The mother lode country consists of the region from Mariposa in the south, located near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park and goes to Georgetown, around 16 kilometers north of Coloma, which is where gold was first discovered in 1848. It is around 192 kilometers in length and the width goes from a few hundred meters to around 3 kilometers. Mother Lode did not have this same name in the past; it was only after gold was discovered that this name came about. At one time it was assumed that there were only a few quartz veins containing gold but it was soon pretty evident that there were actually other very significant mines located on the north of the Mother Lode. There are a lot of very interesting places to explore in the Mother Lode including ghost towns and old mines. The Mother Lode country today is still a great place to go treasure hunting and do some mining and it is very accepting about this type of thing. The deserts and areas around the city areas have introduced a lot of restrictions for prospectors and usage of metal detectors and this has caused it to be almost impossible for people and prospectors to work in these areas. Obviously this does not mean that you are allowed to do whatever you want in the Mother Lode and that no body will bother you about it. However, as it is to be expected, people are definitely very protective of their property and privacy and their lands just like people are in other parts of the country. However it is allowed to do panning in a stream and use metal detectors around certain places. Find out about the different restrictions before doing so though.