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Marshall Rosenfeld displays items he found with his metal detector during the Colorado Gold Diggers at the American Legion Post 25 in Florence. (Charlotte Burrous/Daily Record)
By CHARLOTTE BURROUS burrousc@ canoncitydailyrecord.com
FLORENCE, COLORADO - The cry of 'there's gold in them thar hills' once brought thousands of people into the area, searching for a new life. After several years, many of the miners laid aside their picks and gold pans then decided to settle down.
But there is still gold in the ground, ready for a new wave of prospectors looking for treasure. At least, that's the basis of the founding of Colorado Gold Diggers, which organized a chapter in Fremont County about seven months ago.
On Saturday, 140 people crowded into the American Legion Post 25 in Florence, where Douglas Lee and Steve Shook explained the benefits of joining the Colorado Gold Diggers.
"We're excited and we want to make you excited because we're going to get you some gold, right here in Colorado," Lee said. "We're an organization of friends and family. We encourage grandparents with grandkids; we encourage (parents) to bring their kids."
Although the group meets once a month, Lee and Shook make several treks a week to BLM land, where members are invited to dig for gold or hunt for other treasures. Members can borrow equipment and have the opportunity to find gold valued at $1,763 an ounce.
Currently, the hot spot to dig for gold is Point Barr about five miles east of Salida near Swissvale, where one man picked up two buckets of dirt with numerous flakes of gold. Lee also encouraged inexperienced members to accompany experienced individuals or families when they search for gold. The trips will expand to other regions when the weather warms up."We try to help you find places to go, tell you where it's legal and where it's not legal," Lee added. "At least once a month, we have a training seminar or a demonstration, where we set up all of our equipment and run pay dirt through the equipment, and demonstrate how each piece of the equipment works.
During the meeting, metal detectorist Marshall Rosenfeld displayed the treasures he found with his metal detector. Since he got his first metal detector in 1982, he has searched in various areas, including underwater metal detecting in Florida and around Colorado.
And he has found bullets, cannon balls, jewelry, glasses, spoons, coins and more.
However, Shook cautioned the crowd not to pick up live ammunition rounds, but to leave them where they find them.
Shook and Lee also stressed safety when members dig in the ground. Instead of going horizontal, it is better to dig vertical then cover the holes up when finished.The Colorado Gold Diggers also has a shop, where they design, build and repair all gold panning equipment or members can work in the shop, Lee said. Additionally, they have a catalog to sell new equipment for members, as well as an outlet to sell used equipment.
"We want you to know this club is for you guys," he said. "If you have the time, then more than likely we'll have the time (to dig gold, run it through the machine or work in the shop)."And for the youth, Colorado Gold Diggers offers a "Success for Teens," where members visit schools, clubs and other venues to relate the value of a little nugget of gold to positive life choices, Lee said.
"The adventure of life is to learn," Lee said. "The goal of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome."
Currently, the Colorado Gold Diggers meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Saturday of the month at the American Legion Post at 209 Front St. in Florence; however, the group has outgrown the space and is looking for another place to meet. In addition, volunteers also are needed to help with the meetings, accompany other members on treks or participate in various activities.
Membership is $35 a year per family. To find out more about the club or its activities, check the website at coloradogolddiggers.net or call Lee at 371-1418. For information about digging for gold on BLM land, check royalgorgefieldofficeblm.com
Courtesy Canon City Daily Record
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“Treasure – If it’s out there, we’re going to find it!” (Tommy Vawter)
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