The Story of Gold Rush Expeditions – From then ’til now.
It all started with George Thompson and a book called “Some Dreams Die” in 1988. The book is basically a treasure hunter’s handbook, George set up grand images of mining days gone by and the lost treasures buried by miners, Indians, and other outlaws.
In 1989, Driver’s license in one hand and a well read, dog-eared copy of “Some Dreams Die”, Corey set out to find these lost treasures. Endless days and long starry nights were spent wandering and exploring the hills of Utah’s remote and unforgiving west Desert. Days were spent matching lore with real maps and history and then finding and documenting the old areas. One aspect became clear and consistent with each discovery, everything was tied to mining sites. That lead to a different search. What was this mining thing, and why was it nearly dead for the average person today?
History is pretty clear that the west was settled on one concept. Mining. Anyone could be a prospector. These prospectors combed the hills and sometimes made a strike. Farmers and Ranchers followed, feeding the miners. This was the start of a community. Soon a small town would form, because Americans are capitalists if anything, and these miners and ranchers, needed supplies. As the mines expanded, so did the towns. Soon there were rail lines. Be aware that the cross country rail lines were not built for the people and tourism of the Nation. No, they were built to transport massive loads of gold and silver ores to mills and plants.
These towns would flourish from mining. Schools, hospitals and more would pop up in support of the mining operations. In many cases, when the mines died out for whatever reasons, the towns would fade as well. It’s a story that can be seen all over the west even today.
Corey found it intriguing that most every town in Utah could be traced back to mining. Even Brigham Young and his band of Mormons were only able to survive by selling wares to the people who passed along on their way to the gold fields of Nevada, or the Gold Rush lands of California. Yet very little mining was happening today.
Over the years, Corey couldn’t help but notice more and more historic mining sites vanishing from the landscape. Tunnels and drifts that made up the being of many men’s lives were backfilled and bulldozed. The history completely destroyed and the mines and their locations becoming lost knowledge.
A bit of investigation showed that this history was being viciously destroyed by our own US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management through their Abandoned Mine Reclamation Programs. No concern for history or the heritage of a mine camp that had been tucked away for 100 years in a long forgotten canyon. No concern for the men still mining their claims on the weekend for some extra money.
The mission of these agencies is nothing less than the eradication of mining from the face of the land. Entire historic mine camps from the 1800s through the great depression are/were being burned and bulldozed at an alarming rate. This destruction included mills, ore bins, trusses, and cabins. These historic mines where people had built a life, were being completely erased from the landscape, never to be seen again.
Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining Director John Baza said it best, “It’s time to erase the scar of mining from this land”.
One week these abandoned mining camps would be there, the next week there would be an empty bulldozed piece of land. No history, no remembrance of the men and women who worked, slept and may have died there. The concept of wiping out the history of these people and what they built through mining was completely unacceptable. Corey was determined to do something about it, and so Gold Rush Expeditions was born.
Today Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. combs the historic maps and documents locating valuable and historic mining sites that are still standing. As a company, we have come to learn that mining is not dead. Many mines hold millions and sometimes billions of dollars in gold and gem reserves. Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. locates these sites and documents them thoroughly. Then offering them up for sale, providing opportunities for mining to grow and live again. Mining has been around since the beginning of time, and it’s not too difficult to make a living like thousands of miners have done over the years.
“We find ’em you mine ’em”, that pretty much sums it up. Over the years Gold Rush Expeditions have become experts at finding the best available mines in the West and then documenting and presenting those mines to the public. GRE takes care of all of the paperwork with the BLM and simplifies the process. Then we show you what you need to do to mine it. Our legal team helps you through all of the steps of permitting and turning your mining operation into a working, producing mine.
Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. also sponsors the National Bureau of Mines. A repository of every mine and mine site that they have documented over the years. The goal is to educate people about America’s mining heritage, remind us all that we come from tough stock. People who were both dreamers and doers. Highlighting the incredible feats they accomplished. Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc wants to bring back the Gold Rush. Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. wants these mining sites to be around for future generations to learn from and enjoy.
Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. formally formed as an incorporated entity in 2004. Since that time they have grown exponentially, evolving into a powerful force restoring mining as a way of life.
