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Old 12-30-2021, 06:34 PM
lostcoast lostcoast is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 20

Originally Posted by Florida Tabdigger View post
Every year we meet with state and federal lands to discuss things, you would be shocked at how much video surveillance is going on. They know how many hogs are on their property and where they are at all times and trap them accordingly. Don't go digging there!!!
My understanding is that it is generally legal and perfectly fine to detect on BLM/National Forest lands as long as it's not considered historic, and you are not looking for anything that is over 50 years old as they are legally considered to be historical artifacts.

Casual gold detecting is also fine in unclaimed areas as prospecting is covered under Federal mining Law of 1872. However a 'Plan of Operations' is required with substantial digging or moving of rocks.

If you come across archaeological remains, you are required to immediately stop and promptly notify the local Forest Service office.

Also, you are not allowed to cut any trees or dig around roots and obviously all holes must be filled.

You are not permitted to search for 'treasure troves' aka caches without a 'special use' permit (which will not be issued in any historical areas). That particular law (Act of June 4, 1897 16 U.S.C. 551) is used primarily to check whether anyone else has rights to that cache.

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."
This covers BLM/National Forest land only. The general gist I get from things is that they don't care if you are in parking lots, camp grounds, and such looking for clad. But if you want to go poking around the woods or on old trails they'll want to know what you're up to. Though I have a feeling the local office would be pretty amused if you called them every time you found a 1969 penny or such.

Last edited by lostcoast; 12-30-2021 at 09:03 PM.
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