Say NO to a “Categorical Exclusion” for F3 Gold’s Newark Exploratory Drilling Project!


The Forest Service wants to give F3 Gold a “Categorical Exclusion” for their Newark Exploratory Drilling Project! 

YOUR COMMENT IS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY! A Categorical Exclusion would FAST TRACK this project.

The Hell Canyon District of the Forest Service, which covers the southern Black Hills, has opened scoping — the start of the environmental review process — for F3 Gold’s proposed Newark Exploratory Drilling Project. This is a large gold exploration project just west of — and upstream from — Custer along French Creek.

We need people to file TWO comments on this project within the next 28 days; 

The first is immediate and an EMERGENCY situationthat must be done in the next few days (or by February 14) as the Forest Service wants to let this project go through with a Categorical Exclusion. That means they want to just let drilling start. Local residents successfully stopped a Categorical Exclusion for the Jenny Gulch project by Pactola, and recent gold exploration projects in the Black Hills have had Environmental Assessments, a more complete environmental review. That’s what we are asking to have done for the Newark Project.

Please act immediately! Call the Forest Service office at 605-673-9301 and ask for the District Ranger, Rob Hoelscher, or email Wendy Schuyler at

Say that the Newark Project isn’t appropriate for a Categorical Exclusion, and the Forest Service needs to do an Environmental Assessment — and why. 

Some reasons might include:

  •  this isn’t a small project — it could involve up to 390 drill holes, 
  • the company can’t complete it in a year, 
  • there may be cultural resources in the area that need to be protected,
  • it’s upstream from a city (Custer) that relies on clean water for tourism (French Creek, which the project would impact, runs right through Custer),
  • there are “extraordinary circumstances — and what they are,
  • this is a “foot in the door” by the company, and they actually want a larger project, so there would be cumulative impacts that are currently not described (their project was originally larger), and/or
  • the proposed project requires construction of more than 1/3 mile of road and clearing of more than one acre of ground.

We know that’s a lot, but these are all grounds for turning down a Categorical Exclusion. Use your own words, rather than repeating all these things in order.

The next comment we need people to file is regarding the “Scoping” announcement for Public Comment and those comments are due within 28 days. (Hell Canyon Ranger District Scoping Letter Announcement Letter – Click Here)

For more information and public meetings for this Newark Project go to our PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITIES – Federal webpage HERE.

Thank you for defending the beautiful area that would be impacted by the Newark Project!

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