New California Gold Rush Coming As Record Snowpack Melts

 Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Gold isn’t raining from the sky in California, but it might be flooding into the rivers by summer.

Tourists are seen panning gold during a tour with the California Gold Panning. (Courtesy of Nick Prebalick)

“Nugget Nick” Prebalick expects the record snowpack in northern California to deposit even more gold in Woods Creek in Tuolumne County, where he shares a claim with his father and son near Jamestown. The family has been offering tours to those who want to experience gold mining and learn about the history of the gold rush in the state.

I’m already finding more gold,” Prebalick told The Epoch Times. “I’ve been finding gold every tour.”

The Prebalicks, who own California Gold Panning, usually find about an ounce of gold a day when they take guests to pan for nuggets on their claim. The most he and his father have found was 127 ounces in one day.

(L-R) Nick Prebalick, Nathania Prebalick, and prospector Terry Prebalick of California Gold Panning. (Courtesy of Nick Prebalick)

As this year’s snow melts from the Sierra Nevada and other mountains, the runoff will wash away silt and deposit more gold in rivers and streams, prompting some to predict a modern-day gold rush this summer.

California’s first gold rush in 1848 brought fortune seekers from all over the world. More than 300,000 came to the territory, and gold was worth $20.67 per ounce, according to the National Museum of American History.

Today, each ounce is worth about $2,000.

“I think this summer. I’m going to be swamped,” he said. “We’ll probably get 10 groups a day.”

Mark Keene, who owns the mining equipment company Keene Engineering in Chatsworth—about 30 miles northwest of the city of Los Angeles—with his brother, told The Epoch Times he also anticipates a big increase in gold mining activities when the snow starts to melt.

“In my lifetime, I don’t remember this much snowpack in the mountains,” Keene said, adding that he expects to see a superflood. Keene sells gold pans, sluice boxes, and other tools used by armatures and professionals.

“When you have a catastrophic flood like that all the riverbanks and the mountainsides wash down in the river and you see a lot of gold,” he said. “It could be one of the best years in decades for mining.”

Keene and his family have a secret mining spot and they visit on the weekends, he said.

Gold flakes are being found in the Klamath River. (Courtesy of the New 49’ers Prospecting Association)

“It’s not always about the gold,” he said. “It’s about the journey and the adventure of it, too.”

First-timers need to know the rules before heading out to look for treasures, though, said Dickey Melton, manager of The New 49’ers Prospecting Association, a gold mining club based about 20 south of the Oregon border in Happy Camp, California.

What we have now is a whole bunch of hand miners,” Melton said, as state law prohibits any type of mining other than panning, sluice boxes, or shovels.

Even with restrictions, many people come out to the club’s 63 claims on 83 miles on the Klamath River, which flows more than 250 miles through Oregon and northern California.

“We get people from all over the world who come here,” Melton said. “Right now, all of that snow is melting, and the rivers are running really high. We’re seeing some hand miners coming in with some pretty good gold.”

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