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This search result may include State Law, City Regulations and Federal Agency Metal Detecting Law
and a Link to a List of National Parks.

MDHTALK Metal Detecting City and County Regulations
and a Link to a List of National Parks

  Cities and Counties that Require a Metal Detecting Permit or do not Allow Metal Detecting

City:                      FT PierceFL
Permit Required:    
Permit Fee:            
Phone Number:      
Website:               http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10303
Law:                  There is no direct regulation against metal detecting, but these regulations could impact the hobby.

Sec. 12-202. - Prohibited activities

i) Disturb the natural surface of the ground in any manner unless authorized in writing by the city manager and done in accordance with a city-initiated land management activity;
(l) Engage in the removal, alteration or destruction of archaeological or cultural resources except as authorized by the city manager. For purposes of this section "archaeological or cultural resources" means associated physical remnants and features contained in the ground including, but not limited to, artifacts, fossils, bones, shell mounds, or primitive culture facilities or items;
(o) To in any way disturb or remove any wildlife, animal, bird, or egg located above, upon or below the surface of the park grounds or to allow any privately owned animal to do so unless specifically authorized in writing by the city manager;

City:                      OcalaFL
Permit Required:    Yes
Permit Fee:            Unknown
Phone Number:      
Website:               http://web.frpa.org/pdfs/sampledocuments/MetalDetecting_Ocala.pdf

Permit Updated January 12, 2010.
City of Ocala
Metal Detecting Excavation Permit
This Metal Detecting Excavation Permit authorizes the permittee to engage in metal detecting activities including related minor excavations for the purpose of collecting items of interest found in the process of treasure hunting/metal detecting under the below listed guidelines.
• Metal detecting activities (including excavations) shall not be conducted in prohibited areas or areas that have restricted access. Prohibited areas include any manicured lawn/sports turf; golf courses; on or within 10 feet on either side of a walking trail; landscape beds/areas, construction zones and archeological sites (The Fort King Memorial, The Fort King National Landmark, and Scott Springs).
• A hand tool for digging purposes is permitted. Holes shall be no more than six-inches in depth. Any holes created shall be filled immediately. The cutting of vegetation is prohibited.
• Metal detecting activities shall in no way interfere with the intended use of the public property or facilities. Metal detecting in a permitted special event zone is prohibited unless authorized by the event coordinator.
• Metal detecting in large groups is discouraged, especially at neighborhood parks due to the limited size and availability of resources.
• All regulations (City Codes and Florida Statutes) and posted park rules must be adhered to.
• Metal detecting and related excavations are not authorized on partnership (leased) properties except at the discretion of the property operator. Approval should be requested from the principal agent of said property.
• All items of value recovered during metal detecting activities must be surrendered to the Ocala Police Department (these items may be returned to the finder in cases where the rightful owner does not claim same within the statutory time frame). All articles of apparent historical significance shall be reported to the Recreation and Parks Department or the Ocala Police Department. When in doubt, the permittee shall assume the item has historical significance.
• The City of Ocala makes no claims in regard to the safety of metal detecting related excavation activities. The permittee is responsible for ascertaining that excavations will not in any way interfere with buried utilities and shall be responsible for any damage caused by excavation activities.
• The permittee shall indemnify the City and its elected officials, employees and volunteers against, and hold City and its elected officials, employees and volunteers harmless from all damages, claims, losses, costs, and expenses, including attorney fees, which City or its elected officials, employees or volunteers may sustain, or which may be asserted against City or its elected officials, employees or volunteers, arising out of this permit or the permitted activities or the condition of the facilities used for permitted activities without limitation, harm or personal injury to the permittee or third person during and related to the permitted activities.
• The City of Ocala reserves the right to revoke or amend this permit at any time. It shall be the permittee’s responsibility to maintain a current permit. The City recommends downloading and/or requesting an updated permit at least annually to ensure that permittee is fully aware of current regulations.
• Persons engaging in metal detecting excavation activities must have this permit with them or in their vehicle and their actions must demonstrate that they have a complete understanding of the permit guidelines. No excavation, other than that related to metal detecting activities, is authorized by this permit.

