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Old 07-02-2019, 04:53 PM
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Default Here's a story of inquiry to public agency :

In the state of CA, most all of our coastline is state administered beaches. With a smattering of city, county, and federal stretches. But most of them are state-run . Eg.: that have the bathrooms, parking lots, picnic tables, etc....

And for as long as anyone here can recall (even talking to us old-time md'rs from the 1960s and '70s), they've never been a problem . It's not unusual to see md'rs on the beaches here. You can detect till you're blue in the face.

But in early 2018, the following occurred : I was reading a CA face-book md'rs page. Someone had made a post asking which beaches "were allowed" in CA (apparently they were going to be here on vacation or something). They gave their range of travel as being from "Monterey to north of S.F."

I was shocked when I read someone else's reply to this inquiry. The person answering made the comment that they were "bummed that it was not allowed on Marina State beach".

Now .... to clarify : Marina State beach is ~20 min. from me. I/we have detected there since the "beginning of time" , as long as anyone can remember. So I was a little curious where this person was getting their information from. So I chimed in to ask "Where did you get this information ?"

Turns out, they had logged in to the CA state park's dept, and clicked the "contact us" button. And simply asked if it was ok to metal detect at Marina State beach. Someone there answered back "No". And as you can see : Alluded to boiler plate verbiage about "removing items" . Doh! Which, no doubt, is to prohibit things like commercially harvesting sand, or taking home the park benches, etc....

But the odd thing there, is that you can md till you're blue in the face (yup, right in front of park rangers, lifeguards, etc....) and no one ever says so much as "boo".

This is an obvious case of someone land-locked pencil jockey, faced with this "pressing question", passes out some silly "safe answer". That has utterly no bearing on reality.

And it's examples like this, that make me also wonder, whenever you read , on an md'ing forum, of someone musing over a certain city or park or beach or forest, etc... Someone else can come on saying "Not allowed". And when you press them for details (like I did in this case), it's often-time chalked up to nonsensical bologna like this.

Yet : Links lead to links with lead to links, etc... And before long, you can never put it to rest. So guess what someone will do to "Get this clarified" ? Yup, you guessed it: Ask a bureaucrat. Anyone seeing the vicious circle ? And before ya know it: A law or policy is born
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Old 07-02-2019, 04:54 PM
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And if anyone can't read the text of the email this person got (d/t the screen capture is too small) here's what the text says:

Re.: Questions about Metal Detecting
June 19, 2017, at 9:01am

Hi X X X X,

Metal detecting is banned at both beaches as it is illegal to remove objects from the park.

Best regards,

Dennis Weber
Communications Office
Sacramento, CA
(and normal footer info, etc...)
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:11 PM
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Yep, we can detect any state beach, except Historical beaches....I got asked to leave one years ago.

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Old 07-02-2019, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by metaladdict View post
Yep, we can detect any state beach, except Historical beaches....I got asked to leave one years ago.
You're from CA, right metal-addict ? Not sure which "historical beach" you're referring to. Care to elaborate ? Because .... if some archie wanted to get his "panties in a wad", he could try to say that *scores* of beaches are "historical" . Eg.: Simply because they used to have a pier or camp or whatever there.

And I do not construe every single being "asked to leave" as constituting "law", from then-on-out. There has been "flukes", on our beaches, that never came to anything. Just someone having a bad-hair day, or ... who knows ?

In the next post, I'll give you an example of a CA beach, where a "scram" occurred, that .... never amounted to anything thereafter .
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:35 PM
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A case of how singular "scrams" do not necessarily constitute "law", or things you/I need to "rush to get clarified" :

There is a certain state run beach near me called Seacliff state beach . Up till the 1920s, it was remote cliffy beach, with no beach access roads leading into it. You had to hike from the south, or hike down from the north, just to get to what is now called "Seacliff state beach".

But in the 1920s, an enterprising businessman got the wild idea to permanently beach a giant cement ship (WWI surplus). And built a dock out to reach it. And cut a road leading down from the cliffs, made camp-sites and picnicking, etc... And thus overcome prohibition laws (since it's "off shore", blah blah). So it became a pleasure pier with night-club, dancing, etc....

Hence, hardly very "historic", when it comes to age-of-usage of beaches here, eh ?

One day, in about 2000 or 2001-ish, a friend of mine was detecting there. Out of the blue, some dude in a business suit, carrying a briefcase, was standing in front of him barking . Saying "You can't be doing that here", blah blah.

