly showed them his operations and reclamation work.
4. A CHANGE OF HEART
Tim Garcia, who had recovered Quentin’s lost file on May 6, 1999, was in
Barbara Heidel’s position, responsible for processing operating plans for
the District Ranger. Mr. Dunfee contacted Mr. Garcia. He had concerns that
the plan was not “enforceable” as written and suggested to Mr. Garcia that a
statement be added to the end of the “Forest Service evaluation of plan of
operations” approved by the District Ranger. Mr. Garcia agreed to make the
alteration and submitted it to Mr. Cosby for an authorized signature. On
June 5, 1999, Mr. Cosby signed the final page of another operating plan form
and replaced the original page in the administrative file with the modified
version. The alteration was the addition of the sentence “ Trailer is not
authorized and is subject to all forest occupancy & use restrictions and
orders,” to the end of the overall evaluation. Also in this version the
Forest service stated that the reclamation bond amount would be determined.
According to 36 CFR 228.4e, the District Ranger may request a modification
of an operating plan from the claimant in order to mitigate for unforeseen
circumstances. These circumstances are generally related to surface
disturbance, and are not related to enforcement activities. Nowhere in the
regulations is the District Ranger given the authority to modify the plan
himself. Nor is this authority given to any Forest Service official. It is
the responsibility of the claimant to furnish an operating plan that
describes all aspects of the operation he is proposing so that the Forest
Service can determine what mitigation measures may be required. When the
District Ranger decides that a modification is necessary, he is supposed to
notify the claimant in writing of his decision and request a modification
from the claimant.
In Baker v. the USDA (Civ. No. 94-0160-E-BLW, Idaho, 1996) Judge Winmill
confirms in his Memorandum Decision and Order that, "In fact, it appears
that 36 CFR 228.4(e) contains a well-defined procedure for modifying an
approved Plan of Operation, and those procedures were not followed by the
Forest Service in this case. Section 228.4(e) provides that if, after a
Plan is approved, the Forest Service discovers 'unforeseen significant
disturbance of surface resources', the Forest Service "may ask the operator
to furnish a proposed modification of the Plan.' If the operator refuses,
the Forest service may require the operator to furnish a modified plan, but
only if the Forest Service first considers: '(1) Whether all reasonable
measures were taken by the (Forest Service) to predict the environmental
impacts of the proposed operations prior to approving the operating plan;
(2) Whether the disturbance is or probably will be of such significance as
to require modification of the operating plan in order to meet requirements
for environmental protection specified in 228.8 and (3) Whether the
disturbance can be minimized using reasonable means.' Even when these three
findings have been made, the operator may continue his mining activity
'unlessthe (Forest Service) determines that the operations are unnecessarily
or unreasonably causing irreparable injury, loss or damage to surface
resources and advises the operator of those measures needed to avoid such
damage... It is a well established rule that an agency is bound to follow
the regulations it issues. See, United States v. Nixon, 418 US 683 (1974); 1
Davis & Pierce, Administrative Law treatise, 6.5 at p. 251 (3rd Ed. 1994)
('The idea that legislative rules are binding on the issuing agency is
deeply embedded'). Those under the agency's jurisdiction have a right to
insist that the agency adhere to its own rules. See, City of Santa Clara v.
Andrus, 572 F.2d 660 at n.5 (9th Cir), cert. denied, 439 US 859 (1978). The
Forest Service regulations provide a clear 4-step procedure for modifying or
halting work on mining claims after the Plan of Operations has been
approved. There is no provision in those regulations allowing the Forest
Service to simply withdraw its approval of a Plan..."
The next time Mr. Dunfee visited Quentin, fellow Law Enforcement Officer Ken
Archuletta, and Tim Garcia and Megen Kabele, the District’s Minerals
Administrators accompanied him. They had with them a copy of the modified
version of Quentin’s approved operating plan. Upon meeting, they announced
that they had Quentin’s operating plan ready for his approval. Puzzled, he
told them that he had already received the plan in the mail, and thanks but
it wasn’t necessary to come out to the claim and deliver it in person. He
had his copy of the plan with him and gladly showed it to the Forest Service
officers. They handed him the new plan. He quickly discovered the alteration
and retrieved his copy from them, giving their copy back and refusing to
sign the new plan. Ms. Kabele later remarked that at that time the Forest
Service decided not to press charges against Quentin. I wonder what charges
was she referring to? At that time Quentin was in full compliance with the
Mining Laws and had in his possession an approved operating plan that
allowed for his mining activities to be productive, economically feasible,
5. A PROPOSED MODIFICATION
Quentin continued his pick and shovel operations, as he became more familiar
with the mining locality and other local miners and neighboring claimants.
He had heard the stories of the magnificent and valuable mineral specimens
found in the area by professional miners using mechanized equipment.
Considering the strenuous physical nature of the labor associated with hard
rock mining, the use of mechanized equipment seemed ideal, although the use
of machinery would involve substantial investments. Quentin had agreed to
submit a modification to his plan when he decided to upgrade his operation
to include the use of mechanized equipment, so on July 27, 1999 he submitted
another form which included the proposed activities. He had doubts about the
Forest Service’s willingness to fairly consider his proposal but he
submitted it anyway, hoping for the best. It was recently confirmed that his
concerns were not unfounded.
Two days after the District received the modification, the Special Uses and
Minerals Forester, Ken Marler, sent a memo to Ms. Kabele who was now the
Forest Service’s primary “Minerals” representative assigned to Quentin and
Jason’s cases. Among other things, Mr. Marler made the following
suggestions to Ms. Kabele:
“Rather than modifying a previous Plan of Operations I would view this as
replacing the previous plan approved___. This way we can address the trailer
issue as a new proposal.”
“...We cannot dictate duration of operations... specify some timeframe in
order to prevent yearlong occupancy of the trailer...”
“Yearlong occupancy is not reasonable due to winter conditions...limit
occupancy to some period of time such as April 1 through November 15.”
“We need to keep in mind that the owner of a mining claim has more rights
than the general public...”
“...Give the guy (within reason) what he has asked for so he won’t be
writing his Congressman, calling U.S. Attorney, and so forth, but put enough
conditions on the approval that he might decide to do something else.”
One problem that arises is that Ms. Kabele is applying this modification to
the operating plan which was approved on June 6, 1999, which was their
modified plan that Quentin refused to sign. The plan which Quentin received
in the mail, signed by Mr. Cosby on May 13, 1999, was the plan under which
he was conducting his operations. Mr. Marler states that winter conditions
would be a reason to limit occupancy, despite the fact that the Forest
Service first discovered Quentin working his mining claim in the heart of
winter and visited him several times in the following months. The right of
access to a mining claim is statutory and is not dependent on weather
condition anyway. The implications of the final statement made by Mr. Marler
are self-evident. Why would the Forest Service worry about Quentin
contacting his representatives if everything they were up to was completely
honest and legitimate?
Nevertheless, Quentin was not aware of the memo at the time. In August of
1999, he met with Mr. Garcia and Ms. Kabele at the claim site. During the
visit a Northern Goshawk was seen flying overhead. On August 27, District
Wildlife Biologist Stephanie Howard issued restrictions which prohibited the
use of heavy equipment between May 1 through August 31. Her recommendations
limited operations to only two days per week during the periods of April
1st-30th and September 1st- 15th as her recommended mitigation for the
Goshawk, a “site-sensitive” species.
On October 27, 1999 the Forest Service sent its proposal to approve
Quentin’s plan of operations with a set of “required” changes as recommended
by Mr. Marler. These changes limited the operating season to April 1-
November 15 following the guidelines of Ms. Howard. Further, the Forest
Service would be notified if any trees were to be felled in the operations.
The Forest Service would then issue written approval before the mining could
commence. No more than one pit could be open at a time, 30 feet in diameter
and 20 feet deep. Structures, including trailers, were not approved due to
proximity to Lake George and other surrounding communities. They wanted
Quentin to haul his tools out whenever he was not present on the claim.
Their assessment left the operations with no security at all and
exponentially increased the cost to maintain the mine.
Let’s consider the proposals. Quentin already had approval for his trailer
and permission to dig year round with pick and shovel. He was simply adding
the use of mechanized equipment to his operation. Now the Forest Service
wanted him to cease his operations completely between November 15 through
April 1, which means there would be no hand-digging allowed either.
With the restrictions imposed by the biologist, the actual allowable
operating time would be 2 months of unrestricted digging between September
16-November 15, and 12 other days a year. This is equivalent to 72 out of
365 days a year when Quentin could use machinery in his operations with
Forest Service approval.
Mechanized operations would not be allowed at all during the summer, which
is a crucial time for many investors to visit the site. If the successful
Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine was limited to less than one season of
total mechanized operations, they would go out of business. Even more, if
they had to show investors how to profit from their mine using gold pans
instead of modern equipment, they would not hold the interest of those
investors for very long.
Quentin proposed to work his claim full-time, and was offered the
opportunity to work less than one season of that time with the efficient use
of mechanized equipment. The remainder of the time he would be required to
continue the operations with strenuous and inefficient physical labor,
digging with hand tools, if he intended to mine at all.
Quentin was obviously dismayed by the decision of the Forest Service. In
addition to restricting the operations, they seemed to be implying that his
trailer would not be recognized as authorized. He did not know how to appeal
the decision according to Forest Service guidelines because they did not
include appropriate appeal regulations as required by 36 CFR 251.84 a and 36
CFR 228.14 which specify that decisions which affect mining operations are
subject to appeal.
In the following months, Quentin prepared his response to the District’s
proposal and continued working under his approved operating plan, while the
Forest Service considered their options for issuing tickets for Quentin’s
operations. In a letter from Ms. Kabele to her mentor, geologist Rusty
Dersch, she says, “ since the resource damage is associated with the
occupancy and not the actual mining operations... I feel that the extent of
the resource damage does not warrant suspension of mining operations.”
6. THE COLORADO DIVISION OF MINERALS AND GEOLOGY
During this time, Quentin had consulted several other area miners. Among
them was long-time claimholder and nearby property owner Douglas Collyer.
Mr. Collyer discussed the operations at his mining claims with Quentin in
some detail and told him of a decision the Forest Service made concerning
his claims. Several years ago, the Forest Service told Mr. Collyer that he
would no longer be required to work with them because he was proposing a
large enough operation that the State would be a more appropriate agency to
work with. Quentin had not considered working with the State until this
conversation, but because the Forest Service was not recognizing his
previous authorization or his legitimate rights as it was, he thought it
might be worth pursuing. While he was unable to obtain authorization from
the Forest Service to begin mechanized digging when other area claimants
were allowed to do just that, I believe that the profits from his mine began
to suffer as his competition thrived.
On February 4, 2000, Quentin sent a response to Mr. Cosby, appealing the
decision of the Forest Service to unreasonably amend his plan, and sent a
copy of that letter to his supervisor, Abigail Kimball. In the letters,
Quentin requested that his plan and the amendments, which he felt to be
restrictive and unreasonable, “be reviewed by appropriate agencies of the
U.S. Department of the Interior.” He further requested proof of such review.
Quentin also described his initial contact with Mr. Dunfee and made the
statement, “I have numerous documents showing blatant inconsistencies in the
Fairplay Ranger District.”
The following week, Quentin submitted his Notice of Intent to conduct
prospecting operations and posted a $2000 bond with the State of Colorado
Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG). In the notice Quentin stated that
“the work will be done with a small tractor or backhoe... there will be a
camper trailer on-site to be used for shelter and mineral storage. Operator
reserves right to use timber for construction of shed to keep tractor and
tools out of the weather. Pits or trenches will be clearly marked to protect
the safety of anyone traversing the site.” The $2000 bond was calculated
based on the information Quentin provided for up to one acre of surface
disturbance, including the campsite. The purpose of placing this bond is to
make sure that there is enough money to cover the cost of reclaiming the
intended disturbance in the event that the claimant does not properly
complete the reclamation.
After receiving Quentin’s letter, Mr. Cosby responded by proposing a meeting
with him. In the letter, dated March 31, 2000, Mr. Cosby suggested that
Quentin participate with the Forest Service in the modification to his
approved operating plan, due to the unforeseen presence of a Goshawk nest.
To date, no one has ever even seen any bird in that particular nest. (Ms.
Howard, the Wildlife biologist, later canceled the Goshawk mitigation in the
By this time, Quentin was highly involved with the DMG, who were requesting
additional information about his operation. Quentin promptly responded to
the request and at the end of February, he was given permission to begin
working by Suzi Erickson, who was working with James C. Stevens, Senior
Specialist to the DMG.
7. A REASONABLE ATTEMPT TO SECURE AN OPERATING PLAN?
More than a month after receiving Quentin’s appeal, (usually this process
cannot exceed 15 days) Ms. Kimball responded by instructing him to “please
continue to work with your District.” She was referring to the meeting
proposed by Mr. Cosby. By this time, Quentin seemed to lose hope in working
with the Forest Service. How could he resolve differences with Mr. Cosby,
the person who made the decisions he was appealing? This is the same person
who wished him a successful year, authorized his plan, and then signed an
illegitimate modification to an approved operating plan. During this same
time period, Quentin’s friend Jason, who I mentioned earlier, was also in
negotiations with the Forest Service and the meeting they had proposed
included a discussion with him about his adjacent mining claim, the “Blue on
Black”. Jason had been having his unfair share of problems with the Forest
Service as well, but was still open-minded to the possibility that they
could reach an understanding.
The meeting took place on April 7, 2000. There were several items on the
meeting agenda that the Forest Service wished to cover including Quentin’s
current authorized plan of operations. On the agenda worksheet, prepared by
Ms. Kabele there is a section entitled “occupancy of site” in which it is
stated, “Quentin mines full-time, and therefore stays in his trailer on the
claim. The campers are authorized, but is occupancy authorized? Can we
‘unauthorize’ the occupancy of Good’s claim?” Unfortunately, Quentin was not
able to be at the meeting. I am not sure how beneficial it would have been
for him to attend after speaking with Jason, who did attend the meeting. He
was unable to resolve issues with the Forest Service as a result of the
meeting, and because his operation at the time was so similar to Quentin’s,
it is reasonable to assume that very little would have been accomplished had
Quentin actually attended.
Because he now had the approval from the State to conduct his operations and
was now bonded with them, Quentin decided it would no longer be necessary to
pursue the modification with the Forest Service. He again spoke with Mr.
Collyer to confirm what was discussed during their previous conversations.
Since the State Notice of Intent requires the same information as the Forest
Service operating plan, and both agencies approve similar kinds of mining
operations, it would seem reasonable to assume that compliance with the
State’s regulations would be adequate to address the concerns of the Forest
Service. Further, the placement of a $2000 bond to ensure all reclamation is
covered by the State should alleviate the claimant from any further
obligations to the Forest Service in that respect. So long as Quentin stayed
within his 1-acre disturbance limit, the Notice of Intent was a legal
instrument for him to conduct his operations under.
He had become aware of the Forest Service Minerals and Mining Program Policy
which directs that the Forest Service “coordinate and cooperate with other
Federal and State agencies having authority and expertise in mineral-related
activities” through his reading of 36 CFR 228.8h, which further states that
“certification or other approval issued by State agencies or other Federal
agencies of compliance with laws and regulations relating to mining
operations will be accepted as compliance with similar or parallel
requirements of these regulations.” Mr. Collyer had been operating for years
without involvement with the Forest Service and had no issues with them.
Therefore, on April 17, 2000, Quentin rescinded his application for a
modified plan of operations, which he submitted on July 27, 1999.
Quentin began working within the parameters of the Notice of Intent he had
placed with the DMG in full accordance with the terms of his bonding
requirements. A month later Mr. Marler sent a memo to Mr. Dersch suggesting
that the District was ready to approve Quentin’s occupancy on a temporary
basis. It is a shame that the Forest Service did not do this at once.
