Meet GPAA Member Nick Cooper

Meet GPAA Member Nick Cooper

Hey everyone!

I’m Nick Cooper, your local GPAA member and I’m right here San Diego, California. I’ve been a member since January 2020, and I was introduced to prospecting back when I lived in Indiana. I was a Wilderness Survival Scout for about 10 years, and on a trip with my wife and daughter, we noticed people were digging in the rivers. When they told me they were digging for gold, BOOM! I was instantly intrigued.

Meet GPAA Member

From what I could tell, it looked easy enough, so I gave it a shot! I watched a few YouTube videos, got some gear online, put everything that I learned together and jumped right in!

Now, fast-forward to being a GPAA member living in San Diego, I usually drive about an hour to one of my local claims to find gold. I regularly prospect GPAA Claims Warrior 1 & 2, or Coleman Creek, which is also a good local spot that heads into Pine Valley.

My first try on Old Banner Road in Julian was really hard, but as I progressed, I started getting really good at panning and running different machines. There’s not a lot of water in San Diego unless you’re close to a river, so I’m usually running re-circulators or drywashers, and some of the better gold I find is away from the water in some of the old washes. In my trips, I also find a lot of tourmaline.

Homemade gold prospecting setup

I love taking my kid, too — we always have fun when we go out as a family. It’s a cool hobby to have and it’s created a lot of quality time for us.

GPAA Members

Gold is just about everywhere. It’s usually fine but sometimes I’ll find some rusty red gold coming off of the mine washes. San Diego County is a challenging area to work because of the canyons, but if you can get into them there’s some honey holes waiting for you! Prospecting aside, San Diego is beautiful to hike, as well as the remnants of all the gold and gemstone mines. But the gold is still out there and by this summer, you’ll see me around Arizona and Northern California!

GPAA Member Finds Gold

I originally joined GPAA for this exact reason! I was referred by a fella named Saul up in Bakersfield when I was researching the East Fork San Gabriel River. He said, “Sign up and you’ll have access to all the claims,” so I did and have been with the organization ever since! I get to use the claims closest to me as much as I want AND I can travel when I have more time to any of the other claims in other states. I’m really looking forward to desert prospecting in Arizona, and I even started vlogging my adventures.

GPAA Member Working for Gold

I’ve connected with a lot of really great members prospecting out on the claims and with the local clubs, making some awesome new friends. Rich, Danny, and Bill are just to name a few — so if you’re a GPAA member in the San Diego or Los Angeles areas, let’s connect and go get the gold!

You can find me very active on the GPAA Facebook Group


  • Nick Cooper With Cooper Ventures From YouTube

    Hey thanks for posting that you too I appreciate it you guys and yeah I’m down to go out anytime I’m right here in San Diego maybe drop me a message in my email or hit me up on the GPAA on Facebook I’m always posting things and documenting all my finds and pictures and videos so stay tuned you know what I mean jelly beans

  • Thomas Upton

    Great story! Just getting started in San Diego GPAA. Haven’t gone out yet. Still trying to gain information about warrior 1 and 2. Will be using dry washer. Looking for other people to buddy up with to prospect. Getting older alas. Very excited about new hobby. Send me a message if.your interested in going together. Lol just got my membership card. That’s a newbie.

  • Darrell Owens

    That’s a great story. I’ve had some experience with the wilderness survival years ago . I love to prospect. I am learning more n more but the people of this association, are the best tool a small miner can have. Thanks again for your time.

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