On a recent prospecting trip to the Monashee, we decided to stop at the Goldpanner Campground near Cherryville. The Gold Panner Campground was founded on a Chinese heritage mining operation and the grounds are steeped with history dating back to the 1840’s.
While at a first glimpse the campground appears somewhat hokey, it is deeply authentic. The 35 acre property is surrounded by real wilderness, includes real artifacts, and was once the hub of a very real gold rush.
The prospector’s cabin is authentic and once belonged to “Old Gus,” who built it next to nearby Heckman Creek in 1936.
The bridge over Heckman Creek is an interesting spectacle with it’s bedrock walls below and ample bars to prospect. A great area for some sniping.
The Never Sweet Mine. Today the Gold Panner Campground is still home to 2 active gold claims. These are open to the public for a fee. A day pass for panning is $10. The use of sluices, metal detectors, or high-bankers is strictly forbidden.
Old Rocker Box
Old Pulley Tram For Crossing The River
Some Of The Old Workings
Monashee Stage Lines
One Of The Panning Areas
Some Of The Gold We Found. Slightly Over 3 Grams.
The current Goldpanner owners, are working to have the Chinese diggings, or pilings, down by Monashee Creek declared a heritage site. The diggings are rocks that were meticulously washed and sorted into piles, the remains of a kind of open-pit mining done by early Chinese prospectors. From 1863 to 1895, the camp grew to a population of more than 100 prospectors; about half were Chinese.
Figures from the Cherryville and Area Historical Society suggest that the total amount of gold extracted here from 1863 to 1930 would be worth about $112-million by today’s standards.
The gold has a low average fineness of 700. Nuggets up to 264 grams (8.5 ounces) have been found. It is rumored that a 17 ounce nugget was found at the Gold Panner Campground.
All in all, a great trip and a wonderful campground that offers pay showers, outhouses, full service RV sites, cabins and chalets, and tenting campsites. We definitely recommend visiting this wonderful historic site and we will be back again and again.