8. MS. MEGEN KABELE
On June 22, 2000, the Forest Service entered onto the Dreamtime mining claim
to conduct an inspection of the mining activities. Because they had not
followed their typical practice, and notified the claimant of the
inspection, Quentin found himself quite unprepared to receive the unexpected
visit. Other claimants in the area told me that they are usually given the
benefit of advance notification of inspections so that they can be scheduled
not to conflict with other mining activities and so that a representative
can be made available to answer questions and address issues raised during
the inspection. The inspection was conducted by Ms. Megen Kabele, who was
escorted by FPO’s Tom Sharky and Ryan Strain. On the report of this
inspection Ms. Kabele estimates the total disturbance size at 3/4 acre, (to
date the mining has disturbed not even a 1/4 acre area within a 22 acre
mining claim), but stated that the $2000 bond placed with the State was
adequate for the level of the operation. Kabele further stated that Quentin
would be sent a letter of non-compliance along with revisions to his
Mr. Cosby wrote a letter to Quentin, which he received on August 29, 2000,
requesting he sign a new set of amendments to his operating plan drafted on
August 13th. If he did not respond to the letter by August 28, he would be
sent a letter of non-compliance. Mr. Cosby further stated his intention to
authorize the operating plan by September 15, 2000. In the letter, Mr. Cosby
acknowledged that Quentin rescinded his application for this plan, which he
was again proposing to approve with amendments that were unacceptable and
In the meantime, it appears that Ms. Kabele had contacted the DMG concerning
Quentin’s operation. I believe she was attempting to instigate some sort of
trouble with the State for Quentin, since his operation was approved under
their regulations. In a letter to Mr. Cosby from Mr. Stevens, he states,
“the Division did investigate the matter of the activities reported on the
Dreamtime mining claim...the Division does not feel it wishes to pursue the
matter at this time.”
On November 21,2000 the Forest service returned to the claim site for
another unplanned inspection. The purpose of the visit was to hand deliver a
notice of non-compliance which had been unsuccessfully delivered in the
mail. This time, Ms. Kabele was escorted by Division of Wildlife Officer Ron
Zaccagnini and Teller County Sheriff’s Officer Ed Duvall. Jason was present
at the claim when the inspection took place. Because the presence of the
Forest Service was materially interfering with the mining operations,
Quentin and Jason were reluctant to allow Ms. Kabele access to the claim.
Quentin warned her, “if you go up on the hill I will press trespassing
charges against you.” In a letter to Mr. Dersch she stated, “seeing how
upset they had become, I consented and simply asked how active their mining
operations were.” Later, Ms. Kabele would claim that Jason and Quentin
physically interfered with her ability to perform her duties. During the
court proceedings, Mr. Zaccagnini, a trained law enforcement officer, made
no indication when he testified to the day’s events that Quentin interfered
with Ms. Kabele’s official duties during the inspection. Her testimony
regarding this incident was found to be incredible by U.S. Magistrate Boyd
Boland, who found Quentin to be not guilty of the allegation.
9. A VISIT WITH BOB BROWN
During this time period, the Forest Service was negotiating an operating
plan with Jason Uecker. He also maintained a trailer on his mining claim and
was having difficulty making any meaningful progress on his plan. The Forest
Service charged both Quentin and Jason with camping for more than fourteen
days and abandoned property (trailers). Any person can camp in the National
Forest for 14 out of every 30 days, provided that they do not occupy the
same site within a certain time limit and that they move a specified
distance from site to site. Essentially, anyone can live in the forest for
up to half a year under minimal provisions and without any formal permission
from the Forest Service. Since a claimant has more rights than the general
public, including the statutory right to access the site, it seems
inappropriate to charge a miner with camping for more than 14 days. Quentin
wrote the Forest Service protesting their notions and never heard another
word about the abandoned property. Jason, on the other hand, had the
misfortune of witnessing the Forest Service impounding a VW Vanagon on his
claim. Many other claimants were present when this happened and Quentin
immediately became concerned that the Forest Service would simply impound
his trailer when he was away in town or at a rock and gem show. He and Jason
went to the office of the US District Attorney to file an injunction against
the Forest Service in order to prevent them from impounding anything else
without a court order. They spoke with Mr. Bob Brown, the US Attorney, who
convinced them not to file the injunction. Instead, he called the Fairplay
Ranger District and requested that they not impound items from the claims
without first giving Quentin and Jason a chance to prove their cases in
court. Apparently, Mr. Brown was able to make an agreement with the
10. A NOTICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE
After receiving the notice of non-compliance, Quentin became frustrated. In
the letter, the District Ranger stated that the use of heavy equipment was
out of compliance with the terms and conditions of his “May 1999” operating
plan. He also cited Quentin for felling trees and stating that he made “no
indication of structures that will be present” referring to the trailer.
Quentin responded to the notice in a letter to Mr. Cosby on November 27,
2000, challenging the validity of the notice. In the letter he says, “I
revoke and rescind my signature on the plan of operations submitted by me on
January 16, 1999... under the circumstances at the time I was under no legal
obligation to submit either a notice of intent or a plan of operations,
though I was led to believe otherwise by agents of the USDA Forest
Service... I have submitted a notice of intent with the State of Colorado
and placed the necessary financial warranty.”
At the time, Quentin did not realize that he could not simply rescind his
operating plan. This is like failing to make payments on a bank loan,
because you do not agree with the terms. Rescinding one’s signature does not
relieve them of the obligation to fulfill their contracts. But Quentin was
afraid that the Forest Service might simply staple a page with his signature
onto whatever plan of operations they choose, and further modify that plan
at any given time, finding him in non-compliance whenever they decide. How
could he protect himself from this? The District Ranger had already modified
his plan without his consent.
Over the next three months the Forest Service had a difficult time trying to
decide what position they were going to take with Quentin. They had an
internal meeting on December 20, 2000. The records of this meeting indicate
that the Forest Service was, at that time, accepting the authority of the
1872 Mining Law to grant occupancy. The Forest Service planned to give
Quentin yet another notice of non-compliance and were trying to figure out
how to prepare it.
Many questionable comments were made during this time. Mr. Marler advised
Ms. Kabele, “Even so called working papers, and briefing papers can
sometimes be used against us in a court case, so be careful what you
write...” He also told Mr. Garcia, “Occasionally one has to elevate the
problem themselves in order to get action even if this means ‘breaking the
chain of command.’” During this time, the Forest Service was consulting Dan
Rosenbluth from the Office of General Counsel concerning the legal remedies
available to the Forest Service. Mr, Dersch writes to Mr. Marler and others,
“Dan cannot find any basis for trying the criminal route for the occupancy
problem; civil may be our only option. I believe that another avenue must be
tried and I will work with Chuck Dunfee on that angle.” I wonder what this
statement meant. Mr. Marler also wrote to Mr. Cosby, “I received a call from
Dan Rosenbluth of OGC this morning about this case. He wanted to explain
that it was not him personally that was opposed to criminal action, rather
WO-OGC, DOJ and even some judges. Apparently the OGC/DOJ believe that the
Forest Service surface use regulations (36 CFR 228) are weak and leave a
mining claimant with wiggle room when we are considering criminal action...”
The Forest Service continued reworking the non-compliance letter, but did
not deliver it to Quentin. Instead, they decided to make another random
On March 16, 2001 Ms. Kabele stormed the claim site with a video camera to
“determine the extent of surface disturbance caused by mining operations”.
This time, she had all the troops with her. She was escorted by Mr. Dunfee
and Forest Service Special Agent Kimberly Jones. Teller county deputies
Jason Mikesell and Dave Schnorr and Sergeant Larry Dietsche were also
present. The Teller County K-9 unit was on standby at the office. From other
offices Law enforcement officers Ken Archuletta, Terry Baxter and Steve
Otterness joined the group. Altogether, there were nine in the party. This
seems a bit extreme for a mining inspection. They even discussed the
possible arrest for offenses that were not related to the claimant’s rights
under the Mining Laws. The Forest Service videotaped this event. Quentin is
seen on the video protesting their presence on his claim and later you can
hear his protests as the Forest Service entered onto Jason’s claim for an
inspection of his site. Two days later, Quentin filed a record with the
Teller County Clerk and Recorder to document the events. Particularly,
Quentin was concerned that during the visit Forest Service officials were
stepping on valuable mineral specimens as they carelessly traipsed all
across the dig sites. Ms. Kabele seemed eager to find Quentin in
non-compliance. A little more than a month later, the Forest Service had
another meeting/conference call. During this meeting, they decided that,
“from now on we can write violation notices regardless if we want to pursue
Now, I hope that you are beginning to see why I have so many concerns about
the intentions of the Forest Service at this time. Keep in mind that much of
what I have discussed was unknown to Quentin at the time. He was simply
pursuing his occupation to the best of his ability, as the Mining Laws
encourage him to do. He believed that his operations were in full compliance
with all applicable Federal, State and local laws, and that the Forest
Service was being arbitrary and capricious in their dealings with him. They
had not served him with any tickets, and by this time, he began wondering,
If I’m really doing something wrong, how come they haven’t charged me with
any crimes? This is a reasonable question. He had been mining for over two
years at that time. The District approved certain aspects of his operation
and then changed their position without provocation. He appealed, and every
time they sent him a notice of non-compliance or other correspondence, he
always replied with any objections or corrections he felt were necessary.
Often his questions and comments were ignored.
11. MR. GEORGE QUIST
On April 25, 2001, Quentin hired Mr. George Quist to perform some
reclamation activities at the site and expand on existing pits. The Forest
Service arrived on the scene with a video camera running. Ms. Kabele filmed
Mr. Quist’s backhoe operating on the claim. He is a friend of Quentin’s and
long-time resident of the Lake George community. His family has been
historically involved in mining in the same mineral locality. Mr. Quist was
asked to leave by the Forest Service. Although he performed some reclamation
activities at the site, Quentin had invested $260 in the digging and was
stopped by the Forest Service from recovering his investment that day.
I was very upset to learn that the Forest Service put Quentin in handcuffs
during the inspection. Quentin was quoting the law, particularly a segment
of case law that originated in the ninth circuit court, US vs. Shumway (No.
96-16480 D.C. No. CV-95-00024-SMM) concerning the occupancy of mining claims
and the private property and personal rights of mining claimants, "the owner
of a mining claim owns property, and is not a mere social guest of the
Department of the Interior to be shooed out the door when the department
Quentin was told that he would not be released from the handcuffs until he
quieted down, depriving him of his right to free speech. During this
instance, he asked the Forest Service to arrest him or write him a ticket if
he was, in fact, violating any laws. Mr. Uecker and another friend of
Quentin’s witnessed this incident.
Mr. Quist would not work with Quentin after that day, even though he was
informed that Quentin had attained State authorizations for his operations
and had posted his bond. I think he might have been afraid that the
repercussions for participating with Quentin would reflect poorly on his own
operations at his family claims, also under Forest Service jurisdiction.
12. ANOTHER NOTICE OF NON-COMPLIANCE
On May 10, 2001, the Forest Service gave Quentin another notice of
non-compliance. On May 12th, Quentin replied to the notice, reminding the
Forest Service that he wished to rescind his January 16, 1999 application
for an operating plan. In an additional letter, he addressed each issue of
the non-compliance point by point, appealing the findings of the Forest
Service. Yet again, his appeal was ignored.
Inspections were becoming more frequent and more antagonistic. Quentin felt
very defensive of his operations and specimens and the Forest Service gave
him reason to perpetuate this condition. Aside from the interference to his
mining operations caused by the spontaneous inspections, there were safety
issues that concerned Quentin. In a letter filed with the Teller County
Clerk and Recorder, he writes about his concerns for Ms. Kabele’s safety, as
she often entered the digs without the proper safety equipment and without
knowledge of potential dangers within the pits. Sneaking up on claimants
while the tractor is running can be a very dangerous proposition, and can
pose safety hazards to everyone involved.
13. CUFF HIM, IT'S INSPECTION TIME
On September 25, 2001 Ms. Kabele and her escorts again visited the claim.
They took numerous photographs of the claim site during their visit. Mr.
Douglas Abraham, a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Oxford Universities
was visiting our country and spending a day at the claim site hand-digging
with Quentin. The laws concerning mining state that the activities of the
Forest Service must be conducted so as not to “materially interfere” with
mining operations. This is part of the reason it is so important for them to
make reasonable attempts to notify claimants of inspections. Because Mr.
Abraham was a potential investor, the presence of an antagonizing government
agency can be wrongfully persuasive, making it uncomfortable to participate
in activities at the site.
Quentin filed a report of this incident with the Teller County Clerk and
Recorder three days later. In his account he stated, “I then asked one of
the law enforcement people to accompany me to my trailer so that I could get
my camera. They said no. .. I began walking toward my trailer and when they
came after me I began to run. They caught me and wrestled me to the
ground... Mike Valdez put his handcuffs on me. They still refused to let me
get the camera.” He continued, “ I asked Mr. Valdez to take the cuffs off
again and he said he would if I would be quiet for five minutes.” He
concluded, “It was, I’m sure, very unsettling for Mr. Abraham, who witnessed
the encounter on the hill (my request to get my camera and my subsequent
detainment), and can be considered a prospective buyer, an excellent source
of knowledge, and a valuable connection in the mineral community at large:
these three things being very conducive to a profitable venture in mining.”
I cannot imagine what Quentin must have been feeling at the time. Mr. Valdez
was directing Quentin to be quiet at the Forest Service’s behest, because he
was quoting the law and demanding to know under what authority he was being
A report written by Tim Garcia mentions, “during the first collection of
points, Quentin Good, who was in handcuffs at the time saw Chris and I
walking along the fence line...” It seemed suspicious to me that other than
this statement, there was no official report from any Forest Service
official, including Ms. Kabele, concerning the reason Quentin was in
handcuffs. This is certainly not a typical procedure at a claim site
inspection, and since Quentin was not issued any tickets, I would think the
incident would have been well documented. After all, Ms. Kabele said earlier
that she felt threatened by the claimants, and the Forest Service was
recommending that everyone go to the area in pairs for their safety. If
Quentin did something to warrant being placed in handcuffs, why are there no
official reports? “If I’m guilty of a crime, then arrest me or write me a
ticket,” he would argue. What's more, this was the second time Quentin had
been placed in handcuffs, not the first. It seems to me that the Forest
Service was making it a common practice to unlawfully detain him, though
nothing he did warranted being arrested.
14. THE WORKCENTER
At this point, Quentin was not living very well. The conditions in his
travel trailer were almost intolerable in the winter, although his presence
on the claim was necessary. He had been robbed and although he reported the
incident to the local police, they could do nothing to help recover the
specimens. Jason was also robbed in the middle of winter. The cold season
was approaching rapidly and the tension levels were very high. Quentin had
included a storage shed in his notice of intent to conduct prospecting
operations filed with the DMG that would be large enough to house a small
tractor and store equipment. This was a part of his bond calculation. Since
he did not own a tractor yet, Quentin decided it would not be necessary to
construct a large shed. He decided to construct a small (400sq ft) A-frame
“Workcenter”. Some of the purposes of the Workcenter were:
To accommodate the storage of mineral specimens and mining equipment, which
are abundant at the site.
To display specimens for potential clients and investors. This facilitates
the sale of the specimens as well as providing a space for educational
To protect the personal property of watchpersons and visitors to the site,
including the temporary storage of food coolers and other items that might
be desirable to local wildlife. Bears have been known to rip the sides and
doors off of trailers to gain access to food and trash.
Regularly, the weather conditions at high altitudes can fluctuate. Lightning
kills Colorado citizens each year. The center provided temporary shelter
from extreme weather conditions.
The center was an austere structure. The Forest Service often remarked that
they did not want the National Forest to look like a trailer park.
The operations have lasted nearly five years and are expected to last at
least five more years, making a sturdy facility more desirable than a tent
or a lean-to.
The area is world-famous, and the presence of the structure and watchpersons
at the site helps protect the specimens from theft. It helps to establish
that this is an active mining claim.
When Quentin built the structure, he installed a loft and increased the
overall space provided by the facility to approximately 950 sq. ft. of
storage space. This included the space under the center, which is
semi-permanently anchored to the ground. Previously, Quentin’s camper
trailer offered only 200-sq. ft. of useable space. It would take at least
four travel trailers of comparable size to accommodate the space of the
shed. While the actual surface disturbance of the center was a mere 400 sq.
ft. the disturbance created by the trailers would be more than twice that
amount. The Workcenter was not designed with the comforts of residential
occupancy in mind. It was a utilitarian facility still under construction,
and was built with money that was made from the mining. The addition of the
center was a considerable improvement, as it provided adequate space for
storage at the site. Mineral specimens can be easily damaged when being
transported from location to location. The Workcenter allowed for minerals
to remain on site, where prospective buyers and investors can easily view
Visitors, including the Forest Service, have taken advantage of the shelter
provided by the Workcenter during un accommodating weather.