At first my friend thought "This is a joke, right ? Where's the candid camera, right ?". But it became clear that the fellow was serious ! Turns out he was a state archaeologist from Sonoma or Sacramento or wherever. Who *just happened* to be at that beach that day. He was about to give a history lecture at the little beach-side museum there. (That is 90% nature-stuff, but does have a few dossier panels on the ship and wharf history. )

And as the archie was getting out of his car, to walk to the his little lecture, he *just happened* to glance out on to the beach and see my friend. Whereupon he marched out to read my friend the riot act.

My friend, not one to "take gruff" off anyone, began to dispute the archie. But the archie pointed to the cement ship and was tossing out verbiage like "artifact" and "cultural heritage" blah blah. The two of them squared off, and the archie could see that he was not making any progress to "scram" the md'r. So he tells my friend: "I'm going to go fetch a ranger, and we'll see about this !! "

The archie marched off to the beach offices/museum thing there. My friend continued md'ing for a couple more minutes. And the more he thought about the guy's rant, the more he began to think : " Maybe I don't want to be here when anyone returns ?"

To be continued :

Last edited by Tom_in_CA; 07-02-2019 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:42 PM
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After several long minutes, my friend began to get the willies. And decided he was going to call it a day.

The entire time, hiking back to his car, loading up his machine, etc... he was glancing over his shoulder wondering "Is some Ranger going to come bark at me ?" But no one ever came out to him , or followed him to his vehicle, etc... He left uneventfully. And reported the incident on a local CA md'ing forum.

Those of us who read about the encounter, initially got a good laugh over this. Because, as anyone here knows, you can detect the beaches till you're blue in the face. Right ? Hence obviously this archie must be wrong, eh ? It's merely a matter of "putting him in his place", right ?

But the more we corporately looked into this (the boiler plate verbiage), the more we realized "We better leave good enough alone". Because, truth be told, yes: There is minutia about "harvest and remove". And "cultural heritage". And "alter and disturb", etc.... Needless to say, all-such-things are never applied to md'ing . But ..... if someone were to go "swatting enough hornet's nests" seeking clarification, someone from higher up *could* construe such things to apply to md'ing. So it was decided to do absolutely nothing.

That was nearly 20 yrs. ago. And to this day: You can detect Seacliff state beach (and all state beaches) here till you're blue in the face. Obviously, a purist archie like that (one out of several million persons here who would/could ever "care less") no doubt went back to his inland ivory desk, and forgets the matter. The odds of him ever being at the beach and seeing another md'r, is slim to none. So why fight this ? Why seek clarifications ?

Thus as you can see : Not every single "scram" constitutes law, or something that you need to "get overturned or clarified". Sometimes it simply means: Give lip service and avoid that singular individual in the future.

Last edited by Tom_in_CA; 07-02-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 07:53 PM
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Ed the Beach Hunter hunts Ocean Beach in SF all the time and nobody seems to mind.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RealBeachHunter View post
Ed the Beach Hunter hunts Ocean Beach in SF all the time and nobody seems to mind.

Aaahhh, but now you're talking about a horse of a different color. Ocean Beach, near San Francisco, is a federal stretch of beach. "GGNRA" Very very few beaches, in CA, are "federal". Most all are state, county, & city.

Anyhow, rumor has it, that .... yes .... federal actually *does* have specific language. And that supposedly .... yes ... GGNRA is off-limits to md'ing. Fortunately, as a I say, only a relatively small length of coastline there.

But notice I say "supposedly". Here's why : There's been many md'rs who ... perhaps simply didn't know any better, that have detected those beaches (Ocean beach, + a part of Stinson, etc...). And ... lo & behold, no one's ever said so much as "boo" to them.

One guy, for instance, who simply didn't know any better, had been md'ing them for over a year as a beginner. Utterly stunned about the amounts of easy coins & occasional gold rings. As if the volleyball courts were virgin ! He kept wondering "why aren't the locals all over this ?" (because by then, he was becoming aware that there were other md'r hobbyists in his area). But he figured "their loss, my gain".

Eventually he began to get on forums, and joined a club. And ... let his guard down and told a few people his "honey-spot". They told him "Isn't that off-limits?". To which he figured they were mistaken. After all, what harm can you do to a beach for pete's sake ? And after all, if that were true, then *certainly* someone would have said something by now, eh ? So he just assumed that the people that were telling him this were mistaken.

But eventually he looked into the matter himself. HHhhhmmm.

And what was odd is, that during that entire year up-to-that-point, he'd gone in broad daylight, right past rangers, manned lifeguard towers, etc.... No one ever blinked twice at him !

Can you see the dilemma he is now in ? It's obviously a non-issue, as he can plainly see. So does he continue to go "till told otherwise" ? Or does he stop ? Can you blame him if he just continued to go ?

