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Colorado Prospector - Gem and mineral prospecting and mining forums > Land Rights, Laws and References > Prospecting and Mining Laws, Regulations etc.
CP
For those of you wondering exactly what "prospecting" would be defined as..............

Here is Colorado state gov's definition.

QUOTE
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.


CP
CP
Hey All!

I just edited the title of this thread to include not just Colorado's, but several governmental definitions on the books that apply.............

So lets see what the BLM (USDI/MINING AUTHORITY) says.......
QUOTE
43CFR3505
Sec. 3505.10  What is a prospecting permit?

    (a) A prospecting permit gives you the exclusive right to prospect
        on and explore lands available for leasing under this part to
        determine if a valuable deposit exists of:
    (1) Phosphate;
    (2) Sodium;
    (3) Potassium;
    (4) Sulphur;
    (5) Gilsonite; or
    (6) A hardrock mineral.
    (b) Prospecting permits are not available for asphalt.
    © You may remove only material needed to demonstrate the
        existence of a valuable mineral deposit.

Sec. 3505.11  Do I need a prospecting permit to collect mineral
    specimens for non-commercial purposes?

    No. You may collect mineral specimens for hobby, recreation,
scientific, research or similar purposes without a prospecting permit.
However, the surface management agency may require a use permit. BLM's
regulations for collecting mineral specimens are at part 8365 of this
title.


Interesting...........How about a "Wilderness area"?

QUOTE
43CFR3823
Sec. 3823.1  Prospecting within National Forest Wilderness for the
            purpose of gathering information about mineral resources.

    (a) The provisions of the Wilderness Act do not prevent any
        activity, including prospecting, within National Forest
        Wilderness for the purpose of gathering information about
        mineral or other resources if such activity is conducted in a
        manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness
        environment. While information gathered by prospecting
        concerning mineral resources within National Forest Wilderness
        may be utilized in connection with the location of valuable
        mineral deposits which may be discovered through such activity
        and which may be open to such location, attention is directed
        to the fact that no claim may be located after midnight,
        December 31, 1983, and no valid discovery may be made after
        that time on any location purportedly made before that time.
    (b) All persons wishing to carry on any activity, including
        prospecting, for the purpose of gathering information about
        mineral or other resources on lands within National Forest
        Wilderness should make inquiry of the officer in charge of the
        National Forest in which the lands are located concerning the
        regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture governing surface
        use of the lands for such activity.


Ok, now how about the FS?

QUOTE
Forest Service Manual
FSM2860.5 - Definitions.

    1.  Prospecting - Delineation of an area in which exploration would follow by gathering indirect evidence of mineral or energy resources.  Indirect data gathering techniques include, but are not limited to:  conducting geophysical or geochemical surveys, sampling outcrops, geologic mapping, and drilling holes to gather general geologic or stratigraphic information.

    2.  Exploration - Establishing the location, size, grade, or reserves of a mineral or energy resource by gathering direct evidence of the resource.  Direct data gathering techniques may include drilling holes, digging pits, and driving adits and drifts to sample, or test, a known or suspected zone of interest.


Forest Service Manual also says.......Oh you will love this one! happy.gif

QUOTE
FSM2861 - DETERMINING FOREST SERVICE JURISDICTION. 
In responding to requests for permission to prospect for minerals or to collect mineral or fossil samples, the first step is to determine whether the proposed activity falls within Forest Service jurisdiction.

2861.1 - General Criteria.  The Forest Service authorizes various methods of preliminary prospecting and mineral sample collection on National Forest System lands if no other authority exists, and if the activity does not conflict with the rights of:  A holder of a mining claim; a holder of a U.S. Department of the Interior (USDI) lease, permit, or license; or the owner of reserved or outstanding minerals.  A separate authorization is not required for activities authorized by the General Mining Laws (FSM 2810); activities authorized by USDI (FSM 2820); or land use activity conducted pursuant to reserved and outstanding mineral rights (FSM 2830).

2861.2 - Allowable Activities Under Forest Service Jurisdiction. 
Allowable activities include, but are not limited to, surface mapping, blasting, excavation, sampling, and collecting with hand tools or hand-carried motorized equipment; seismic, gravity, heat flow, resistivity, and other geophysical surveys; and geochemical surveys, such as stream sediment sampling.


ohmy.gif ohmy.gif cool.gif I like that un'! biggrin.gif

Next one is pretty good too.....36CFR is FS.