15. THE UNITED STATES V. QUENTIN H. GOOD
On November 7, 2001 Quentin was served with six different violations
concerning his mining operations. These were delivered by Law Enforcement
Officer Ken Archuletta, who took photographs of the A-frame during his
visit. Included were three charges of damaging United States property, a
charge of violating the terms of an operating plan, a charge of interfering
with a Forest Service Officer, and a charge of camping for more than
fourteen days. The latter charge was dropped soon thereafter, as mining
claimants have a statutory right to occupy valid claims under the 1872
Mining Laws, and the Forest Service had already unsuccessfully tried to
intimidate Quentin with the camping charge.
Quentin was devastated. He was a professional miner just beginning to
establish a viable client base, whose reputation was being besmirched by the
Forest Service. He had paid $2000 to the State of Colorado only to be
charged with damaging US property by the Federal government.
In preparation for the upcoming trial, Quentin filed a Freedom of
Information Act request in order to obtain copies of all operating plans
submitted to the associated District within the last five years. Quentin
also filed a Motion for Discovery with the court on December 28, 2001. At
this point, Quentin had been on the site for three years and had been mining
in the area for five years. I felt it was necessary to become involved in
what was happening to Quentin. He plead “not guilty” to the charges and I
spent much of the following winter and spring assisting Quentin in his
studies of mining law in preparation for the court appearance.
16. THE HAYMAN FIRE
One week before the start of the Hayman Fire, Quentin discovered Terry
Barton, the Forest Service employee who pled guilty to starting the fire, at
Jason’s trailer site just up the hill from the Dreamtime claim. He took
photographs of Ms. Barton as she traversed the parking lot adjacent to
Jason’s trailer. Quentin informed Ms. Barton that because he and Jason were
currently in court with the Forest Service, he believed that any contact
with them should be arranged with the attorneys. She told him that although
the District had instructed her not to approach the claims, she was not
going to be intimidated by the miners and would do her job anyway. She then
stated that it was her job to locate a specific Forest Service road, and
that she had simply gotten lost on the way. Because the area in question
lies just inside the Forest Service boundary and Ms. Barton had visited the
claim previously, it seemed unlikely that she could have lost her way. If
she was in fact looking for an improved road as part of her job
responsibilities of the day, it seems she was headed the wrong way as she
left the forest immediately after speaking with Quentin, who had just
informed her that the road she was looking for was in the other direction.
Several days later, Ms. Kabele and Ms. Barton escorted Jason and another
friend to the Dreamtime claim so that Jason could warn us of the danger of
the approaching fire. Ms. Barton offered to help Quentin move the many
mineral specimens he had stored and displayed in the Workcenter, but only if
he gave her permission to do so. There were five miners present and helping,
so Quentin thanked her and told her he would not need help. She consulted
Ms. Kabele and the pair left the site shortly thereafter. Because Ms. Barton
had been candid with Quentin and offered to help in the emergency evacuation
of the claim, Quentin approached her several times in the following days at
the Lake George Forest Service Workcenter for updates on the fire,
specifically if she knew of the condition of the A-frame. She seemed
despondent and apologized that she could not tell us anything.
It was during this time that Quentin met Ms. Sara Mayben, who was the new
District Ranger for the South Park Ranger District. He was not aware that
Mr.Cosby was no longer in that position. Ms. Mayben authorized the fire
fighters to escort us into the fire perimeter so that we could inspect the
damage caused by the fire. This was one week after the fire started, and we
were relieved that the site had not been affected. Quentin offered his
appreciation and respect for the fire-fighting effort to the media, and many
of our friends and fellow miners became aware of the fire while watching
national television and seeing Quentin’s brief interview with reporters
after we just returned from the inspection.
One week later, the winds changed and the Hayman Fire came racing back onto
the claim site. The flames came within ten feet of the Workcenter, but the
gallant fire fighters cut a fire line around the A-frame, protecting it from
the devastation that was suffered by so many other property owners in the
area. The fire crew actually fought the fire on-site, risking their lives to
save the little structure. Mr. Collyer’s land, totaling 120 acres, was
burned up to 90% on the surface. He has spent the last year felling trees
that were scorched by the fire. Just beyond the Dreamtime claim boundary,
the neighboring property owners lost many acres. Quentin suspected that it
was Ms. Mayben’s intervention which allowed for the mitigation that saved
the A-frame, and she recently confirmed this during a tour of the Blue on
Black mining claim. She expressed concern for his cat, who refused to leave
the claim site throughout the fire.
Ms. Mayben’s husband, Steve, is familiar to local miners because he and his
brother, George Quist, previously mentioned, have many family claims in the
area and also contract to professionally operate heavy equipment for many
local miners. Because Ms. Mayben has an intimate relationship with a local
miner, Quentin hoped that perhaps she would have a better understanding of
the intricacies and needs of local mining operations. She had demonstrated a
friendliness that was rare to Quentin. He once commented to me that perhaps
if she had been the Ranger when he submitted his original plan, he might not
have had all of these troubles.
Because the status of the A-frame was uncertain during the course of the
fire, Judge Boland generously granted Quentin a continuance so that the
final outcome of the damage associated with the fire could be determined.
Quentin was shocked when he heard that Terry Barton had allegedly confessed
to starting the Hayman Fire.
The fire destroyed many homes and burned over 137,000 acres, approximately
one tenth of Pike National Forest. It may take a hundred or more years for
the forest to recover from this event. The mining Quentin proposes will
disturb no more than one acre at a time, up to five acres on a claim site of
approximately 22 acres, and each one-acre disturbance will be covered by his
reclamation bond placed with the State of Colorado. He has an extensive
proposal, which outlines the measures he intends to take to ensure the best
possible reclamation of disturbances created by his operations. Under his
plan, the surface resources on the claim will be sufficient to support other
uses once the operations have stopped and the mineral resources have been
In the months following the fire, the areas within the burn perimeter were
closed and armed guards attended the entrances to the forest. It often
seemed apparent to me that someone in the Forest Service was guilty of some
defamation of character concerning Quentin, referring to him as a squatter,
criminal, etc. as many of the guards had preconceived notions about the
mine. One of the private security officers remarked, “ the Forest Service
told me to inform you that you are not authorized to be here... but welcome
home,” as he removed the cones obstructing the entrance to the forest when
we returned after an evening away from the claim. I often explained that
Quentin was currently in court to determine the legal issues concerned with
his operations. The right of reasonable access for purposes of prospecting,
locating and mining is provided by statute.
17. MRS. LOIS VAN HOOVER - A NEW PLAN
That summer, while participating at a meeting at Mr. Walter Rubeck’s
world-famous Topaz Mountain Gem Mine, near the origin of the Hayman Fire,
Quentin was introduced to Ms. Lois Van Hoover, President of the Independent
Miner’s Association, and a professional mining consultant. She explained to
Quentin that there were many legal aspects concerned with operating plans,
and that a written authorization from the Forest Service was also a contract
which secured mining operations so that they could take place without
unforeseen violations of laws and regulations. Quentin did not know how to
locate specific appeal regulations, or that the District must follow
timeframes for processing documents, or that there are procedures for
dealing with occupancy of mining claims, or that the District Ranger MUST
approve mining operations with REASONABLE operating plan provisions in a
timely manner and without causing undue hardship to legitimate miners.
Quentin understood the significance of the Mining Laws in a different light.
He had not realized the full scope of his rights and obligations, along with
the rights and obligations of the Forest Service.
Ms. Van Hoover convinced Quentin that he should submit a plan of operations
to the new District Ranger. She informed him that Ms. Kabele had been
transferred to another area, and would no longer be the official minerals
representative for the area his claim was in. Friends who had known Quentin
throughout his turmoil could understand his skepticism, but encouraged the
possibility that he could be treated fairly by a new administration. Quentin
decided that he would follow the advice given by Ms. Van Hoover and submit
an operating plan. He also realized that if he could get the plan approved,
many of the Court issues could be settled through the administrative
process, avoiding a costly trial, saving valuable time, and sparing him from
wrongful prosecution. I had discussed Quentin’s legal situation with my
father, Jeffrey Kuhn, who is a professional technical writer. He agreed to
research related materials and author Quentin’s operating plan. In my review
of other operating plans submitted to the South Park Ranger District, I
found no plan to be as comprehensive as this one.
On June 24, 2002, Quentin submitted a “Notice of Intent” with the Forest
Service, as required by 36 CFR 228.4. This included a brief description of
the operation. In accordance with the 36 CFR 228.4 regulation, the District
Ranger has fifteen days to determine whether or not the operations will
cause a “significant disturbance” and notify the claimant if an operating
plan will be required. As usual, the Forest Service missed their deadline.
Since Quentin anticipated the District’s response, he had already prepared
his operating plan for delivery. He submitted his operating plan on October
Dec 20 2003, 01:17 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
This plan included every aspect of Quentin’s operation and clearly outlined
Quentin’s justification for occupancy of the site. Security of the mine is
essential to the success of the operations. In a locality that is as
world-renowned and written about in many gem-hunters guides, it is necessary
to take reasonable measures to secure the site. When the business day
reaches an end at the office, the personnel simply lock the doors and shut
off the lights and worry no further about the security of their jobs. The
Dreamtime is a hard-rock mining claim with open pits and trenches that are
easily accessible by the public. There is no lock on the door or alarm
system to initiate. Because the area of active mining operations is
dangerous, it is necessary for Quentin to provide adequate fences and
signage to protect and inform the public. Moreover, it is necessary for a
watchman to be present at the site during active operations to ensure public
safety and secure the site from theft and vandalism. The area is most
frequented by rock hounds, mineral collectors, and claimholders who would be
happy to invade the claim if no one was present to prevent it. Mining is a
competitive industry and instances of theft are not unusual.
Keep in mind that anyone can camp in the forest for up to half a year.
Quentin was simply asking for permission to do so at his mining claim on a
year-round basis, as operations required. His occupancy of the A-frame was
minimalist in comfort and accommodations, providing only essential
operational components. Even his personal mineral collection is stored off
site, since it is not for sale and is not currently used in the mining
operations. This is strictly incidental occupancy.
The plan also proposed the construction of a shed to house a backhoe
on-site. The Workcenter, trailers, signs, fence, mechanized operations, and
reclamation measures were all clearly outlined in his proposal. The plan was
40 pages long. Typically, the standard form is only 9 pages long. Quentin
did his best to be as definitive as he could and to include every
foreseeable need for his operation.
I was very skeptical about the intentions of the Forest Service concerning
the processing of any plan related to Quentin‘s operations. Through his
attorney, Quentin secured the “discovery” files provided by the prosecution.
Upon review of all of the documents, I noted several discrepancies. I
discussed my concerns with Quentin and he became quite alarmed. This was the
first time he realized that the operating plan he had refused to sign with
the Forest Service was currently considered the active plan in his
administrative file. He was further dismayed when he learned of the comments
of Mr. Marler, and of the effort by Ms. Kabele to “undermine” his operations
by unfairly portraying him.
18. THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
Shortly thereafter, Quentin received a copy of the Freedom of Information
Act requested response from his attorney. Suddenly, everything became
confused. The request was meant to cover all plans of operations submitted
to the District within the last five years, and of course the response
included a copy of Quentin’s plan. This plan was unlike any other that
Quentin had seen before. This plan had the words “authorized plan” written
on the front of it, and on the spaces provided for the Forest Service
evaluation appeared the modified version of his plan. However, the critical
sentence that had been added to the plan, “trailer is not authorized...” had
been “whited out”.
On October 25, 2002 Quentin filed an affidavit with the Court stating, “It
is evident to me that the January 16, 1999 Plan of Operations I submitted
and signed in agreement was intentionally altered for reasons I do not
comprehend. It is likewise evident that an attempt was made by Forest
Service officials to have me sign an altered version of the original plan in
a most unusual manner. Lastly, the Plan of Operations record submitted to
the court by the Forest Service is different than the record I obtained
through FOIA action and the original plan that was duly signed by both
myself and the District Ranger.”
Because Quentin felt that his file was subject to alteration, he feared what
other relevant facts may have been changed, and so his attorney filed a
motion for “complete discovery” with the prosecution. Originally, the Forest
Service provided some 250+ pages of discovery. Upon this second request, the
Forest Service furnished 900 pages of information. While I reviewed the
accumulating files, Quentin pursued his operating plan and continued his
correspondence with Ms. Van Hoover.
19. PROCESSING THE PLAN
On the 18th of October, Quentin received a letter from the District Ranger
requesting additional information in order to begin processing his operating
plan. He responded on November 26, 2002 with the best answers he could
provide. In his conversations with Ms. Van Hoover, Quentin learned that it
could take up to nine months to process his operating plan. Considering that
his operations are relatively small compared to historic mining operations
in the area, Quentin assumed that it would not take the full nine months to
process his plan. He was anxious to expedite the process. Once the Forest
Service brought official charges against him, he decided to cease his
mechanized operations pending the outcome of the trial. This decision is a
very costly one. Mechanized equipment is exponentially more efficient for
mining operations than hand digging with a pick, shovel and five gallon
The District Ranger stated in a letter dated January 29, 2003 that she would
not be able to begin processing Quentin’s plan until his operating plan had
undergone a lengthy NEPA process. Because the flowering season in the area
does not begin until May, she said the necessary Rare Plant Evaluation could
not take place until then. She further stated, “the 30-day time frame
contained in 36 CFR 228.5 (a) for the processing of plans of operation is no
longer valid and has been superseded by the new 36 CFR 215 appeal
regulations brought about by the passing of P.L. 102.381, Section 322.
Processing a plan of operations may take 120 days or longer with breaks in
time, which might occur because of weather or seasonal needs.”
The District Ranger originally agreed to meet with Quentin in February.
However, Ms. Mayben later wrote, “Ron Baer and I are not available to meet
with you... the next available date that Ron and I have is March 19th.” Due
to a blizzard that week, the meeting was rescheduled. Quentin was upset that
the processing of his plan had not yet begun. Nearly five months had passed
since he submitted the plan, and no action to approve the plan had been
On March 14, 2003, Quentin filed an appeal with the Forest Supervisor, Mr.
Robert Leaverton stating that, “this appeal deals with several decisions
contained in a single letter signed by Ms. Sara Mayben... though I have
identified numerous decisions contained in the one letter, each and every
decision is only part of what I see as an overall decision to impermissibly
stall processing of my plan of operations and, in effect, severely hinder my
ability to work and profit from my claim... Each and every allegation set
forth in this action regarding Forest Service interpretation of applicable
laws and regulations encompasses individual and/or agency attempt(s) to
frustrate mining laws...”
Mr. Leaverton responded by dismissing Quentin’s appeal without a decision on
its merits based on the fact that “you must have an authorized plan or an
authorized officer’s proposal to authorize a plan,” in order to qualify for
an appeal. Mr. Leaverton then “encourages” Quentin to continue working with
Ms. Mayben. Quentin was not surprised when the Forest Service refused to
review his appeal, and so he had prepared a second level appeal. Regional
Forester Mr. Rick Cables received his appeal on April 15, 2003. Mr. Cables
responded by simply stating, “At this time, I am unable to comment on your
Mr. George Gill, attorney for the prosecution, often stated that Quentin
needed to follow through with all administrative remedies before he began
working under his proposals, and that the justice he sought could be
achieved in this manner. It appears that his counsel was incorrect, as Mr.
Cables must decide to either review or dismiss any appeal he receives, and
his statement indicated no decision at all.
20. THE TRIAL
In April Quentin went to trial with the Forest Service. At this point they
had amended the charges to include the A-frame Workcenter and had dropped
the charge of violation the terms of an approved operating plan. The final
charges were presented as an amendment to the second amended information,
demonstrating the difficulty the Forest Service was having pinning down what
offenses were actually committed.
Quentin and many witnesses for the defense testified to the facts related to
mechanized operations at the claim. Because Quentin believed he had operated
in good faith and within the parameters of his Notice of Intent, he had
hoped that the judge would understand that he had no intention of ever
breaking the law. Also, he hoped that the judge would realize that the
Forest Service was unwilling to cooperate with him on approving his
operations which were already approved by the DMG for reasons which were
arbitrary and capricious and not based on sound law and administrative
procedures. Quentin never ran away from his troubles with the Forest
Service. He wrote many letters, asked numerous questions, and always
responded to their decisions or actions. As can be seen from their
correspondences, the Forest Service often evaded or outright ignored many of
Quentin's questions, comments, or suggestions.
