Dear Web Page Visitors:

This information was sent to me via an email. I have reproduced it here for those of you who would like to preserve the ability for people to continue rockhounding and are willing to get involved to protect this right.

The habitat of the rockhound is diminishing at an astounding rate. More and more of its free roaming areas are being gobbled up each and every day by the changing environment. Soon the range of the Rockhound and its offspring the Pebble Pup will become so diminished that extinction will be imminent. As the environment changes, the ecosystem of the rockhound is slowly being replaced by the ecosystem known as “Wilderness”, which is a poisonous dead zone for the Rockhound and Pebble Pups. Soon they will go the way of the Smilodon, the California Grizzly Bear and the now extinct Naugas (which were hunted late in the last century for their hides that were used exclusively in the creation of the Bean Bag Chair).

What can be done to save the ecosystem and the fee range habitat of the endangered Rockhound and Pebble Pups? We can do a lot if we ban together and take action now, before it is too late. We need to review all the facts, formulate a plan, distribute the plan and then execute the plan by contacting all of our elected representatives with our facts, figures and recommendations for saving the ecosystem of the rockhound.

Currently before congress there are several new wilderness bills and one bill that will make some fossil collecting and ownership a federal crime. The California Wild Heritage Act and The Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act when passed by Congress could reduce the ecosystem of the rockhound, just in California, by around 3.26 Million acres of new wilderness habitats. The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act when passed by congress will make the collecting and ownership of vertebrate fossils found on public land (BLM, USFS, and State land) a federal crime with punishment with fines and/or imprisonment. Collecting of these fossils on private land is allowed with the proof of collecting on the holder of the fossils. There needs to be allowances for the collecting, ownership and public display of these vertebrate fossils by the amateur collector without the fear of criminal prosecution or civil legal action. We all understand that significant finds like “Sue” need to be preserved for all to enjoy, but the collection, ownership and public display of smaller finds of non-significant, non-descript vertebrate fossils should be allowed in the legislation.

If we do not get involved and take a proactive approach the above legislation will become law and the Rockhound and Pebble Pups will become extinct just like their ecosystem and free range habitat.

So what can we do? First read the proposed legislation, determine the effect of the legislation in your collecting areas. Inform all of your club members of the urgency of the legislation. Formulate a response with recommendations that are attainable. Write letters to your elected officials and present your case and points. If we do not make our voices heard we will loose the battle of the Rockhound and we will become extinct. We can make our voices heard in Washington by supporting and joining the American Lands Access Association (ALAA) as clubs or as individuals.

Below are the Bills and their authors with links to the websites where full information on their status can be obtained.

I have copies of all the above bills in MS Word format. If you or your club would like copies please send me a note with your email address and I will send them to you.

John Martin
California Federation of Mineralogical Societies
Public Lands Action Committee – South
Palmdale Gem and Mineral Club

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