This massive increase has ignited a new gold rush. With so many people losing their jobs in the recession, a number have decided to pay their bills by becoming full-time gold prospectors. Today’s forty-niners no longer use picks to dig for their riches, but instead use improved equipment like suction dredges and metal detectors, although a few still use the tried and true method of panning for gold.
The stories behind the search have a familiar ring of the old days, with a few giving up their day jobs and moving their families to a potential hot spot and ending with little to show for their troubles, and today, “gold fever,” is still a real, and dark, obsession. Drunken bar fights are often the result of stolen treasure between friends, with fists used instead of guns.
A few people have the idea that gold nuggets are just lying on river banks just waiting to be retrieved, but that is certainly not the case either. There are still large amounts of gold out there, but most of it is subterranean, or underground.
The old gold mining towns that became ghost towns, or close to it, are stirring again with history repeating itself. If you’re looking for gold in California, the Mother Lode country along the western side of the Sierra Nevada Range is still the best place to go. Remember that prospectors can only stake mining claims on BLM Land, National Forests and Wilderness Study Areas.