Quentin hoped that the facts would demonstrate that he always had an
intention of mining his claim, which in itself is readily compliant with the
purpose of the mining regulations, and that he was responsible for his
activities by placing the proper bond amount with the correct agency and had
in fact made several attempts to propose an operating plan. He was currently
seeking authorization for his operations and was still having some
difficulty making any meaningful progress with that
proposal, as the Forest Service seemed to be hoping that the judge's order
would negate the need for them to do their job and actually make a decision
on Quentin's plan based on their own administrative remedies and policies.
They were stalling the decision, at least in delaying the initiation of the
The DMG testified that Quentin was, at the time in question, in compliance
with the terms of his Notice of Intent and the conditions and requirements
of his bond. They had given Quentin authorization to begin mechanized
digging on the Dreamtime claim. Douglas Collyer testified to his mining
relationship with the State, and how the Forest Service handed their
authority over his claims to the State.
Ms. Kabele was questioned about the altered operating plans. To everyone’s
surprise, Ms. Kabele admitted that she had altered the document that
appeared to be “whited out”. She stated that she knew she was responsible
for the alteration because the corrections were made with sticky-tape, which
she commonly used instead of white out. When asked why she altered the
documents she stated that she knew that the administrative file did not
match the copy Quentin had received in the mail and that she wanted the
office file to accurately reflect what he had in his files. Concerning her
behavior Judge Boland wrote, “in view of her leading role in the prosecution
of the charges against Mr. Good, I do not understand why Ms. Kabele would be
assigned to or assume the task of gathering documents in connection with Mr.
Good’s FOIA request. In any event, her actions in altering at least one of
the documents submitted to the FOIA compliance officer evidences her
willingness to act improperly, deceive, and alter evidence in connection
with this prosecution. I find Ms. Kabele’s testimony untrustworthy in view
of her actions obliterating crucial portions of the Operating Plan contained
in the files of the Forest Service”.
During the trial, several Forest Service employees demonstrated their lack
of knowledge concerning mining laws and regulations and made many
contradictory statements. One of their strongest arguments was that although
many of the activities Quentin had been charged with were commonly accepted
means of mining and he had reasonable justifications for occupying his
claim, he had failed to obtain proper authorization from the Forest Service
before commencing his operations. The prosecuting attorney for the United
States, Mr. George Gill, was careful to specify that Quentin was not being
charged with the occupancy of his mining claim, and Ms. Mayben further told
the court that Quentin would not be in trouble if he had occupied his claim
in a tent! Basically, I interpreted this to imply that so long as Quentin
was denied the basic comforts of having a roof which could handle a
snow-load, warmth in the winter, protection from bears, wildcats, and
thieves and other basic human “luxuries” it would be okay for him to
continue to work his chosen profession.
21. THE DECISION
Even though Quentin had applied for Forest Service authorization and, as can
be seen from the inner-office memos concerning his plan, they had no desire
to approve the operation, he was still found guilty of three charges of
damaging United States property by digging with mechanized equipment
without an approved operating plan, and the charge for constructing and
maintaining the Workcenter without an approved operating plan. The Forest
Service wanted the Court to order Quentin to remove the A-frame, trailer,
signs and fence in less than one month with a deferred jail sentence and
four years of supervised probation.
The judge sentenced Quentin to one year of probation, and ordered that he
remove the A-frame and reclaim all but two of the mechanized digs at the
claim site within six months. He added that he would not make a ruling on
the trailer, signs and fence, as Quentin had not been charged with any
offenses related to them. Because Quentin has a current proposal that
includes the Workcenter, his attorney asked the judge if the order would
stand if Quentin’s plan could be approved. The judge stated that he would
not make Quentin remove the cabin only to put it back.
The Forest Service was not happy with the judge’s decision. They requested
that the court reconsider the sentencing, as they felt Quentin’s punishment
was not severe enough. Keep in mind that the type of crime Quentin was
charged with is considered a “petty misdemeanor” and he was therefore not
entitled to a speedy trial or a trial by jury. The judge ruled that the
intent of the person charged is not a consideration and good faith is not
applicable. Basically this type of crime is comparable to making too much
noise in the forest while camping. The Forest Service’s vindictiveness made
itself clear to me when they made a second attempt to reopen the sentencing
through the judge with whom Quentin filed his appeal of Judge Boland’s
decision. The Forest Service was ultimately denied re-sentencing.
Quentin bases the main body of his appeal of Judge Boland’s decision on the
fact that he believes that the Forest Service did not act reasonably, as the
judge suggested, and that they failed to obtain a search warrant to collect
evidence related to his prosecution. Further, he believes that “good faith”
does apply to mining operations, and that operating plans cannot be
rescinded or unauthorized. The court will hear the appeal in the near
22. A MEETING OF THE MINES
Ms. Mayben contacted Quentin in May and proposed that they reschedule the
previously delayed meeting for June 5, 2003. Quentin notified Mr. Cables
that he intended to work with Ms. Mayben and wrote her an additional letter
detailing even more information about his operation. The Forest Service
assumed that this was Quentin’s consent to drop his second-level appeal. He
quickly corrected their misinterpretation in another letter in which he
requested that the appeal be reviewed.
On June 5, 2003, the Forest Service visited the claim and toured the
proposed operation sites. Due to rainy conditions, the bulk of the meeting
took place inside of the Workcenter. Ms. Mayben was accompanied by several
co-workers including Mr. David Crumley, who was there as an advisor; Mr.
John Neubert, who was training to be a mineral examiner; Mr. Jeff Hyatt,
Lands Administrator; and Todd Phillipe, Minerals Administrator. Ron Baer,
who was supposed to be at the meeting, and whose presence was used by Ms.
Mayben to delay the meeting, did not attend. I was present as a witness for
Quentin, along with Jason Uecker, James Delabar and Brian House.
Mr. Crumley had made questionable comments in the past so I video taped the
meeting in order to ensure that all statements were recorded and that any
decisions made by the District Ranger were documented. During the meeting,
Mr. Crumley made the statement that 43 CFR 3715 does not apply to the
National Forests because BLM regulations only apply to public lands, and the
National Forest is not considered public land. He then later stated that the
federal government is the sovereign of the National Forests. I’m not sure
what he meant by this, and I have spoken to environmental attorneys
concerning his statements. They all agree that Mr. Crumley was mistaken.
The Forest Service requested additional information about the plan,
re-asking many questions which Quentin had already answered. The most
important issues for Quentin were those concerned with the approval of the
Workcenter. Ms. Mayben said that the Forest Service, particularly Mineral
Examiner Ron Baer, would need to conduct a “Surface Use Determination” on
the proposed occupancy in order to decide whether or not the structures
would be allowed to remain on the claim. Quentin asked what criteria would
be used to determine whether or not he would be able to keep the structure.
Unfortunately, the Forest Service could not answer his questions. The Forest
Service Manual contains a section at chapter 2818 entitled “Occupancy on
Mining Claims,” which specifies the proper action to take concerning
occupancy issues. In order for structure to be authorized under an
operating plan, claimants must be able to show a reasonable necessity
resulting from planned prospecting, exploration or mining activities.
The term “reasonably incident” has become another source of tension. The
Forest Service has not produced any references to the standards they go by
when deciding what is “reasonably incidental” to mining operations. When
asked, Mr. Crumley stated that the standards would be whatever “we decide”.
In contrast, the Bureau of Land Management has specific regulations that
define the term “reasonably incidental” and specifies the qualifications for
occupancy under 43 CFR 3715. However, Ms. Mayben simply stated that the
protocols outlined at FSM 2818 and 43 CFR 3715 would not apply to Quentin’s
case, though she could not reveal why when asked.
Other topics covered during the meeting included the use of legal terms and
definitions in Quentin’s operating plan. In order to expedite the processing
of the plan, Quentin incorporated legal terms and definitions derived from
the Forest Service Manual and BLM regulations. According to 36 CFR 251.90
(6) appeal regulations the claimant is instructed to include “specific
references to any law, regulation or policy that the appellant believes to
be violated and the reason for such allegation...” The use of legal terms in
Quentin’s plan was intended to clarify his proposal and avoid unnecessary
review based on misinterpretation of facts. Ms. Mayben claimed that she
could not authorize a plan that included those definitions, and that in
order to continue processing Quentin’s plan, all legal definitions would
need to be removed from the document.
Ms. Mayben mentioned several different timeframes throughout the meeting.
Even in her lengthiest estimate of the amount of time remaining before she
would issue her decision, she allowed enough time for the decision to be
made so that Quentin could comply with the court order. On the video tape of
the meeting, she estimated a decision by no longer than mid- September,
considering the longest possible delays. Her statements were misleading, as
that decision has not been made to this day.
Later that day, Ms. Mayben made the statement, “You may think you got lucky
when the judge decided not to included the trailer, fence and signs in the
court decision, but now I have been informed to tell you that you have
fifteen days to remove them or you will be further charged with violations.”
I found this comment to contain some hint of vindictiveness. The statement,
“You may think you got lucky...” was a bit antagonistic, insinuating that
somehow Quentin felt he was victorious in court. Whether or not she intended
it, Ms. Mayben was adding insult to injury. Quentin in no way felt “lucky”,
as his appeal of Judge Boland’s decision, and the loss of the A-frame now
weighs heavily on his mind.
They continued to argue for some time. Quentin asked Ms. Mayben why she
could not simply give him temporary approval for the trailer, signs, and
fence until the decision on his operating plan was made. She told him that
she did not have the authority to partially approve his plan and insisted
that it was not her decision to charge Quentin, but the advice and guidance
of her attorney and Ron Baer. Strangely, earlier that day, Quentin was asked
by Ms. Mayben to show on a map where his current sings and fence were
located as well as what he proposed in addition. She also told him to
indicate what type of fencing would be used “in the interim”. Why would she
tell him to write this information down and provide it to her office if it
was her intention that the items be immediately removed? Was this just to
antagonize him, or was she simply asking Quentin to provide information that
would later be used against him in court?
Quentin could not understand why the Forest Service wished to continue the
difficulties between them. He was following through with the administrative
process and his trailer was currently approved under an authorized operating
plan. The Forest Service had not yet completed the Surface Use
Determination, which would resolve the issue of whether or not it was
“reasonably incidental” to the mining operations and could be approved under
his newest operating plan. Later during the meeting, I asked Ms. Mayben
whether or not Quentin would be authorized to bring in mechanized equipment
to reclaim the digs as ordered by Judge Boland. Ms. Mayben stated that
Quentin would not be permitted to use equipment until his operating plan was
approved. Mr. Crumley suggested that the reclamation could be accomplished
without equipment, demonstrating his overwhelming faith in unrealistic
achievements of super-human strength. As far as I know, the Forest Service
is obligated to approve all reclamation activities, and their refusal to do
so is in direct contradiction with their own directives.
23. MR. WALTER RUBECK
Mr. Walter Rubeck, previously mentioned, has been occupying his topaz claim
in the area for some twenty years. When asked why Mr. Rubeck was allowed to
occupy his claim Ms. Mayben responded by stating that Mr. Rubeck was allowed
to occupy his claim because he is old and his operations are only seasonal.
As I understand it, “the US Department of Agriculture prohibits
discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, gender, religion, AGE, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.” Just because Mr.
Rubeck is elderly is no reason to grant him occupancy of his mining claim,
and I believe he would be deeply offended by the comment of Ms. Mayben as he
has worked hard to earn his rights. The fact that Quentin’s operation is
year-round should only serve to necessitate his need for structures beyond
the needs of seasonal miners like Mr. Rubeck. I found the comment to be
insensitive and perhaps prejudicial.
Mineral Examiner Ron Baer completed a Surface Use Determination on Mr.
Rubeck's claim which determined that his multiple trailers, signs, fence,
several large tents, mobile home, water usage, equipment, security, display
showroom, office and occupancy were all reasonably incidental to his mining
operations. Mr. Rubeck's claim is approximately 5 miles from Quentin's
claim, as the crow flies. It is less than 3 miles away from the Stagestop
Campground, where Mr. Rubeck stores his residential trailer during his
off-season. His operation differs from Quentin's in that it is on a placer
claim and relies heavily on the use of water to extract and process the
minerals. During cold months when needed water easily freezes, his
operations are not productive.Therefore his operation is seasonal, although
he maintains the right to year-round occupancy of his claim.
In the SUD preformed on Mr. Rubeck’s claim Mr. Baer stated, “While the
mining claims are located within the commuting distance of Lake George,
Colorado where a couple private trailer parks exist that could accommodate
his mobile home and trailers, Mr. Rubeck would not likely be able to conduct
his business or sell his gems from these trailer parks as he works his
deposit. In addition, any location for the trailers away from the claims
would not provide security needed for public safety around his open
workings, where recreational hiking is high, during periods of mining
operations. Mr. Rubeck’s age and physical abilities also play a role in how
he conducts his operations and the need for the mobile home.”
He also stated, “The use of his mobile home as an office for business and
gem sales is an integral part of his operation. While there may be
alternative locations for the mobile home, conducting mine business and
selling his produced minerals from the mining claims is a legitimate use
that could not be conducted from a private trailer/mobile home park in the
immediate area. He would not be able to receive the number of customers that
have historically visited his mine site, which, in turn, would result in
economic impact to his operation. Additionally, Mr. Rubeck’s use of the
mobile home and travel trailer has been approved in the past as temporary
occupancy; it would be unreasonable to not allow that temporary use to
Mr. Rubeck has been given authorization in an approved operating plan signed
by District Ranger Sara Mayben to continue mining his topaz claim. Mr.
Rubeck is a hard-working gentleman who is determined although he is frail. I
am proud to call him a friend and I firmly believe that his operations at
the topaz mine are completely legitimate despite his age or his physical
condition. Though he is my friend, and I care tremendously for his health
and well being, I do not believe that he should be given an advantage over
other area claimants. Because Mr. Baer seemed to be reasonable and
comprehensive in his evaluation of Mr. Rubeck's proposals, Quentin was
hopeful that there would be consistency in the evaluation of his operating
plan, and that the examiner would give reasonable consideration to all of
the items he had proposed.
24. THE NEPA PROCESS
Shortly after the June meeting, Ms. Mayben sent Quentin a letter stating,
“Ron Baer will not be available to complete the Surface Use Determination
report until November. We cannot complete the environmental assessment and
send it out to the public until that report is completed.” Quentin was
disheartened. Now the Forest Service seemed to be stalling the processing of
his plan intentionally. What reason would they have to do this?
Quentin immediately appealed the decisions that he must remove his necessary
storage facilities, his security (fence), and his only current method of
notifying the public of his operations (signs). Shortly thereafter, on July
1, 2003, Mr. Leaverton dismissed Quentin’s appeal without a decision on its
merits again stating that Quentin was not qualified for an appeal. On July
8, 2003, Quentin submitted his second-level appeal of Mr. Leaverton’s
decision to Mr. Cables. Because Quentin anticipated that Mr. Cables would
again dismiss his appeal, he asked Mr. Cables to “please provide any and all
information regarding judicial review and redress of grievances.”
After the meeting, the Forest Service published Quentin’s proposal in local
newspapers as part of the public comment process required by the NEPA
analysis. They also sent out a “scoping letter” describing the proposed
operations in greater detail to persons whom they claimed had previously
requested the information. During this time, many members of the public had
the opportunity to express their support of the proposed operations and
since all of the persons who responded on Quentin’s behalf had been to the
site and witnessed the operations first-hand, it was my hope that their
opinions would be heavily considered in the decision-making process. I did
as much rallying for support as I could in my spare moments.
The month of July was filled with visits from the Forest Service. They
conducted a wildlife survey on the claim, followed by visits from the
hydrologist, botanist and zone archaeologist who also conducted surveys. I
wondered why these surveys had not been conducted at any time during the
past nine months. These surveys were partially videotaped, and many
witnesses participated on behalf of the Dreamtime claim.
The Forest Service invited Jean Garren from the county planning department
to participate in the meeting. While Ms. Garren strayed from the group,
distracting everyone, she made numerous comments that tended to indicate
that she had predetermined that all of the operations at the claim were
illegal and that it was her intent to assist the Forest Service in
preventing the activities Quentin had proposed. She entered into the
“curtilage” of the Workcenter and, using the Forest Service's digital
camera, shot several photos of the underside of the Workcenter and the
travel trailer located nearby. She was asked several times to respect the
privacy of the miners and not to stray from the group as we were trying to
document the events and could not be everywhere all at once.
