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Bear Lake Diggings CLOSED??!!

Posted by Maggie Wilson  
Maggie Wilson May 13, 2016 05:41PM
I heard the news just a moment ago - the Bear Lake Diggings that was owned by the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce, of the same Bancroft that claims to be the MINERAL Capital of Canada and trades on this reputation and annually hosts the Bancroft Gemboree, the same annual MINERAL festival that draws thousands and thousands of people who spend like crazy to take in the summer event - has been sold to a private entity and access to the site is no longer permitted.

This is probably the full moon talking, but WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

No, not you, Mindat person reading this post. That is a rhetorical question. I just needed to vent.
Matt Courville May 13, 2016 06:05PM
Hi Maggie, I unfortunately expect a lot of backlash this summer over this terrible decision. I have also heard rumors of another potential site with a similar approach, but will not likely be available soon, and will certainly not make-up for Bear Lake diggings.

I'm curious to see how many people simply end-up on private property either out of ignorance or in defiance; both at B.L.D. and the surrounding sites.
Bob Harman May 13, 2016 06:56PM
So as I have never been there and most likely never will get there, I will be totally pragmatically objective. And I suspect no one will much like this response, but here goes.

The municipality of Bancroft Ontario (chamber of commerce) owned the land and monitored its use as an open or fee for mineral digging site.......something like that.....correct????
If so, as I see it, it all comes down to priorities, money, and liability insurance plus who knows what else. Anyway, the local powers that be have deemed their total yearly costs to not be worth the total money coming into the local economy and the potential liabilities should there be a bad happening on the site. And private companies often do a better job than government entities and still there are $$$ coming in to the local economies.
If this is the case, the chamber of commerce simply feels that selling the land and all its mineral digging values to a private concern is the proper way to go for the future. But all may not be lost, hopefully the private buyers will upgrade facilities, better maintain the digging areas and then reopen it for a fee to the public. So altho it may sound dreadful, potentially it may not be as dire as everyone is thinking.
On the other hand, virtually all quarries and many other digging sites played this insurance liability game and it was just not worth it to allow collectors in. Time will tell. CHEERS.....BOB
Matt Courville May 13, 2016 07:14PM
Hi Bob, if the rumours are correct, this site was sold to a couple of hunters. Unless a site that resembles a WW1 trench battle helps with hunting deer, partridge, etc., it seems like an odd site to invest in. I understand that assessment the costs vs gain might have leaned one way, but this to me is comparable to selling-off our sentimental and culturally advertised Tim Hortons to the highest bidder.
(which is an ongoing and real scenario)

What ever happened to integrity and principle?
Alfredo Petrov May 13, 2016 07:36PM
Last time I was at Bear Lake several years ago, the trenches along the dykes were already pretty deep, so it wasn't easy getting new material out. The glory days of the deposit were already in the past. Hopefully the new owners will reopen it for fee collecting again, perhaps even bring in machinery to expose new material, but, if not, then it's not such a huge loss to the collecting community. Canada is enormous... there must be many many new localities left to discover. I'm an optimist. To think that new finds are still being made almost every year in overcrowded, over-collected countries like Switzerland - You Canadian collectors have barely scratched the surface.
Sean May 13, 2016 08:14PM
"You've done f**ked it up!" - Angry Joe

I am so pissed. I thought this was too stupid to be true. I actually called them to see if it was true and it was. Hearing this about this location being closed down is like hearing the news that (excuse me for comparing video games to this) Beyonetta 2 was gonna be a Wii U exclusive where the sales for that console is not that high or reading about the old features of then upcoming console the Xbox One. By the way, I do know why the developers made Beyonetta 2 a Wii U exclusive and I do know that Microsoft did change the feature and policy before the official release date of the Xbox One. Anyway, that's enough comparison. Back to the topic.

This is really sad. Bear Lake Diggings was almost my childhood mineral collecting location. I want to show kids that I know and don't know about mineral collecting. I want to make a special guidebook about different locations that I've been too for the kids later in my future and the Bear Lake Diggings was in my top list to be put into this guidebook because this place was great. You can dig as if you're a pirate and find a beautiful whatever. Now I can't add this location at all. I do know that Bancroft does have it's guidebooks for sell, but I want to make a guidebook that is different then any typical guidebooks. I rather not talk about my ideas for whatever, but before you comment, I would like to say that I do need permission for some locations to be put into the book plus other things that I need to do before I start writing and publishing.

