Strapped Californians Pan Like It's 1849

Soaring gold prices and a lousy economy have many hoping to strike it rich
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2009 2:09 AM CDT
A man pans for gold in a creek near Jamestown, California.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The miserable state economy and the soaring price of gold have sent Californians back into them thar hills, USA Today reports. Prospecting clubs all over the state report a huge jump in the number of people panning for gold just as a 10.5% unemployment rate has left cash-strapped residents with free time on their hands.

As with the 1849 gold rush, those who supply the eager prospectors are generally the ones making the most money. Most panners only bring home tiny pieces of gold. Those who do strike it rich tend to avoid bragging about it and revealing the location.