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Excerpt from "Vermont Rockhounding" by Ethel Schuele.
Click here for a pamphlet with information on gold in Vermont; Click here for a permit application.

"You're probably familiar with the famous California Gold Rush, but how many know that one occurred in Vermont? Plymouth (VT) farmers discovered placer gold in Broad Brook and for a time gave up their farming to pan for gold. Canny Yankees that they were, they soon calculated that they weren't really earning more money than they had from farming, and the Vermont Gold Rush was over. Gold can still be panned from Broad Brook today. In fact, many other Vermont streams offer the energetic collector a chance to find some placer gold as a return for a hard day's work. The locations include: Rock River in Newfane and Dover; Williams River in Ludlow; Ottauquechee River in Bridgewater; White River in Stockbridge and Rochester; Third Branch of the White River in Braintree; Mad River in Warren, Waitsfield and Moretown; Shady Rill Brook in Wrightsville; Minister Brook in Worcester; Little River in Stowe and Waterbury; Gold Brook in Stowe; Lamoille River in Johnson; Gihon River in Eden; and the Missisquoi River in Lowell and Troy".

To formally identify a mineral that you believe is gold, the material will need to be tested or assayed. A jeweler in your area may have the expertise to do this or may be able to give you the name of someone they have dealt with. The Vermont Geological Survey can provide names of testing laboratories.
Characteristics of the mineral gold include:

  • yellow color (shades are paler with increasing silver content)

  • bright metallic luster

  • normally occurs as small shapeless grains or flakes

  • soft (2.5-3 Mohs hardness scale)

  • very heavy; specific gravity 15-19.3; 19.3 when pure

  • ductile and malleable

  • opaque

  • yellow streak on unglazed porcelain

  • Gold is distinguished from yellow sulphide, such as pyrite, primarily by its higher specific gravity. Pyrite (FeS2) , often occurs as cubes, and is more brittle, harder, and more brassy than gold.

    Permits Required to Prospect for Gold:

    To HAND PAN on private land, landowner permission is required. Hand panning is allowed on state land. To HAND PAN on State or Federal land, no permit is required. There is no closed season for hand panning.

    Recreational mineral prospectorst: (A) shall not operate suction dredges in any watercourse; (B) may operate sluice boxes in any watercourse, provided: (i) a request for approval to conduct mineral prospecting shall be filed with and approved by the secretary; and (ii) mineral prospecting shall not be conducted on private land without landowner permission, or on state land without permission from the secretary. Click here for a permit application.

    For permit information and questions, please contact Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Morgaine Bell, Watershed Management - Rivers Programs, DEC, 1 National Life Dr., Main 2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3522; 802-490-6195; email:; Also, visit Watershed Management Division for information on mineral prospecting and gravel extraction.

    Season dates: currently June 1- October 1. For approvals of the operation of mineral prospecting equipment issued under 10 V.S.A. chapter 41:(A) annual approval for a resident: $25.00 (B) annual approval for a nonresident: $50.00. Permit applications will be reviewed pursuant to the jurisdiction of 10 V.S.A., Chapter 41, Subchapter 2, Stream Alteration, or Section 1272 of 10 V.S.A., Chapter 47, Subchapter 1, Water Pollution Control.

Generalized Geologic 
	Map of Vermont - 1970 - click for larger map image

VT DEC Geology and Mineral Resources Division 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2  Montpelier, VT  05620-3920 
Telephone: 802-522-5210

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