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Prospecting, Government definitions
post Jan 3 2007, 12:01 PM
Post #1

Master Mucker!

Group: Admin
Posts: 4,149
Joined: 7-October 03
From: Colorado
Member No.: 3

For those of you wondering exactly what "prospecting" would be defined as..............

Here is Colorado state gov's definition.

34-32-117 (2).
(12) "Prospecting" means the act of searching for or investigating a mineral deposit.
"Prospecting" includes, but is not limited to, sinking shafts, tunneling, drilling core and bore
holes and digging pits or cuts and other works for the purpose of extracting samples prior
to commencement of development or extraction operations, and the building of roads, access
ways, and other facilities related to such work. The term does not include those activities
which cause no or very little surface disturbance, such as airborne surveys and photographs,
use of instruments or devices which are hand carried or otherwise transported over the
surface to make magnetic, radioactive, or other tests and measurements, boundary or claim
surveying, location work, or other work which causes no greater land disturbance than is
caused by ordinary lawful use of the land by persons not prospecting. The term also does
not include any single activity which results in the disturbance of a single block of land
totaling one thousand six hundred square feet or less of the land's surface, not to exceed two such disturbances per acre; except that the cumulative total of such disturbances will not
exceed five acres statewide in any prospecting operation extending over twenty-four
consecutive months.


This post has been edited by ColoradoProspector: Jan 4 2007, 04:41 PM



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post Feb 21 2010, 11:03 AM
Post #2

Diggin' In!

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Posts: 28
Joined: 26-October 09
From: New Mexico
Member No.: 7,040

This is old, but I kept it in my computer. CP,If it don't belong here put on the forum elsewhere. Thanks,

PETER W. KARP Forest SupervisorUT


United States Department of Agriculture

Uinta National Forest
88 West l00 North
P.O. mx 1428
Provo, Utah 84603

File Code: 2360

Date: August l0, 2005

Mr. James Foley
National Land Rights League
P.O. Box 1818
La Pine, OR 97739

Dear Mr. Foley:

This letter is in response to your March 27, 2005 email to the
Feedback inbox regarding information posted on the Uinta National Forest
website about the legality of using metal detectors on National Forest
lands. Your email correctly pointed out that metal detecting is a
legitimate means of prospecting for gold or other mineral specimens under
the 1872 Mining Law. Like other locatable mineral prospecting activities,
use of a metal detector in this manner is covered under the Forest Service
36 CFR 228A regulations. Enclosed for your information is an internal
information paper entitled “Metal Detecting on the National Forests” that
discusses the general requirements for using metal detectors for both
prospecting and recreational purposes.

The statements on the Uinta website reflect requirements for the
recreational use of metal detectors and the concerns for protecting
archaeological resources on the Uinta National Forest, We are aware of the
statutory right to prospect on National Forest System lands under the l872
Mining Law and have updated our webpage to reflect the legitimacy of using
a metal detector for that purpose. We apologize for any confusion caused
by the omission of a reference to the Mining Law.

Thank you for helping us to make our website clearer for persons such as
your self who are interested in the use of metal detectors for prospecting
on National Forest lands.


Forest Supervisor


cc Jack Troyer, R4 -- . Regional Forester


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 no historical value. Prospecting using a metal detector can be
conducted under the General Mining Laws and is covered under the Forest
Service 36 CFR 22~A 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. It is Forest Service policy that the casual collection of rocks
and mineral samples is allowed on the National Forests.

Prospecting using metal detectors is a low surface impact activity that
involves digging small holes rarely more than six inches deep. Normally,
prospecting with a metal detector 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

Metal detectors may be used on public land in areas that do not contain or
would not reasonably he expected to contain archaeological or historical
resources. Normally, developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, and other
developed recreation sites are open to recreational metal detecting unless
there arc archaeological or historical resources present. In such cases,
forest supervisors are authorized to close the area to metal detecting and
the closure would he posted at the site. Such closure notices are not
always practical in undeveloped areas, and federal agencies have not
identified every archaeological site on public lands. It is possible
therefore, that you may encounter such archaeological remains that have
not yet been documented or an area that is not closed even though it does
indeed contain such remains. Archaeological remains on public land arc
protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should
leave them undisturbed and notify a Forest Service office.

The purpose of the restrictions to metal detecting on public lands is to
protect historical remains. The Code of Federal Regulations, (36 CFR
261.9) states, “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.” The Archaeological
Resources Protection Act (ARPA, 16 U.S.C. 470cc:smile: also prohibits
these activities, stating, “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 a pursuant to a permit...” ARPA
exempts the collection of coins for personal use if the coins are not in
an archaeological context. in some cases, historically significant coins
and other metallic artifacts may be part of an historical-period
archaeological site, in which case they would he considered archaeological
resources and arc protected under law. These laws apply to all National
Forest System land and do not vary from state to state.
Four forms of metal detector use are recognized.

I. Searching for treasure trove: Treasure trove is defined as money, gems,
or precious metals in the form of coin, plate, or bullion that has been
deliberately hidden with the intention of recovering it later. This
activity requires a Special Use Permit under The Act of June 4, 1897 (16
U.S.C. 551). Forest Service Manual 2724.4 states “allow persons to search
for buried treasure on National Forest System lands, but protect the
rights of the public regarding ownership of, or claims on, any recovered

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 (NOl) 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 he made prior to prospecting to
determine if an area has been claimed.

Normally, any gold found can he removed and kept. Lf the removal of the
gold, rocks, or minerals might cause disturbance of surface resources,
beyond digging a small shallow hole, an NOI may be required.

3. Searchjng for historic or prehistoric artifacts: Using a metal detector
to locate archaeological or historical remains is subject to the
Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of
1979 (ARPA) as amended and requires a special use permit. Such permits are
granted for scientific research only, however, there are many ways to get
involved with organized, scientific research. See below for ways to use
metal detectors for this purpose under sanctioned public archaeology

4. Recreational pursuits: The most common form of metal detector use is
searching for lost coins, jewelry, and incidental metal items having no
historical value. Such use is common in developed campgrounds, swimming
areas, and picnic areas and requires no permit. However, one must assume
personal responsibility to notice if the area may indeed contain
archaeological or historical resources and if it does, cease metal
detecting and notify a Forest Service office. Not doing so may result in
prosecution under the Code of Federal Regulations or ARPA.

Metal detecting in 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.
This policy does not permit the use of metal detectors in or around known
or undiscovered cultural or historic sites in order to protect our
valuable, non-renewable historical resources. However, recognizing the
universal interest in archaeology and history and the vast public
knowledge of such resources, the USDA Forest Service sponsors a public
archaeology program through which metal detector enthusiasts and others
can help. Passport In Time (PIT) is a national program inviting the public
to work with agency archaeologists on historic preservation projects. We
have done numerous projects through PIT in cooperation with metal
detecting clubs and individuals. The cooperation has been beneficial for
both the detectorists and agency’s archaeologists. Locating archaeological
sites becomes a joint endeavor and we learn a great deal. If you would
like more information on this program, call 1-800-281-9176 or visit
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