Anyway, while typing this rant, I thought of something. Why don't we make a petition or something that can give Bancroft's Chambers of Commerce our voices on how pissed we are (I don't know about you guys, but I'm extremely pissed off). People who read the features of Xbox One shared their voices on how pissed they were with the old features. Because of this, Microsoft changed the features to be better. They (Chamber of Commerce) may do the same thing. For the past few years, I've been seeing a lot of locations close down such as this Cancrinite Hill and other mines near it. Those places had something that barley any other locations have (such as Cancrinite). Only barley we get new locations being opened to the public. If this goes on and every mineral location in or near Bancroft close down, where am I gonna go to hunt for minerals? If I have kids, I want show them my collecting hobby that I do almost every year. I don't want my kids to go to popular places all the time. I have nothing against popular places like Calypso, but I want to show my future kids something different. I swear, I hope it doesn't happen to other locations (for a long time) like the Smart Mine, Beryl Pit, Rose Quartz Pit, Schickler Fluorite Occurrence, and so on. I would be so pissed and disappointment if these locations close down because these locations kick-ass and so did the Bear Lake Diggings. I hope we get a new location(s) for mineral collecting and I do hope Bancroft can find a way to allow people back into this location again. I also hope we get the truth on why Bear Lake Diggings is closed.
Susan Robinson May 13, 2016 10:15PM
Localities are found, collected from, and then either are sold to another owner, like the Bear Lake Diggings area, or the occurrence is exhausted of specimens to find. A worse situation, and one that is constantly happening, is when you are no longer allowed access to quarries, or cannot obtain a collecting contract with a working underground mine, and you know that many minerals are being lost to the crushers. These situations is frustrating and sad. Hopefully, as Alfredo said, some new localities will be found that can be accessed by collectors - yes, Canada is a big country.
Tony Albini May 13, 2016 11:09PM

When I started field collecting in Connecticut in 1978, most places were open to collecting, including the famous Strickland quarry with more species of minerals than any other site in CT. It is now a golf course. Today, the Hewitt Gem mine is open on a fee collecting basis and the property is up for sale. The state of CT allows only 3 sites on state property for mineral clubs to collect with a permit. In the vast majority of cases, the sites on private property closed up due to the owners' fear of being sued. The U.S. may be large but CT is a small state. My point is this is happening everywhere even in mineral rich Arizona. I suspect between fear of being sued, selling the property for more money, and getting rid of liability concerns are causes for loss of sites. Many farmers in CT sold their farms in CT to put more money in their pockets and many CT mines and prospects were sold and covered over and now have houses on the property.
Matt Neuzil May 13, 2016 11:42PM
I saw on it was for sale for about 500 to 600k i think.

A buena hambre no hay pan duro
Alfredo Petrov May 14, 2016 12:12AM
And there are indeed idiot scumbag collectors who have sued landowners after having injured themselves, thereby ruining it for all other collectors and causing the current situation of fearful landlords hesitating to let anyone in. May they be damned for eternity (the scumbag collectors, not the landlords). And please don't think that a landlord should let you in if you sign a release. As any good lawyer can tell you, a release signed by a collector is worth less than toilet paper, as it's not absorbent enough. Sorry to sound so negative, but it's basically true that bad collectors have ruined it for the responsible ones and we can only blame our own community, our lack of policing our own ranks; we can't really blame the property owners. one solution, in some cases, might be to have club federations raise funds for purchasing mineral-rich properties themselves. That would be unrealistic in the expensive suburbs of New York, but could be feasible in cheaper rural areas.
Sean May 14, 2016 02:22AM
There are indeed those who sue because they got injured, but, needless to say, it's not the mine owners' fault. It's the mineral collectors'' fault for getting hurt. They took the risk to hunt and now, they're getting the pain for doing...whatever.

I'm thinking about doing a petition about this. I bet there are lots of people who go to Bancroft and love to collect minerals especially at Bear Lake Diggings (like me). I know other locations get closed down permanently (or temporary), but this is a very special place that almost every single mineral collector loves.
Maggie Wilson May 14, 2016 12:57PM
Alfredo Petrov Wrote:
one solution, in some
> cases, might be to have club federations raise
> funds for purchasing mineral-rich properties
> themselves.

Hi Alfredo: that's the irony of the Bear Lake Diggings scenario. A group of interested mineral folk did speak to the Chamber and were promised that when it came time to sell, the group would be given first right of refusal. Next thing you know, it's listed on MLS - public real estate sales board.

In the grand scheme of things, 99.999% of the planet don't give a damn about minerals in general nor the Bear Lake Diggings in specific. My pitiful rant against "the man" is laughable, really.

I get it. Money talks. It's happened before, it will happen again. But I am one of the .001% that give a damn. I am closer to the site and to the people involved.

Loss is loss. With loss comes a degree of emotional response. This sale was a kick in the teeth for my mineral friends and associates.
Timothy Greenland May 14, 2016 01:06PM

I sympathize deeply. Our association was able, many years back, to buy the main dumps and tailings at Chessy for our members (and unfortunately, some fence-breakers...). That was possible at the time, but nowadays developers seem always able to offer more even for remote sites. I should add that I know nothing of the Bear Lake site - though I would have loved to give it a visit - so I don't know how it's sited. I'm afraid that it is all too true that the majority of people are not interested in minerals - and of those who are, many feel that all forms of mining are "rape of the earth" and wish collecting to be suppressed. Science often does not appeal to many of the; either. We have a lot of work to do to try to get people in general to see our point of view - sadly...