City:                      Orange CountyFL
Permit Required:    Yes
Permit Fee:            
Phone Number:      
Website:               http://www.orangecountyfl.net/Portals/0/resource%20library/culture%20-%20parks/MetalDetectingGuidelines_App2.22.13.pdf
Permit Application Procedures

o Patron receives a copy of the Application and Guidelines. Patron completes Application.
o Patron submits completed Application (email, mail and fax are acceptable).
o Program Manager reviews Application within 14-days of receipt.
o Program Manager approves or denies the Application and contacts the user regarding the decision.
o Agreements expire one-year from the date of issue. Unless a new Application is submitted, the patron will be denied use of a metal detector from any date following expiration of the current Application.
Metal Detecting Conditions

o One Application can be used for approval at multiple park sites.
o Parents or guardians are responsible for signing Applications for their minor children.
o Metal detecting activities should not contribute to trail-blazing and should not be conducted in prohibited areas or areas where activity is discouraged (wetlands, environmentally-sensitive areas, archaeological sites, areas of historical significance or within any facility or structure).
o When metal detecting, the surrounding environment shall not be disturbed. The cutting of vegetation is prohibited.
o A hand tool for digging purposes is permitted. Holes should be no more than six-inches in depth.
o Any holes created must be refilled immediately. Failure to comply with this condition will result in the revocation of metal detecting approval.
o Metal detecting shall be conducted in patron-use areas only and all park structures shall be utilized appropriately during any search.
o Any actions that result in the harassment, endangerment, or death of any wildlife constitute grounds for immediate termination of Metal Detecting approval, expulsion from the park site and may additionally result in action by law enforcement.
o Metal detecting must take place within known park boundaries and cannot be conducted within 1,000 feet of neighboring houses or commercial industries adjacent to park perimeters.
o Metal detecting must take place during established park operating hours.
o Due to differences in park size, location and user activities, the number of metal detecting applications allowed per site may differ.
o All local regulations and ordinances must be followed while metal detecting.
o All Orange County Parks and Recreation Rules and Regulations must be followed while on park property.
o Metal detecting is prohibited in construction areas.
o Metal detecting may not be permitted in partnership properties or lands not owned by Orange County. Approval is contingent upon secondary approval from the principle agency.
o If physical signs of activity are impacting an approved location, management has the right to request that metal detecting activity cease in this area.
o Any person(s) found in violation of the above conditions may be restricted from metal detecting for up to one-year (1) at any Orange County Park or Recreation Site.
o Orange County Parks and Recreation is not liable for any damage to personal metal detectors from weather, vandalism, natural disaster, etc. or management activities conducted by the County or its contractors.

City:                      Polk CountyFL
Permit Required:    
Permit Fee:            
Phone Number:      
Website:               http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=11435
Law:                  Sec. 10.6-16. - Conduct generally
d.) No person shall make any excavation by tool, equipment, blasting or other means or utilize metal detectors or shall construct or erect any building or structure of whatever kind, whether permanent or temporary, or run or string any public utility into, upon, across or over any park lands unless authorized by permit or written easement.

MDHTALK's List of National Parks in Florida

Remember it is illegal to Metal Detect in a National Park, Recreational Area or at a National Monument.
Find and Read Title 36 in the Right Column on this Page.

Select this Link to View the List of National Parks

MDHTALK Metal Detecting State Law

State Park Links and State Park Metal Detecting Laws & Regulations
The Archaeology website for a state maybe an official state site or a site that represents the archaeology law of the state.

State Archaeology:      https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/dig-deep-archaeology-state-parks

On line State Park Regulations.

State Park Regulations: https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/florida-beaches-treasure-hunt-east-coast-shoreline-treasures/

State Park Metal Detecting Rule and Regulation Detail:
Florida Dept. of Historical Resources    Website:  http://www.flheritage.com/news/faq.cfm

Q: Is metal detecting prohibited on state property?
A: Metal detecting on State land is generally prohibited with few exceptions. Many public beaches allow metal detecting between the high tide line and the toe of the dune. Beaches that are part of State and Federal Parks, Preserves, Sanctuaries, and military installations will have specific rules governing metal detecting; always consult with the park or property manager.

Q: I'm a diver who is interested in collecting artifacts from the rivers; is this legal?
A: State public lands include the submerged river bottom. The removal of artifacts from State lands is prohibited by Chapter 267.13 punishable with fines and either a first degree misdemeanor or third degree felony, depending on the circumstances. If you have discovered a site while diving in Florida’s rivers, contact our office and we can provide you with information regarding the site or, with your help, record a new site.

Florida Public Archaeology Network    Website: http://www.flpublicarchaeology.org/faq/fpan-faqs/

12.) Can I metal detect in Florida?
Laws regarding metal detecting in Florida are rather confusing —we always encourage anyone interested in metal detecting to always get the permission of the land owner or manager before detecting - that will prevent misunderstandings about what is permitted, trespassing, etc. Most cities and counties have their own ordinances regarding metal detecting - the City Manager, County Commission, or the Parks/Recreation Department can probably tell you. Most coastal cities and counties in Florida do allow metal detecting on their beaches, although some, like St. Johns County, have ordinances that prohibit the removal of historical objects from county lands. They’re all a little different, so that’s why we suggest contacting them directly.

