Treasure and Ownership

Good treasure hunts start in the library and end in the courtroom. In between are days of reality in the great outdoors, frustration, realization and hopefully success.

Over my decade search for the lost gold bars of Camp McKinney, the question of ownership has come up often. The first consideration for a treasure hunter is to know that BC has many ‘no dig zones’, culturally sensitive areas that cannot be ignored.

Finders are not keepers in Canada. The law deals with each situation according to the facts that affect the case. In the case of stolen property, including gold bars from 1896, the province is the rightful owner. However, I have learned through the BC Law Courts library that if the finder can prove the province had no plans to find the object themselves, the finder then has a better claim to the property.

Finding the gold bars is only the beginning of the next step. And it’s worth following due to the potential value of gold bullion from the historic camp. They are items of historical value and need to be turned over to the government for that very reason. But the finder would have a claim to at least a portion of the treasure that might be considerable. The roughly fifty pounds of gold bullion are sixty-two percent pure according to James Monaghan’s personal diaries in the Museum of the NorthWest in Spokane, Washington. That could potentially be thirty pounds of pure gold at twelve troy ounces to the pound. Let’s say that comes to about three hundred and fifty troy ounces. Multiply that number by todays gold value and join the club of hopeful adventurers. And why not? Beats scratching lottery tickets at the mall.

Mathew Roderick’s spirit relayed to me that the bars are cursed so searchers should bear that in mind. Above all, do not expect to turn over a rock or old tree trunk and find the bars waiting for you. Not going to happen. They won’t be found with an expensive metal detector either due to the high percentage of volcanic, iron rich rock in the area. GPR won’t help either.

Ten years of research, planning, and searching have taught me some hard lessons. I believe the intervening one hundred and twenty-five years have seperated the bars. One is over here, and the other is over there. But the X may be difficult to see. Two hundred plus days and nights have proven these details to me. Others may have opinions but this is my reality. The book is shaping up and I hope to include as many color pictures as possible. No gray scale allowed. Nothing worse than a good treasure story with poor quality photos.

Well hell, I suddenly wish I was camping in the forest.

About James

As a semi-retired senior, I researched the story of the lost gold bars of Camp McKinney. My years in agriculture allowed me to comfortably search the rugged BC forest uncovering valuable clues over the years. Although I have paid a high cost for my unwavering search, I have once again seen the magick and power in nature.
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