Best wishes

Dale Foster May 16, 2016 06:31AM
Timothy Greenland Wrote:
many feel that all forms of mining are "rape of the earth" and wish collecting to be suppressed.

And probably express their outrage on their mobile communication devices, which of course don't contain anything obtained by mining ;-)
Andrew Debnam May 16, 2016 01:48PM
Maggie, I must say I agree with you. The words that came to mind when I first heard of the decision were" key stone cops and buffoons" -purely word association and not a comment related to any person(s) living or dead A while back I was digging around on the internet and found other sites have been considered but nothing has been done yet.

These docs are on the internet
Timothy Greenland May 16, 2016 02:53PM
Dale, I'm sure you're right - surely these devices come from shops and factories, not from mines - like meat comes from supermarkets not abattoirs...


Maggie Wilson May 16, 2016 03:24PM
Thanks for sharing those files, Andrew. I recognize many of the names, especially those of the authors. Let's hope Bear Lake II is soon open.
Kelly Zytaruk August 09, 2016 11:31PM
>>I hope we get a new location(s) for mineral collecting and I do hope Bancroft can find a way to allow
>>people back into this location again. I also hope we get the truth on why Bear Lake Diggings is closed.

From talking with numerous people the story that I have been able to assemble is that Bear Lake was closed because it was sold to a couple of guys that want to build a place to retire. I am not clear if they want to build just a small retirement place for themselves or if they are planning on building more of a resort for others. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to be reopened. It has been sold and I don't think any amount of petitioning will reverse the sale and the new owners have no interest in collectors.

Being a new member to I will be polite and I don't want to get into the politics of the sale or pointing of fingers. If you want to get to the truth of the sale then you need to go to the source of the sale.

That being said there are other areas that have the same potential as Bear Lake. I was out on one of the scouting expeditions but it turned up empty. Nothing but mosquitoes, but there is lots of ground still to cover.
Kelly Zytaruk August 09, 2016 11:43PM
>>Last time I was at Bear Lake several years ago, the trenches along the dykes were already pretty deep,
>>so it wasn't easy getting new material out. The glory days of the deposit were already in the past

Alfredo I must completely disagree with you. Bear Lake is anything but dug out. It has lots of potential.

I was there last fall, I believe I may have been one of the last collectors to the property before it was sold.
I had an awesome time. Trench 'C' was cleared and I found a sweet spot about 2 feet wide down the wall. I was able to go down about 6 feet before it got too deep to get out safely without a ladder.

It was just full of apatite crystals.
My prize piece was a 10" long double terminated apatite crystal about 3" in diameter.

While I was there one guy found a 5" diameter double crystal ( in a 'V' shape, ie joined at the base) sticking out of the calcite wall. Within about 20 minutes he was able to chip it away with the apatite intact and still attached to the calcite.

In addition to this I was told that someone the weekend before I was there found a 100lb mass of crystals up past trench 'O'. Sad part is that I had looked in that spot 2 weeks earlier but didn't venture in because it was filled with water :-(

Losing Bear Lake is definitely a significant loss. I was hoping to go back again this year with a ladder and continue deeper in the trench.
Kelly Zytaruk August 09, 2016 11:47PM
Maggie Wilson Wrote:
> I heard the news just a moment ago - the Bear Lake
> Diggings that was owned by the Bancroft Chamber of
> Commerce, of the same Bancroft that claims to be
> the MINERAL Capital of Canada and trades on this
> reputation and annually hosts the Bancroft
> Gemboree, the same annual MINERAL festival that
> draws thousands and thousands of people who spend
> like crazy to take in the summer event - has been
> sold to a private entity and access to the site is
> no longer permitted.
> This is probably the full moon talking, but WHAT

Maggie, I sympathize with you completely and it is good to hear other people vent the way I feel.

Here is what was on the Bancroft Website as late as March of this year. Luckily I took a screen shot of it.

The One and Only Bear Lake Diggings

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines considered the Bear Lake Diggings so important that they took the unprecedented step of offering the mining rights out to tender to be managed as the province’s first publicly protected mineral collecting site!
Specimens of Bear Lake apatite, titanite, feldspar, mica, and hornblende grace the shelves of practically every major public and private mineral collection in the world. For over 20 years now, families, outdoor enthusiasts, and collectors have been finding beautiful crystals of their own, but after recent work on the site, this might be the best year yet!
Season’s passes now available. Contact the Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce to arrange for your permit today, or call Yours Outdoors for a full-service getaway package including a dig for buried treasure.
Matt Courville August 10, 2016 01:11PM
Unless the overwhelming amount of trenches of Bear Lake Diggings was specifically and creatively intended to help trap animals for hunting (which is highly unlikely), the new owners would have little purpose for that area. I'm unsure how large the entire piece of purchased land was, but if it was my land, and I didn't care about minerals, I would take advantage of selling-off a portion back to whomever might be interested.

This makes a lot of sense, if there is room to spare on the property. Or this could be a new side business for someone willing to make some $ for almost no effort on their part other than a waiver/pay system. If someone well connected to that area is diplomatic enough, I'm sure something could be done in due time.