QUOTE
36CFR9.2L- Significantly disturbed for purposes of mineral extraction.
Land will be considered significantly disturbed for purposes of mineral extraction when there has been surface extraction of commercial amounts of a mineral, or significant amounts of overburden or spoil have been displaced due to the extraction of commercial amounts of a mineral. Extraction of commercial amounts is defined as the removal of ore from a claim in the normal course of business of extraction for processing or marketing. It does not encompass the removal of ore for purposes of testing, experimentation, examination, or pre-production activities.


HEHEHE I like that un' too......... tongue.gif
What do ya' think? happy.gif


CP
jmann
Well I think Im in bussiness. smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif Joe
russau
reading this didnt help my cabin fever one bit!
CP
Glad you guys like this thread....I just happened to have a couple more. happy.gif ohmy.gif

These two are from the United States Code.....

QUOTE
30USC21a

                  TITLE 30--MINERAL LANDS AND MINING
          CHAPTER 2--MINERAL LANDS AND REGULATIONS IN GENERAL

Sec. 21a. National mining and minerals policy; ``minerals''
        defined; execution of policy under other authorized programs
       
    The Congress declares that it is the continuing policy of the
Federal Government in the national interest to foster and encourage
private enterprise in (1) the development of economically sound and
stable domestic mining, minerals, metal and mineral reclamation
industries, (2) the orderly and economic development of domestic mineral
resources, reserves, and reclamation of metals and minerals to help
assure satisfaction of industrial, security and environmental needs, (3)
mining, mineral, and metallurgical research, including the use and
recycling of scrap to promote the wise and efficient use of our natural
and reclaimable mineral resources, and (4) the study and development of
methods for the disposal, control, and reclamation of mineral waste
products, and the reclamation of mined land, so as to lessen any adverse
impact of mineral extraction and processing upon the physical
environment that may result from mining or mineral activities.
    For the purpose of this section ``minerals'' shall include all
minerals and mineral fuels including oil, gas, coal, oil shale and
uranium.
    It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary of the Interior to
carry out this policy when exercising his authority under such programs
as may be authorized by law other than this section.


QUOTE
16USC478
                        TITLE 16--CONSERVATION
                  CHAPTER 2--NATIONAL FORESTS
            SUBCHAPTER I--ESTABLISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 478. Egress or ingress of actual settlers; prospecting

    Nothing in sections 473 to 478, 479 to 482 and 551 of this title
shall be construed as prohibiting the egress or ingress of actual
settlers residing within the boundaries of national forests, or from
crossing the same to and from their property or homes; and such wagon
roads and other improvements may be constructed thereon as may be
necessary to reach their homes and to utilize their property under such
rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of
Agriculture. Nor shall anything in such sections prohibit any person
from entering upon such national forests for all proper and lawful
purposes, including that of prospecting, locating, and developing the
mineral resources thereof. Such persons must comply with the rules and
regulations covering such national forests.


Now the next one is again from the FS/36CFR.......
You will note that there seems to be a conflict of their own directives to me.........you see it too? "non motorized hand sluice"...... dry.gif
Well keep readin......then read FSM 2861.2 posted above again.......then you decide. blink.gif

QUOTE
Sec.  228.4  Plan of operations--notice of intent--requirements.


    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a notice

of intent to operate is required from any person proposing to conduct

operations which might cause significant disturbance of surface

resources. Such notice of intent to operate shall be submitted to the

District Ranger having jurisdiction over the area in which the

operations will be conducted. Each notice of intent to operate shall

provide information sufficient to identify the area involved, the nature

of the proposed operations, the route of access to the area of

operations, and the method of transport.

