About Us

Gold Prospectors of Colorado (GPOC) is a non-profit organization for gold prospectors in Colorado.  From El Paso County, all of Colorado and the rest of the nation, and around the world, our membership grows and remains strong!

Our solid code of ethics requires our members to respect the land while prospecting, regardless of their location.  Keeping the land in the same condition as before your arrival is key to securing our rights to continue prospecting, as well as a solid club reputation.

We offer educational programs for schools and more.  Please contact us for educational program info.

GPOC is committed to educating the general public on gold prospecting and the science behind gold recovery. We demonstrate and teach gold panning at a variety of events, such as the Territory Days in Old Colorado City, Burro Days in Fairplay, and the Denver Gem and Mineral Show.

The organization has several claims, where GPOC members can participate in a variety of prospecting activities. 

Each year, GPOC organizes outings and tours for our members. Most outings are to GPOC claims, and have a dual focus on introducing new members to the claim and demonstrating specific prospecting methods and equipment such as use of sluices, dredges, highbankers, and long toms. We also organize tours of points of interest to gold prospectors. Many of our tours are to places that have limited general public access. Other tours are to places like the Cripple Creek and Victor Mine where we arrange for special access, group rates, and special guides.

The GPOC offers small scale prospectors a public forum in which to talk about common interests. Members are able to discuss the latest technology in prospecting, listen to guest speakers, and have the access to tips and tricks at our pubic monthly meetings in Colorado Springs.

The GPOC sponsors the annual Colorado State Gold Panning Championship. The event is normally held the first weekend of August and draws gold panners from around the world. The three-day event is an excellent opportunity to see a variety of panning techniques and learn from some of the best.  ..

2018 GPOC Code of Ethics

 Members must observe all USDA Forest Service, BLM, and US Army Corps of Engineers regulations and all property rules concerning
camping, fires, tree cutting, littering and mining.
 Members and guests must also abide by federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations, where applicable.
 Private property owners that allow us access to prospect on their property may also have additional rules to follow, and these will be respected.
 Public drunkenness, profanity, excessive noise, or other obnoxious behavior is prohibited while prospecting and at all GPOC functions/activities.
 Pets must be under control at all times, and not be allowed to run loose on claims and at GPOC events.
 The principal of pack it in-pack it out shall be observed in all areas. This includes cigarette butts and pull-tabs. If you find cans or other debris left by others, please carry them out with your trash.
 Our objective is to keep all prospecting areas neat and clean.
 Always refill any holes you dig. Try to leave the area neater than you found it.
 Members will not disturb, undercut, or undermine trees.
 When prospecting away from available toilet facilities, use your shovel as a toilet tool away from any camping areas, waterways,
or trails. Scrape out a hole no deeper than 4 to 6 inches. That’s because the first several inches-the biological layercontains
a system of disposers that will break down the waste (if you go deeper, you spoil the effect). Keep any sod intact and
replace it after filling the hole. Sprinkle some pine needles and twigs on top and nature does the rest.
 Never mine within 10 feet of any road or established trail.
 The club is not responsible for any unauthorized use of its claims by non-members.
 While prospecting, always be thoughtful of other prospectors. Never dig closer than 2 shovel lengths from another prospector unless invited to do so. Pan or sluice in an area that does not seriously muddy the water of another prospector.
 Always obtain proper permits in advance of prospecting on public lands and club claims, where they may be required for certain types of prospecting.
 Always display appropriate identification items when prospecting (bumper stickers, name tags, membership card, permits, etc.).
 Members must carry their club membership card and any permits and be courteous when asked to show them on club claims.
 Members will appreciate and protect our heritage. (Do not collect or disturb historic or archaeological resources or sites.)
 Never refuel power equipment where oil or gas can enter any waterway.
 Dredge size is limited to 3 inches on the Private Reserve with appropriate permits (special rules may apply in different areas).
 Water from high bankers must always be discharged into a dug settling pond or other suitable area away from the stream so that this water does not directly re-enter the stream.
 The use of mercury or any strong acids in the testing or processing of gold will be restricted to appropriate areas (usually at
home or workshop) and away from any waterway.
 All of our officers, committee chairpersons and committee members are volunteers. These people do their best to perform
their tasks in an efficient manner. Harassment by other members is unacceptable. Be courteous to all Club members! No
member shall threaten any other member in any way! Any grievances will be in writing and sent to the President. In all cases,
use common sense and be thoughtful of others.
 Members who disregard club rules and regulations of this Code of Ethics are subject to suspension or revocation of club

