Vol. XXXXI, No. 3 --- March 2004

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
President's Message
GOLD Bug Gala - Mariposa
Insurance Update
All American Awards Program
Golden Bear Award
Education Thru Sharing
Junior Activities
BLM News Bytes
CFMS Nominating Committee Request
Field Trip South - Cady Mountains
You Can Save Our Collecting Sites
Earth Science Studies

Prez Message

By Lois Allmen, CFMS President

CFMS President

Back to Communication

Reports from the chairmen of the various committees are highly important. Chair reports are what inform club members what is happening in those committees of the organization. Reports go into the CFMS Newsletter and also in the Directors packet at the bi-yearly meetings.

Directors write a summary of the business that has taken place at the Directors meeting to put in their club bulletin, and it doesn•  t hurt to give a bit orally either to make sure your members know what is going on and that they are part of CFMS. Personally, I was a member for five years before I realized what CFMS was about. I don•  t think that too many people are different from me.

Chair reports are to go into the CFMS Newsletter. We have some very good and conscientious people who do this. Three copies of the Newsletter go out to each club: (1) to the president, (2) the editor (3) to the person deemed most likely to profit by the club.

That means the rest of the members are "in the dark". Here is where the editors can shine. They can use any of the material in the CFMS Newsletter in their bulletins, and in fact are encouraged to do so. The more this is done the more club members will understand CFMS and that they are a part of it.*

So far we•  ve spoken about business going from CFMS to the individual clubs. There is another side. That is where club members need to communicate a need to CFMS. They do this through discussion and agreement in thor rockhounding -- and it's virtually free!

You all know the rules: Each year, every club in the federation gets to nominate one member, or one couple, who have made a significant contribution to rockhounding through their knowledge, skills, hard work, and willingness to get involved.

I'll print a statement about your nominations in the CFMS Newsletter and then pass them along to the American Federation.

You can send nominations with a statement about them via mail or e-mail to the following address:

Loretta Ogden
20904 Trigger Ln.
Diamond Bar, CA 91764


The Anaheim Searchers Gem and Mineral Society would like to nominate Walter Mroch as Searcher of the year. Walt has been a Searcher for many years. During that time he has served on our board several times as Vice President, Field Trip Chairman and as Director. He has held a number of show positions over the years, runs our silent auctions and contributes most of our auction materials. He set up and maintains the Searchers web site. He has co-authored books on rocks and minerals copies of which he has generously donated to our club and is active in trying to keep rock hounding locations accessible as well as working to reopen some of our closed sites. Walt has also presented programs to our club including some on Owens Valley gems and minerals on which he is an authority. The club would like to say thanks by making him our Searcher of the year, 2004.

Submitted by Betty Nelson

Junior Activities
Earthquakes On-line: Becoming a Junior Seismologist

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Juniors Activities Chair

Those of us belonging to the California Federation are used to the ground occasionally moving under our feet. At work during the recent quake at Cambria, I felt like I was on board a creaky, rocking ship for several seconds even though I was sitting in Thousand Oaks, far to the south of the epicenter. After all was over and I realized everything was safe and secure, the first thing I did was to turn to my computer and enter the following web address: http://pasadena.wr.usgs.gov/shake/ca/.

The United States Geological Survey sponsors this site, which immediately told me where the earthquake was centered and its magnitude, along with maps showing related tremblers. But the site has another very cool feature that you can turn into an activity with your pebble pups and junior members-an activity that enables them to make a direct contribution to earthquake science or seismology!

After giving info about recent quakes (with buttons you can push to pull up an archive with info about past earthquakes), you come to the following note: "This is a U.S. Geological Survey project to collect information about ground shaking following significant earthquakes. You can help us by filling out a questionnaire for each earthquake you feel. A Community Internet Intensity Map will be made and updated every few minutes following a major earthquake. At first only a few ZIP codes will have intensities assigned, but over time others will be assigned as data comes in. Check back often and watch the maps change!"

