Wicked Good Maine
Gold Panning in Maine
According to the Maine Geological Survey, 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.
GENERAL REGULATIONS FOR GOLD PANNING IN MAINE:
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:
1. The activity is confined to sandy/gravelly/cobbly unvegetated stream beds, with no disturbance of stream banks.
2. 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.
3. 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 streambank - 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.
For more information, suggested literature, advice, and locations, visit the Maine Geological Survey.
Other Gold Panning Sources in Maine:
Maine Mineral Collecting
Maine Gold Sites
Treasure Hunting in Maine
Confused about how Mainer's talk?
Check out the
Wicked Good Guide to Mainah English