The way gold bashers are crawling out of the woodwork to herald the end of the yellow-brick road, one might suppose they've been transported to a new financial reality in which skyrocketing debt and all of our myriad fiscal woes had found a magical overnight cure.

Serious precious metal investors know better, and recognize the recent pullback in gold prices as a welcome pause in what had become an uninterrupted surge from the $1,000 breakout in September to just under $1,220 in early December. The dollar has reclaimed support above 76 on the U.S. Dollar Index (USDX), and Fools who were left out in the cold without gold as it sprinted to new highs, will be watching the dollar to telegraph the depth of this minor corrective pause.

Although sensational headlines are reversing gold mania into bubble fear at the drop of a hat -- sending newcomers and fence-straddlers running for the exits -- not everyone is wrapped up in the noise of near-term volatility. Eric Sprott, founder of Sprott Asset Management, is one prominent fund manager who is not about to reverse his long-term outlook for gold just because the dollar experiences a little counter-cyclical rally.

When gold remained locked in range-bound trading beneath $1,000, Sprott's chief investment strategist John Embry projected that gold "at worst will trade at several multiples of the current price." Sprott offers multiple options for investors seeking exposure to that kind of upside potential. The Sprott Gold and Precious Minerals Fund features several of this Fool's favorites among its top ten holdings, including Goldcorp (NYSE:GG), IAMGOLD (NYSE:IAG), and Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY). Even the less targeted Sprott Growth Fund sports a 40% allocation to mining and precious minerals, including Kinross Gold (NYSE:KGC) and this Fool's top overall equity pick: Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW).

In an effort to challenge to the market dominance of the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD) exchange traded fund (ETF), Sprott intends to offer a new vehicle for exposure to gold bullion with a $575 million IPO called the Sprott Physical Gold Trust. In an apparent nod to persistent murmurs of concern among some gold investors about the sanctity of physical holdings behind competing bullion proxies, Sprott has applied for a ticker symbol that would convey its singular focus: PHYS. Unlike GLD or the iShares COMEX Gold Trust (NYSE:IAU), investors in the Sprott fund will have the option to more easily redeem holdings for physical bullion on a monthly basis.

I have made my case for gold exposure, and no doubt by now you have encountered some opposing perspectives. Ultimately, each Fool will reach their own conclusions about gold, and only time will settle the debate once and for all. Please share your own perspective on gold in the comments section below, and by voting in the following Motley Poll.

Gold is a hot topic on the blogs at Motley Fool CAPS. Join the free service today and see just how many Fools are taking the long view when it comes to investing in gold. The "Gold" tag at CAPS lists 49 potential investments, and you'll find Christopher's comments on most of them.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker carries a silver coin that reads: "Honest value never fails." He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly in the CAPS community under the user name TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of IAMGOLD, Kinross Gold, Silver Wheaton, and Yamana Gold. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is 0.999 pure.