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Prospecting and MD on Forest Service


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Good Morning, a comment I made to JB on his POO problems lead to acouple folks contacting me about my comments. Here is part of the document I always carry to give to FS employees. Mike is actually located in Boise, though he works for the WO.


(edited, complete document at: http://www.fs.fed.us/geology/mgm_locatable.html )

It is Forest Service policy that the recreational use of metal detectors and the collection of rocks and mineral samples are allowed on National Forests. Generally, most of the National Forests are open to recreational mineral and rock collecting, gold panning and prospecting using a metal detector. This low impact, casual activity usually does not require any authorization.

Metal detecting is a legitimate means of locating gold or other mineral specimens and can be an effective prospecting tool for locating larger mineral deposits. This activity can also be conducted as a recreational activity locating lost coins, jewelry or other incidental metallic items of little historical value. Prospecting using a metal detector can be conducted under the General Mining Laws and is covered under the Forest Service 36 CFR 228A locatable mineral regulations for lands open to mineral entry. Metal detecting for treasure trove or lost items such as coins and jewelry is managed as a non minerals related recreation activity.

Metal detecting is a low surface impact activity that involves digging small holes rarely more than six inches deep. Normally, metal detecting does not require a notice of intent or written authorization since it only involves searching for and occasionally removing small rock samples or mineral specimens (36 CFR 228.4(a)).

Four forms of metal detector use are recognized:

2. Prospecting: Using a metal detector to locate gold or other mineral deposits is an allowed activity under the General Mining Laws and is subject to the 36 CFR 228A regulations. A Notice of Intent (36 CFR 228.4(a)) is normally not required for prospecting using a metal detector. A Notice of Intent (NOI) is required for any prospecting which might cause disturbance of surface resources. A plan of operation is required for any prospecting that will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Normal metal detecting does not cause surface impacts that require either a NOI or a Plan of Operation. People who use metal detectors for prospecting should bear in mind that many of the mineralized lands within the National Forests and open to mineral entry have been “claimed” by others who have sole right to prospect and develop the mineral resources found on the mining claim. A search of County and Bureau of Land Management records should be made prior to prospecting to determine if an area has been claimed. Normally, any gold found can be removed and kept. If the removal of the gold, rocks, or minerals might cause disturbance of surface resources, beyond digging a small shallow hole, a NOI may be required.

Metal detecting on the National Forests is recognized as a legitimate prospecting method under the General Mining Laws and also as a recreational activity for the casual collection of rocks and minerals.

Mike Doran, USFS - WO Minerals and Geology Management, May 27, 2009

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Fritz, Do you know and can you briefly explain the difference if any of a "National Recreation Area" and a National Forest Area.

Are they one and the same as far as regulation goes ....meaning is a National Recreation area policed , patrolled , governed ,controlled by the Forest Service

If so I would wonder should the same principals apply to detecting when in a Nat. Rec. Area ????????

Important question as we have a very large Nat. Rec. Area here and have always been told "hearsay" Don't detect within the area.

Thanks for your time an consideration interesting post you made.

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From Wikipedia:

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Originally called Boulder Dam Recreation Area, it is managed under a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management dating from October 13, 1936. The name was changed to Lake Mead National Recreation Area on August 11, 1947. (Click on link to see more info)

National Recreation Area

National Recreation Area (NRA) is a designation for a protected area in the United States, often centered on large reservoirs and emphasizing water-based recreation for a large number of people.

Areas with this designation are managed by different federal agencies, most of which operate within the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture. Some national recreation areas are under the National Park Service (Interior), one under the Bureau of Land Management (Interior), and others are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (Agriculture). (Click on link to see more info)

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Thanks Sawmill and Vegas, I know nothing about Rec Areas as I void them like the plague.

On FS Mike Doran's write-up I take some exception with calling it "recreation" prospecting and linking it to the General Mining Law. The BLM properly calls it "casual" prospecting, exploration, and mining. I have argued for years that BLM/FS casual mining regulations (CFR) need to be congruent as they come from the exact same general mining law. IMO, just because I step across a boundary line 3' from FS to BLM or vice versa, shouldn't change how the General Mining law is applied to the general public.

God Bless America... Keep smiling... :cigar:

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On tonight's MeteroiteMen show at Gold Basin: the ranger stated that" If caught with a metal detector in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area you can be fined $5000 and given a 5 year prison term." :whaaaa:

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:angry-smiley-010[1]: National Rec areas are insane!! Whiskeytown NRA used to allow mining and new boss has killed all detecting and you can use a pan--buy our permit--but NO TOOLS,sieves,classifiers,picks,pry bars,tweezers,probes--nuttn' honey and I ain't talkn' cereal. I agency--1 rule-is the absolutely only way to clear the mess. There are tooooooooo many types,classes and such to keep straight and outta trouble. Of coarse thats the isea of floating insane rules-more ways to fine ya $$$$$$$$ follow the casha-John

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  • 2 weeks later...

John.. a FS ranger gave one of my friends a ticket for parking within

30 ft of a stream (normally a trickle) in the Cajon pass area north of san Bernardino... The roadside was narrow and he parked just off the road... Can't win for losing?... The ticket cost is $75 and he was sent it by mail from somewhere in the midwest.

So everyone be careful not to park within 30 ft of a stream in Forest lands managed by the FS... There are FS rules against it.

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Jim, another case in piont, is by Calif. law. you have to be atleast 30ft off the pavement, or you will get a ticket from the CHP or Sheriff's up here. Unless you are standing, which means your in the vehicle, and not really parked. There are many pull-off's up here only a few will get you the 30ft you need to be legal in Mariposa County. Grubstake

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Gary... Thank you for this information. Gosh I have been lucky to have not gotten a ticket in the Randsburg area. This can be a delema. To get

a ticket from a County Sheriff for being off the blacktop but straddling the berm; but not a measured 30 foot off the edge of the blacktop.

Now for the delema... by parking on a open space 30 ft from the edge

of the black top could now put someone in jepardy of a ticket in the Randsburg mountain management area... (See pg 73-79 in the rough draft) However, since I have a pass to drive off the asphalt in designated areas I'm "safe."

Wow... I long for the good ol' days. I well remember my grand father

memttioning to my dad about the beginning of the BLM... this was just

back in 1946. I was a kid in high school, but back then there were no laws against 16 year-old kids "jacklegging" a feedleg pneumatic rock drill at the face of a drift. :olddude:

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:*&$*(: MORE INSANITY STARTS TODAY. You can now carry loaded/concealed on "some" national rec areas. Here in shasta you can carry in whiskeytown(and hunt)but in Lassen though(100 times bigger)you can't do squat?? WE NEED HOMOGENEOUS APPLICATION FROM 1 AGENCY--1 RULE-John :stupidrb:

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