Tennessee to set stricter rules around recreational gold mining

Authorities in the US Southeastern state of Tennessee are drafting rules on where and how people will be allowed to pan for gold, as the popularity of prospecting continues to increase, particularly around Coker Creek and the Tellico River.

According to The Associated Press, the regulations seek to protect popular streams from habitat damage, especially in waterways that hold threatened or endangered aquatic species, where it might be banned altogether.

Tennessee has a long tradition of gold panning, with historians talking of a gold rush in the area as early as in 1827, almost 20 years before the frenzy hit California. However, activities only took off in 1836 after the US government took possession of all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi River.

The draft license is expected to go on public notice as soon as this fall, with an official permit issued possibly in 2015.

Image from Flickr