You can then click over to the questionnaire, which asks multiple-choice questions about how the earthquake felt, when you first noticed it, how long it lasted, whether hanging items swayed or knickknacks fell off shelves, and so forth. It allows the USGS to collect anecdotal reports from all across the state to better estimate the widespread effects of future earthquakes and thus allows even an average person to assist in the science of seismology. You can print this questionnaire and incorporate it into an earthquakes talk to pebble pups. You can ask them about any earthquakes they might remember, and fill in the questionnaire to return on-line to the USGS site, and you can direct your pebble pups to explore the site at home. The Hector, Northridge, Loma Prieta earthquakes-all are described in the Archives section. It's a great site for teaching kids about earthquakes, involving them as junior seismologists, and-as always-having fun!

BLM NewsBytes

By Your Editorr

Your Editor receives the BLM NewsBytes you can too, great for Juniors.

You can view the Feb.14 issue of News.bytes online at: http://www.ca.blm.gov/news/newsbytes/2004/144.html

Just one headlines from Feb 4 BLM NEWS BYTES

"Unearthing new perspective" (Bakersfield Californian, 02/01/2004)

"California desert archeology is a somewhat thankless undertaking....nothing...will turn up that will create a media frenzy. Yet recent discoveries in this sunken, arid land near Ridgecrest may push back by thousands of years when scientists say people settled southeastern California. In March, an archeological team contracted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will formally present its Searles Lake findings...." http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/4495552p-4535862

CFMS Nominating Committee Request

By Committee: Bill Gissler, Beverly Moreau, Ray Meisenheimer, Debbie Bunn, Norvie Enns, Omer Geoden.

One of the issues presented at the "open microphone" or "air cleaning" session at the Cracker Barrel Friday evening at the November 2003 Director's meeting held in Fresno was "How can CFMS affiliate clubs get more involved in CFMS?"

An obvious and direct way is in the nomination and election of the CFMS officers.

It may seem a little early to start the consideration process for 2005 Officers, but we want to give all of you a chance to present qualified members who will assure that CFMS grows and meets its goals. When the Nominating Committee presents its report at the May 29, 2004 Federation Directors' meeting, it sure would be great to say that we have received a nomination for every position. Only you can make this happen.

Please make this resolution number 4 to President Lois Allmen's list: Our club will submit by May 18, 2004 the names of nominees to serve in any of the elective offices of First and Second Vice Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary.

Suggested format for your letter of nomination.

C/O Bill Gissler,
1075 Blossom Drive,
Santa Clara, CA 95050-5163

We, the members of ___________________________, recommend for your consideration the following nominee:
Position _____________________
Home Address:
Phone number:


Submitted by Club President ________________
Or Federation Director ____________________
Home Address:
Phone number:
Date __________________


CFMS Field Trip South - Cady Mountains
April 23-25, 2004

By Bob Fitzpatrick Field Trip Chair - South

TRIP LOCATION - Northeast side of the Cady Mountains (Afton Canyon area)

WHEN - April 23-24-25, 2004

SPONSOR - CFMS Field Trip South


MATERIAL TO COLLECT - Red and yellow agate, jasper, (plume & sagenite) opalite, calcite rhombs, chalcedony roses, amygdules, green fluorite, onyx and much more.

LEADER - Bob Fitzpatrick

PROPOSED SCHEDULE - Early Friday will be for setting up camp. Friday around 1 p.m. I will be leading a field trip. Each day around 8 a.m. we will be going to a different area to collect. There will be a potluck Saturday around 5 p.m.

DIRECTIONS TO CAMP SITE - I-15 Freeway East past Barstow for about 45 miles to Basin Road. Exit off ramp to the right and follow signs to camp site area. The road to the camping site should be okay for 2 wheel drive cars, trailers & motor homes. We will be camping just on the other side of railroad tracks.

VEHICLE - 4 wheel drive from camp to collecting areas. The desert road is sandy and in some areas has large rocks in it.

CAMP & FACILITIES - This will be dry camping, no water, no picnic tables, no toilets, no firewood to be gathered and no fees.

