THE GARNET AREA IS UP AND RUNNING FOR THE 2009 SEASONThe weather continues to be extremely warm with chances of thunderstorms. Make sure you bring plenty of water for you and your family. We look forward to seeing you!
TO EMERALD CREEK GARNET AREA OPERATIONS
Due to heavy use at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area a limit of 170 people at the site at one time has been established to provide a positive experience to those who purchase permits to find garnets at Emerald Creek. Once that number has been reached additional visitors will be turned away. Please note that the number of people going to the Garnet Area has tapered off and we have not had to turn anyone away. Also, permits will not be issued before 9 a.m. so please do not arrive before 8:45 a.m.
Forest Service employees will update the Clarkia Office both Saturday and Sunday mornings regarding operations at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area with specific information about the number of visitors. For more information about the Emerald Creek Garnet Area and the need for a limitation on daily visitors please contact the St Joe Ranger District Office at (208) 245-2531.
STAR GARNET - THE IDAHO STATE GEM STONE
The garnets found here are called "star garnets" because of a unique property that causes some of them to display a reflection like a four or six pointed star. India is the only other place in the world where star garnets like these are found in any quantity. The 12-sided (dodecahedron) crystals found here range in size from sand particles to golf-ball or larger size. Gem quality faceting material is also found at the Garnet Area.
The Forest Service has developed the Garnet Area as a place where the public may collect these unique gems in a safe and environmentally friendly way. In the past, people would dig in the stream bed in search of the garnets. Now, due to concerns for water quality, aquatic habitat, and public safety, the Forest Service provides a stockpile of garnet bearing gravels from which people can gather material to run through one of two sluice boxes in search of garnets. Our Garnet Area photo gallery shows the steps one takes to get from gravels to garnets.
Read below to find out where the Garnet Area is and how get the most out of your Garnet Area adventure.
Please note that for your safety, the safety of your pet, and the safety of others, pets are not allowed at the Garnet Area.
From St. Maries, Idaho, follow Highway 3 south 24 miles to Road 447. Proceed southwest 8 miles on gravel Road 447 to the parking area. Permits, information, and the sluice area are a 1/2 mile hike up 281 Gulch. Be aware that there is logging traffic in the vicinity of the Garnet Area. Please drive with care!
Detailed directions from:
IS THERE HANDICAPPED ACCESS?
Yes. Those who are unable make the walk should call the Clarkia office (208-245-1134) and make arrangements for someone to open the gate. Or, they can have someone walk up to the sluice site and have an employee go down and open the gate. A handicap placard, handicap license plate, or some other proof of disability is required for this service.
HOW DOES ONE GET A PERMIT?
Permits are available at the site and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children age 6-12. The permit is valid for one day and includes equipment. Permits are required for anyone washing or screening gravels.
You may take up to five pounds of garnets with your daily permit. If you want to remove more than five pounds of garnet during the same day, you can buy another permit for each additional five pounds or fraction thereof. You are limited to six permits or 30 pounds of garnet per year.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
We recommend you allow at least two to four hours at the site. Many families like to bring their lunch and make it an all-day outing at the Garnet Area. Some rockhounds like to return several days in a row.
You are provided: buckets, shovels, and special screen boxes.
You should bring:
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Last updated: 08/18/09
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Idaho Panhandle National Forests / USDA Forest Service