Not saying to "throw caution to the wind" though. That incident described above was over 20 yrs. ago. More recently, I heard of someone else who ... after only 3 times, got a "scram". But it was a friendly alert, no harm no foul.
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Old 07-02-2019, 11:36 PM
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Every two times I went to Stinson I got a ranger right at me saying can't do that here but north more on the dog side you can.(ggnr) side is no no!!!
The historical beach I got asked to leave is China Camp State Historical beach park.

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Old 07-03-2019, 08:48 AM
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I pulled into a secluded state owned boat launch on fall morning.

looked at the sign with the rules, prohibited activities etc.

sign didn't mention metal detecting.

grabbed my detector and started hunting.

short time later, DEC game warden shows up, sees me but moves to where a boat of duck hunters is approaching shore...

he checks the birds, checks the guns for plugs, license, the whole nine yards.

when finished, he drives up and observes me for about 5 minutes the. asks if I'm having any luck...

after a short talk he wishes me luck and says if I detect in the woods I should wear blaze orange, because it was also deer season.

I felt no need to ask permission, as the posted rules didn't mention metal detecting

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Old 07-03-2019, 03:40 PM
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I was at a park on Saturday with a friend of mine. As we got out of the car and started swinging, some frat-brat types drove by in a golf cart (they worked there) and I could hear them say "are they f*****g metal detecting?". We continue on our way, eventually hitting the volleyball court. Sure enough, a few minutes later the 'boss" pulls up on his tractor and says "I don't mind if you do the sand here, but please don't do the grass". We said "Ok, no problem, have a nice day" rather than argue with him. We figured we can come back another day, and it's not worth the trouble to argue with him.

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Old 07-03-2019, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by metaladdict View post
Every two times I went to Stinson I got a ranger right at me saying can't do that here but north more on the dog side you can.(ggnr) side is no no!!!
The historical beach I got asked to leave is China Camp State Historical beach park.

Couple of observations on this post :

1) It never used to be that way EVEN ON STINSON MAIN BEACH. So if it's changed to where some ranger(s) are now "scramming" people in more recent years: I have a sneaking suspicion of how this came-to-be. Care to take a guess ?

I'll bet someone, in more recent times (bless their little hearts), went seeking clarifications. And .... whomever fields their "pressing question", well gee, guess what will be on their mind the next time they see an md'r ? They'll recall the earlier inquiry and think : "Aha, there's one of *them*", and start booting others.

2) I notice you didn't get any confiscations, arrests, tickets, etc... SAY IT ISN'T SO !

3) As for the state beach incident that you speak of : Whatever "rule" that fellow could have relied on, to boot you, would likewise apply NOT ONLY TO THAT STATE BEACH. It would/could equally apply to all the state of CA beaches. After all: They're all administered by the same exact park's dept. So there's no reason why whatever rule he was relying on, wouldn't equally apply to inland parks, old beaches, or "new" beaches (if there is such a thing as "new" beaches).

Hence, yes .... there's been a few VERY VERY isolated incidents, on state beaches over the years (not just "historic" beaches, like in your example), where .... yes .... another few such encounters have occurred. My Seacliff beach citation was one of 3 that I know of. Another one occurred somewhere down by Pismo beach.

Yet in every case, they're isolated flukes. Nothing ever becomes of them. And to be honest with you: It's best left that way.

I know that the average person's reaction (if skittish), who reads something like this, is to "go seek clarification", eh ? But as you can see: Sometimes that does nothing more than to cause the chain-reaction of self-fulfilling vicious circle .

I have been hunting state beaches here in CA since about 1980 (when I first joined a group of guys who were "wise to beach erosion" tactics). And in that nearly 40 yrs, hitting state beaches from Southern CA to Half moon bay : Have never once heard so much as "boo" from anyone. So: I "leave good enough alone"
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:11 PM
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I say Just hunt away.. if you get the Shoo Shoo then move on.. If they try and take you MD then threaten them with your shovel and shoo shoo on to the car.. but very fast

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Old 07-03-2019, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SoOregonMd View post
..... If they try and take you MD ...
Got any examples of this happening on mundane routine parks, beaches, etc... ? I don't think so.

Although this fear of "confiscations" is bandied about all the time (and ... yes ... I know you're just jesting here), yet : There's never any examples of this ever occurring. Barring someone knowingly snooping around obvious historic sensitive monuments. Or someone being obnoxious who can't take a warning.

But for benign parks, schools, beaches, forests, etc.... : No one can ever cite any such example of this thing, that we're supposed to be fearful of .
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Old 07-04-2019, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View post
Got any examples of this happening on mundane routine parks, beaches, etc... ? I don't think so.