.....if all else fails someone try to bring over a nice bottle of wine and try your chances;-)

Kelly Zytaruk August 10, 2016 05:33PM
Matt Courville Wrote:
> Unless the overwhelming amount of trenches of Bear
> Lake Diggings was specifically and creatively
> intended to help trap animals for hunting (which
> is highly unlikely), the new owners would have
> little purpose for that area.

I doubt that the new owners have any interest in hunting. From the people that I talked with it sounds like they are looking to retire with some privacy.

>I'm unsure how
> large the entire piece of purchased land was,

I was told but I don't recall exactly. It was rather large, for some reason something like 40 acres sticks in the back of my head.
Wayne Corwin August 10, 2016 05:37PM
I wonder if they will be looking for a "Grounds Keeper" ? :-D
Rudy Bolona August 10, 2016 06:12PM
Who would buy a famous and popular mineral collecting locality and expect to retire in privacy? They will most likely have to deal with an ongoing trespassing issue.
Tim Jokela Jr December 17, 2016 08:08PM
This highly profitable land sale by the B&DCoC needs to be examined more closely. I want them to explain why they sold one of Ontario's greatest mineral sites to people that will not allow collecting. This is shameful conduct and we need to know exactly who decided to sell it, and how they were even allowed to sell it. The number of new collectors, entire families, that could be seen joyfully traipsing through the woods in search of beautiful green apatites was a sight to behold. It was a popular place every nice summer day, and I'd like to know how much money the B&DCoC made by selling collecting permits, and where exactly that money went.

If you're as angry as I am, I want you to contact every one of these people RIGHT NOW, and demand an explanation. The only way we can fight evil is by TAKING ACTION RIGHT NOW. So start sending emails, or keep moaning as profiteers like these folks buy up mineral sites, wait till the land is worth 10x what they paid, and sell it for a nice fat profit. Odd behavior for the stewards of the "Mineral Collecting Capital of Canada."

These are the Directors of the Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce. If they don't reply to your emails, then start CALLING THEM, and WRITE LETTERS! They are no doubt older folks that don't care much for emails; a written letter will be read! (Mr. Daly has ignored my email for a week.)

Mike Daly (President)
M.G. Daly Funeral Home Ltd.
200 Old Hastings Road, Box 99, Maynooth ON, K0L 2S0

Mike has been a licensed Funeral Director for over a decade. He has worked with some of the finest funeral homes in Guelph, Kitchener and Stratford. In 2006 he opened the M.G. Daly Funeral Home Ltd. in Maynooth. Mike is proud to be able to serve the community in his own business, and through the Chamber of Commerce.

Vicki Parlette (1st Vice President)
Re/Max Country Classics
64 Hastings St N, Bancroft, Ontario, Canada
Vicki is the Broker of Record/Owner of Re/Max Country Classics. With over 20 years of Real Estate experience, she is dedicated to ethical and professional service. Helping her clients realize their dreams, whether they are looking to sell and retire or buy their first home, Vicki believes in her company motto that, "It's the experience!" She and her husband John moved to North Hastings 25 years ago, raising 3 children in Bancroft - a great place to raise a family. In her spare time she loves gardening, baking and reading.

Marlene Mackey Musclow (2nd Vice President)
State Farm Insurance
231 Hastings St N, Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0
Marlene has been a State Farm Agent for 25 years. 1976 to 1990 Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Lee Bay (Treasurer)
Niche! Consulting
Tim Jokela Jr December 17, 2016 09:21PM
To put this into context for folks that have never been to Bancroft:

The town styles itself as the "Mineral Collecting Capital of Canada."

Bancroft hosts the largest mineral show in Canada, and though I've never verified it, it's been said that mineral collectors bring a million bucks a year to the local economy.

There are countless interesting mineral localities in the area, which has been enjoyed by collectors for a century.

Things have taken a turn for the worse for collectors in Ontario. Torontonians are buying up land for cottages, and many, many sites are now posted. I visited two this summer, it's really very depressing to do all the research, study the maps, find the place, and be turned away by massive gates and angry signs, erected by millionaires that live far away, that don't give a fig for anybody else, they just want to keep their little bit of Canadian paradise nice and private.

Not long ago we lost the York River Skarn Zone. It was decided that it had to be protected as a nature preserve, and the fact that it was a site beloved by rockhounds, who collected world-class grossular crystals at one tiny spot on a hillside and do not harm the ecosystem, didn't keep them from banning collecting.

Here in Southern Ontario, we used to enjoy collecting at highly productive limestone quarries owned by LaFarge, that produced fantastic fluorite, celestine, galena, sphalerite, calcite, etc. We got in twice a year, but now the corporate greedheads have banned all collecting. They are sending countless pieces of Canadian Natural Heritage to the crusher!

The Bear Lake Diggings have produced world-class specimens of hornblende, microcline, fluorapatite, and titanite. And they were't micro; I've seen hornblende crystals there as long as my leg, being extracted by a museum. And an entire wall of titanite crystals! And the minerals aren't all common; just recently a new mineral, nioboaeschynite-(Y), was described from Bear Lake! The property is huge, it was a great place for beginners, and there's still interesting stuff to be found by people that know how to use a sledgehammer.

