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Boy Scout Gold


In Red Lake the local Boy Scout troop traditionally had their annual camp-out on a water-access-only beach on the north shore of the lake. Now the beach had always had the reputation of rewarding a diligent searcher with a few colors in a gold pan if he was prepared to put out the required effort, and that usually meant a considerable amount. During their camp-out in 1969 the troop managed to acquire something more than a few colors, they came back with a pail-full of high-grade gold samples which they claimed they had found on the sandy lake bottom in about four feet of water immediately northeast of the beach.


Being Resident Geologist with responsibility for the area, my interest was considerably peaked. From where did the gold originate? Did we have a new discovery on our hands? A quick run through the information in the office indicated that although the general area had been staked numerous times, no showings with significant free gold had ever been uncovered. And none of the local prospectors had any tales of lost showings, or lost mines, or even possible saltings in the area.


So the next Sunday, accompanied by Dave Hutton, exploration manager for near-by Cochenour Willans Gold Mines, we set out to see if we could repeat the Boy Scouts feat. And sure enough, after about fifteen minutes of retrieving rocks, we began to connect with the odd small rock sample containing visible gold. The half dozen or so samples we managed to find were all no more than a couple inches long. The most interesting thing about the specimens was their freshness and their angularity; they had not spent any time being chewed up by the Wisconsin glacier, nor had they spent any significant time being wave washed along the shoreline. Our conclusion was that the specimens and been recently transported to their present location from some unknown source.


Although the specimens had no visual characteristics that we could use to tie them to any of the active mines in the area, our best guess was that they had been part of a high grading initiative from one of the local mines by a person or persons unknown. That high grading was going on at that time was certain. One managerís eight year old son had recently come home with a plastic bag of high-grade that he had found by the security fence. It appeared that for whatever reason....change of heart? too much heat from the OPP high-grade squad?.......the high-grader had determined that there was some advantage to temporarily stashing his cache in an area from which most of it might later be retrieved, should he so desire.


Unfortunately for the high-graders, the ever-prepared Boy Scouts put an end to any retrieval plans that might have been in the works.