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Friday, September 4, 2009

Mineral collecing in White Mountain National Forest

Mineral collecing in White Mountain National Forest

from the article:

The bedrock of the White Mountains is mostly composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks, with numerous intrusions and contact zones between different rock types. From the Conway granite of the White Mountain batholith to the thick deposits of the Moat Mountain volcanic rocks, all overlain by glacial tills, this geology has resulted in diverse but limited mineral deposits in various locations on the White Mountain National Forest. Currently, these geologic resources include crystals, sand, gravel, and unique landscapes.

Most mineral exploration and collection in New Hampshire is done by amateur mineral collectors. Amethyst, apatite, beryl, epidote, fluorite, garnet, smoky and clear quartz, and topaz are the most common minerals collected. On the National Forest, amethyst and smoky quartz have notable occurrences.

Collecting Conditions

Surface-disturbing rock and mineral collecting activities are only allowed in the management areas listed below the map on the back page. They must follow the Forest Plan standards and guidelines on the next page. More information about these management areas is available in the Forest Plan.

A rock and mineral collecting use permit is being developed that will allow Forest Service managers to monitor collecting activities and associated impacts. The permit requirements are based on the Forest Plan standards and guidelines. There will be no charge for the permit, and the public will be notified when it is available.

Deer Hill, where purple amethyst is found, is a recreation fee site. Permits for this site can be purchased at the Deer Hill Trailhead, and at the Saco and Androscoggin Ranger District offices.

General Standards and Guidelines

  • Only small hand tools are permitted. The use of power, mechanized equipment, or explosives is prohibited.
  • Maximum excavation at any one site is limited to one cubic yard. Only one site may be disturbed at a time.
  • Excavated holes must not be dug deeper than three feet as measured from the bottom of the hole to a projected horizontal line drawn between the bases of trees or plants adjoining the hole. In areas where the entire site is already disturbed and the original ground level altered, an estimated projection will be made of the earth’s surface for the purposes of monitoring or enforcement.
  • Prior to leaving the site, restore the disturbed area similar to the condition you found it in.
  • No collecting activities are allowed within developed recreation areas, immediately adjacent to roads, trails, other facilities, in streambanks, wetlands, shores, designated rock climbing areas, or cultural or historic features.
  • Digging under trees or severing roots greater than ½ inch in diameter is not permitted.
  • Surface disturbance that creates or contributes to a safety hazard is not allowed.
  • Rock and mineral collecting is not permitted on, in, or adjacent to existing safety hazards, such as overhanging ledges, deep tunnels, and unstable slopes.
  • Gold panning for recreational purposes is allowed within active stream channels, provided due care is taken to protect water quality and aquatic habitat. Small trowels or similar digging tools for scooping sediment into the pan are allowed.
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