TOOLS - Collecting bags, rock hammer, eye gear, flashlights, spray water bottle, etc. camp chair (to sit in at night around the fire.)

SAFETY CONCERNS - Do not lick the rocks, use sun screen, stay away from rattlesnakes, use bug spray, be aware of flash floods, be extra careful and don't get lost.

CLIMATE & WEATHER - It can be hot during the day and cold at night, it could rain.

CLOTHING - Appropriate for this time of the year.

OTHER REMARKS - All club members and there guests are welcome to join us. Come for the day or camp out with us. Bring food, lots of water, a camera and lots of firewood for the campfire at night. If you need a motel or supplies they are available in Baker or Barstow. Don't forget we will have a potluck on Saturday night, so bring a dish to share and your own place setting. Each night after dark we will have a campfire where we can all join together and have a good time roasting marshmallows, telling jokes or just talking about the good OLE times.

I should be arriving at campsite around 11 a.m. on Friday. Saturday and Sunday we will be leaving the camp at around 8 a.m. and drive to the collecting areas.

You must observe the AFMS code of ethics and sign a consent and assumption of risk waiver of liability form. Hope to see you there.

For additional information,

Email me at RUROCKY2@aol.com or call me at (909) 845-3051.
Bob Fitzpatrick

We Can Save Our Collecting Sites,
with your help

By Dee Holland & Shirley Leeson

We had a message from Robert Cranston stating that it is imperative that this message get out to all our clubs and that they take action.

He asks us to pass along this message from George Loud. Also note that there is another message following George's message. This one is from Marion Zenker who has acted for years as a spokesperson for both ALAA (American Lands Access Assoc.) and AAPS (American Assoc of Paleontological Suppliers). We need to take immediate action and write those legislators who say they never hear from us. George's article will appear in the AFMS newsletter. This should be headline news in every Club bulletin as it affects your future in gelogical, mineralogical and paleontological collection. If you don't care about those issues, then do nothing and those privileges will indeed disappear. This would be a good time for a strong effort by ALAA to make a major contribution to defeat this legislation. Bob Cranston

If you would like to read either Bill and you have access to the Internet, then go to: www.thomas.loc.gov and put up the bill numbers in either the House or Senate side.

LOUD & CLEAR March 2004 AFMS Newsletter

H.R. 2416 - Paleontological Resources Preservation Act

As I write this in mid-January, H.R. 2416 is "stalled" in several House committees, including the Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands, the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, and the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans, all subcommittees of the House Resources Committee. The companion bill in the Senate (S546) passed on voice vote and some predicted smooth sailing through the House. However, by letter, email and telephone, opponents of the bill were able to get sufficient information to House members on the key committees to at least delay the legislation.

In my early teens (several years ago) I collected a rock only recently confirmed by a professional paleontologist to be petrified bone. Take the problem of identification, add the problem of ignorance of boundaries of public lands, and mix in the draconian criminal and civil penalties of H.R. 2416, and we have a mix likely to cast a chill on all collecting on public lands. For example, H.R. 2416 provides for forfeiture of "all vehicles and equipment of any person that were used in connection with the violation" (section 11(b)). We have such a forfeiture provision in statutes dealing with drug trafficking, but fossil collecting?

The following is representative of letters I have sent to over 50 House members:

Congressman (or Congresswoman) _________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D. C. 20515
Re: H.R. - "Paleontological Resources Preservation Act"

Dear Congressman (or Congresswoman) ______:

I am writing in opposition to the captioned bill. I serve as Chair of the Conservation and Legislation Committee of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS), a national organization of "rockhound" clubs, representing about 50,000 rockhounds throughout the United States.

I offer a wager to any of your colleagues inclined to support HR 2974. I will bring a group of ten (10) rocks, including one vertebrate fossil, to any location in the National Capital area at a time of their choosing. My bet is that they cannot identify the vertebrate fossil within a reasonable period of time. Yet HR 2416 would require such skill of ordinary citizens and impose draconian penalties in the event of failure.

