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South Dakota

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

At this time there are no Cities or Counties listed that require Metal Detecting Permits or do not allow Metal Detecting.

MDHTALK's List of National Parks in South Dakota

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's List of Bureau of Reclamation Water Ways in South Dakota

Remember it is illegal to Metal Detect on Bureau of Reclamation Lands and Water Ways.
Find and Read the Bureau of Reclamation Law in the Right Column on this Page.

Select this Link to View the Bureau of Reclamatuion Water Ways List

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:      http://www.sdsmt.edu/wwwsarc/

On line State Park Regulations.

State Park Regulations: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/rules-regulations.aspx

State Park Metal Detecting Rule and Regulation Detail:Cultural Resource Protection In SD State Parks and Recreation Areas
Apply On Line
Permit Application

South Dakota citizens, through the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), are stewards of hundreds of culturally significant sites. These include prehistoric villages, American Indian worship sites, old military forts, cemeteries, log cabins, early trading post sites, and areas where railroads once ran. Long ago in 1906, Congress passed the first of many laws to protect archaeological sites, both prehistoric and historic, on federal land. Today, similar laws in South Dakota protect these cultural resources.
Archaeological and historic resources are nonrenewable resources that enhance our understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage of South Dakota. These sites possess information that is significant not only to our state, but to our nation as well. Please help protect our cultural resources.
Artifact collecting is prohibited. Observe but do not touch. Collecting artifacts at South Dakota state parks, recreation areas, and other land owned or managed by the SD Division of Parks and Recreation is prohibited under state law. If you notice illicit digging at an archaeological site, see someone collecting artifacts or witness an act of vandalism at a state park or recreation area, contact a member of the park staff or call the Division of Parks and Recreation at (605)773-3391 so measures can be taken to protect the site.
What types of items are considered archaeological resources? Archaeological resources refer to any material remains of human life or activities. These include, but are not limited to:
pieces of pottery
antique glass
old hardware
rock paintings/carvings
railroad items

Possession or use of metal detectors is not allowed without permission from the park manager.

Department Area: ________________________________________________________
Permit issued to: Name: __________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________
City: ________________ State: ________ Zip Code: __________
Phone #: Daytime: _________________ Evening: _________________
Date Issued: _____________________
Permit Is Valid From: ______________________ Through: ______________________
41:03:01:29. Restrictions on use of metal detectors – Written authorization required. No person may
use a metal detector on lands owned, leased, managed, or controlled by the department without written
authorization from the site manager or other department representative. Written authorization may include
conditions for permitted use specific to the applicable area.
41:03:01:05. Destruction or removal of natural features prohibited -- Exception. A person may not
destroy, damage, or remove a living or dead tree, shrub, or vegetation; disturb any earth, rocks, minerals,
natural formations, or historic relics; or destroy, damage, or remove any antlers, skulls, or other parts of
animal carcass located on lands owned or leased by the department without written permission from the
secretary or a designated agent. However, a person participating in religious activities in Bear Butte State
Park or recreation areas and lakeside use areas adjacent to the Missouri River may use grasses and forbs
taken from the park.
This permit applies only to the following area _____________________________ and
may be used ONLY during the hours of .
Permits must be carried by the permittee or be available in the vehicle. Permittee must
inform department staff in advance before using detectors by either stopping at the office
prior to detecting or calling a day in advance to ____________________. Tools used for
digging are limited to probes not over 6 inches long, one inch wide and one-quarter inch
thick. Sand scoop or sieve not over 10 inches in diameter. All excavations shall be
returned to their original condition prior to the beginning of new excavations or leaving
the area. Holes may only be a maximum of 6" in depth. A litter apron or bag is to be
worn or carried during metal detector use and all litter disposed of in an approved trash
container. All found items will be brought to the office for inspection by department staff.
The department retains the right to keep anything of historical, archeological or culturally
significant value. Department staff must approve any exceptions or changes to these
Permittee Signature: _____________________________________Date: _____________
Department Representative: _______________________________Date: _____________

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:             http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/iac/metal_detecting.html
Law:                  Metal detecting is a recreational activity that people do to find coins, jewelry, and precious metals.  Metal detecting is allowed on BLM lands as long as no artifacts are removed.  Artifacts should be left alone and reported to the appropriate Field Office.  Avoid all cultural and archeological sites.  The Metal Detecting enthusiast may remove some rocks (handful) from areas such as picnic areas, campground areas, and recreational sites.  The enthusiasts may remove some rocks as long as there not being removed from another mining claim.  Mining claims can be researched on the LR2000 (http://www.blm.gov/lr2000).   Enthusiasts are only allowed to make minimal surface disturbance (i.e. removing a couple of stones for memories).

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.