Detecting on state lands is different and the removal of historical objects from state lands is prohibited. Some coastal state parks do not allow metal detecting at all, some will allow it between the shoreward toe of the dunes and the mean high water line, but only for modern objects. Some state parks will only allow detecting for personal items that are specified as lost in a particular area. If counties or cities lease coastal lands from the state, they are required to abide by state laws. Every state park will have an entry station with a ranger on duty, so always ask first.

As for metal detecting in the water, all lands that are below the mean high water line are considered state sovereignty submerged lands and, while it is not against the law to possess a metal detector in the water, it IS against the law to disturb the bottom sediments. So, if something is detected, it would be illegal to dig for it.

More Resource Information:

Chapter 267 Historical Resources Website

Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State Website

(2013 as report on treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com) Secretary of State for the State of Florida.

The use of metal detectors is prohibited on all state park lands, except for coastal parks in the beach zone between the high water mark and toe of the dune. Park managers have the authority at coastal state parks to further restrict the use of metal detectors and prohibit their use on the beach. A hobbyist interested in metal detecting should contact the park manager for the specific rules at the park he wishes to visit.

There are also city, county, and federal exceptions to the general beach rule. National parks and military installations usually prohibit metal detecting on the beach but not always; again, the park or land manager should be contacted. A few coastal communities prohibit metal detecting by city or county ordinance; signs are usually posted. Also, some condominiums, restaurants, and resorts discourage or prohibit metal detecting on the beach in front of their property; local ordinance would authorize these restrictions. Metal detecting rules on public land are not easily explained except that a hobbyist interested in metal detecting should check with the land manager of the property, be it at a state park, city beach, or otherwise.

Metal detecting in the water is easier to explain. Below the average high tide mark is state sovereign submerged bottomlands where all artifacts belong to the state, and archaeological excavation is not allowed without proper permitting from this office. In most cases permits from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corp of Engineers are also necessary. Digging or destruction of buried archaeological remains without the proper permitting from the Division of Historical Resources is a 3rd degree felony. Since the solitary function of a metal detector is to locate buried metallic items and then recover the buried object by digging, this activity is not allowed in the water.

Archaeologists are concerned with the integrity of a site, and those employed by the public are charged with managing archaeological sites in public ownership. They are foremost interested in information; what is found on the beach has typically been washed in from offshore and usually will not help explain a site once separated (sometimes by miles) from its context. A shipwreck site found under a beach and newly exposed is a different matter altogether. Shipwreck artifacts like ceramic sherds that wash up on the beach, for example, only tells us that people historically used plates, which is already understood, but ceramics embedded in the context of a wreck site, as part of its total artifact assemblage, could help us understand, date, and identify that specific shipwreck.

MDHTALK National or Federal Metal Detecting Regulations
Federal Agencies that have a specific Metal Detecting Regulation

Agency:              Army Corps of Engineers
Website:             http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title36/36tab_02.tpl
Law:                  Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property


§ 327.14 Public property.
(a) Destruction, injury, defacement, removal or any alteration of public property including, but not limited to, developed facilities, natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archaeological features, paleontological resources, boundary monumentation or markers and vegetative growth, is prohibited except when in accordance with written permission of the District Commander.
(b) Cutting or gathering of trees or parts of trees and/or the removal of wood from project lands is prohibited without written permission of the District Commander.
(c) Gathering of dead wood on the ground for use in designated recreation areas as firewood is permitted, unless prohibited and posted by the District Commander.
(d) The use of metal detectors is permitted on designated beaches or other previously disturbed areas unless prohibited by the District Commander for reasons of protection of archaeological, historical or paleontological resources. Specific information regarding metal detector policy and designated use areas is available at the Manager's Office. Items found must be handled in accordance with §§ 327.15 and 327.16 except for non-identifiable items such as coins of value less than $25.

Agency:              Bureau of Land Management
Website:             https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/collecting_on_publiclands.pdf
Law:                  Cultural materials on public lands may not be removed, damaged, disturbed, excavated or transferred without BLM permit. Cultural resources include prehistoric and historic artifacts and sites, broken objects and debris more than 100 years old that were used or produced by humans.

Protected materials include arrowheads and other stone tools, grinding stones, beads, baskets, pottery, old bottles, horse shoes, metal tools, graves and trash scatters. Historic sites such as cabins, sawmills, graves, trail traces, mining areas, townsites, ranches and railroads are not open to collecting.

Metal detector use is allowed on public lands. Modern money may be collected, but coins and artifacts more than 100 years old may not be collected.

Agency:              Bureau of Reclamation
Website:             http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2008-title43-vol1/pdf/CFR-2008-title43-vol1-sec423-27.pdf
Law:                  Section 423.29 Natural and Cultural Resources
(f) You must not possess a metal detector or other geophysical discovery device, or use a metal detector or other geophysical discovery techniques to locate or recover subsurface objects or features, except:
(1) When transporting, but not using a metal detector or other geophysical discovery device in a vehicle on a public road as allowed under applicable Federal, state and local law, or:
(2) As allowed by permit issued pursuantto subpart D of this 423.