The Senate companion bill (S546) has already passed the Senate. Here's what Washington Watch had to say about S546:

Bad Bills, S546 Anti-rockhounding bill titled the "Paleontological Resources Preservation Act" places severe penalties on recreational rockhounding, would permit only "experts" to disturb public land surfaces. Allows for seizure of private vehicles, camping equipment and anythiing else the government wants to grab for even minor violations. This bill assumes that big brother government has all the answers, even though some of the greatest discoveries of dinosaurs in pre-recorded history has been done by private individuals."

Frankly, I was surprised that the forfeiture provision for seizure of vehicles and other property of the malfeasor (without right to trial ?) is also provided for in the House bill, even if the violation is characterized as a "civil penalty", i.e. does not rise to the level of a crime (misdemeanor or felony). The forfeiture provision would put erring fossil collectors in the same peril as drug dealers.

What else is wrong with HR 2416? Answer: a lot. For example, Section 9 "Prohibited Acts; Penalties - False Labeling Offenses" provides "a person may not make or submit any false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of any paleontological resource excavated or removed from Federal lands." Pity the poor collector or curator, amateur or professional, who mistakes a Psittacosaurus bone for a Chasmosaurus bone. Such misidentification can make a criminal. Thankfully, I only collect minerals which I all too often misidentify.

I also object to Section 15 of the bill entitled "Saving Provisions", Provision 3 which specifies that the bill does not apply to "amateur collecting of a rock, mineral or invertebrate or plant fossil that is not protected under this act." I wish to specifically address the situation here in Northern Virginia where I have lived for over 30 years. During this time I have received numerous inquiries from Scout leaders as a loss as to where to take scouts to collect geological materials and fulfill the requirements for a merit badge in geology. I have always directed them to Westmoreland State Park (a Commonwealth of Virginia Park) where fossils can be collected along the Potomac shoreline. I personally have led "Indian Princess" (YMCA/YWCA) groups on such collecting trips along the shores of the Potomac. On one such trip, which I vividly recall because my own daughter was present, every one of the approximately ten children found at least one fossil shark's tooth. Other materials collected included fossil whale bone. The kids were thrilled and took their treasures into their schools for show and tell sessions. Please understand that this activity would not have been possible if the Potomac shoreline was in a National Forest subject to the provisions of the legislation as proposed in the form of HR 2416 because all of the fossils collected by the kids on the trips I have described were vertebrate fossils. I could also relate my own experiences as a youngster collecting vertebrate fossils in creek beds but I do not wish to belabor the point. I recognize that current BLM and Forest Service regulations prohibit the collecting of any vertebrate fossil without a permit, however I believe that this policy is wrong-headed and certainly should not be made statutory law.

Young kids and old kids should be free to collect common vertebrate fossils as well as common invertebrate fossils on public lands. Fossil collecting is and has been a gateway to the sciences, i.e. it is often one's first hands-on experience with anything science related.

For the foregoing reasons I urge you to oppose H.R. 2416.

Diver Arrested in Alabama October 20, 2003

State law can also get you. On October 20th Perry Massie, CEO of Outdoor Channel Holdings, and Steve Phillips, owner of a scuba diving school, ran afoul of a rather new Alabama law while diving for relics, gold, fossils and anything else old, and using a metal detector, in the Alabama river near Selma, Alabama. Mr. Massie reports he had been diving at this same locality for 30 years and was ambushed by a law newly "slipped through" the Alabama legislature.

California Desert Protection Act

The Needles field office of the BLM is currently in the process of considering management options for closure/obliteration of vehicle ways in twelve of the eighteen areas designated as wilderness under the act. A notice dated December 23, 2003 states: "We welcome public participation in identifying vehicle ways in the proposed areas that are commonly used for wilderness compatible recreation." Interested parties may contact Christi Oliver, Wilderness Coordinator, at 760-326-7021 or by email at coliver@ca.blm.gov. Or visit their website at http://www.ca.blm.gov/needles/

Second letter

Dear Bob:
Send this on to especially your contacts in Colorado - thanks

I had a conversation with George Loud this morning regarding the present status of the paleo bills in the House - both S546 and HR2416 are still sitting in Committees - however there is evidently a plan in place to move this out to the House Resource Committee ASAP with a do pass recommendation, according to a Staff person in Scott McGinnis's (3rd District, CO-Rep) DC office. The chair of that Committee, Richard Pombo (11th-CA), is opposed to passage of either bill but the plan is to make a run around the Chair to move the bill. Therefore it is urgent that AAPS members ensure that they are in contact with their House members with letters and background info to support defeat of this legislation.

