Gold in Maine
Gold occurs in several geologic environments in Maine: in bedrock, in sediments that were eroded from bedrock by glaciers, and in stream deposits derived from either of these sources. Veins of gold in bedrock are called "lode" deposits, and "placer" deposits are concentrations of gold that accumulated in unconsolidated sediments. Most of the gold presently found in Maine comes from placer deposits in stream beds.
With the exception of areas administered by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (see below), gold panning activities in Maine do not require a permit as long as the following restrictions are adhered to:
- The activity is confined to sandy/gravelly/cobbly unvegetated stream beds, with no disturbance of stream banks.
- The activity is limited to the use of gold pans, sluices of less than 10 square feet, or suction dredges with a hose diameter of 4 inches or less.
- Permission from the landowner must be obtained. Why? First, it's a matter of common courtesy to the landowner. But also, trespassing on posted land in Maine can be a matter of civil law. The water in a stream is under the jurisdiction of the State; but the stream bottom and stream bank - as well as the access across land to the stream - is most likely private property (exceptions include public lots, state parks, etc.). If you cause any damage to that property, even if it is not posted, you may be subject to civil action brought by the landowner. You can avoid these problems by talking to the landowner ahead of time.
SOURCES OF GOLD INFORMATION
Information on gold localities and methods of
prospecting may be found in the following books or
obtained from other references in libraries and
bookstores. There are no active gold mines in the state
at the present time, but some old gold mines are listed
in a two-volume series entitled "Maine Mines and
Minerals", by Philip Morrill and William Hinckley, which
may be available in Maine mineral shops or local
- The Next Bend in the River (Gold Mining
in Maine), by C. J. Stevens; John Wade -
Publisher, P. O. Box 303, Phillips, ME 04966; 177 p.
- Gold Fever - The Art of Panning and
Sluicing, by L. DeLorenzo; Gem Guides Book
Co., 315 Cloverleaf Dr., Suite F, Baldwin Park, CA
91706; 80 p. (1995).
- Gold! Gold!, by J. F. Petralia;
Sierra Outdoor Products Co., P. O. Box 2497, San
Francisco, CA 94126-2497; 143 p. (1996).
- Gold Panning is Easy, by R.
Lagal; Ram Publishing Co., P. O. Box 38649, Dallas,
TX 75238; 134 p. (1995).
- Gold Mining in the 1990's, by
D. McCracken; Keene Industries, 9330 Corbin Ave.,
Northridge, CA 91324; phone: 818-993-0411; 279 p.
- Gold Prospectors Handbook, by
J. Black; Gem Guides Book Co. (address given above);
176 p. (1996).
- The Modern Goldseekers Manual,
by T. Bryant; Bedrock Supply Ltd., 9435-63AVE,
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6E 0G2; phone:
1-800-661-3988; 223 p. (1990)
GOLD PROSPECTING CLUB
- Central Maine Gold Prospectors
Contact one of the following:
- Phillip Moulton Phone: (207) 660-7563
- Charles Curtis Phone: (207) 778-5364
GOLD PANNING EQUIPMENT AND ADVICE
GOLD PANNING STREAMS
Some streams from which gold has been reported are
listed below, and there are probably many others that
are less well known.
|Swift River and its tributaries
||Madrid to New Sharon
|South Branch-Penobscot River
||Sandy Bay; Bald Mtn; Prentiss
||Chain of Ponds; Kibby
||T5 R6; Appleton Township
|St. Croix River
Topographic maps covering these areas may be
purchased from local sporting goods stores and
bookstores or from the Maine Geological Survey, 93 State
House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333. Telephone: (207)
Current information can be found at this link:
Last updated on September 24, 2012