Agency:              National Forests
Website:             http://www.fs.fed.us/outernet/r9/cnnf/rec/heritage/metal_detectors.html
Law:                  The Use of Metal Detectors on National Forest Land

The use of metal detectors has become a popular hobby for many people. Here is direction on how or when metal detectors can be used on the Chequamegon-Nicolet.

Metal detector use is allowed in developed campgrounds and picnic areas if they are not specifically closed to such activity. If archaeological remains are known to exist in a campground or picnic area, a closure to metal detecting would be posted. It is permissible to collect coins, but prospecting for gold would be subject to mining laws. However, you should know that agencies have not identified every archaeological site on public lands, so it is possible you may run into such remains that have not yet been discovered. Archaeological remains on federal land, known or unknown, are protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should leave them undisburbed, stop metal detecting in that area, and notify the local FS office. I have included the legal citations below for your information.

The Forest Service has conducted numerous projects in conjuntion with metal detectorists and metal detecting clubs through our volunteer archaeological program, Passport In Time (PIT). The cooperation has been fun for both the detectorists and the agency's archaeologists. Locating archaeological sites becomes a joint endeavor and we learn a lot! You can receive the PIT Traveler, our free newsletter advertising the PIT projects each year, by calling 1-800-281-9176. Look for the ones where we request metal detecting expertise!

Here are the legal citations:
Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 261.9: "The following are prohibited: (g) digging in, excavating, disturbing, injuring, destroying, or in any way damaging any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resources, structure, site, artifact, or property. (h) Removing any prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resources, structure, site, artifact, property."

USDA Forest Service Manual Direction (draft): "Metal Detector Use. Metal detectors may be used on public lands in areas that do not contain or would not reasonably be expected to contain archaeological or historical resources. They must be used, however, for lawful purposes. Any act with a metal detector that violates the proscriptions of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) or any other law is prosecutable. Normally, developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, and other developed recreation sites are open to metal detecting unless there are heritage resources present. In such cases, Forest Supervisors are authorized to close these sites by posting notices in such sites."

ARPA, 16 U.S.C. 470cc: "No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface or attempt to excavate, remove, damage or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resources located on public lands or Indianlands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit. . ."

For more information, contact Mark Bruhy, Supervisor's Office, 68 S. Stevens St., Rhinelander, WI 54501, 715-362-1361, or email mbruhy@fs.fed.us.

Agency:              National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Forests, and Public Property
Law:                  Title 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property Website

§ 2.1 Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources. Website Section

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following is prohibited:
(1) Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state:
(iii) Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, cultural or archeological resources, or the parts thereof.
(iv) A mineral resource or cave formation or the parts thereof.
(3) Tossing, throwing or rolling rocks or other items inside caves or caverns, into valleys, canyons, or caverns, down hillsides or mountainsides, or into thermal features.
(5) Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing an archeological or cultural resource, monument, or statue, except in designated areas and under conditions established by the superintendent.
(6) Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing a structure or its furnishing or fixtures, or other cultural or archeological resources.
(7) Possessing or using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, other metal detecting device, or subbottom profiler.

This paragraph does not apply to:
(i) A device broken down and stored or packed to prevent its use while in park areas.
(ii) Electronic equipment used primarily for the navigation and safe operation of boats and aircraft.
(iii) Mineral or metal detectors, magnetometers, or subbottom profilers used for authorized scientific, mining, or administrative activities.

Agency:              USC : Title 16 - Conservation
16 USC Chapter 1B - Archaeology Resources Protection

Website:             http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/16/chapter-1B
Law:                  16 USC § 470ee - Prohibited acts and criminal penalties website

(a) Unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration, or defacement of archaeological resources. No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface, or attempt to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit issued under section 470cc of this title, a permit referred to in section 470cc(h)(2) of this title, or the exemption contained in section 470cc(g)(1) of this title.
(b) Trafficking in archaeological resources the excavation or removal of which was wrongful under Federal law No person may sell, purchase, exchange, transport, receive, or offer to sell, purchase, or exchange any archaeological resource if such resource was excavated or removed from public lands or Indian lands in violation of—
(1)the prohibition contained in subsection (a) of this section, or
(2)any provision, rule, regulation, ordinance, or permit in effect under any other provision of Federal law.
(c) Trafficking in interstate or foreign commerce in archaeological resources the excavation, removal, sale, purchase, exchange, transportation or receipt of which was wrongful under State or local law. No person may sell, purchase, exchange, transport, receive, or offer to sell, purchase, or exchange, in interstate or foreign commerce, any archaeological resource excavated, removed, sold, purchased, exchanged, transported, or received in violation of any provision, rule, regulation, ordinance, or permit in effect under State or local law.