Geologists estimate that in spite of the enormous amount of gold that was discovered and extracted during the California Gold Rush days, there is as much as 80 percent of the 1849 mother load remaining underground. Modern day Nevada County gold panners range from those who are happy to find a flake or two while enjoying an afternoon on the river to a cache of experienced diehards intent on striking it rich. Ranger-lead gold panning tours are available at South Yuba River State Park, which features the longest single-span covered bridge in existence. The tiny town of Washington, East of Nevada City, is also a popular gold panning area (information sheets are available at Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, Ca. 95959, (530)-426-3609.
Serious miners should contact the Bureau of Land Management in El Dorado Hills for more detailed information, (916)-941-3101.