Head-Logo

Resource for
Clubs
and
Individuals
Bookmark and Share
Logo






                                                     National Information





U.S. National Government Websites




White House - Website

U.S. Government Official - Website

U.S. Senate - Website

House of Representatives - Website

Smithsonian Institution - Website

National Parks - Website

National Park Regulations - Website

Metal Detector Regulation for National parks, National Monuments, National Seashores  - Website

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 36, Volume 1]
[Revised as of July 1, 2002]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 36CFR2.1]
[Page 17-18]
TITLE 36--PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY
CHAPTER I--NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
PART 2--RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE AND RECREATION--Table of Contents
 
Sec. 2.1  Preservation of natural, cultural and archeological resources.

    (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:
    (i) Living or dead wildlife or fish, or the parts or products thereof, such as antlers or nests.
    (ii) Plants or the parts or products thereof.
    (iii) Non-fossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, cultural or archeological resources, or the parts thereof.
    (iv) A mineral resource or cave formation or the parts thereof.
    (2) Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem.
    (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.
    (4) Using or possessing wood gathered from within the park area: Provided, however, That the superintendent may designate areas where dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park area.
    (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 sub-bottom 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 sub-bottom profilers used for authorized scientific, mining, or administrative activities.
    (b) The superintendent may restrict hiking or pedestrian use to a designated trail or walkway system pursuant to Secs. 1.5 and 1.7. Leaving a trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway, or to shortcut to an adjacent trail or walkway in violation of designated restrictions is prohibited.
    (c)(1) The superintendent may designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption upon a written determination that the gathering or consumption will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.
    (2) The superintendent may:
    (i) Limit the size and quantity of the natural products that may be gathered or possessed for this purpose; or
    (ii) Limit the location where natural products may be gathered; or
    (iii) Restrict the possession and consumption of natural products to the park area.
    (3) The following are prohibited:
    (i) Gathering or possessing undesignated natural products.
    (ii) Gathering or possessing natural products in violation of the size or quantity limits designated by the superintendent.
    (iii) Unauthorized removal of natural products from the park area.
    (iv) Gathering natural products outside of designated areas.
    (v) Sale or commercial use of natural products.
    (d) This section shall not be construed as authorizing the taking, use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, treaty rights, or in accordance with Sec. 2.2 or Sec. 2.3.
    Note: Regulations concerning archeological resources are found in 43 CFR part 3.

METAL DETECTING / RELIC HUNTING IS PROHIBITED; POSSESSION OF A METAL DETECTOR ON PARK GROUNDS IS A FELONY AND SUBJECT TO UP TO 1 YEAR IMPRISONMENT AND $100,000 FINE. DESTRUCTION OF GROUNDS, PROPERTY, ARTIFACTS OR MONUMENTS IN A WAY SOUGHT TO REMOVE HISTORY FROM ITS ORIGINAL SURROUNDINGS, ALTERING AND DEFACING ANY ARTIFACTS, RESOURCES OR LAND IS SUBJECT TO UP TO 2 YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND UP TO $250,000 PLUS COST OF RESTORATION. 16USC 470AA-470LL

National Forest Land - Website

The use of metal detectors has become a popular hobby for many people and rules may vary somewhat from one USDA Forest area to another. Below in conjunction with 36CFR 261.9 is a draft policy for metal detecting.

The Forest Service has conducted numerous projects in conjunction 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 Indian lands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit. . ."

Army Corps of Engineers

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

Bureau of Land Management - BLM - Website

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).

Bureau of Reclamation - Website

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.


1906 - American Antiquities Act - Website
16 USC 431-433

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act. Approved, June 8, 1906

1966 - 2000 Historic Preservation Acts - Website

1979 - Archaeological Resources Protection Act - Website

Archaeological Resources Protection OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL Regulations - Website

1990 - Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act - Website



Metal Detecting and Other Indirect Hobby Related Associations



           (FMDAC) - Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs Inc.

   (WWATS) - World Wide Association of Treasure Seekers

           (GPAA) - Gold Prospectors Association of American

PLP          (PLP) - Public Lands For The People

                 American Numismatic Association