You are very welcome Amethystguy, and thank you for the very kind compliments.
That is what we strive for here.
As Russ said, the mining laws are the same as 20 years ago and the basics of "staking" and "monumenting" claims are still required.
Yes all location claims must be marked with corner monuments and discovery markers by federal law. There aren't any laws stating they must be re-erected if something happens to them though either. Like Russ said.....things happen and they do get knocked down.
The requirement for locations claims to have assesment work is still true today too although I don't think a citizen can challenge a claims validity.....that authority is the BLM's if I'm not mistaken. The waiver can only be used for claim owners with less than 10 claims to.
Yepper, BLM office is still in Lakewood.
On your hypothetical situation........technically you would be committing "mineral tresspass" which is a class c felony. Easiest way to describe our responsibility and avoid that situation in the field is ....it's our job as prospectors/field collectors to know where we are and where not to be. Location claims and patented claims (private land) are often mistaken for open ground just because it's not marked or fenced off, or the markers weren't seen.
But it't still our job personally to know where we are in field. Patented claims are privately owned lands.
Location claims are still usable for other activities but you can not prospect on them and your activities can not interfere with any mining operations.
Best if you wish to prospect a bit, do a little pre checking and make sure you're going to an open spot.
Hopefully this helps out with some of the q's
We also strive to help club members learn the ins and outs along the way while doing all these steps in research and all the questions that arise too.
If you or other readers are really interested in learning about claims, filing and the research involved, check out the ColoradoProspector club membership