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Questions and Answers on Gold Prospecting
on Olympic Peninsula in Washington State
Is there gold on the Olympic Peninsula?
Answer: Yes. For more than 150 years prospectors have mined gold on the Olympic Peninsula. Read history.


Where can I buy a gold pan?
Answer: Swain's General Store in Port Angeles or online.


Where can I buy a book about gold on the Olympic Peninsula?
Answer: The best book is Olympic Peninsula Gold: Where to Find Gold on the Peninsula by Dan Youra, local travel writer. Order book online. Or, buy it in local stores


Where can I find other resources on gold prospecting?
Answer: Links to books on gold prospecting. Prospecting supplies.


Is it legal to pan for gold on the Olympic Peninsula?
Answer: Yes. See Washington State publication Gold and Fish: Rules for Mineral Prospecting and Placer Mining, published by Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Do I need a permit to pan for gold in Washington?
Answer: Yes, but the process is easy. Simply obtain the pamphlet Gold and Fish from Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can download it and print it out on your printer. The department requests that you read it and follow its rules. The department states that "you can use the pamphlet as your permit for small scale mineral prospecting and placer mining by following the regulations".


Where can I obtain a copy of Gold and Fish pamphlet?
Answer: Call Washington State Fish and Wildlife WDFW at (360) 902-2534 or TDD (360) 902-2207 and request a copy. Mail request to Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. In person visit main office: Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington Street SE, Olympia, WA.


Where can I obtain a copy of Gold and Fish on the Olympic Peninsula?
Answer: On Olympic Peninsula contact: WDFW Region 6 Office, 48 Devonshire Rd., Montesano, WA 98563-9618. Call (360) 249-4628.


Do I need to carry the pamphlet with me?
Answer: Yes and No. Yes, you must have the pamphlet on you or at your work site for rivers LISTED.
No, you do NOT need to carry the pamphlet on rivers NOT LISTED in the pamphlet.


When is the main season when panning is allowed on listed rivers?
Answer: August into Fall. Panning is permitted on listed rivers starting mainly in August. Season may be as short at two weeks, with most listed rivers extending seasons for a month, six weeks or two months. Some rivers are permitted into winter. Check details in Gold and Fish.

Click for a chart of 2009 Seasons in Clallam and Jefferson Counties.


Are there any other permits required?
Answer: According to Department of Fish and Wildlife, "several other state and federal agencies have an interest in mineral prospecting and place mining, and may require a permit". List includes US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Park Service, National Marine Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Ecology, Natural Resources, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Washington State Parks, local jurisdictions, such as counties, and tribal governments.


Am I allowed to prospect in Washington State Parks?
Answer: No, panning, sluicing or dredging for gold or other minerals is NOT allowed within streams or other waterways in any Washington state park.


What restrictions cover seashores?
Answer: Panning, sluicing or dredging are prohibited in Washington's Seashore Conservation Area, which lies between the line of extreme low tide and the line of ordinary high water, extending from Cape Disappointment to the south boundary of the Makah Indian Reservation on the outer Washington coast, except for the areas under the placer mining pilot study. .


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