The Bancroft & District Chamber of Commerce was given the responsibility of preserving Bear Lake for the future. However, it's a bit like having a wolf guard the henhouse, when you have real estate brokers entrusted with land. They see the potential profit, and no doubt the big commission they'd get, and they can only resist so long.

I am royally pissed, and I'm looking into the matter, and encourage you to do the same. Contact the Chamber, contact the mayor (, contact the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, contact your friends, contact every club president in the Province, and MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Bancroft Mayor & Council:
Matt Neuzil December 17, 2016 09:21PM
Thanks for those details! It sure is something to wonder who got the miney and how much over these years. The only thing they run is the mineral museum. I understand it needs a certain upkeep. If the money from collecting permits goes to museum upkeep, there shouldnt have been much more they needed money for.

I am not sure if i had looked at correct but it seemed like land near the Croft mine was for sale at one point. That was over 400 acres i believe and with a big price tag. At least that land was already privately owned.
Tim Jokela Jr December 17, 2016 09:57PM
If anybody wants to know why the Mayor and Councillors of the town of Bancroft, "Mineral Capital of Canada," agreed to let this important collecting site be sold by the Chamber, why not send them a polite email?

Or better yet, if your corporate overlords have given you a few hours off for the holidays, you could sit down and write the Mayor an actual letter! These are older folks, who probably don't put too much stock in email, but they might know that every letter from a dissatisfied customer represents at least ten people.,,,,,,

Stay quiet, and be ignored. Don't let the real estate brokers and rockhound-haters win. GET VOCAL!


Mayor Bernice Jenkins
33 York River Dr.
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Deputy Mayor Paul Jenkins
16 Sherbourne St S
P.O. Box 808
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Councillor Mary Kavanagh

31 Forest Hill Rd
P.O. Box 284
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Councillor Bill Kilpatrick
1115 Bronson Road
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Councillor Barry McGibbon
284 Detlor Road
L'Amable, ON K0L 2L0

Councillor Charles Mullett
81 Johnston Cres
P.O. Box 591
Bancroft, ON K0L 1C0

Councillor Tracy McGibbon
284 Detlor Road
L'Amable, ON K0L 2L0
Alfredo Petrov December 18, 2016 01:21AM
Move the show to another town. That'll teach 'em :-D
Rudy Bolona December 18, 2016 05:28AM
I feel your pain Tim. It's the same deal here in Colorado. Ruby Mountain, the classic locality for spessartine garnets and topaz, which had been a popular collecting locale since the late 1800's was bought a few years ago and the owners have closed it to rockhounding. Did the state or local governments give a hoot that it was a great historic place to take your family for some fun mineral collecting? Money talks, and well... you know what walks.
Sean December 18, 2016 07:40AM

when I first heard the message of the closure, I was pissed too. I did come up with an idea to make a online petition, but still to this day, I'm not really sure anyone cared for me (or anyone) to make a petition. I guess by now it's sadly quiet pointless, but there's nothing wrong with trying to make one now. Besides, I believe the land was owned by the Chambers of Commerce themselves. I think they may have sold the land for a valid reason but if they sold the land just for the sake of money..."facepalm". I'm not sure how much money they were making with Bear Lake, but if their sales were not that good, I can probably see why, but if they were making tons of money...then I guess they needed more money for alcohol. Anyway, I'm not really sure why they did that. Just saying, right now I don't really trust the employees at Chamber's of Commerce. Right now, they sound like they rarely care that much about mineral collecting.

I completely understand your frustration. I hate it when good locations gets closed down. I wanna see locations to exist for the newer generations too so they can explore these classic locations themselves, someday I wanna make a book (or a blog) about my mineral collecting adventures to tell the audience which locations to go to, I want lots of locations for other mineral collectors out there to choose a spot that they wanna collect at, and so on. Good locations that I have not been to like Cancrinite Hill (and the locations near it) are closed and I was curious on trying that location. I understand that some mine owners doesn't want any collectors on their property. I can understand reasons like people getting and suing the mine owner. If we want these locations to be open to the public, everybody must respect the owner(s) of the mineral collecting locations. I will say this to everyone who's new and old to mineral collecting. When you're collecting, you should be aware that you're taking a risk (or risks) that you may get [really] hurt. If you have a problem at a location like getting hurt, don't sue the owner nor give him/her craude for your injury because it was not his/her fault that you got hurt (Yes I do know that he was responsible for allowing on his/her land and he/she can get sue by that but still, don't do it or the owner may close the location over fear that he/she may get sued again and we don't want that to happen). You took the risk, and it was your job to take safety measures into your own hand. If the owner him/herself did anything bad with you, that is a bit of a different story.
Tim Jokela Jr December 20, 2016 06:44AM
The Mayor of Bancroft explains that the locality is not in her municipality, and the Chamber is a private business, so, basically, she really couldn't care less.