    (1) A notice of intent to operate is not required for:

    (i) Operations which will be limited to the use of vehicles on

existing public roads or roads used and maintained for National Forest

System purposes;

    (ii) Prospecting and sampling which will not cause significant

surface resource disturbance and will not involve removal of more than a

reasonable amount of mineral deposit for analysis and study which

generally might include searching for and occasionally removing small

mineral samples or specimens, gold panning, metal detecting, non-

motorized hand sluicing, using battery operated dry washers, and

collecting of mineral specimens using hand tools;

    (iii) Marking and monumenting a mining claim;

    (iv) Underground operations which will not cause significant surface

resource disturbance;

    (v) Operations, which in their totality, will not cause surface

resource disturbance which is substantially different than that caused

by other users of the National Forest System who are not required to

obtain a Forest Service special use authorization, contract, or other

written authorization;

    (vi) Operations which will not involve the use of mechanized

earthmoving equipment, such as bulldozers or backhoes, or the cutting of

trees, unless those operations otherwise might cause a significant

disturbance of surface resources;


No wonder some folks call it the forest "circus" laugh.gif wacko.gif

Okay the next 3 were pulled out of the 43CFR's (BLM)........

QUOTE
43CFR3802

    Subpart 3802_Exploration and Mining, Wilderness Review Program



Sec.  3802.1-2  When not required.



    A plan of operations under this subpart is not required for--

    (a) Searching for and occasionally removing mineral samples or

specimens;

    (b) Operating motorized vehicles over open use areas and trails as

defined in 43 CFR part 8340 so long as the vehicles conform to the

operating regulations and vehicle standards contained in that subpart;

    © Maintaining or making minor improvements of existing access

routes, bridges, landing areas for aircraft, or other facilities for

access where such improvements or maintenance shall not alter the

alignment, width, gradient, size or character of such facilities; or

    (d) Making geological, radiometric, geochemical, geophysical or

other tests and measurements using instruments, devices, or drilling

equipment which are transported without using mechanized earth moving

equipment or tracked vehicles.


QUOTE
43CFR6300

  Subpart 6302_Use of Wilderness Areas, Prohibited Acts, and Penalties


Sec.  6302.15  When and how may I collect or disturb natural resources such as rocks and plants in wilderness areas?



    (a) You may remove or disturb natural resources for non-commercial

purposes in wilderness areas, including prospecting, provided--

    (1) You do it in a manner that preserves the wilderness environment,

using no more than non-motorized hand tools and causing minimal surface

disturbance; and

    (2)(i) Your proposed activity conforms to the applicable management

plan; or

    (ii) You have a BLM authorization if one is required by statute or

regulation.

    (b) Where BLM allows campfires in a wilderness, you may gather a

reasonable amount of wood for use in your campfire.


QUOTE
43CFR3800
Subpart 3809_Surface Management

Sec.  3809.5  How does BLM define certain terms used in this subpart?



    As used in this subpart, the term:

    Casual use means activities ordinarily resulting in no or negligible

disturbance of the public lands or resources. For example--

    (1) Casual use generally includes the collection of geochemical,

rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-

motorized sluicing. It may include use of small portable suction

dredges. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears

and other battery-operated devices for sensing the presence of minerals,

and hand and battery-operated drywashers. Operators may use motorized

vehicles for casual use activities provided the use is consistent with

the regulations governing such use (part 8340 of this title), off-road

vehicle use designations contained in BLM land-use plans, and the terms

of temporary closures ordered by BLM.

    (2) Casual use does not include use of mechanized earth-moving

equipment, truck-mounted drilling equipment, motorized vehicles in areas

when designated as closed to ``off-road vehicles'' as defined in Sec. 

8340.0-5 of this title, chemicals, or explosives. It also does not

include ``occupancy'' as defined in Sec.  3715.0-5 of this title or

operations in areas where the cumulative effects of the activities

result in more than negligible disturbance.

    Exploration means creating surface disturbance greater than casual

use that includes sampling, drilling, or developing surface or

underground workings to evaluate the type, extent, quantity, or quality

of mineral values present. Exploration does not include activities where

material is extracted for commercial use or sale.

******************
Operations means all functions, work, facilities, and activities on

public lands in connection with prospecting, exploration, discovery and

assessment work, development, extraction, and processing of mineral

deposits locatable under the mining laws; reclamation of disturbed

areas; and all other reasonably incident uses, whether on a mining claim

or not, including the construction of roads, transmission lines,

pipelines, and other means of access across public lands for support

facilities.


Sorry if the cabin fever is gettin worse guys....... happy.gif

biggrin.gif
CP
CP
No more comments/questions yet?! huh.gif

Okay, I'll post a couple questions in.........

