The first few images are some of the striking specimens of crystalline gold. Gold crystallizes in the isometric crystal system (three equal axes at ninety degrees), but the crystals themselves are rarely seen because gold is so malleable that the structure is lost the moment the mineral rolls in a stream.
And then there is the Fricot Nugget. The 13.6 pound nugget is the largest single gold mass preserved from the Gold Rush Days, having been discovered in 1865. It lay a long time in a safe deposit box, almost completely forgotten. It came to the state collection in 1943.
Wouldn't you just love to see these incredible rare specimens for themselves? I can assure you that it is a great exhibit, quite worthy of a short diversion on your way to Yosemite National Park. But you don't get to see them. You may never get to see them ever again. Why? Because the California State Mining and Mineral Museum is on the state closure list, one of 70 parks to be closed and shuttered because of cuts of $22 million to the state park system, approximately 70 pennies for each inhabitant of the state. I am incensed that the people of our state legislature are so incredibly short-sighted as to allow this to happen.
I feel hopeless sometimes at the stupidity I see. State parks generate economic activity, they don't drain it. Closing these parks makes no sense at all. Mitchell Caverns has already closed, and vandals have already done grievous damage. It will cost so much more to re-open these parks once they have been degraded. And yet that is what our government has decided to do, come June. I don't quite know what would work to change this, but one can start by letting your legislators know how you feel about this. The parks have few friends in the legislature obviously, but the politicos might listen to someone besides their ever-present lobbyists if they heard from their constituents. Who knows? There is a facebook page for the California State Mines and Mineral Museum, and there is the California State Parks Foundation, the best place to get information on how to proceed politically.
I know that blogs are places for the writing of many words, but I have few enough words that can express my disgust at the members of the state legislature and government for allowing this to happen.