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September 12, 2015

Another question for Tim Davis….If I read the information you sent me right, I can contact you and receive certificates - more than one - for myself? Or if a club is coming to camp and wants certificates they can contact you for several certificates ahead of time and have them in hand when they get to the collecting areas? Is this right???  Shirley Leeson - ALAA Ambasador

Tim Davis Answer: September 15, 2015

Yes, you personally can receive more than one certificate. We have kept the limit per certificate at 100 pounds so we can keep better track of the use, both for assessing sustainability of the resource and in getting use numbers so support our limited minerals budget. The same applies to a club. If a group knows ahead of time what they need we can issue certificates via the mail. And they can always be issued out of the local Forest Service offices and the Mercantile Store in Davis Creek.

Thanks for sending the code of ethics and land use policy. It is good information for us to have.

Timothy Davis
District Ranger

Forest Service

Modoc National Forest, Devil's Garden/Warner Mountain Ranger Districts
p: 530-233-8812
c: 530-708-1364
tedavis@fs.fed.us
225 W. 8th Street
Alturas, CA 96101
www.fs.fed.us

Caring for the land and serving people

The following is a responce from the Modoc National Forest District Ranger to a question on a rule change on collecting Obsidian at Davis Creek in Northern California.

Your email dated August 15 was just recently forwarded to me. The Forest’s Public Affairs Officer is checking into why it is taking so long for emails to our information inbox to show up where we can read them.

Earlier this summer I approved a new policy and plan to manage the collection of obsidian from the four approved areas in the Warner Mountains. The old policy had been in place since 1992. Primarily due to the increased demand and use of the approved areas by commercial obsidian collectors there was a need to review the old policy and make needed changes. This review was conducted under the requirements of the NEPA and included public involvement. We did the best we could with public involvement but it was not possible to get the word out to everyone who has used or had an interest in obsidian collection. Over the years there have been hundreds of users from a diverse audience. We sent out information about the NEPA review to many of the clubs we were aware that used the areas, published notices in the local paper, and put information on the Forest’s webpage.

Actually the change from 500 pounds to 100 pounds per personal use certificate occurred several years ago and my recent decision just affirmed that change. That change was made by my predecessor on the advice of the Forest’s minerals specialist. There was a concern with some unsafe collection practices, such as tunneling, and it was thought that a reduced collection limit would allow for better management of the collection areas.

Yours has not been the only question about the collection limit associated with personal use. I appreciate the fact that many collectors come from a considerable distance and because of that need to collect enough material to last for at least a few years. I have told others that I want to see if the 100 pound collection limit is effective in meeting management objectives before I consider any changes. The limit is part of the collection plan which is subject to a review every year and can be changed by me. I appreciate your question and interest in obsidian collection. I would like to hear additional feedback as that will help inform any modifications to the collection plan.

I also want to let you know that while there is the 100 pound limit per personal use certificate, there is no limit on the number of certificates that can be issued to an individual. And there is no limit per group, so each member of a party can be issued a certificate. It is also possible to get certificates issued by mail which would allow more than one certificate to be issued to an individual. As I stated before the reduction in collection amount per certificate was made to allow for better management of the resource. If I find this is not effective and there are better ways to achieve our goals I am willing to make changes to the collection plan.

Thank you again for your inquiry. I value hearing from people like you.

Timothy Davis
District Ranger

Forest Service

Modoc National Forest, Devil's Garden/Warner Mountain Ranger Districts
p: 530-233-8812
c: 530-708-1364
tedavis@fs.fed.us
225 W. 8th Street
Alturas, CA 96101
www.fs.fed.us

Caring for the land and serving people


Rebuttal to the above - Possible talking points in a letter to the District Ranger. Keep it positive and ask for positive resolution and exemptions to the 100# rule for personal and hobby collecting.

  • 1. State that you live a far distance from Davis Creek. They probably will not care where you live, but it might help in making your point.
  • 2. State that you are not a dealer and are not engaged in retail selling the obsidian that you collect.
  • 3. If you are a knapper. State that you are not engaged in a business and you are a hobby knapper. That you demonstrate knapping at local Gem and Mineral shows, Gem and Mineral Club meetings and Elementary Schools Educational Programs and all for non-profit.
  • 4. If you use obsidian in the making of jewelry -  see number 3 above.
  • 5. State that this is still a hobby and you do not derive a substantial income from the collecting of obsidian,
  • 6. Propose a solution to the 100# limit. Ask if an exemption to the 100# limit rule can be modified on a case by case basis. Ask if an exemption permit can be obtained by a visit to the District office rather than the local store. A Visit to the District Ranger Office is not unreasonable to obtain an exemption permit if you really want more than the current 100# Limit. Provide a possible and workable solution to your collecting needs.
  • 7. Keep it on a positive nature, offer logical and obtainable solutions. The more Rockhounds that write and ask for exemptions the better chance you will have to legally collect more than 100# of obsidian on any one visit.

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