Today the opportunity for mining is greater than it has ever been. Old mines that were abandoned when gold mining was made illegal by the War Act are still out there. These mines provided more than a living, they provided independence and freedom. Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. locates mines throughout the West. These mines are ready to work with rich veins visible and ores exposed. While regulations have increased, the tools and ability to process the ore from these historic mines are more effective than ever.
While each year more and more mines are erased from our landscape, Gold Rush Expeditions, Inc. is racing against the destruction. We are out documenting the old mines in the backcountry of the West. Researching, Surveying and filing Claims on the valuable sites.
These Mines were America’s past success and with a little work, they are America’s future success. Gold Rush envisions the transition, a generation of paper pushing, computer terminal warriors being transformed into an army of miners. Creating their own future and prosperity working underground, digging out gold and gems.
Over the years Gold Rush has seen that we are not alone. There are many miners in waiting, snapping up these sites as quickly as we can locate them.
Gold Rush is playing a small part in helping Americans to remember and appreciate their past. This while offering an opportunity to work the mines and provide a good living for themselves.
“It’s a 21st century Gold Rush. If our kids and their kids have something to look back on, then we are accomplishing what we have set out to do.”
A Crash Course on Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Back in the 1970’s the nation’s mining heritage dotted, if not covered, the landscape of the Western States. An estimated 115 to 120 thousand of these old abandoned mines were found scattered throughout the West. Their head frames and waste piles provided a glimpse into the Nation’s past. Today there are still some surviving mines on federal lands, but most of those will be gone in a few decades. The loss of Western mining heritage will accelerate in the coming years, rather than diminish. Not because of the gradual effects of wind, weather, and vandals, but primarily due to government reclamation programs. In 1977, Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act which taxes active coal mines. The funds were meant to fix safety hazards and environmental problems from two centuries of coal mining, but increasingly the funds are applied towards eliminating historic hard rock mines in the West. Since the passage of the Act in 1977, $7.2 billion has been spent by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to reclaim old mines that have been deemed “hazardous”. The history of these landmarks is gone forever. Never to be seen again.
Why the BLM and FS are Bent on Closing Abandoned Mines
The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service claim that they are bulldozing old mining sites for public safety, which is a believable story until you look at the numbers. From 2013 to 2014, there were only 4 deaths across the United States attributed to abandoned mines. In 2012 there were 15 deaths attributed to abandoned mines. In 2011, there were 5 deaths attributed to abandoned mines. In relation, there are approximately 10 people PER DAY that die while swimming in lakes and rivers across the US. That is over 3,500 people per year. So why isn’t there more of a focus on lake and river safety?
Follow the money. They have the money to spend and it’s use it or risk losing it. There also seems to be an underlying current among the BLM and Forest Service to reclaim much of the land in the West to its primitive state. It appears that the BLM and Forest service use the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act to reclaim mines and the Endangered Species Act to close large swaths of land with the same goal, to keep the public from using the land.
Why it is Important to Preserve our Mining Heritage
The destruction of these historic landmarks is alarming. We are actively destroying our heritage. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and at the same time, our government organizations are determined to erase all evidence that these giants ever existed. When we remember the struggles that our predecessors went through and the obstacles they overcame we begin to see that we are part of a larger narrative. It gives us added strength. We become more resilient and better able to deal with the challenges in our own lives. The ingenuity, resourcefulness and the stick to it mentality of these old miners are absolutely amazing. Here they were far from civilization, making their living cutting tunnels and bringing out gold. They built small towns with whatever resources they could find. They crossed the plains and built every mining town from Leadville, Colorado, and Virginia City, Nevada, to Butte Montana. They were independent and hardworking dreamers, who in very essence built the West. Thomas Paine wrote, over 200 years ago, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly”. In a bigger sense when we forget the price that was paid for the rise of this nation and the struggles that we overcame to get where we are; we esteem our current position too lightly and we risk losing what our ancestors worked so hard to gain. One of the main reasons we work so hard to preserve these old mines is so that we have the physical reminders of the contributions of those who went before us.
In Corey’s own words, “It’s a wild ride. I never expected to see so many mining enthusiasts. We’ve had our fair share of tough times, but I have no regrets. This is what I love doing, and the more mines I can save and put into production, the bigger the chance that these mines and their history will be preserved. The best part is seeing the number of people who are able to make a good living, working mines that would have otherwise been destroyed.”