Local prospector pans for fun, not profit

By CHARLES PEARL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

If only he could bring back a couple of nuggets half the size of the two crawdads Noah found July 19 in Ohio's Clear Fork River, near Bellville.

Noah is Doug Childers' 4-year-old son and his camping, fishing and gold prospecting partner.

They live on Pebble Court in Franklin County, and Doug Childers, 40, is a supervisor at Frankfort's Kentucky Habilitation Inc. and a member of the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) since 1995.

He has no illusions of striking it rich and taking early retirement. In fact, recreational prospecting can be physically demanding.

"Prospecting is hard work and fun," Childers said. "It's fun to get out there and play in the water. The last few days at work have been pretty tough. But sometimes work seems easy compared to gold prospecting. You're bent over a lot and sometimes it gets to your back."

Watching a gold prospecting TV show on the Outdoor Channel in 1994 lured him to the activity.

"I started watching the TV show in 1994 and finally joined GPAA in 1995," he said. "It's just like finding buried treasure. Nobody has ever seen the gold you dig up out of the creek or river until you've seen it. I've always liked that idea of finding stuff nobody else has ever found before."

After joining GPAA, the first place Childers went gold prospecting was on Coker Creek in Tennessee.

"I did find some gold there, and after that I started finding other places a little closer," he said.

The places he's most familiar with now are on the Scioto River near Portsmouth, Ohio, and Clear Fork River between Columbus and Cleveland.

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