Bear Lake is in the Municipality of Highlands East.

These people have been doing some good for collectors, from buying land to hiring geologists to look for new collecting sites.

Perhaps they will be interested in the activities of the B&DCoC. Why not drop them an email?,,,,
Matt Courville December 20, 2016 05:49PM
Hi Tim, I'd like to commend your efforts on this subject.:)-D

Unfortunately I think that the only effective action that can be done now is to try and convince the new property owners to sell off a small fragment of the property to keep the collecting going. There are also many other sites nearby which could yield similar specimens due to their geology if anyone wished to pursue this option.

I would naturally think that the mayor of Bancroft would be embarrassed by selling off their most high profile mineral collecting site in a town claimed to be the 'mineral capital of Canada'. This municipality excuse is like saying the Casino du Lac-Leamy in Hull/Gatineau isn't part of Ottawa tourism. No-one would ever debate this. I'm even sure that there could have been options to get financial help through Canadian tourism funds - perhaps enough to help buy the property.

With politics and $$ people need to be held accountable or it will just keep repeating itself. Who knows, the Princess Sodalite Mine and shop could be the next one to go to the highest bidder one day.....

I'm confident that good people are working hard to find new spots for people to enjoy collecting - it takes time though

Franklin Roberts January 18, 2017 12:16AM

1. ALL politicians are lying, greedy, bottom feeding scumbags.

2. The members of the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce are politicians.

3. Given the above facts, what might we conclude about the members of the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce?
Tim Jokela Jr August 20, 2017 02:20AM
A Chamber of Commerce is a private business, not part of the government here in Canada.

And accountable to nobody, apparently.

None of the swine had a thing to say to me, they were completely uninterested in explaining their actions.
Sean August 20, 2017 06:39AM

Matt's idea is not that bad. Perhaps the best option is to find the new owner of Bear Lake and ask him/her to sell a bit of the land so people can collect. Talking to the employees at the Chamber of Commerce is pointless because I did the same thing a year ago when the property was sold. When I went to Quadeville visiting the Beryl Pit and the Rose Quartz Pit, a worker for Bancroft's Chamber of Commerce was at Beryl Pit, I asked her things about Bear Lake Digging like why they sold it. She didn't wanna give me a clear answer to why they did it. She was saying that it was personal (because sadly, it kinda is, but of course there's gonna be lots of mineral collecting demanding a explanation to this horrible decision). Now another thing, when I tried to have a small conversation with her about mineral collecting other then Bear Lake Diggings, she didn't sound like she cared about mineral collecting. Heck, I think I have met (or called) other employees and they didn't sound like they cared about mineral collecting either.

Besides, those guys are not the best people to chat to when finding a way to go onto Private Property nor are they the best people to go to for help on mineral collecting except if you're a beginner and need a guidebook for mineral collecting in Bancroft. Nowadays, I just tell people to not trust a lot of things that these guys are saying because in my experience with these guys, they kinda gave me a lot of false or misleading information about whatever.

Now if people would to ask me about why they sold the property, I would probably say I don't know and/or make a joke and say "They probably sold it to get lots of money so they can buy important "equipment" to help them get intoxicated," or something that's less harsh then this one.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2017 06:40AM by Nthingu Musomba.
avatar ALFREDO:

I want to get back to what you wrote more then a year ago, on 14 Mai 2016:

"And please don't think that a landlord should let you in if you sign a release. As any good lawyer can tell you, a release signed by a collector is worth less than toilet paper, as it's not absorbent enough."

Can you explain exactly why this is so? I mean, any other contract must be abided unless somebody has been cheating. What is needed to make such a contract binding?

Ronald Werner
David Von Bargen August 20, 2017 12:22PM
The person hurt would sue the land owner because they will claim negligence on the part of the landowner and not warning them of the dangers on the property or mitigating them (like a rock falling off a high wall or tripping over a piece of machinery).
Bob Harman August 20, 2017 01:52PM
Like DAVID V B says. Negligence on the part of the landowner. Even with a signed release, the owner of a property or quarry "knew or should have known" there were dangers ready to happen. All loose rocks ready to fall should have been removed. All water areas should have been drained so as to prevent drownings. All bumps should have been flattened to prevent collectors from tripping or vehicle damage etc etc etc.

Unfortunately, that is why no one signing a release and even clubs with long standing agreements with the property owners no longer can get onto their property or quarries.

As an addendum, there are even laws more directed towards non-collectors. For example a local quarry was the weekend site not only for sneak-in collectors, but for teenagers bringing in their dirt bikes. The quarry was deemed an "attractive nuisance" and libel for their injuries. The management had to put a 1/2 page notice in the newspapers that these folks would be arrested and prosecuted if caught.
A property owner with a small fish pond had an "attractive nuisance" when a small child was attracted to it and drowned. The pond/land owner even had "posted" the site and fenced it off, but the kid still found a way into the pond area.

