Summer gold panning coming to Bridgeport
In January 1848, James Marshall discovered gold on the South Fork of the American River. June of that year, John Rose struck it lucky at what would become known as Rose’s Bar, a mile south of Bridgeport.
Within a few short years, thousands of people would strike their claim along the banks of the Yuba River. Though the allure of striking it rich was rarely a dream come true, hardworking people armed with only humble metal pans took gold from the banks of the river for decades.
The technique is simple; patience is key, and a consistent technique yields the best results. Swirl your pan, and let heavier material sink to the bottom, exposing the yellow gleam of gold. This summer, community members are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and try their hand at finding some elusive gold of their own at Bridgeport.
Free docent-led gold panning programs take place at the troughs by the South Yuba River State Park Visitors’ Center. Guided demonstrations are held on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day at South Yuba River State Park every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Docents give step-by-step panning lessons, share stories about the history of the area, and describe other ways the precious metal was extracted during the California Gold Rush, such as hard rock mining and hydraulic mining. Gold panning is fun and educational for the entire family. Kids get to keep the treasures they find in the troughs.
Due to the bridge renovation and construction work this summer, parking will be restricted to the parking lot north of the river. Call 530-432-2546 to check when gold panning will be available. Recreational gold panning is permitted within the park, but with “hands and pans” only. South Yuba River State Park is located at 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd. in Penn Valley.
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