Furthermore, she was acting in disregard to 36 CFR 228.6 which states,
"Information and data to be withheld from public examination may include,
but is not limited to, known or estimated outline of the mineral deposits
and their location, attitude, extent, outcrops and content, and the known or
planned location of exploration pits, drill holes, excavations pertaining to
location and entry pursuant to the United States mining laws, and other
commercial information which relates to competitive rights of the operator."
When I asked her what her business was on the claim that day, Ms. Garren
stated that she was just along for the ride. This indicated to me that she
was not acting in any official capacity, and therefore should be considered
a visitor from the general public. Quentin has the right to privacy,
especially with regard to his structures and deposits. The county derives
its jurisdiction over mining claims from the State. Because the State feels
that a Notice of Intent is sufficient to cover Quentin's proposed
activities, he is not required to file a plan of operations with them.
Persons who are required to file a plan of operations with the State of
Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology are then subject to applicable
county codes and regulations. Otherwise, the jurisdiction remains with the
land management agency, in this case, the Forest Service.
On July 18th, geologist Mr. John Neubert was accompanied by Mr. Dersch, now
a qualified Mineral Examiner, to the site in order to conduct the Surface
Use Determination. Again, we videotaped the event. Mr. Dersch, Ms. Kabele’s
mentor, had suggested the original amendments to Quentin's second proposed
operating plan, imposing unreasonable restrictions and limiting his
operation to seasonal activity. Quentin wrote Ms. Mayben a letter requesting
that he be sent a copy of the SUD as soon as it was prepared.
25. THE PUBLIC COMMENTS
At a local restaurant, a neighbor who works for the County mentioned that he
had heard that the Forest Service was trying to get the County to help "get
rid of Quentin's cabin and kick him out of the forest once and for all."
Another person told me that Forest Service employees were overheard talking
about bulldozing a small cabin in the woods when the guy is out of town.
Remarks like this do not surprise me. A friend and local miner, Bodie
Packham told Quentin that he had asked Todd Phillipe about leaving his
pop-up camper in the forest for more than fourteen days. Mr. Phillipe was
not aware that Mr. Packham is a friend of ours and proceeded to tell him
that the Forest Service would not allow anyone to maintain a camper in the
forest because Quentin Good mined illegally and ruined it for everyone else.
I could hardly believe it at first, but later I was approached by another
miner, Brad Pilsky, who recounted a similar story.
This is very distressing. Many people do not understand the extent of their
rights under the 1872 Mining Law, and thanks to the efforts of Mr. Phillipe,
they may never understand them. Each person is allowed the benefit of
administrative process. If a mining claimant has a proposal that he believes
may be significant, and he seeks direction from the Forest Service, he
should be told to submit his proposal in the form of a notice of intent to
be reviewed by the Ranger District. Whether or not he likes it, Mr. Phillipe
does not have the arbitrary decision making power to simply mislead us! His
response to the inquiry of my friend is preposterous. It is like saying
because that guy got a speeding ticket, we will not be issuing any more
drivers’ licenses to the rest of you. In my opinion, Mr. Phillipe’s comments
defame Quentin’s character and are an effort to pit other claimants against
The Ute Pass Courier, a local newspaper printed an article entitled,
"Neighbors don't dig year-round mining" concerning Quentin's proposed
operations. The neighbors in question live just outside the forest boundary
and just on the opposite side of Quentin's fence. They moved to the area a
few years ago, and seem determined to open a hunter/outfitters guide service
next door. They hate mining and are very vocal about it. The Forest Service
received five negative comments about Quentin's operating plan from
relatives of this neighbor. Mostly, the neighbor was complaining that
claimants don't have to pay property taxes for National Forest lands and
should be required to get fuel wood permits. The comments were not
detrimental to the Ranger's obligation to approve operating plans. Ms.
Mayben stated, "If people contact us and say, 'I don't like what he's doing
and I want you to stop it', we don't have the ability to do that."
Because Quentin was concerned that the Forest Service would simply disregard
comments in favor of his operations, I submitted a Freedom of Information
Act request for all public comments received concerning Quentin's operation.
When I received their response to my request, I was dismayed to discover
that several of the letters written on behalf of the mining operations
Quentin proposed were missing. Brian House sent one of the letters via
facsimile from King Soopers, and he provided me with a copy of the receipt
stating that the Forest Service had received the transmission. Two other
letters were from Dean and Dillon Wallace, brothers who visit the claim
regularly. Dillon Wallace spent several weeks composing his letter to the
Forest Service and researched mining law extensively in his response to
their solicitation for comment. Another letter was given to me by Paula
Willette who owns claims nearby and says she faxed her letter to Jeff Hyatt.
Jim and Alicia Joy asked me if their letter was helpful. Since the Forest
Service claims they never received it, I guess the answer is no.
I am certain that the Forest Service received at least some of these
letters. On July 17th I had a conversation with Mr. Phillipe at the claim
site wherein he stated, "some of the people who wrote in said that Quentin
was following his dreams... they seem to think that the law is in support of
him." It is interesting to note that the comment Mr. Phillipe is referring
to was made by Dillon Wallace thus, "I see a man trying to truly live the
American Dream..." No other comment in any other letter made any reference
of any kind to dreams. Mr. Phillipe's comments must have been in regard to
I wrote to the Supervisor, Mr. Robert Leaverton concerning the missing
letters. In his response he states, "All requested public comments in our
files were copied and provided with the response to your request. None were
withheld. If you would like to discuss the letters you claim are missing
from the file, please contact Sara Mayben..."
I suppose he thinks that talking to Ms. Mayben will help. After all, the
files vanished from her office. Why would these letters be omitted? The
answer is clear. Each of the letters extensively details the need for
security on the claim. If the public does not acknowledge Quentin's needs
for security, then it is easier for the District to ignore them in their
decision-making.I have sent copies of those letters to Ms. Mayben and
requested that she consider them in her decision.
The Forest Service continues to blame the stalling of Quentin’s operating
plan on him, stating that the delays were caused by his failure to provide
necessary information. Considering that the approval of his operating plan
is imperative to the success of his operations and his compliance with Judge
Boland’s decision, does it seem likely that Quentin would intentionally
stall the processing of his own plan? The Forest Service has long blamed
claimants for their own agency's inability to adequately process operating
plans in a timely manner without causing undue hardship to legitimate
26. THE SURFACE USE DETERMINATION
Mr. Neubert finally completed the Surface Use Determination for the
Dreamtime Lode Mining Claim on October 7, 2003. This was more than one year
after Quentin submitted his operating plan. In the report, Mr. Neubert
states, "Although procedural and legal controversies, and mutual
misunderstandings between Mr. Good and Forest personnel remain to some
extent, my perception of the situation follows. After the original document
(Plan of Operations/Notice of Intent) was approved in May 1999 by the
District and later signed by the claimant, District personnel reconsidered
the long-term use of a trailer because of residency issues in this part of
the Forest. In June 1999, the District revised the Plan by de-authorizing
the trailer use and requiring Mr. Good to post a reclamation bond. Mr. Good
refused to sign the revised document, and instead submitted a proposed
modified Plan of Operations in July 1999. In the modified Plan, Mr. Good
requested to use small, mechanized equipment such as a backhoe or similar
machinery to excavate small pits on his claim. he also requested to park a
camper trailer on the claim for 'tool and mineral storage and shelter'.
District and Supervisor's Office personnel reviewed this modified plan and
suggested several changes. Seasonal limitations for mining were requested
because of winter access problems, and machinery usage was limited to
certain times of the operating season because of a goshawk nest on the
claim. Structures, including a trailer, were not authorized. Letters were
exchanged between Mr. Good and the Forest Service regarding his modified
Plan of Operations, but no meaningful progress was made."
I can say, without hesitation, that thanks to the conclusions of Mr.
Neubert's report no meaningful progress continues to be made. Despite the
fact that Quentin's operations have grown (at least to a point where he has
successfully been convicted for them) the Forest Service continues to treat
the operation as they did nearly five years ago. Among other comments which
seemed to fly in theface of rationality, Mr. Neubert stated, "Security of
the claim should not be a major concern..." This perception is at best an
uneducated one. The Crystal Creek area, wherein Quentin's claim is located,
is world famous. In the two short years I have been around, I have met over
a hundred people who came to visit due to the minerals found at this
locality. There are numerous books and guides that give directions to the
precise location of the Dreamtime claim. Because it is located right inside
the forest boundary, it is easily accessible to the general public. Quentin
did not invite many of the persons I have met on the claim, and if he were
not present to prevent it, I am certain that he would be robbed on a
One of Quentin's investors, Dennis O’Rourke, has proposed to purchase a
backhoe to be stored on-site. He wrote a letter to the District expressing
his concern for the security and storage of the machine. With regard to
this, Mr. Neubert stated, "if he acquires a backhoe it could be covered with
a tarp or stored under a tree when not in use." Do you think that Mr.
O'Rourke, who is proposing to spend thousands of dollars on this equipment,
will be satisfied? Of course not. Would you park your brand new car in the
National Forest and leave it there unguarded overnight on a regular basis?
Moreover, what do you think the difference would be to insure a backhoe
being stored in a shed verses under a tree?
There are numerous other flaws with Mr. Neubert's evaluation. Based on the
above conclusion, I hope you get an impression of the tone of the rest of
the report. Perhaps the most significant findings in the SUD were related to
the structures and occupancy of the claim. Concerning the Workcenter he
stated, "the A-frame is also used for storage of some of the specimens and
for storage of hand tools and small processing equipment," along with
Among the considerations listed on the SUD for determining the reasonable
necessity for occupancy were the age and health of the operator. But this
seems to be in conflict with the non-discriminatory policy of the US
Department of Agriculture, who neither advantages nor disadvantages
individuals on an arbitrary basis in all of its programs and activities,
including the Minerals Program. In the Forest Service Manual at chapter
2818.1 it is stated that, "the necessity for structures in regard to mineral
activities depends upon several factors: (1) The stage of mineral
activities, (2) the expected size and life of the operations, (3) the
remoteness of the site, (4) the amount and kind of equipment requiring
protection and storage, etc." The regulation stipulates four specific
considerations for the necessity of structures based upon the examination of
the operating plan. Mr. Neubert is calling for stipulations based upon the
condition of the operator. How is the condition of the operator related to
surface use? Where did Mr. Neubert derive these other considerations (age
and physical condition of the operator)?
Mr. Neubert concluded that, " Mr. Good asserts that he operates his mine
virtually year round... a mine life of twenty years is not unreasonable." He
also stated, "Mr. Good has conducted a variety of activities associated with
exploration, mining, processing, and marketing of mineral specimens from the
claim since 1998." Yet, contrary to these determinations, Mr. Neubert
stated, "The size of Mr. Good's operation does not justify full-time
residency or the presence of permanent structures such as the A-frame or a
proposed equipment shed." Basically, the SUD concluded that an 18ft.
self-contained travel trailer, which Quentin proposed to use for occupancy
concerns (sleeping, meal preparation, etc.) would be adequate for storage of
the equipment that is currently being stored in the 26 ft. travel trailer
and in the Workcenter, as well as to display the specimens, provide office
space for client interaction and record storage and to provide temporary
shelter for guests and visitors to the claim. Of course, no one would be
allowed to occupy the trailer at night, as Lake George is only five miles
What Mr. Neubert recommends is that Quentin somehow shrinks over 2000 sq.
ft. of proposed storage space into an 18ft. trailer. In order to accommodate
Mr. Neubert's perception, Quentin would need to rent a home in Lake George,
hire a security officer to patrol the claim at night and protect the
backhoe, trailer and digs, rent a retail space to display minerals and
conduct sales, and hire at least one employee to run the retail store. In
the SUD, he states, "From this review and meetings with Mr. Good, it was
determined that he is actively mining, processing and marketing mineral
specimens produced from the claim." Basically, Mr. Neubert is proposing to
turn a profitable business into an expensive hobby by putting an end to
these legitimate and incidental activities that would support a twenty-year
Ultimately, Mr. Neubert stated with regard to security, "adjoining claimants
and landowners in this area 'keep an eye on things' when strangers are
observed. Would these be the same neighbors who "don't dig year round
mining"? I'm sure they would love to have the responsibility for looking
after Quentin's claims dumped on them when he is away. And what about the
Recently Jeff Self, who owns a nearby claim, reported that someone had been
digging on his claim with a backhoe and he wanted the Forest Service to do
something about it. He suspected a rival claimant of the unlawful activity.
The Forest Service said they could do nothing to help Mr. Self and insisted
that he himself would be responsible for the reclamation work that needed to
be done in relation to this incident. When I asked Ranger Mayben what
claimants could do to protect themselves from such trespass she stated that
theft was just one of the risks of the mining industry. What happened to
suggesting signs or a fence?
Later, Mr. Self and his wife, Donna were monitoring their claim with a
camera and discovered the suspected rival claimant digging on another part
of the National Forest without permission or a bond. Donna took photos of
the rebel in action. When Mr. Self presented his case and evidence to the
Forest Service, Ms. Mayben told him that there was nothing her office could
do about it. Can you believe it? Quentin is convicted of digging on his own
claim with a backhoe without authorization and damaging United States
property even though he has a $2000 reclamation bond in place with the DMG
and the District Ranger can do nothing to stop other unauthorized activities
in the National Forest?
I recently discussed this scenario with Mr. Phillipe and he stated that the
rogue digger claimed he did not know he was not digging on his own claim.
That seems very unlikely. The Crystal Creek area has a history of claim
location and boundary disputes. Rival locators and over-staking is common in
the area where the Dreamtime claim is located. One could easily say that the
rival claimants pose a threat to each other. If Quentin were to leave the
claim, he would very likely return to find another claimant working his
Recently, the Forest Service impounded a camper located on the claim of
James Delabar, adjacent to the Dreamtime claim. Immediately thereafter,
Quentin discovered another miner raiding Mr. Delabar's digs. When asked why
he was doing this, the man replied, "The guy just packed up and left. His
camper is gone. He must have abandoned his claim." Obviously, the presence
of a structure on Mr. Delabar's claim served as a deterrent to criminal
activity, and helped to secure his operations in his absence.
Mr. Neubert later suggested in the SUD that Quentin could use police tape to
surround his dangerous pits. Is this a mining claim or a crime scene? I
didn't realize that police tape was readily available at Wal-Mart for public
27. THE REDEMPTION
Some good things came out of the SUD as well. For instance, Mr. Neubert
concluded, "A travel trailer is suitable for tool storage, preliminary
specimen cleaning and grading, and occasional overnight stays." Also,
"Minerals could be stored in the travel trailer, or could be stored off-site
in a more secure location." And finally, "Use of a travel trailer for
temporary shelter, storage of tools and minerals, and office space would be
necessary and reasonably incident to the mining operations. Full-time
residency of the claim is not necessary due to the proximity of
As for the security on-site, Mr. Neubert was informed about past theft on
the claim. Approximately 1/2 of the claim is fenced off from public access.
The fence surrounds the immediate area of operations and the campsite. The
other half of the claim has remained unrestricted to public access since
Quentin staked the claim. Mr. Neubert states, "Currently, a wire fence and
warning signs act as deterrents to the public who might accidentally fall
into one of the pits." He eventually concluded, "Use of a fence to
discourage entry to the active part of the claim is reasonably incident to
mining... Signage could be used on the perimeter of the claim to advise the
public where the claim boundary is, and that unauthorized people could not
According to House Bill Report (SHB 1380), the offense of mineral
trespassing is created. A person commits the crime of mineral trespass by:
(1) Entering and intentionally disturbing, removing, or attempting to remove
any minerals at a posted mining claim; tampering with or disturbing any
mining equipment at a posted mining claim; or defacing any landmarks or
other markers at a posted mining claim; or (2) intentionally interfering
with, stopping, or causing the stopping of a lawful small scale mining
operation that is in full compliance with the law.
