You know where to look, you have the tools, now how do you stake a claim?
First we are going to talk about the “physical” aspect of staking a mining claim.
You have to keep in mind the following: mining laws vary from state to state. Know the laws in your area! Federal laws apply to claims staked over federal lands. Next, rules and regulations vary depending on the type of gold mine — placer or lode gold. But in Alaska, there is no distinction made.
Before making a claim, you have to research thoroughly about the land to avoid civil actions. “Claim jumping” is the term used when a certain claim over stakes the claim of another. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can help you identify the legal description of the land. Their land records in Alaska are based on the rectangular system of survey and are kept on microfilm cataloged by Meridian, Township, Range and Section.
In Alaska, research can be complicated because there are no definitive land maps that provide accurate descriptions of land status that is suitable for use in staking mining claims. The available resource is the Master Title Plan (MTP) of each township, and these are available for viewing if desired. You would need to review the other mining claims in the are so as to avoid claim jumping and other legal problems. It is usually wise to hire the services of a geologist or land status specialist.
Once you are ready to stake a claim, the points must be marked with monuments that are easily identifiable. The posts must be at least 3 inches in diameter and 3 feet visible above the ground. A rock monument must also be at least 3 feet high. Beginning on the northeast corner (this is corner number one) move in a clockwise direction. The notice of claim must be posted on corner number one. Typically, the claim size is limited to 660’ by 1320’, or 20 acres.
Look for more information on staking a claim in our next post.