Personal Conduct on Public Lands

 Control erosion and water runoff by protecting topsoil, and refilling prospecting holes.
 Take measures to isolate, remove, or control toxic materials.
 If you have a fuel spill, collect all contaminated soil by digging up the dirt containing the spill plus the dirt six inches around and
beneath the spill. Dispose of the contaminated soil at a proper disposal site.
 Do not unnecessarily degrade public lands and report others who do.
 Reshape and re-vegetate disturbed areas where reasonable and practicable.
 Rehabilitate fisheries and wildlife habitat where reasonable and practicable.
 Do not collect or disturb historic or archaeological resources or sites.
 Do not disturb historic properties listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places. If you find a historically significant site, immediately report it to the BLM office in Canon City or the Forest Service office in Fairplay.
 Motorized vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking areas. Park your vehicles in the existing
parking areas.
 Keep your vehicle at least 20 feet from the edge of the stream and away from wet or muddy areas, such as
streamside vegetation, or wetlands. (Exception: Vehicles may cross creeks and streams where a road crosses the creek or

 Do not disturb, but help protect, state or federal threatened and endangered species.
 Do not build or install any permanent or semi-permanent structures or storage facilities.
 Minimize the impact of fuel spills by refueling your motorized equipment 100 feet away from the river and adjacent wetlands.  Store your fuels, batteries, etc. out of the flood-prone areas.
 Observe the principle of “PACK IT IN – PACK IT OUT.” Remove all trash, debris, or other items you brought to the area —
including cigarette butts and pull tabs. When possible, clean up trash left by others as well.

General Prospecting

 Maintain equipment and facilities in a safe and orderly manner. (Leaky engines are not appropriate.)
 Be thoughtful of other prospectors. Donʼt dig, dredge, or high-bank closer than 2 shovel lengths from another unless invited to
do so. Do your panning or sluicing where it does not seriously muddy the water of another prospector.
 Never mine within 10 feet of any road or established trail.
 Do not build stockpiles or tailing dumps greater than three feet tall or create other disturbances which could be construed to
have significant scenic impact.
 Do not damage stream-side (riparian) vegetation in the process of placer operations.
 Do not disturb or undercut trees.
 Refill areas you excavated when you are through; if you leave for two days or more, complete this work before you leave.
 Rocks from the prospecting areas are to be set aside to be put back in holes at the reclamation stage of the operation. Material too large to be moved by hand shall remain undisturbed.
 Operations shall not disturb in excess of 2 cubic yards of material per day.
 Tractors, front-end loaders, and similar motorized digging machinery are not allowed on GPOC claims.
 Battery operated equipment — recirculating high-bankers, spiral wheels, vacuums, etc. — can be used year round.
 All water-based activities shall be conducted to prevent undercutting of banks. Do not undercut stream-banks above the highwater line.
 Use of motorized winches is not permitted on GPOC claims.


 Be familiar with and abide by BLM and Forest Service standard guidelines that apply to all public land.
 Camping is authorized utilizing standard guidance applicable to public lands along the Arkansas River in cooperation with the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.
 You can camp up to 14 days in any 30 day period on any GPOC claim. If you want to camp longer than 14 days, you need to move to a camp site in a different location, in accordance with Federal, State or Local regulations.
 All campers are required, at a minimum, to carry and use a portable toilet.
 All campers are required to contain campfires in a fire pan or fire pit.
 Removal of solid waste from the claims area will be completed by each individual. “Pack it in, Pack it out.” This
includes portable toilets for the removal of human waste.
 The GPOC discourages use of firearms on claims. BLM and USFS regulations apply.


 Wear personal protective equipment when you prospect! Boots, waders, and dry suits can protect you from frigid waters.
Gloves protect your hands from cuts and scrapes. Safety glasses save your eyes when you are cracking that bedrock!
 The GPOC does not allow or condone the use of any toxic chemicals for gold recovery on our claims. No exceptions.
 Pets must be restrained on leases no longer than ten feet or under verbal control.
 If you dig an excavation that creates a safety hazard, find a way to mark it or safely cover it until you can fill it in.
 All excavations shall have rocks and dirt replaced upon completion of operations. No sites shall be left open in excess of 14
days. If you dig an excavation that creates a safety hazard, see note above.
 The GPOC does not condone public drunkenness, profanity, excessive noise, and other obnoxious behavior on our claims.
Have fun, but don’t become an annoyance to your fellow club members.
 Don’t drink and drive, and respect all local ordinances. Mountain towns may be small, but they are serious about safety!
 Don’t speed in local towns — we have members who can attest to the consequences.
 Always bring enough water for yourself and a friend who may not be smart enough to bring enough.
 Remember the words of Smokey Bear: “Only you can prevent forest fires!” Be aware of BLM and USFS fire bans.