LEWISTON -- The U.S. Forest Service is challenging dozens of placer mining claims on the North Fork Clearwater River in northern Idaho.
The Lewiston Tribune reports that an administrative law judge from the U.S. Department of Interior is holding hearings Tuesday through Friday in Orofino to consider the problem.
The Forest Service is taking the action following the mining claims on a popular 30-mile stretch that have led to warning signs by miners at popular camping spots telling people not to interfere with private property or mining.
The Forest Service says suction dredge mining isn't compatible with other uses on the river popular with anglers and campers.
But miners contend they filed claims following federal laws and regulations and the government is now attempting to take their private property without compensation.