The Senate would not have allowed Mineral Trespass to become a Class C
Felony if the government did not take the crime seriously. Yet, Mr. Neubert
does not seem to take it very seriously. Security on mining claims IS a
major concern, despite
On July 21, 2003, the Central Violations Bureau issued Quentin summons to
appear before the court on August 13th, 2003 on three new charges for the
trailer, signs and fence. Mr. Neubert had not completed the SUD until 3
months later. Quentin pled “not guilty” to these charges, as he will to any
additional crimes he is charged with by the USDA Forest Service. With
respect to the findings of the SUD, it is apparent that he made the correct
choice. I cannot even imagine why the Forest Service would pursue pressing
charges due to the presence of the signs and fence on Quentin's claim, as 36
CFR 228.9 requires that, "During all operations operator shall maintain his
structures, equipment, and other facilities in a safe, neat and workmanlike
manner. Hazardous sites or conditions resulting from operations shall be
marked by signs, fenced or otherwise
identified to protect the public in accordance with federal and State laws
and regulations.” Parallel requirements are found at 43 CFR 3802.4-5 for
operations under BLM jurisdiction and at 36 CFR 9.41under the National Park
Quentin requested that these new charges be tried before Magistrate Boland
because he is already familiar with the case. I hope that Judge Boland
decides not to pursue the charges further. After all, how could someone be
convicted of such crimes? If Quentin had not put up signs and a fence, the
Forest Service would likely be charging him with endangering public safety
or something else. During the preliminary hearing, it was suggested that the
prosecution might dismiss the charges if Quentin would agree to remove the
trailer, signs and fence. When Judge Boland asked the prosecutor what
security measures would be left for the defense, Mr. Gill stated that
Quentin could simply rebury the specimens before he left the site and then
dig them up again when it is time to show them to clients. The Judge had
read the SUD and understood that the trailer, signs, and fence were all
considered to be reasonably incidental to the mining. He asked why it would
be necessary for Quentin to remove them only to bring them back later,
suggesting that to do so would be wasteful. Mr. Gill stated that it was the
intention of the Forest Service to make an example out of Quentin. As I
understand it, one of the stipulations of a petty misdemeanor offense is
that a person who is convicted will not suffer wrongfully from public
besmirching of his or her character. To the miners of the area, many of whom
are our friends, public safety is more important than humiliating Quentin.
They can understand why Quentin is willing to face these charges. He is
scheduled for trial in mid December.
28. RECLAMATION DAY
During the first week of October, Quentin received a visit from his
Probation Officer, James Murphy. Mr. Murphy was there to discuss the
inevitable reclamation of the machine digs and the potential removal of the
Workcenter. "They won't be satisfied until you're living in the trailer park
in Lake George," he said, stating his opinion of the Forest Service's
intentions. Quentin was very dismayed. He wanted to demonstrate his respect
for the court decision to Mr. Murphy. The plan was that the Forest Service
would come out in a week to document the areas that needed to be reclaimed
and then schedule a time when Quentin could bring in a backhoe to complete
the work with Forest service supervision. Seeing how upset Quentin felt at
the idea of renting a backhoe to do reclamation work instead of investing
that money into excavations, Brian House, James Delabar and myself offered
to assist Quentin in hand-filling and reclaiming all of the digs ordered in
the Magistrate's decision.
For the following week, we worked painstakingly on the reclamation. One
after another, we filled the pits. Other friends showed up and volunteered
to help. We carefully replaced the overburden, which made the reclamation
almost invisible. Five minutes before the meeting with the Forest Service,
Quentin, Jason and I finished the final reclamation. Indeed, it seemed an
incredible feat of superhuman strength. But it was accomplished with the
help of many individuals. With a backhoe, the work could have been completed
in mere hours.
We had asked Jason to videotape the meeting for us, and he filmed it in its
entirety. David Crumley, Todd Phillipe and Jeff Hyatt toured the reclamation
sites and checked them off one by one. Mr. Crumley had difficulty
identifying the areas that we reclaimed, affirming that we had done a great
job. He seemed unimpressed that we had accomplished this great task by hand.
The others seemed very impressed. In fact, Mr. Hyatt commented to the effect
that the other miners in the area would now be held to this higher standard
of reclamation, whether it is done by hand or not.
At the end of the meeting, Quentin directly asked the Forest Service if he
had complied with all of the reclamation requirements set forth in the
Judge's order. The three Forest Service personnel agreed that the
reclamations were acceptable and Mr. Phillipe said that he would be sending
Quentin a letter affirming this. Although the reclamations were acknowledged
as accepted before the court, Quentin has not yet received that letter from
29. THE WAITING GAME
Quentin wrote a letter to Ms. Mayben, contesting the findings of the SUD. He
is currently awaiting the results of the Environmental Assessment, overdue
September 16th, which the Forest Service will publish in the South Park
Republican and Fairplay Flume. Once the Environmental Assessment is
published, the Forest Service will request another round of public comments.
Then the District Ranger will issue her decision. There is a 45-day appeal
timeframe following the decision, and Quentin will have to wait during this
period to begin work even if Ms. Mayben approves mechanized operations. It
is my hope that the remainder of this process will not be unjustly delayed
or further hindered by the Forest Service.
They had already effectively stalled the decision making process until well
beyond the court deadline for the removal of the Workcenter. Again, it is a
tactic that they use to avoid making a decision, thereby obligating the
Magistrate to do so for them. This completely circumvents the administrative
processes outlined in the laws and regulations governing mining operations.
For it to take over a year to process an application for a small-scale
operation that has been active for over five years and is similar to other
operations in the District is completely unreasonable. When the Forest
Service unjustly delays large-scale operations, the owners usually have the
capitol to bring lawsuits to recover their losses. Typically, their
businesses are not “shut down” for years at a time. Quentin proved that his
reclamation work would be satisfactory a long time ago. This is tried and
true, yet the Forest Service gives it no acknowledgment. Remember that it is
not their job to regulate mining, only the effects the mining has on the
Quentin has no desire to lose further profits due to unreasonable delays
with the Forest Service. This is part of the reason he decided to invest his
bond money with the State, as approval for mechanized digging operations
would exponentially increase his ability to profit from his mine. For the
Forest Service to excuse their negligence by continuing to blame Quentin for
processing delays is ridiculous and irrational.
30. BREAKING THE CHAIN OF COMMAND
I believe the Forest Service has acted in violation of numerous laws and
regulations. First, they have failed to follow the directives outlined in
their own Forest Service Manual at Title 1100. These are the directives
which state the purpose of their role in surface resource management. These
directives instruct the Forest Service to follow the regulations prescribed
by the Forest Service Manual and Handbook.
Further, the Forest Service is not following the procedures outlined at FSM
FSM 2814.24 “Provide reasonable alternatives. Forest officers should provide
bona fide prospectors and miners reasonable alternative access routes,
exploration methods, special use permits, and operating plan provisions in
order that they may carry out necessary mineral associated activities
without violation of laws and regulations.”
FSM 2817.02 “Objectives. In managing the use of the surface and surface
resources, the Forest Service should attempt to minimize or prevent,
mitigate and repair adverse environmental impacts on National Forest System
surface and cultural resources as a result of lawful prospecting,
exploration, mining, and mineral processing operations, as well as
activities reasonably incident to such uses. This should be accomplished by
imposition of reasonable conditions which do not materially interfere with
FSM 2817.03 “Policy. The primary means for obtaining protection of surface
resources should be by securing the willing cooperation of prospectors and
miners. The willingness of the majority of prospectors and miners to comply
with regulations, reasonably administered, is a principle key to the
protection of environmental quality in the National Forest System... The
regulations at 36 CFR Part 228, Subpart A shall be administered in a fair,
reasonable, and consistent manner and not as a means of inhibiting or
interfering with legitimate, well-planned mining operations... Do not rely
on the regulations at 36 CFR Part 228, Subpart A concerning operating plans
as a means of solving existing trespass and unauthorized occupancy problems
(FSM 2818) on lands clearly open to location under the 1872 mining law.”
FSM 2817.23 “Review and Approval of Plans... Consistent with the objectives
in FSM 2817.02, negotiations may be needed to effect changes in the proposed
operations in order to avoid unnecessary surface resource damage but without
undue interference with the proposed operation.”
FSM 2813.14 “Rights of Access to Claim. The right of reasonable access for
purposes of prospecting, locating and mining is provided by statute. Such
access must be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Forest
Service. However, the rules and regulations may not be applied so as to
prevent lawful mineral activities or to cause undue hardship on bona fide
prospectors and miners.”
Dec 20 2003, 01:23 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
FSM 2817.3(5)(b)(2) “Criminal Action. In cases where unnecessary and
unreasonable damage is occurring and where reasonable attempts fail to
obtain an operating plan or to secure compliance with an approved operating
plan, theoperator may be cited for violations...”
FSM 2818.1 “Actions Under 1872 Act Use Regulations... When it appears that
residential occupancy is--or will be-- an issue on an unpatented mining
claim, the District Ranger shall take timely action to inform the claimant
in writing of (1) rights regarding use and occupancy, (2) the requirements
of 36 CFR 228 Subpart A, and (3) the Forest Service responsibility for
surface resource management and protection... The claimant will be
encouraged to demonstrate the facts, reasons and purpose for use or
occupancy. The Forest Service will make a diligent effort to resolve
differences through agreement and will document all communications and
actions relative to the above requirements.”
FSM 2818.3 “Use of Validity Determinations. Historically, residential
occupancies which appeared to be unauthorized under the mining laws have
been resolved through he use of validity determinations by the Department if
the Interior. Although the regulations in 36 CFR 228 Subpart A (available
since 1974) are believed to be the best tool --ultimately-- for preventing
unauthorized uses, it is unlikely that the validity test procedure can be
avoided in resolving existing trespass so long as the present mining laws
are in operation... While, in fact, a claimant with a valid discovery does
not have more surface rights than one without a valid discovery, judges have
tended to depend heavily on validity findings because of the implications of
good faith of the claimant. ”
In addition to violating the prescribed regulations of the Forest Service
Manual, I feel that the Forest Service has violated the 1955 Multiple Use
Act, for materially interfering with legitimate mining activities, the
General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, for failing to recognize Quentin’s
statutory right to use and occupancy, and the Mining and Minerals Policy Act
of 1970, which was adopted into regulations as the Forest Service Minerals
and Mining Program Policy and states:
“The Federal Government’s policy for minerals resource management is
expressed in the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, ‘foster and
encourage private enterprise in the development of economically sound and
stable industries, and in the orderly and economic development of domestic
Among the objectives of this policy, the following seem relevant:
“Coordinate and cooperate with other Federal and State agencies having
authority and expertise in mineral-related activities.”
“Maintain an effective professional, technical, and managerial workforce
that is knowledgeable of (a) the geologic characteristics of mineral
deposits (b) the techniques of mineral exploration and development, © the
principles of ecosystem management, and (d) mineral laws, regulations,
policy and guidance.”
“Process mineral applications, operating plans, leases, licenses, permits
and other use authorizations efficiently and in a timely manner. Deal with
applicants and operators in accordance with the principles of customer
“Plan and provide for access to and occupancy of National Forest System
lands for mineral resource activities, consistent with overall management
objectives and the rights granted through statutes, leases, licenses and
permits. Eliminate or prevent occupancy that is not reasonably incident to
and required for the mineral operation.”
“Ensure the uniform application of resource protection and reclamation
standards for mineral-related exploration and development projects.”
Further, the Forest Service has violated many provisions of 36 CFR Part 228,
Subpart A for violating timeframes specified for responding to claimant
requests and applications, as well as 36 CFR 228.8 (h) for not accepting
Quentin’s State approval for his operations as meeting “similar and
parallel” requirements to Forest Service regulations, and for ignoring 36
CFR 228.9 because operators are required to maintain fences and signs in
order to notify and protect the public from potential dangers inherent to
the mining operations.
Also, when Forest Service Officers made decisions effecting the mining
operations on the Dreamtime claim, all proposed amendments should have been
presented with appeal regulations as prescribed in 36 CFR 228.14 and 36 CFR
251.84a, and legal paperwork should have included the appropriate OMB
control numbers, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Also, the Forest Service is in violation of the Administrative Procedures
Act 5 USC 706 (2) (a) because many of their actions and decisions are
arbitrary and capricious and are an abuse of discretion and have no basis in
fact and also no basis in law.
Taken altogether, it seems that individuals within the agency are also in
violation of the Federal Code of Ethics for tampering with administrative
files, the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for
prohibiting freedom of speech and bypassing due process of law, for
preventing Quentin from legitimately working the occupation of his choice
without undue prosecution (a taking), for discriminating against him for
being too young to occupy his mining claim, and for harassment.
The principal issue throughout the course of the mining operations has been
the occupancy of the site. First, Chuck Dunfee told him he was “mining
illegally”. When he tried to remedy this and gain a better understanding of
why he was not in compliance with the 1872 Mining Laws by submitting an
operating plan, Quentin was told he would never be allowed to occupy the
site by Barb Heidel, who was responsible for processing plans at that time.
Later, Quentin received a letter from the District Ranger wishing him a
successful year, seemingly an endorsement. Then he received his approved
operating plan in the mail, signed by District Ranger Donald Cosby in May of
1999, authorizing the use of his trailer for an indefinite time period, so
long as it is being used in the mining operations. Next, the Forest Service
modified this authorization by adding a statement to the end of the
evaluation so as to include that the trailer is not authorized. They
presented this plan to Quentin in an unusual manner and requested that he
sign the plan. He refused to do so. As he once stated in a letter of appeal
to the Forest Service, why should he agree to give up valid rights that he
is currently exercising, with no benefit to his operations, which would
cause him undue hardship and invite theft and vandalism to the site?
The Forest Service tried to circumvent the authorization given by Mr. Cosby
through coercion and intimidation, by confusing the information and
presenting altered documents without regard to prescribed administrative
procedures. I believe that Quentin had every reason to distrust them at this
point. My thoughts on this matter were confirmed when the Forest Service
began to seek out opportunities to find Quentin in non-compliance. This
became evident when I reviewed all of the files gathered in connection with
his recent and pending court cases.
Currently, Quentin continues to seek authorization for his proposed
operations, and has conceded that any habitation issues could be addressed
with the use of a self-contained travel trailer, which can easily be hauled
off-site during inactive periods, or for regular maintenance. All activities
and facilities at the claim are essential to efficient and safe operations
at the work site. Because all of the items in question are proposed for
approval, I believe the legitimacy of those items should be determined
before any further legal action is required.
However, Judge Boland’s order required Quentin to remove the Workcenter and
he had run out of time. He spent the first few weeks of November dismantling
the structure. I sent out a letter to everyone I know asking them to help
him with this process. Many people came to show their support. With only
limited physical assistance, the structure was removed within a few days.
During the trial the Forest Service claimed that they would charge $8000
restitution for the removal of the cabin and reclamation of the digs if
Quentin did not fulfill the court order. Considering the small effort needed
to accomplish the removal and the ability to complete the reclamation using
only primitive techniques, I assume the Forest Service always exaggerates
the requirements for clean-up and particularly for bonding. Keep in mind
that we were able to salvage nearly all of the materials used in the
building and that because the structure was built with eventual disassembly
in mind, it was an easy and cost effective goal to meet.
For the Forest Service to expect any more concessions from Quentin is simply
vindictive and excessively prohibitive. If Quentin abandons his site and
removes all of his equipment he will effectively be run out of business. Why
should he be put through the undue hardship of removing the trailer, signs
and fence just so he can be made an example of in the discouraging of
The Forest Service’s Surface Use Determination suggested that some of the
proposed activities (like the A-frame) are not necessary to conduct the
mining operations, and therefore it is their responsibility to provide
Quentin with reasonable alternatives to the activities he’s proposed that
would meet his requirements. Any decisions made which effect the mining
operations are subject to appeal. Pending the outcome of the final appeal
procedures, the Forest Service should make every reasonable attempt to
secure Quentin’s operating plan. He has been cooperating with their requests
and is eager to assist in the processing of his plan in any way that will
help to expedite the mining operations at the claim. I have asked the Forest
Service many times, “What more can Quentin do to come into compliance?”
Those who were asked simply shrugged their shoulders or ignored the question
According to the BLM’s 43 CFR 3715 section on the occupancy of mining
claims, Quentin fully meets the criteria for being granted occupancy under
the 1872 Mining Laws. Although the Dreamtime claim does not fall within the
BLM’s jurisdiction, Mr. Neubert implied (on video) that the BLM regulations
would be used as a guideline for the Surface Use Determination, in the
absence of Forest Service procedures in this region. If this is true, then I
wonder why these guidelines have been in question and unused for such a long
time. When I asked Ms. Mayben why a Surface Use Determination had never been
done on the claim before, she stated that Ron Baer was new, and Rusty Dersch
wasn’t an examiner. This did not seem like an acceptable answer. When she
came to the meeting on June 5, 2003, she had a copy of the 43 CFR
regulations on the table. Although Quentin asked several questions about
Public Law 167, Ms. Mayben never opened the book to address them. She only
stated that the regulations were only pertinent to BLM managed lands.
