Rockhounding Oregon Second Edition Review
By Currently Rockhounding
I have seen this question and response exchange hundreds, if not thousands times online:
“Hey everyone where do you I go rockhounding?”
“Go buy one of the books for your state.”
These guidebooks are often the first exposure a person has to going out to remote locations and in engaging in the hobby of looking for rocks and minerals in the field.
Since these guidebooks are often held up as a must have item in the community I was rather excited when I first saw mentions online about a new edition of Rockhounding Oregon set to release in the fall of 2022. We have owned the first edition of Rockhounding Oregon since 2017 and used it extensively as we have traveled throughout the state of Oregon. While using the book, we have noticed numerous mistakes and places for improvement. Because of this I was eager to see the changes and new locations added in the 8 years since the first edition was released in 2014, so I reached out to the publisher, Falcon Guides, to request a copy for review. They agreed and a few weeks before the release date in October 2022, the book showed up at my post office box.
The description written by the publisher of the book for the pre-order online says that the book is “fully revised and updated” which seems really great since a “fully revised and updated” book is very much needed. I was slightly disappointed when I cracked it open side by side with the older edition and saw that the indexes of the locations were virtually the same.
As I started to read though the complete book and compare it to the one printed in 2014 I started to see that pretty much all of the content was exactly the same, including typos. There have been a few small changes, such as a few listings getting some minor updates; Richardson’s Rock Ranch was removed as it is no longer open for public digging and the Lucky Strike Mine is now noted as being open infrequently and recommendation is added to check online before visiting.
The book does have few new listings for places such as Hart Mountain, and few listings that were lumped together in the 2014 version are now split out into multiple locations. This is the primary reason that the new book has 107 locations compared to 98 in the first edition: there haven’t been many more rockhounding locations added, just locations with multiple sites in the first edition have been separated into multiple locations in the second edition.
The 2014 edition had a lot of errors in it and I think it’s a fair expectation to have found and fixed the errors in the last 8 years. Sadly, this isn’t the case as the new version still has a large number of errors, many held over from the first edition.
One error that I find particularly egregious is providing location information and GPS coordinates that send people to private property. I believe that this is something that no guidebook should ever be doing. The author is aware that some of the locations are on private property, and come with the disclaimer: “Private – open by custom to casual collecting. Be on your best rockhounding behavior”. I find this to be very problematic because no contact information is given for the land owner, who can change their mind at any point, or the property can be sold but the location is still in print as a place to go.
In a single day I went thought this entire book and pulled the land ownership records for all of the GPS locations listed and this is what I found:
Site 46 – Private property
Site 47 – Private property
Site 48 – Private property
Site 49 – Private property
Site 51 – Listed as being private property but it’s actually a small road cut within the public right-of-way
Site 54 – Private property
Site 57 – Private property
Site 60 – Private property
Site 82 – Locations B and C are on private property
Site 83 – Private property
Site 88 – Location A is private property but not locations B and C
Site 90 – Location A is private property but not location B
Site 100 – Locations A, B, C, and D are private property but location E is public
Site 101 – Private but on the edge of public land
Site 107 – Locations A, B, D, and F are public but location C is on private property
Of the list above, sites 82 B and C, 88 A, 90 A, and 101 are listed in the book as being public land, although the GPS coordinates point to private property.
Another inarguable error that was present in the first edition as well as the second edition is in the GPS listing for McDermitt East, which has the location of N45 11.985′ W117 31.516′. If you go to that location it will put you in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon and not in McDermitt which is located in southeast Oregon. The error is that N45 should be N42. This isn’t the only GPS location with mistakes. Site 86, Coyote Spring, which is a new listing for the 2022 version, lists location B as N44 02.076′ W177 28.830′. Go ahead and cut and paste that into Google and look where you end up! The issue here is with the W177, which should be W117.
There’s almost too many problems and mistakes with this “updated” version of the book to point them all out and it has lead me to the belief that this book is far from “fully revised and updated”.
Some of the listings, such as the Hampton Butte listing, have left me thinking that the author hasn’t been back to those locations since the first publication, or if he did he just didn’t care enough to update them. If he did revisit Hampton Butte he would’ve known that the road into Hampton Butte is great now and when I drove it in the summer 2020 it appeared that there was a thick fresh bed of new gravel put down and it’s no longer “impassable when wet” as he describes it.
It has never been easier to fact check a book such as this and a modern guidebook shouldn’t send you to private property as it’s never been easier to check property records. I checked this whole book in a single day!
I believe that a “fully revised and updated” edition of this type of book should include revisiting all locations and confirming and updating information as needed; correcting typos and mistakes; adding new locations and removing no longer relevant locations; updating location photos; checking current road conditions; and adding new photos of material found.
I honestly don’t see a point for this book to even exist as it adds very little to the first edition and falls short of the “fully revised and updated” book they claim it to be. If you already have the first edition I don’t see much point in buying this new one but if you don’t have it yet you might as well buy the new second edition but know that much of information in it is dated to sometime before 2014 regardless of its 2022 publish date.