Although this fear of "confiscations" is bandied about all the time (and ... yes ... I know you're just jesting here), yet : There's never any examples of this ever occurring. Barring someone knowingly snooping around obvious historic sensitive monuments. Or someone being obnoxious who can't take a warning.

But for benign parks, schools, beaches, forests, etc.... : No one can ever cite any such example of this thing, that we're supposed to be fearful of .
In my 37 years of detecting I've been given the "scram" maybe half a dozen times. All but one of those times it was because someone called and complained. Confiscation of my detector was never even mentioned. The very first time I was "scrammed" the cop told me to leave and come back tomorrow.....which I did

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Old 07-04-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by diggin4clad View post
... the cop told me to leave and come back tomorrow.....which I did

Say it isn't so ! No confiscations ? No arrests ? No tickets ? No jail cells next to Bubba ? Say it isn't so !

Yes, this happened to me before too: After some "casual conversation", the cop confided in me that he was only responding to a "miss-lookie-lou" call. (as he motioned with his eyes over his shoulders to a yonder-high-rise-apartment window). And said she seems to think she's the "self-appointed park monitor". And told me "just go to the far side of the park where she can't see this corner".

And the point of this is:
If it hadn't been for the "casual conversation", most people would have taken the "scram" as some sort of gospel law, that spelled our a rule or law, from then-on-out. That they can now post their lament on forums, or "rush to city -hall to get clarified", etc.....
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Old 07-04-2019, 04:25 PM
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The logic of no-detecting rules is often nonexistent. At the lake up north (the biggest in New Mexico) there is no MDing allowed on the beach, yet they allow people to tear around in monster trucks causing 2 foot deep trenches.
Did they ever stop to think that the precious 80 year old "artifacts" they are purporting to protect might get damaged by the truck tires?

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Old 07-04-2019, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by NMsilver View post
The logic of no-detecting rules is often nonexistent. At the lake up north (the biggest in New Mexico) there is no MDing allowed on the beach, yet they allow people to tear around in monster trucks causing 2 foot deep trenches.
Did they ever stop to think that the precious 80 year old "artifacts" they are purporting to protect might get damaged by the truck tires?
Very good point.....similar situation in one of the towns here in Connecticut. They forbid detecting on the town green but all summer long and into the fall there are many activities on the green such as flea markets, carnivals, bazaars and bake sales etc. etc. To prepare for some of those events the town trucks run all over the green leaving deep ruts in the grass and there are a few hundred holes made by wooden tent poles pounded into the ground. Carnival rides also damage the ground just from the sheer weight of the ride plus the vibrating motion it makes when the ride is in use.When the event is over none of the damage is repaired. Not to mention all the trash dumped on the green which then has to be picked up by the parks dept.

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Old 07-04-2019, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View post
Say it isn't so ! No confiscations ? No arrests ? No tickets ? No jail cells next to Bubba ? Say it isn't so !

Yes, this happened to me before too: After some "casual conversation", the cop confided in me that he was only responding to a "miss-lookie-lou" call. (as he motioned with his eyes over his shoulders to a yonder-high-rise-apartment window). And said she seems to think she's the "self-appointed park monitor". And told me "just go to the far side of the park where she can't see this corner".

And the point of this is:
If it hadn't been for the "casual conversation", most people would have taken the "scram" as some sort of gospel law, that spelled our a rule or law, from then-on-out. That they can now post their lament on forums, or "rush to city -hall to get clarified", etc.....
No Tom, there were no arrests, confiscations, tickets, or jail cells next to Bubba.....AND don't tell anyone (wink, wink) but I was detecting those sites without asking anyone for permission

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Old 07-04-2019, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by NMsilver View post
The logic of no-detecting rules is often nonexistent. At the lake up north (the biggest in New Mexico) there is no MDing allowed on the beach, yet they allow people to tear around in monster trucks causing 2 foot deep trenches.
Did they ever stop to think that the precious 80 year old "artifacts" they are purporting to protect might get damaged by the truck tires?
Here's the difference :

Those persons-in-monster trucks never went to the powers-that-be asking :

"Hi, can I tear up the ground with my 4WD monster truck, destroying artifacts?"


If they had asked that, they too would have been told "no". Then they too could start forums lamenting their lack of freedoms. Hence ... shame on them for not asking first, eh ?

But, for some reason, md'rs seem to think they need princely sanctions. So they run hither and yonder asking permissions and inquiring "can I?" type questions. Thus ... we end up with the "no's". Then sit around lamenting our lack of freedoms. Without realizing : It was we ourselves who went around swatting hornet's nests, bringing this sillyness upon our own selves.
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