Agency: Army Corps of Engineers
Law: Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
CHAPTER III--CORPS OF ENGINEERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY Webpage
§ 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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agency: National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Forests, and Public Property
Law: Title 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property Website
PART 2RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE AND RECREATION
§ 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
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.