If the regulations were applied as a guideline in the Surface Use
Determination, why is the Forest Service unwilling to apply them to
Quentin’s proposed occupancy? This seems to be a double standard. When the
regulations may be used to help Quentin, they simply do not apply. This is
in no way demonstrative of the government’s intent to “foster and encourage”
his mining operation.
Quentin is very busy with his Court appeal, the processing of his proposed
operating plan and the preparation for his upcoming court appearance and
subsequent actions. Since he submitted his operating plan in October 2002,
he has exchanged over three dozen correspondences with the Forest Service,
comprised of hundreds of pages of information, appeals and compromises. This
is a stressful time for all parties involved, including the public. We all
have a vested interest in what happens here. Beyond the involvement in these
issues, it has been essential for Quentin to find the time to continue his
mining operations, as he could not support himself without mining.
If you can help us even in some small way, I request that you do. I am
seeking any advice you have to offer. I am not a legal expert and I have a
very limited knowledge of what redress of grievances may be available for
Quentin. I obviously feel that his rights have been violated in numerous
ways. All of the information contained in this letter is substantiated by
existing records maintained by the USDA Forest Service South Park Ranger
District, the files of Quentin Good and the testimony presented in the
recent US vs. Quentin Good court transcripts. I believe a careful review of
all pertinent documents and transcripts by a trained legal expert may reveal
even more violations of laws and regulations unknown to me. Quentin is now
only one of several claimants I know who have been treated unfairly or are
having trouble with the South Park Ranger District. In fact, many of the
miners who testified on Quentin's behalf have had recent conflicts with the
agency. The Forest Service was created to manage the surface resources, not
to restrict and prohibit mining. If the Forest Service is allowed to
continue to run amok, with employees starting fires, tampering with
documents, and failing to follow their own directives, the effects will be
to ensure that small miners become an endangered species!
Thank you for reading this lengthy letter. I highly value your opinion and I
am interested in hearing from you. If you have questions or would like speak
with Mr. Good personally about these issues please write me at the address
Anita Kuhn -PO Box 201 -Lake George-Colorado -80827
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is comprised of numerous supportive public comments solicited by
the South Park Ranger District concerning the mining operations at the
Dreamtime lode claim CMC250821 owned and operated by Quentin H. Good. The
comment period was scheduled to run from June 14- July 14, 2003 although the
District continued to accept comments as late as July 24th. The comments
were requested in the public notice section of the South Park Republican and
Fairplay Flume and in a “scoping” letter sent out by the District to
interested parties who had requested notification. On July 29, 2003 I
forwarded a Freedom of Information Act request to the District in order to
obtain copies of these comments. Although the response I received from the
District included numerous comments from parties both in favor of and
against the proposed mining operations I noted that several letters, which
were provided to me by associates of Dreamtime, were not included in the
FOIA response. The following excerpts also include statements from those
“As this business the ‘Dreamtime Mine’ is his sole source of income, and
considering public safety issues as well as loss prevention, I feel his
request to occupy is a matter of necessity…”
James A. Delabar
“I found the proposed mining operation on the Dreamtime Claim to be not only
reasonable, but occupancy is a must in the case of an 24/7 year round
operation as loss prevention, public safety, logistic issues are many…”
“I believe that year around occupancy of the claim is necessary to insure
the safety of the public and also to secure the digging operation and the
valuable minerals. I also believe that signs and fences are necessary to
restrict public access...”
“It takes a special person to do what Quentin and others like him do. His
dedication to his trade and his desire and vested interest in providing
minimal impact to the environment while mining appear to be foremost in his
“It is my opinion, and one shared by the members of AGS, that Mr. Good has
established himself as a responsible miner and educator in the Crystal Creek
area. His efforts to promote the collection of minerals, both small and
large scale, in a manner responsible to the land should be applauded. As an
interested party, I submit this letter in support of the mining activities
he has proposed and hope that the Forest Service will foster and encourage
them as well…”
Nate Gilbertson MSc. Candidate
Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
“I was alarmed to hear in court that the Forest Service tried to set up so
many obstacles for one miner as to make it impossible for him to comply, in
hopes that he would leave the area but not to be to harsh that he may go to
his Congressman or District Attorney. The Forest Service went as far as
doctoring the books by whiting out key information and was found by the
judge as not being credible testimony… The miner wants to be a good steward
of the land and since our mining does not pollute ground water or release
metallic minerals into the environment, unlike many other mining areas, you
would think the Forest Service would have their hands full protecting
against erosion and the many other things involved with the fire, rather
than spending all the time and resources in court trying to prosecute and
stop the small miner from pursuing his constitutional right to mine…”
“ A vandal or careless intruder could easily cause many thousands of dollars
of loss by damaging specimens in a pegmatite pocket. Actually living on site
would allow the area to be worked more quickly than dragging out the
operation due to the loss of time covering/uncovering the individual vein
being worked. It also allows more hours per day to be utilized in the mining
operation so that the overall length of the operation should be shortened by
months or years.”
John M. Rakowski
“After reviewing a copy of the Forest Service Minerals Program Policy, it
would seem proper and in accordance with the Policies that the miner be
allowed to continue his mining operations on his claims. It would appear
from your notice that he is requesting nothing more than what is covered in
the Minerals Program Policy. It would seem obvious a miner would need some
method to protect his interest, i.e. a need to have a shelter and be able to
show evidence that the claim is being operated by someone in order to ward
off others from taking specimens or equipment.”
“…the need for occupancy of a mining claim is obvious to most people, not
only for the protection of mineral loads and mineral specimens, but for the
protection of the public wandering into a mined area. Anybody with the idea
of mining for a living must also have the idea that he must occupy the mine.
The laws supporting mining are very clear on the occupation issue and they
all support or make mandatory the occupation of a mining claim.”
“This area is well known throughout the worldwide mineralogical community
for its prolific production of world-class mineral specimens. Numerous
articles concerning this area have appeared in mineralogical books and
journals. This is an extremely important mineralogical area. As a result,
many people visit the area to collect minerals… Quentin Good has established
himself as a responsible miner in the Crystal Creek area through years of
hard work and the promotion of the Dreamtime mining claim.”
Dr. David A. Witwer
“I am awaiting final decision on this matter to invest in heavy equipment
for use and purpose of prospecting for minerals as well as, evermore
important, reclamation of areas no longer being used for mining. Ongoing
reclamation cannot effectively be accomplished without the use of this
equipment. The proposed pole barn/shed would be used in part to store,
protect and service the equipment. This would be necessary, as well as
Quentin living on the property due to the claim being located just inside
the Forest boundary. Easy access for vandalism or theft is an ever present
“Being a local store owner and dealing with gems and minerals from the
Crystal Peak mining district, I know how valuable these mineral resources
are. So by staying out on his claim year round I feel he’s doing a great job
protecting his livelihood and way of life.”
“I am very impressed with the way the claim area is maintained… the
reclamation efforts are outstanding.”
John P. Asselta
“Quentin and Anita are just real nice, responsible people. I would be glad
to help with any final reclamation needed in the future on his claim.”
“…to my belief, Quentin cannot successfully mine his claim without the
A-frame cabin. The cabin itself makes for a perfect showroom for what comes
out of his ground.”
“Mr. Good’s claim is directly north of property I had owned for over 20
years. During the time Quentin was operating his claim we had no problem at
“Quentin’s work and the rocks and minerals he and his associates are
producing from this claim are an asset not only to themselves, but to all of
us. These geological finds are a pride to Colorado, and to the United States
“After being around mines and prospectors for years Mr. Good and Dreamtime
are one of the more responsible and intelligent I have come across.”
“I have visited the claim and done mineral collecting there. I feel that
Quentin has done a great job in mitigating the environmental impact to his
claim. I see no reason not to accept his proposal.”
Tom and Kathy Marshall
“Quentin’s main concern about his claim is security. This is his reason for
occupancy. If Quentin did not occupy his claim, he would be robbed of all of
his hard work.”
“Quentin is doing an excellent job maintaining all aspects of the mining
claim and all rules and regulations pertaining to the activities involved.
To be denied any of these activities would deny many people, young and old
to participate in the wonderful world of Mineralogy…”
“I find it a necessity for this location to be manned/staffed full time for
safety and security. Not only to the exhibits, but the patrons who frequent
the claim. There are several extraction sites where danger exists to anyone
who enter. Only a fraction of patrons entering these sites have training
regarding hazards relating to the mining operation or have proper safety
gear to enter them safely.”
Paula and Lucien Willette
Crystal Treasure Lodes 1-5
“…a tool and equipment storage facility is essential to the success of the
mine. As further stated in the Forest Service Manual chapter 2818.1: ‘a tool
storage structure may be a reasonable necessity if the plan of operations is
for a long period of active exploration or development, and it is
inconvenient to transport tools to and from the claim.’ It is reasonable to
me to build such a structure as Mr. Good has explained in order to
adequately store and protect specimens, equipment presently owned, and to
leave sufficient space for the storage of future equipment and specimens
that may be acquired.”
“It seems to me that personal opinions and objectives within the Forest
Service are obscuring professional responsibilities and objectives set forth
by Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas. This is an obvious dereliction of
duty and behavior that is absolutely unacceptable at this, or any other
level of government.”
“I think the primary issue at hand is security, the security of property and
equipment, the security of the claimant and his colleagues, and the security
of any guests of the claim along with their personal effects…it is my wish
to see the plan of operations for the Dreamtime mining claim approved
without further delay.”
“I believe that what Quentin proposes in his plan of operations is prudent
and intelligent. Occupancy of the claim is of the utmost importance to
protect against theft and vandalism of digs and specimens, both of which
have happened on nearly every claim in the area. I have personally stopped
such acts on several occasions, something that can only be accomplished by
“All facilities on the claim are present only to beneficiate the extraction,
processing and protection of valuable minerals located on the claim, and
provide for public safety. These structures have nothing to do with what
most people call ‘living’. These facilities are strictly utilitarian in
Quentin H. Good
“The main difference between Quentin’s operation and that of other miners in
the area is that the Dreamtime is a full-time operation. Where other
claimants in the area are hobbyists or members of rock clubs, and many earn
their living pursuing other vocations, Quentin is a miner by profession. It
seems to me that the very nature of the General Mining Law of 1872, as
amended, was to preserve and encourage the rights of bona fide mining
claimants by ensuring their ability to use the land for legitimate mining
purposes… The occupancy of a mining claim is a statutory right. The only
obligation Quentin has yet to fulfill is to obtain Forest Service approval
through an operating plan. He has applied for that approval. If the Forest
Service follows its own directives, then it will cooperate with mining
claimants to provide for the occupancy of legitimate mining claims through
operating plan provisions.”
I compiled these statements to demonstrate the overwhelming support of those
who are familiar with the operations at the Dreamtime lode claim because
they have participated in various activities and witnessed the operations
personally. Though they come from all walks of life, I believe these
individuals may know far more about the operations at Dreamtime than any
Forest Service official I have met, and are likely more qualified to
determine what is reasonably incidental to mining at the site. Thank you for
considering their statements.
Dec 20 2003, 01:32 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
Okay now the Enviromental Assessment in it's entirety.......
Some of the EA is in text and some are photos such as this as the letter head and signnatures and maps must all be included also so here ya go.
Dec 20 2003, 01:38 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
Dec 20 2003, 01:50 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (EA)
CHAPTER 1. PURPOSE OF AND NEED FOR ACTION.
The environmental assessment (EA) presents the environmental effects of mining activities proposed by the mining claimant in a proposed plan of operations for the Dreamtime unpatented mining claim. From this point on any reference to the mining claimant will be referred to as the “operator” of the Dreamtime Mine. The mining claim is located on the Pike National Forest in an area known as Crystal Creek, near the towns of Florissant and Lake George, Teller County, Colorado.
Background and History
Crystal Creek Mining Area. The Crystal Creek mining area is a renowned source for a variety of minerals that are sold as specimens to mineral collectors and mineral dealers. Specimen quality crystals of smoky quartz, amazonite, fluorite, goethite, hematite, albite, and microcline occur in small cavities or pockets within quartz and pegmatite veins hosted by Precambrian-age Pikes Peak granite. Large or high quality specimens from Crystal Creek are displayed in numerous museums around the nation, and in many private and public collections. Miners continue to make crystal discoveries in the area.
The Crystal Creek mining area covers approximately 5,000 acres of surface area on the Pike National Forest and surrounding private lands. Crystals have been mined for many decades dating back to the 1800’s. There is widespread but largely unobtrusive evidence of historic hand and mechanized digging operations in the form of shallow trenches, open pits, and spoil piles. Many of the old digs have naturally revegetated over time.
It is estimated that 100 or more unpatented mining claims currently exist in the area, and new mining claims are staked every year. Likewise, some existing claims expire each year because the claimants do not refile on them. The large majority of claimants are small operators who use hand tools to prospect on summer
weekends. Most operations involve band tools with a surface disturbance of less than 1,000 (10 by 100) square feet.
Dreamtime Mining Claim. The operator filed a claim on the Dreamtime unpatented mining claim in late 1998. The operator proposed a Plan of Operations for a “pick and shovel” operation in early 1999. The Forest Service approved the proposed activities as a Notice of Intent (NO1), allowing non-mechanized mining and use of a travel trai1er. In mid-1999, the Forest Service responded to occupancy concerns by modifying the NOI authorization and requiring the operator to post a reclamation bond. The operator refused to sign the modification or post a bond with the Forest Service, and has continued to mine with hand tools.
Page 1 of 32
During 2001 the operator used mechanized equipment to mine on the claim, and late in 2001 constructed the unauthorized A-frame cabin. The operator has completed some reclamation work on earlier digs from producing veins/pockets as well as from non—productive veins/pockets. The current surface disturbance for the Dreamtime Mine is approximately 1/10 of an acre.
The A-frame was removed in November 2003 per the court order but it remains part of the proposed mining activities.
In 2000, the operator obtained a Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (CO DMG) prospecting permit for the Dreamtime operation. In March 2000 the operator provided CO DMG with a $2,000 reclamation bond and was authorized to proceed with prospecting.
Proposed Action / Purpose and Need
The operator submitted the proposed plan of operations for the Dreamtime unpatented mining claim in October 2002. Over the next several months, in response to Forest Service requests, the operator provided additional information and details so the Forest Service could better define the scope of the proposed mining operations prior to conducting field reviews and preparing this assessment. The operator submitted a nearly final version of the proposal on May 20, 2003, and then made modifications to the plan on June 14 and July
In the amended Proposed Plan of Operations, the operator plans to explore for geologic deposits that may produce crystals and associated specimens including Amazonite, quartz, smoky quartz, fluorite, goethite. hematite, albite and microcline. In addition, the operator proposes to:
• Disturb a maximum of one acre at any given time with up to five open pits with a maximum depth of
30 feet. The one (1) acre area would include both open pits and associated spoil piles placed outside
• Use mechanized equipment to remove overburden and open up potential or promising dig sites.
o Use hand tools to excavate quartz and pegmatite veins, seeking small underground pockets that could produce specimen-grade crystals and minerals.
• Preliminary cleaning and grading of specimens would be done at the site, and there would be some marketing to collectors and dealers at the claim as well.
• If needed, further specimen cleaning with a weak acid solution would he done offsite.
• Install fences and signs to promote public safety around the dig sites.
• Construct a new equipment storage shed.
• Reconstruct A-frame structure for storage and work space.
• Place a newer travel trailer on the claim for onsite residency.
• Remove the old travel trailer.
• Allow short term camping by volunteers, visitors and prospective investors.
• Use water from the spring for washing mineral specimens, and possibly as a source of drinking water.
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• Remove gray water to an approved disposal off of National Forest System lands.
• Remove sewage to an approved disposal off of National Forest System lands
• Use a gasoline generator to provide electric power, solar panels with battery bank for lighting, and a propane powered refrigerator.
• Perform a variety of concurrent reclamation activities at dig sites that are no longer productive,
• Perform a variety of final reclamation activities at dig sites, along the non-system roads, and all other
disturbed areas including but not limited to the work center, trailer site, and equipment shed at the end of mining operations.
The proposal does not include any new road construction.
Activities associated with onsite residency would include one to three people living full time in a travel trailer to be brought into the claim, with periodic removal of waste water to an approved dump site. The
operator has two proposals for disposal of gray water and sewage: 1.) collect waste water in the trailer’s tanks and then remove the trailer to a dump site when the tanks are full; or 2) connect the trailer’s facilities to two tanks mounted on a small trailer, when those tanks are full, the trailer would be removed and the tanks dumped.. This option would reduce wear and tear on the travel trailer. Drinking water would be hauled in to the mining claim for use by residents and visitors, or possibly obtained from the spring, using a portable filtration system.
