California dreamin’ includes treasure hunting off coast

Posted: 08/05/2011 in all marine news

Genevieve Jerome – 

When people think about California, they often think of beaches, Hollywood, Half Dome and the Golden Gate Bridge.

But how about old shipwrecks off the coast ? How ‘bout gold mining ?

One government entity, the State Lands Commission, knows all about those shipwrecks and the treasures they may contain. And rightly so: Treasure hunters must fork over a portion of what they find to the state.

Treasure seekers, history buffs and people who are just curious must apply with the State Lands Commission to legally search for buried treasure off the California Coast.

There’s plenty to search for.

On July 30, 1865, for example, the Brother Jonathan foundered off the coast of Crescent City, a vessel that began its journey during the Gold Rush and ended it in the West Coast trades.

In another case, researchers in October 1997 set off on the Point Reyes National Seashore (Drakes Bay) and scoured the bottom of Drakes Bay looking for the San Agustin, a Spanish galleon that sank in 1595 some 400 years earlier.

But no matter how intriguing the subject matter (what’s more exciting than buried treasure?) the bureaucracy of government gets in the way, starting with the Lands Commission.

However, dealing with any government entity, notes the federal Bureau of Land Management, can be a tedious process for treasure hunters. The steps needed to obtain a permit may even deter some.

Hunting for gold isn’t limited to coastal waters. The process that made California’s reputation around the earth, gold mining, also offers attractions.

But for those determined to hunt for riches, there are some simple requirements. According to www.blm.gov, any citizen of the United States over the age of 18 can obtain a permit to mine for gold.

Full story… 

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