The Guide to Gold Panning


192 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88839-986-3






Reviewed by Gwen Zilm

Gwen Zilm was Technical Services Librarian, Okanagan College, Kelowna, British Columbia.


This updated third edition of N.L. Barlee’s The Guide to Gold Panning is likely to be very popular, just as the earlier printings and editions have been.

The title is deceptive; more can be learned here about B.C. history in the early years of this century than in many more traditional textbooks. In addition, it is entirely possible to learn from this book how to build a sluicebox and rocker, as well as how to “pan” for gold. Fourteen chapters, each on a different region of B.C., detail the history of gold panning and mining in the region as well as identifying potential sites, placer creeks, for panning today. Final chapters on running equipment and mining law are eminently useful. A glossary is included, but the work is not indexed. Diagrams are clear. Though sketch maps are included, readers wishing to try gold panning are advised to use topographic maps for each area. The photographs are abundant, informative, and fascinating. Many are from the Provincial Archives collection in Victoria; other sources are not acknowledged.

The poor quality of the type detracts from the visual impact of the work. The author’s attention to detail and to factual accuracy deserves better support from the book’s publisher and printer. N.L. Barlee has also written Gold Creeks and Ghost Towns, Similkameen: The Gold and Ghost Towns of the Hope-Princeton Area, and Lost Mines: The Historic Treasures of British Columbia.


Barlee, N.L., “The Guide to Gold Panning,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 25, 2024,