Another piece of information that this staff person shared with George was that their office had only received two inquiries regarding this bill. Scott McGinnis sits as Chair of the Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee of the Resource Committee. That subcommittee also has HR2416 under review and Scott has indicated that he is in favor of moving and passing this legislation in this session of Congress. In addition, due to the seemingly little or no interest from his state about the status of this legislation, at this time, he feels that he will not lose any support from his constituency by championing this bill - he is buying everything that the SVP is selling him about the need for this legislation. It is essential if we do not want this Member of Congress to help lead the charge for passage of HR2416 or S546 that his office in DC (via attention either Paul Sampson or his replacement, Mitch Butler) be contacted immediately by AAPS people or Rock Club people and get their opposition and reasons for opposition on record - letters and info also need to go to all members of Colorado's delegation that sit on the Resource or Agriculture Committees [remember that it is best to fax those letters first before mailing them due to the new restrictions and thus delays in delivering mail to members of Congress under new Homeland Security Measures]:

Their names and addresses are:

The Honorable Scott McGinnis (3rd Dist)
320 Cannon House Ofc Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
fax: 202-225-0622

District Field Offices in Pueblo 719-543-8200, Grand Junction 970-245-7107, Glenwood Springs 970-928-0637 and Durango 970-259-2754 (call these offices and get their fax numbers and send the letters to them as well)

The Honorable Marilyn Musgrave (4th Dist)
1208 Longworth HOB, DC 20515
fax: 202-225-5870

District Field Offices in Loveland 970-6633-3536, Greeley 970-352-4017, Sterling 970-533-1788, Las Animas 719-456-0925 (call these offices and get their fax numbers and send the letters to them as well)

The Honorable Mark Udall (2nd dist) 115 Cannon HOB, DC 20515
fax: 202-226-7840

District Field Office in Westminster 303-650-7820 (call and get the fax numbers and send the letters there as well)

The Honorable Bob Beauprex (7th dist)
511 Cannon HOB, DC 20515
fax: 202-225-2645

District Field Office in Wheatridge 303-940-5821 (call and get the fax numbers and send the letters there as well)



Earth Science Studies

By Cal Clason, Earth Science Studies Chair

I read with great interest, the President's message about communication and am pleased to agree with her totally. I am as guilty of transgressing as anyone, but intend to improve and do things in a timely manner. The reason for this confession is that those of us who have ready access to this Bulletin fail to pass on to our club members a lot of information they should be aware of. I guess what caused this line of reasoning is the lack of initial response when the registration form for the August Seminar in Big Pine was published. Although some interest has been shown, registration has not been at a rate that will be necessary to make it a viable undertaking. So in essence I need help !!! We are not restricting this to CFMS members. Only requiring an 8 to 18 year old accompanied by an adult. A variety of classes will be offered with most of them easily converted to adult participation if deemed appropriate. (Talented Instructors). The cost is $200.00 per person which includes meals, housing, and classes for a week.

Again --- I need your HELP. Please pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested. If more information is desired, contact me:

Cal Clason
10100 Laurie Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Phone (661) 589-4169

Elsewhere in this Bulletin (website form page) is a form for the Big Pine seminar. Please make it available to anyone who shows an interest. Thanks.

Other things - as usual Zzyzx filled up very quickly so only the waiting list is a possibility and that very doubtful. I am still collecting comments and ideas from instructors and committee members on registration changes for Camp Paradise; but all things considered the forms should be in the May CFMS Bulletin.