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Entries Tagged ‘Oregon’

Deschutes County Oregon Gold

All the counties that surround Deschutes County contain gold. The question here is how much gold and is it easy to get to? The county has a very volcanic history and much of the landscape is covered in hundreds of feet of basaltic lava flows. The lava flows in geologic time are relatively young rock. Because of the geologic features it usually make this county a strike out instead of a gold strike. With that said, there are a few gold claims in the county. If they are producers or not, that is unknown and maybe they were claimed for recreational purposes. I really have no idea to be honest. I post the information. What you do is up to you. This is where real prospecting comes into play.

The only recorded gold claims that I could find is found in Buckhorn Canyon between Sisters, Oregon and Terrebonne, Oregon at approximately Lat. 44.33233 Lon -121.33835 Please don’t go claim jumping. I only mention the coordinates to give you a place to start if you plan on doing some prospecting in this county. Please respect the claim owners rights.

Coyote Creek, Golden Oregon

Near the town of Wolf Creek (a town so-named for the creek that runs through it, also known for gold) is a small ghost town known as Golden, Oregon. It is easy to find and not far from I-5 in northern Josephine County. I recently took a trip to see for myself  this historical mining site on December 20, 2010.

Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek was first settled and mined around the 1840’s by white prospectors. The gold was very fine and made it hard for the men who worked the area to make a decent salary. When news of other strikes reached those working the  diggings, the area was abandoned for other areas including new strikes in Idaho. When white men left there were around thirty primitive cabins perched on upper Coyote Creek. Most miners did not stay long because it was a hard living.

Golden Oregon

Edwin Waters at Golden, Oregon

For ten years, from 1862-1872, Chinese worked the area.  Five Hundred Chinese men had moved into the area under the supervision of a contractor who had possession of the claims. The Chinese laborers made ten cents per day plus rice. Don’t feel too sad for the Chinese. This was actually a decent living at the time. A lot of gold was reported to be recovered by the Chinese, until they were driven out by white men who returned to the area in 1872.

Golden, Oregon

Golden Oregon

Merchantile at Golden

White men returned to the area and started using hydraulic means to recover the fine gold. William Ruble was struck at how efficient the process was and bought up most of the land around Coyote Creek. In 1879, large parcels of land was sold to William Ruble, both a minister and a miner. His family was struggling, so he decided to build a town. Golden was first called Goldville. The first post office was established in 1896 with Schuyler Ruble as the first postmaster. William Ruble is known to have stated “You know there is gold right under your feet , but without a more powerful way to extract it your dream will die.”

The Ruble’s could not move soil fast enough to make a profit and during the summer when the water levels dropped they could not work at all. Rather than giving up William and Schuyler Ruble invented and patented an invention known as the Ruble Rock Elevator, which increased gold production.

Golden is reported to have been a town with a population of as many as two hundred souls and there was no drinking allowed. It was a close knit and religious community. In 1900 the Bennett store was erected and in 1915 a stamp mill was built. The post office closed in 1920.

The town of Golden is now owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation. The former mining area has been transformed into a natural wetland and is owned by Josephine County. I do not know if you are allowed to mine at Coyote Creek. The town itself is registered as a historic site.

Golden Oregon Church

Molalla River – Oregon Gold Prospecting

Located within Clackamas County and roughly forty miles southeast from Portland, Oregon is the Molalla River Recreation Corridor. There is a little gold in the Molalla River and the gold that is found is found in spotty occurrences along the river. Gold is believed to have traveled into the Molalla River from the Ogle Mine area, and other unknown or small low grade deposits. There is free camping in the area, but many places it is hard to find a speck of gold. Try reading the river for gold occurrences. Gold will travel on the inside bends of the river and the shortest route in between bends. Try the cracks in the basalt bedrock. There are many boulders in the area that may have deposited a pay-streak a feet or so in front of them (downstream) when the flood levels of the river were overflowing. The gold here is mostly fine to small flakes, and sometimes you will find nothing at all. A lot of pan testing is required to find a good spot.

Molalla River Map

The recreational mining area starts about 1.4 miles below the bridge located at Glen Avon and ends south at the Horse Creek Bridge. You can use a dredge up to four inches, but no bigger. Dredging is allowed from July 15th to August 30th. The nice thing about this area is it is not too far from Portland to do some Oregon gold prospecting and is a good area for a new, but patient greenhorn to hone his or her skills. The key here is to take many sample pans and don’t give up. Go find some of that Clackamas County gold!

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