The ABC15 T.V. version states:
Hunting for gold
The Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains is the focus for some modern-day gold hunters setting out to find the truth. An Apache Junction man is now in the process of excavating an area that could hold the key.
Hunting for gold
The story was about an Apache Junction man named Ron Feldman who thought there could be silver or gold bars tucked away in a side tunnel of a mining shaft he planned be unearthing in a mine located somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. Many books and magazine articles (not to mention internet blogs) have been written about the Lost Dutchmans stash of gold, buried there 150 years ago.
According to his story, Mr. Feldman never actually claimed he had found the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine of Jacob Waltz but it was his belief that what he had located was related to the lode mine itself. And in a side tunnel of that mine, there could be gold and/or silver bars that were put there in 1848.
According to The Arizona Republic story, Mr. Feldman spent 38 years searching the Superstition Mountains for evidence of lost mines. Here's where it gets sticky in my opinion; with no actual Treasure Trove Laws passed by Congress to guide him he had to go through the U.S. Forest Service Rangers Office (who would have used their Forest Service "code book") to get all the proper forms, applications, assessment of fees, archaeological surveys, cultural surveys, etc, etc, and so on, so he could get legal permission to dig for and remove any bars he actually finds.
Because I have been through a similar experience on the other side of the country, I learned that depending on which state, county, territory, section of BLM Land, Forest Service Land, township, or village, etc, etc, etc. you are wanting to treasure hunt in, the procedures/code book-interpretations (Federal Registers/Directives/Dockets/E-Comments/Enforcement/Federal Agency Programs ...) can differ enough to land you in jail.
Mr. Feldman's group hired an archaeologist, and a Forest Service archaeologist to oversee the project. The Superstition Mountains code book probably required Mr. Feldman and his group, Historical Exploration And Treasures, to set up a base camp outside the eastern boundary of the Superstition Wilderness and from there required the men to travel by horseback to the undisclosed site. They were to spend the next few months digging out the shaft, shoring it with timbers, and looking for artifacts that would establish a date. No machinery is allowed in a Wilderness Area, so they would have had to construct a wooden frame with a manual crank over the shaft to lower a bucket then haul up soil, one bucket at a time.
After all that; If any treasure or artifacts are found, they become the property of the U.S. General Services Administration, at least until Mr. Feldman petitions for "a share" of what he found after searching for 38 years. Since there will be government lawyers fighting against your lawyers, and you already spent all your money searching for a lifetime, it doesn't seem quite fair a code-book regulation. There isn't a Congressionally written "Treasure Trove Law" that spells out the details for every piece of Public Land across our country but because there are dozens of documents, lawsuits, city ordinances, (you name it) that have made assumptions, based on other documents going all the way back to British documents that helped form some parts of our own government, the majority of treasure hunters enjoy their hobby illegally. After all, since there is no actual "U.S. Treasure Trove Law", why should they risk going to jail?
Mr.Feldman decided to take the legal route of obtaining a Treasure Trove permit from the U.S. Forest Service allowing him to put his shovel to the earth. The permits are rarely issued, and Feldman spent five years going through the process (read government Red-Tape) to convince District Ranger Arthur Wirtz that he may have found some stashed loot.. God Bless Him.
According to the Arizona Republic article, It is the first time District Ranger Wirtz has issued such a permit in his eight years on the job.
I would agree with this quote from the article, "It's the legends, the lure of treasure, the lure of instant wealth," he said. "It's no different from the last couple centuries; people have given up everything and gone in search of gold."
If those who disagree with my opinion on this entire subject would just consider that (1) the U.S. was explored because of Gold, from vast ocean crossings. (2) The U.S. (it is rumored) financed the American Revolution using U.S. gold. (3) Monks and Chinamen (is that pc?) from other Continents dug gold on U.S. soil and hauled it back to their homelands for hundreds of years. (4) Gold financed the spread of civilization of the United States of America. (5) Countries without natural resources seldom reach the prosperity of the United States. Just my humble opinion (again) but the non-stop attempts to place restrictions on gold miners today are like the creeping vines of the Mississippi landscapes I saw outside Jackson, Mississippi. There is no stopping them without drastic measures.
A final fact or two, or three, mining has been banned in "The Wilderness" areas since 1984. "Treasure trove" refers to something valuable that has been processed by man, such as coins or bars of precious metal." Wow! Wasn't that law of the land just as clear as a bell?
Most treasure hunters are not just interested in finding a pot of gold, after 20 to 30 years of searching, researching and hunting down every concievable clue, they want the credit for rewriting history. I don't blame them; a lifetime invested in any venture should have consequences of value.
You may be able to entice Arizona Republic reporter Patricia Biggs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-7961 to do a follow up story on the 2004 article, but I was not so sucessful.