So you are thinking that you would like to dig some of your own crystals? That sounds like a good idea. Based on experience, there is nothing like being the first one to see a crystal. It is a truly magical experience. I was hooked when I dug my first one back in 1990. Things have changed a lot since then. Now the best I can offer you is that you are coming for the experience of digging. In order to have me help you dig YOU MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!! Email is the BEST way to get ahold of me.
Commercial surface quartz miners are now required to receive MSHA training in order to comply with the guidelines established in the mid-'90's. I go every year. It is amazing to see how this little known organization, like so many other government organizations, has increased its power over the last decade and is basically accountable to noone. Thus, I am a certified Arkansas Surface Quartz Miner. I receive an update once a year, that used to be free, and has now risen to $15.
Mine owners are still allowed to have guests or visitors at their mine. However, you MUST stay within the designated areas. If a safety inspector makes the 'always unannounced visit' and catches a non-certified person in an off limits area, they may never know they were spotted. However, the mine-owner certainly will and will be presented with a hefty citation of $6000 per person caught. The penalty goes up if this recurs. This is very sad but true chapter in the reality of crystal mining, in OUR National Forest. Just going and 'digging in the woods', if caught, could result in a fine and or jail, issued by the US Forest Service, the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission, a policeman or Federal Marshall, and is treated as a federal crime, as it occurred in the National Forest. So if you have a problem with this, you can take your chances- BY YOURSELF. Good Luck! I suggest going somewhere else and doing something else; writing your Congressman on a piece of tissue paper (because that is all it's worth). Or, getting legal and taking a 40 hr certifaction course, heart-saver course and annual refreshers, like I do. Sorry, but I have to make that disclaimer- for my own sanity.
OTHERWISE, I still know some places where 'guests' can dig in designated areas. Most mines charge a fee of $20/adult guest per day, (children less and group rates available) and let them keep all they find. I know the owners and they welcome me and my guests. We only go into the designated areas. Hopefully, with some luck and hard work, we find something that will make you happy. I am NOT allowed to take you down into the mine. Like it or not, I do not make the rules, I just follow them. There are, however, a couple places where can still dig in the veins, and I am most welcome at these places. The stuff we find will be small, but we will be the ones who find it!
Arkansas quartz crystals are mined from pockets of crystals which occur in veins of quartz which run thru the hard rock layers, generally sandstones or shales. The crystals 'mines' are actually OPEN SURFACE PITS, or strip mines. Which is contrary to the common misconception that Arkansas crystal mines are caves. THERE ARE NO CAVES!
I hope that the above has helped to put things in perspective for you. Most people have 'no idea' of where to, or how to, dig crystals. Many people have never even visited a mine and have 'no idea' of safety conciousness. A mine is a very dangerous place. In fact, one of the most dangerous places one can go. I show you what to look for, how to dig, where to dig, and how to be safe while doing so.
There are plenty of accomodations in the area, ranging from primitive camping to motels to private cabins. I recommend the 'Aqua Motel'. 870-867-2123. It is very close to where I live. They are 'digger friendly', too. There are plenty of other activities for you, too. (though you may just be 'plumb tuckered out' after digging, like me!) And, of course, many fine eating establishments.
Please be aware that I have a limited amount of time per year to take people digging with me. Please check my "Upcoming Shows" page as to my availability. When we dig YOU keep all that WE find.
I prefer to take people digging only between late September and the beginning of April. Otherwise, it gets too hot, there are too many bugs and vines and it is generally uncomfortable for an old man like me to dig in hot weather. Heat stroke is a REAL thing. Plan ahead as much as you can. Check the weather.
Please bear in mind that I reserve the right to screen all persons who wish to participate in a digging tour. I also reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.
***You MUST make an appointment, in advance, for, I may not be home, or, I may be too busy, if you just 'show up'. This necessarily means MORE THAN merely calling or emailing me and telling me you are coming to dig.***
Unfortunately, even tho I am intuitive, (rich, single, good-looking and charming) mind-reading is impossible for me. I have NO IDEA of what YOU want to do once you get here, if you do not communicate with me. Tho, I CAN provide options on the spur-of-the-moment. Calling me, at ANY phone number is NOT a good idea. Leaving a message, tho, will get a response, albeit, in most cases, later than earlier. If I feel the need to talk to you, I will call you. Sorry, but cell phone service here is spotty at best and I do not sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Have I made that clear?
EMAIL IS THE BEST WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME. (Do you understand?)
Once we both have an idea of how and when you are arriving, where you are staying, and how much money, time and energy you want to expend on the physical aspect of digging, we will be in a better place to be able to make a tentative plan and itinerary. To put this in perspective- eg: someone flying into Little Rock Airport and renting a compact car and staying in a motel for 2 days, will have less time and space for crystals to spare, than a person with an empty pick-up truck and a trailer, here to camp and dig for a week. All this, plus, other factors, are taken into consideration, for YOUR maximum crystal digging experience.
FOR EVERYONE'S SAFETY!!, I prefer to have ADULTS ONLY, PLEASE! And certainly nobody under 11. A mine is no place for children. Mining is serious business. Again, a mine is a very dangerous place. Anything can and does happen, especially with children :( I am not a babysitter. There are plenty of other places to take your children. If you think that is insensitive, maybe now is the time you should start looking for another guide.
I work closely with many active crystal mines in the area. I also offer
an optional nature hike upon and thru areas of the crystal deposit, so
you can get an idea of just how wonderful this place is and how many crystals
are here, which, in my humble opinion, is well worth the time. YOU are the boss. The number of days you spend and the mines and places that we
go to are, basically, up to you. Though, I can and do recommend many places. The best thing
to do is call in advance and we can put together a tentative package for
All rates are negotiable.
There is also the mine entrance fee, which is usually $20/person, including me. You must pay for me, too.
In all fairness, I can handle up to 4 people per day, in order to divide my time equally.
I can make no guarantees that we find anything, nor can I guarantee good weather. Some days, it is just too sloppy to dig. And, of course, any miner will tell you that mining is basically an educated hit-or-miss business. (ps. They ALL say that they have the best crystal mine, too. daaa) Our Mother, the Earth, only put the crystals where she put them, and sometimes that is in a different spot than where one chooses to dig. Other times it becomes a bonanza or jackpot. I can, however, guarantee that I WILL show you how to dig, and what to look for, and even do some of the digging for you. As I said, what WE dig, YOU keep.
Here are some general rules and guidelines to follow before and during
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Last Updated On: 10/04/11