Sad, but that's the way it is today.CHEERS.......BOB

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2017 02:12PM by Bob Harman.
Robert Rothenberg August 20, 2017 02:15PM
I believe there was a case many years ago where a collector signed a release, and died. His wife sued and her argument was that his signature did not prevent her from suing. In New York, there are different rules about the landowner's obligation, depending on whether the "victim" is a trespasser, guest, or invitee. The duties to trespassers < to guests < to invitees. This can get complicated. Even if the landowner wins the suit, there is a lot of anguish and cost involved.

Tom Tucker August 20, 2017 02:50PM
The mineral collecting community has a lot of wealth. My cave exploring friends have relatively little, but cavers around the nations have bought or arranged perpetual management of over two hundred caves (maybe more). Thus they maintain access in perpetuity. Why aren't mineral collectors buying worthy collecting localities, for collectors ?
Several US states have passed laws which absolve landowners of liability if they allow free public recreational access to their properties.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2017 03:36PM by Tom Tucker.
Bob Harman August 20, 2017 03:19PM
TOM, For the most part it is economics. While there are and have been sites bought specifically for mineral mining such as the Sweet Home Mine and Jackson's Crossroads amethyst locality, and public mining sites such as quartz mines in Arkansas, many other sites are very "iffy". Too expensive for all the permits and infrastructure and insurance vs any very "iffy"potential gains from either specimen mining or public fee sites. No one wants to have a money loosing or barely breaking even proposition so no one invests in these ventures.
Actually, recently I and a couple of others have been asked, here in Bloomington Indiana, to help launch a fee for geode digging site in a proven locality, but I agreed to only act as a consultant. No financial backing from me or a collector friend as the risk vs reward ratio is suspect.
David Von Bargen August 20, 2017 03:30PM
Some clubs do own mineral lands or keep mining claims. If it is on federal lands, you could try to get some land designated as "rock collecting area" to keep off commercial claims. You are probably better off if you aren't wealthy as you are unlikely to get sued (these kind of suits tend to go after the "deep pockets")
Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 20, 2017 05:07PM
Also, whatever your wishes are about claims against landowners if you're injured, remember that your insurance company may want to take action on its own to help recover medical expenses.
Alfredo Petrov August 21, 2017 05:39AM
Ronald, I think others have already answered your question about my last year's comment, but allow me to summarize: A release written by a collector is worth less than toilet paper, and no intelligent landlord would accept such a release, because: 1) a collector who injures himself can still go to court and try to prove landlord "negligence"; 2) you can sign a release, but that doesn't stop your wife or children from sueing the landlord if you hurt yourself or die; 3) as Jolyon stated, your insurance company might pursue the landlord; and 4) even if you have no chance of winning a case in court, the landlord will still suffer stress, financial costs and time waste if you sue him or even just threaten to sue.
avatar Thanks Alfredo and all the others who answered.

It's all a bit cynical imho.

Where I live (Evje og Hornnes, Norway) we have this big Mineralparken ( with a lot of activities for children. If something would go wrong there, would he potentially suffer the same consequences as a owner of a quarry?

I suppose not. Normal, rational laws will solve the problem

Maybe the situation in Norway is different anyway. When I get an accident (and yes, I have had some accident, but not while collecting), the state will pay most of the medical expenses. On the other hand, if I am at the same time privately insured and suffer losses otherwise, not covered by the state, then there might be a problem.

I wrote an email to the "Bergmesteren" (Norwegian Directorate of Mining) in Norway and asked them about this problem. Last time it took them 2 months to answer, so I'll have to be patient.

But for me this is a critical question. I just guided a group of students to several quarries, and the scenarios you described would be the end of my role as a guide. It would basically stop all scientific research being done on our pegmatites...
Alfredo Petrov August 21, 2017 07:46AM
Ronald, it's one of the bad side effects of living in societies with too many lawyers! Our "litigious society". The lawyers encourage people to sue for everything. If Norway is less litigious (I hope so), consider yourself lucky. Part of each year I live in Japan, which is much less litigious.
Dale Foster August 21, 2017 09:23AM
Alfredo Petrov Wrote:
Ronald, it's one of the bad side effects of living in societies with too many lawyers! Our "litigious society". The lawyers encourage people to sue for everything.

That combined with the increasing phenomenon of people not accepting responsibility for their own actions - i.e someone else is to blame, and the blind greed of individuals seeking financial compensation.
Olav Revheim August 21, 2017 10:39AM

No need to worry in Norway. In the few cases there has been forwarded claims on neglect by the landowner, the financial gain received by the claimant has been meagre. This is in part related to the "allemannsretten", giving everyone the right to visit all non-cultured land within certain limits on their own risk, and partly because the state is a big landowner. Opening for lawsuits due to negligence by the landowner would be a very bad business case for the state.