The purpose of these proposed actions would allow the operator to exercise his rights to explore for and mine valuable minerals as stated under the 1872 mining law. The General Mining Law Act of 1872 allows entry, exploration and mining on public domain lands as a matter of se1f-initiation. Passage of the General Mining Law of 1872, also known as the Act of May 10, 1872, declared that ‘all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States… to be free and open to exploration and purchase, and the lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase, by citizens of the United States -- “ This Act opened public domain lands owned by the United States to exploration and occupation for the purpose of discovering and developing valuable mineral deposits found in them.
The lands containing “valuable deposits” were also made available for purchase (patenting) upon expenditure of $5OO worth of work toward the development of the deposit.
Forest Service authority with regard to locatable minerals on reserved public domain land is generally non-discretionary. This means the Forest Service cannot prohibit the discovery or development of minerals, but it can regulate Surface disturbance caused by these operations. (Pamela Piech, Senior Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, US Department of Agriculture, August 2002)
The need is to protect the National Forest System lands and surface resources as required by Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 228, Subpart A Locatable Minerals. The proposed plan of operations would be processed as a locatable or lode mineral resource under the 1872 mining law, according to established Forest Service policy, utilizing the standard Plan of Operations format.
The 1897 Organic Act authorized the protection of the National Forests against destruction, and authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to make rules and regulations regulating the occupancy and use of the National Forests.
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The Act provides that persons entering the National Forests for the purposes of prospecting, locating, and developing mineral resources under the U-S. mining laws, as amended, must comply with the rules and regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture covering the National Forests. The 1955 Multiple-Use Mining Act amended the 1872 Act and gave the Forest Service authority to protect surface resources on unpatented mining claims located on National Forest System lands.
Location and Setting
The Dreamtime Mine is located within the Southeast 1/4 of Section 11, T.12S, R.71W., 6th Principal Meridian., Teller County, Colorado. The analysis area is five miles northeast of Lake George, along the Forest boundary and adjacent to private land (see map). The Dreamtime unpatented mining claim covers 20 acres of National Forest System land in a rectangle that is 600 feet north to south and 1500 feet east to west.
It is a standard-size mining claim.
Decisions to be Made
The District Ranger will decide whether or not to implement the proposals or another alternative to the proposed actions Management requirements and mitigation measures would be implemented to assure compliance with the Forest Plan standards and guidelines, as well as regulations and requirements of state and county government agencies. Given the purpose and need, and the Forest Service legal framework concerning locatable minerals, the District Ranger will make the following decisions:
Determine whether the requested structures and facilities including A-frame, equipment shed and travel trailer are necessary or incident to mining operations.
Determine whether residency on the claim is necessary or incident to mining.
Develop necessary surface protection mitigation measures to minimize the impacts of proposed mining and residential activities.
Approve, approve with modifications, or deny the request to reside on the mining claim in a travel trailer, in coordination with Teller County officials.
Approve, approve with modifications or deny the request to remove gray water and human waste from the National Forest to a dump site, in coordination with Teller County officials.
Approve, approve with modifications or deny the request to use the A-frame structure for storage and related uses, and to construct new equipment shed- Use of either structure will require a county building permit, and use of the A-frame will require construction of a permanent foundation according to county code requirements.
Approve, approve with modifications or deny the request to use mechanized equipment.
An appropriate reclamation bond will be calculated and the operator will be required to post this bond prior to approval of the operating plan. This bond will be posted with the Forest Service, and may be in addition to any bond held by the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology.
The operator will be required to be consistent with Teller County building and sanitation code requirements, with Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology permitting requirements and with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requirements.
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These requirements include but arc not limited to state water rights permit, state water discharge permit, county conditional use permit and all necessary building permits. These conditions will be identified in the Decision Document and included in the approved P1533 of Operations. If the operator does not comply with these conditions, he will be in noncompliance with Forest Service regulations and appropriate action will be taken at that time.
The District Ranger will also determine whether or not an EIS is required based on the significance of environmental effects (40 CFR 1509.9).
Forest Policy/Regulations Direction
The Proposed Action~ were designed to conform to the laws, regulations, policy, Forest Plan goals, standards and guidelines, which are incorporated by reference.
There is a statutory right for persons to prospect and mine on National Forest System land open to mineral exploration, but such persons must comply with the rules and regulations covering the National Forests (Forest Service Manual 2817.01).
The Forest Service will attempt to minimize, prevent, mitigate and/or repair adverse environmental impacts on National Forest System lands, surface and cultural resources as a result of lawful prospecting, exploration, mining and mineral processing operations, as well as activities reasonably incident to such uses. This should be accomplished by imposition of reasonable conditions or mitigation measures which do not materially interfere with such operations (Forest Service Manual 281 702).
In 1974 the Forest Service implemented regulations to control use and occupancy within the National Forests, including those needed to protect surface resources during mining operations on unpatented mining claims. These regulations are currently found at 36 CFR 228A.
In addition, as required by the mining regulations (36 CFR 228.13) the Forest Service will require the operator to provide a bond in an amount sufficient to ensure that all disturbances are adequately reclaimed.
including disturbances associated with residency, if authorized. This bond may be in addition to any bond required by the State of Colorado, Division of Minerals and. Geology.
In summary, current Forest Service policy regarding mining of the public domain mineral estate on National Forest System lands includes the following elements, as taken from Deputy Chief Tom Thompson’s letter to Regional Foresters dated October 10, 2003:
• The Forest Service locatable minerals regulations 36 CFR. 228.A have not been amended or limited and remain fully in effect for operations on or off mining claims
• The Forest Set-vice is not required to conduct mining claim validity exams before processing and approving proposed plans of operation.
• The Forest Service will conduct a timely review of proposed operations and continue to ensure proposed activities are required for and reasonably incidental to prospecting, mining or processing operations.
• The Forest Service will continue to ensure operations comply with the regulations and minimize adverse environmental effects to the extent feasible.
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In addition to national policy, there is local Pike National Forest direction and policy that affects land use activities on and near the Dreamtime claim. This local direction includes the Forest Plan, site specific travel management practices, and occupancy and use restrictions.
The 1983 Land and Resource Management Plan for the Pike and San Isabcl National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands (Forest Plan) includes a broad goal to encourage mineral exploration, development and extraction consistent with management of surface resources (111-5). The Forest Plan states
that mining plans will include stipulations to minimize and mitigate adverse effects to the environment to the extent possible (11-7 5).
The proposed mining operation is in Management Area 2A, which has an emphasis for Semi-primitive motorized recreation. Mining is generally compatible with the overall management emphasis for this area. Standards and guidelines in the Forest Plan require reclamation of disturbed lands after mining (111-53).
Travel management rules apply to the area surrounding the Dreamtime unpatented mining claim. The area has been designated as an “A” area, meaning that motorized travel is limited to existing roads. Off road motorized travel, including ATV’s, 4-wheelers and motorcycles, is prohibited.
Occupancy and use restrictions apply to the Dreamtime unpatented mining claim. The policy prohibits camping on the Forest more than 28 days within a continuous 60 day period on the entire Pike National Forest, where not otherwise restricted, and occupying any campsite for more than 14 days during this 60 day period within 3 miles of a previous campsite.
The Dreamtime Mine operation is a long term mining proposal. The Forest Service could approve the proposed mining operation for five years, with possible renewal of this plan of operations for another five years. At the end of the first five years of approved operations, the Forest Service would need to conduct a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review to determine if the plan of operations is still consistent with environmental regulations in place at that time. Proposed mining operations would be conducted year around. The operator asserts that a mine life of 20 years or more is possible.
The Proposed Actions were provided to the public and to other agencies and organizations for comment during a scoping period that ran from June 17 to July 14, 2003. Specific public involvement activities for this project included the following:
Four legal notices published in the local newspaper, the Park County Republican/Fairplay Plume between June 13 and July 4, 2003.
• A Forest Service news release that was published June 27 9003 in the Park County
• A more detailed news story published July 9, 2003 in the Ute Pass Courier in Woodland Park. CO, featuring an interview with District Ranger Sara Mayben.
• A scoping letter and request for comments was mailed to 50 individuals, agencies and elected officials on June 17 and June 30, 2003.
In response to these public involvement actions, some 46 individuals, organizations and agencies responded with comments in the form of letters, faxes and emails. These comments were received between June 16 and November 5, 2003. In addition, District staff responded to several telephone calls from interested individuals, some of whom may have provided written comments.
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Dec 20 2003, 01:58 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
Issues are defined as concerns about the potential effects of the proposed action. Issues about the Proposed
Action were solicited from all interested parties as well as from the Forest’s interdisciplinary team (IDT).
Issues and comments were separated into 3 categories as follows:
Concerns with issues that could be resolved through the development of an alternative.
• Concerns that could be resolved through the use of mitigation measures / management requirements.
• Concerns, which could be addressed in the effects analysis.
A summary of the issues and how the ID Team addressed them, is found in the project file.
The discussion of environmental consequences in Chapter 3 focuses on the Proposed Actions and briefly discusses other surface resources such as water, soils, wildlife, social/economics, range, fire/fuels, visuals. recreation, and heritage resources. The planning team determined that other surface resource issues were insignificant because they would result in little or no environmental impact from the Proposed Actions with application of management requirements (Appendix A) and mitigation measures (Appendix B). Issues scoped internally and from the public did not identify any key issues, therefore only the No Action. Proposed Action, and a Proposed Action w/ Modifications were analyzed in detail.
Federal. State and County Permits and Licenses
The Forest Service will require the operator to comply with all, Federal, State and County laws, regulations, and policies for all mining activities. This includes acquiring a mining permit from CO DMG and a conditional use permit from Teller County. Failure to follow this requirement would result in the operator being in noncompliance with any approved Plan of Operations.
The operator would obtain a water right for use of the spring. The beneficial use can only be identified as mining. If other beneficial uses are identified the Forest Service will appeal those requested rights in water court.
The operator will be required to obtain a State water discharge permit from the Water Quality Control Division of the State Health Department if discharging effluent from mineral washing is approved in the plan of operations.
A complete list of required permits is shown in Appendix A.
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CHAPTER 2. ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION.
A range of Alternatives is designed to address key issues derived from internal and public scoping on the Proposed Action planned. The Forest Service Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) identified no key issues to require other action alternatives to be considered, based on the comments received and their knowledge of
the resources. Issues scoped internally and from the public were consistent with the Purpose and Need, and
were resolved through mitigation requirements or were outside the scope of this project. A list of issues
from internal sources and public scoping can be found in the project file along with the rational for
dismissing them from detailed analysis.
Description of Alternatives
This section describes the No Action - Alternative 1, Proposed Action - - Alternative 2 and a Proposed Action
with Modifications - Alternative 3. The Proposed Action with Modifications - Alternative 3 was derived from a Surface Use Determination (SUD) report done during the months of July and August of 2003 on the Dreamtime Mine. The Surface Use Determination report is used to validate certain requests made in the operator s proposed Plan, of Operations and determine whether they are necessary for mining operations or are reasonably incident to the mining activity taking place under the U.S. mining laws. The Proposed Action alternatives were designed to meet the purpose and need to allow the operator to exercise his rights to explore for and mine valuable minerals as stated under the 1872 mining law, as well as protect National Forest System lands surface resources as required by Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 228, Subpart A. The following is a discussion of the three alternatives studied in detail.
No Action Alternative: Alternative 1
This alternative would allow the operator to mine using hand tools only, with no permanent residency and no permanent structures. The operator would continue to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) annually describing the work he plans to do. The authorized officer would annually determine if a plan of operations would he required. Leave No Trace practices (catholes) would continue for disposal of human waste. Permanent trailer use would not be authorized and is subject to Forest Service occupancy and use restrictions (Order No.
No reclamation bond would be required for this alternative and there would be no termination date for the mining operations. Mitigation measures identified under Appendix B of this EA would apply to this alternative. The Forest Service would require the operator to comply with all federal, state arid county regulations.
The no action alternative is the status quo for the rest of the analysis The current situation as described above would continue.
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Proposed Action: Alternative 2
Under this alternative, the operator would be allowed to conduct mining operations, subject to management requirements and mitigation measures identified by the Forest Service’s authorized officer. The operator would also be allowed to live on the mining claim in a travel trailer. The operator would reconstruct the A-frame and use as a work center. The operator would construct an equipment shed to store mechanized equipment and supplies. The operator would be authorized to use mechanized equipment to dig pits and
complete reclamation. The operator would be required to perform a variety of annual and end-of-mining reclamation measures. The operator would be authorized to use water from the spring to wash minerals and dispose of effluent on site but would be required to obtain a water right and a discharge permit from the state.
There would be limited signing and fence construction to keep other National Forest visitors at a safe distance from potentially hazardous dig sites. Gray water and human waste would be collected in the travel trailer or in tanks mounted on a small trailer and connected to the travel trailer, and periodically removed from the National Forest to an approved dump site. Guests, visitors and volunteers would be allowed to camp for short periods and would use catholes for disposal of human waste. Drinking water for permanent residents and visitors would be hauled to the site, or the operator would use the spring on the mining claim as a source of drinking water.
Implementation of this alternative as proposed by the operator would not be consistent with Teller County building and sanitation code requirements and with Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology permitting requirements. Therefore, management requirements have been identified that will bring the operation into compliance with state and county regulations. Those management requirements include the following:
• The operator will obtain a state water right in his name to use the spring for mining purposes only.
• The operator will obtain a state water discharge permit to use water to wash minerals and dispose of effluent on, site.
• The operator will obtain a mining permit from the State of Colorado, Division of Minerals and Geology.
• The operator will obtain a conditional use permit and all necessary building permits from Teller
County The operator would need to install a septic system and a potable water system, including either a well or a cistern.
• The operator will obtain any required business licenses to sell minerals on the claim, and pay all taxes due to the state and county for mineral sales and for structures placed on the National Forest.
Proposed Action w/ SUD Modifications: Alternative 3
Under this alternative, mining operations would be the same as under Alternative 2, including use of mechanized equipment. Modifications were derived from the Surface Use Determination report that recommends mining operations that are and are not necessary or reasonably incident to the mining activities occurring under the U.S. mining laws.
The operator would not be allowed permanent residency on the ruining claim. No permanent structures. facilities or water/ sewer systems would be approved. The equipment shed would not be constructed. The A-frame structure would not be allowed in this alternative.
The operator could have a travel trailer with wheels attached for temporary storage of tools and equipment, office space, and to use as temporary shelter, but would not be allowed to reside in the trailer.
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This limited residency would be consistent with Teller County regulations. The operator would be allowed to stay overnight in the self- contained travel trailer and/or tents for a maximum of 60 days during a 365 day period, which is the upper limit allowed by Teller County regulations. The operator would be required to remove the trailer to haul off gray water and sewage to an approved dump station off the National Forest. When operator reaches 60 days use of the travel trailer or tent, operator would be required to live off the National Forest for the remainder of 305 days. The travel trailer would not be allowed to park on the mining claim for more than 60 days per 365 day period.
The operator would not be allowed to use the spring and would be required to bring in water for washing minerals on site. Washing minerals would be done in a self contained system. The effluent would be disposed of off the National Forest at an approved disposal facility. The operator could also choose to wash all minerals offsite with no use of water on the mining claim. The operator would not be required to install a septic system or a potable water system. A state water right and water discharge permit would not be required under this alternative.
Operator would be required to obtain a state mining permit, a county conditional use permit, any county-mandated permits or licenses to sell minerals onsite, and to pay any business taxes owed.
Alternatives Considered, but Eliminated from Detailed Study
Combination of Travel Trailer and Tent Camping on the Mining Claim
Under this alternative, the operator would be allowed to use a travel trailer for up to 60 days a year, as allowed by Teller County, and the same as under Alternative 3. In addition, he would be allowed to live in a tent for the remaining 305 days of the year. Mining operations would be the same as he has proposed in
Alternative 2. This alternative involves year round residency but does not require potable water and sewer systems. Therefore it is contrary to Teller County regulations, and will be dropped from further analysis in this environmental assessment.
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Dec 20 2003, 02:05 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
Dec 20 2003, 02:11 AM
Joined: 7-October 03
Member No.: 3
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