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Professional gold miners dream of finding the mother lode, hitting paydirt, and becoming rich. Those who pan for gold recreationally usually are mostly interested in the adventure, unlike those who are looking to strike it rich professionally. Panning for gold and prospecting for gold can be shared by the whole family. However, it is a lot less trouble just to purchase the gold if it is wanted for an investment.

Ever since some prospectors hit paydirt in Alaska back in 1870, Alaska has been one of the best places in the world to prospect for gold. However potential prospectors have to know where to look for the gold, the method that should be used in order to find the gold, and the laws and regulations with regard to the gold. For example, is a privilege, rather than a right, to pan for gold recreationally on lands that are withdrawn from mineral entry because this isn’t a mining activity. Prospectors need to know that activities such as suction dredging, sluicing, and panning for gold can adversely impact the quality of the water and therefore have a negative impact not only on the wildlife, fish, and vegetation but also on people.

Turbid water may be created by silt being washed into the streams during the process of separating the minerals from the soil. Because of the reduced supply of oxygen, the aquatic insects as well as the fish eggs and fish may have difficult time living in water that is heavily silted.

Prospectors shouldn’t dig into streams or wash vegetation or soil into a stream bank. This is not only dangerous, but it will also increase the amount of silt in the streams. Many banks can slide without warning because they have become unstable.

Prospectors should only dig in stream gravels that are active in order to reduce the amount silt. Prospectors should also return boulder and rocks that have been moved during the prospecting effort to their original positions. The reason for this is that underneath these boulders and rocks are the homes of one of the most important food sources for salmon which as aquatic insects. Both anglers and other miners will be appreciative of the care that is taken to help ensure a healthy water ecosystem.

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