The British Columbia government has set up 14 recreational panning reserves in the province. They are open to the public to use for recreational gold panning. Suction dredges, sluice boxes and mechanical devices are not allowed. Equipment is restricted to hand shovels, hand pans and classifier. Metal detectors are strictly forbidden. Metal detectors for use in mineral or placer exploration is considered a prospecting activity. NO licence is required for recreational panning.
Before I list the provincial panning reserves, I would like to make several comments regarding their use. For many years, I visited these areas and had a lot of fun, and yes I found gold. I have met many people who have panned these reserves for years, and it is the only place they go. A few years back, I met a guy at the Yale panning reserve that pulled out a 10 gram nugget.
Panning reserves are a great place to go to hone your panning skills and to learn about the geology of an area. In some respects, they are better than some of the claims being touted for sale on the internet.
Recreational Panning Rules
Anyone may pan for gold, using the aforementioned equipment, in any watercourse in BC except in or on Private property without the landowner’s permission, Any provincial park without permission, Any Mineral or Placer claim without permission, or Any Indian Reserves without the Bands permission.
Lytton Site 1
Lytton Site 2
Quesnel/Fraser Rver Junction
Wild Horse River
I hope you enjoy visiting some of these panning reserves as much as I have over the years. Have fun and be safe. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!