If you look at this you will see that this nature attraction may involve some risks, but there are no fences, no warnings that you may fall over the edge, neither on the attraction itself, nor the in the printed visitor guides or the VisitNorway descriptions.

avatar Thanks Olav, that is a big relieve!

jeff yadunno August 27, 2017 11:36AM
gibson rd now has no parking signs on the south side of the road at titanite hill btw.
leaving one parking space

i dont see it on mls anymore but there is a property on the north side of that road which is for sale
and i think it included mineral rights from what i remember

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2017 11:40AM by jeff yadunno.
Andrew Debnam August 27, 2017 03:05PM
jeff do you mean on the North side of Bear Lake?
Sean August 27, 2017 05:24PM
Jeff, do you think you can double check this property if actually does have mineral rights?
jeff yadunno August 29, 2017 11:53AM
no i mean the tory hill side
there is still one spot on the north side and i know some people walk in
so there is still room to park where the road gets narrower

the listing is no longer on mls which could just mean the listing has expired and they haven re-posted it yet
but the sign is still up on the road saying for sale
you would have to contact local realtors
forget which company.. could be exit.. could be claimpost but those are just guesses
Tim Jokela Jr March 01, 2018 09:06PM
Tom, I'm stunned that cavers are able to do this. I can't even begin to imagine the risk involved with letting people into death traps. My respect for cavers has gone up a notch, that's hardcore.

Here in Canada, things aren't as advanced as in Norway, but we aren't quite as lawsuit-crazy as in the US.

Buying and protecting mineral sites is a daunting business. It would take hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I don't know how you'd get insurance from anybody, at any price. And that's assuming you could find five or ten good, dedicated people willing to risk their savings and assets.

We have so few serious collectors in this country, just running our little clubs is a constant hassle.

So an interesting discussion, but we just don't have the people or the money, as far as I can see.

If anybody out there is seriously interested in looking into this, and has money to put into it, I'd be happy to contribute my time and equipment... I'm licensed to blow stuff up...

It's not totally impossible; Dave and Renee Patterson are maintaining the Beryl Pit and the Rose Quartz Pit here in Ontario, and lots of amethyst miners are making a go of it up around Thunder Bay; maybe I'm too negative?

Tim Jokela Jr.,

Tom Tucker Wrote:
> The mineral collecting community has a lot of
> wealth. My cave exploring friends have relatively
> little, but cavers around the nations have bought
> or arranged perpetual management of over two
> hundred caves (maybe more). Thus they maintain
> access in perpetuity. Why aren't mineral
> collectors buying worthy collecting localities,
> for collectors ?
> Several US states have passed laws which
> absolve landowners of liability if they allow free
> public recreational access to their properties.
Peter K. Szarka March 06, 2018 02:03AM
With respect to minerals rights and land ownership, they are two very different things. Buying a property does not automatically convey the mineral rights. And I'm fairly sure that few, if any cottagers or landowners in Ontario actually own the mineral rights under their properties.

The Tory Hill side of the Bear Lakes diggings is accessed from Gibson Road in Tory Hill. And this property is not the Bear Lakes diggings itself. It's a separate property adjacent to its' west side.

And if you want access, it's probably best to talk with Chris Fouts of Mad River Minerals in Bancroft. He is the person who initially staked the property in an attempt to bring it to patent and provide a site for future mineral collecting. Whether or not he's let the claims lapse on it I'm not sure. But we (the Kawartha Mineral and Fossil Club) were in there the year before last at his invitation to help him do work that counted toward assessment credits.

The geology is identical to Bear Lake and the Calcite veins, some huge, run in parallel swarms. They can be found by looking at depressions in the terrain relative to the surrounding ground. Even day one of our initial foray by some club members provided some impressive specimens.

Before anyone goes trespassing all over the property, it would be considerate to obtain permission before highgrading the place. It's these actions that close down collecting sites for the rest of us.

Please respect the property owners/mining rights holders and gain permission before speculating on how best to access a property.
Scott Rider March 07, 2018 05:11PM
I agree with Peter statement:

"Please respect the property owners/mining rights holders and gain permission before speculating on how best to access a property."

I've seen forest roads and dig sites closed here in Colorado because a few people ruining it for others. Litter, not burying their holes, trashing the site, etc are all things land owners, property managers and governments won't tolerate because of bad behavior.

One highgrader, well maybe a few (albeit this one person caused the changes) in Lake George caused a few access road closures because the claim owners and the forest services are close and this person continuously claim jumped, after many, many warnings, even by state police... She still highgraded so they closed 2 important roads to the hard to reach areas of Lake George. Keep in mind, most of the hard to reach areas there are CLAIMED so no rockhounds should be on those roads anyway...
jeff yadunno March 13, 2018 03:11PM
good to know Peter

i just checked again and finally claimaps is viewable online

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2018 03:20PM by jeff yadunno.
Andrew Debnam March 13, 2018 03:43PM
Hi Peter, other clubs have access as well. It all depends on their individual field trip plans. Best to check with them.



comment moved to - where it belongs,5,424441,433688#msg-433688

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/2018 09:24PM by Andrew Debnam.
jeff yadunno March 13, 2018 09:08PM
hey Andrew,
are you referring to the other thread about marmoraton?
Andrew Debnam March 13, 2018 09:15PM
Yes I am that is what is you get for not paying attention
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