Regulations can not be enforced on citizens in place of laws....right?
So what are the regulations for? And how are they used?

Well it could be that if these regs are not used to regulate the citizens that they are used to dictate how the government and it's emplyees do regulate the citizens and or our public lands.
Let's see.......government employees are paid with our tax dollars.
So it makes sense that how they do their job and with what authority would be dictated by..........by what?

Ah yes.....the CFR's! The "C"ode of "F"ederal "R"egulations is in fact what contains the do's and don'ts for the government employee's job!
Which are backed by the laws as written in the USC (United States Code)

The regs may not be enforcable on us as citizens, but they are very enforcable to the government's employees who are directed through laws and regulations to know and use these regulations when doing their daily job duties.

Not only are they directed (as requirement of the job) to know and use these regulations, (cfr's, fsm, fsh....etc) they are also required by laws/regs to use them in conjunction with one another. IE.......43cfr (blm primarily) MUST BE USED in all mining decisions FS makes. But wait ....36cfr is for FS right?
Yes, 36cfr is for FS lands. And anyone who has actually read through 36cfr228 for mining activities on NF lands can plainly see that this subpart alone is not only vague but not actually about mining at all........just how to mitigate against it.

The parts they don't want you to know are that they are required (as government employees.....FSH, FSM) to do certain things, use certain regs, and FOSTER/ENCOURAGE certain rights!
Not prevent them!!!!

Another notable fact in the regulations are many "inter-agency agreements" (quoted in many cfr's) as not only part of the requirement of the job.....but also used to present the use of the regs by the officials in a "fair and consistent manner"!

Just because a law/regualtion/code isn't enforcable upon you as a citizen doesn't mean it isn't enforcable some where, some how, on some overzealous misinformed rights stomper wearing a uniform! mad.gif

Knowing more of what ANY LAWS/REGS/CODES say pertaining to the activity in question will better for the persons involved!

Want to look up some more on your own?......... Here is a great link to access all USC, CFR, PLO .....etc
GPO Access website

Guess that was more than a "couple" questions! tongue.gif laugh.gif
CP
CP
Thought there would be more discussions on this thread considering the inforamtion. jawdrop.gif

Anyone have any thoughts, questions or comments? anyone.gif

Or did this thread totally blow the mind? atomic.gif tongue.gif

faaus

CP, you ,ake some very interesting points in this post. The difference between regs and laws are very important for us to understand.

Thanks for that great post.

Heavy Pans,
faaus



QUOTE (ColoradoProspector @ Jan 27 2007, 12:28 PM) *
No more comments/questions yet?! huh.gif

Okay, I'll post a couple questions in.........

Regulations can not be enforced on citizens in place of laws....right?
So what are the regulations for? And how are they used?

Well it could be that if these regs are not used to regulate the citizens that they are used to dictate how the government and it's emplyees do regulate the citizens and or our public lands.
Let's see.......government employees are paid with our tax dollars.
So it makes sense that how they do their job and with what authority would be dictated by..........by what?

Ah yes.....the CFR's! The "C"ode of "F"ederal "R"egulations is in fact what contains the do's and don'ts for the government employee's job!
Which are backed by the laws as written in the USC (United States Code)

The regs may not be enforcable on us as citizens, but they are very enforcable to the government's employees who are directed through laws and regulations to know and use these regulations when doing their daily job duties.

Not only are they directed (as requirement of the job) to know and use these regulations, (cfr's, fsm, fsh....etc) they are also required by laws/regs to use them in conjunction with one another. IE.......43cfr (blm primarily) MUST BE USED in all mining decisions FS makes. But wait ....36cfr is for FS right?
Yes, 36cfr is for FS lands. And anyone who has actually read through 36cfr228 for mining activities on NF lands can plainly see that this subpart alone is not only vague but not actually about mining at all........just how to mitigate against it.

The parts they don't want you to know are that they are required (as government employees.....FSH, FSM) to do certain things, use certain regs, and FOSTER/ENCOURAGE certain rights!
Not prevent them!!!!

Another notable fact in the regulations are many "inter-agency agreements" (quoted in many cfr's) as not only part of the requirement of the job.....but also used to present the use of the regs by the officials in a "fair and consistent manner"!

Just because a law/regualtion/code isn't enforcable upon you as a citizen doesn't mean it isn't enforcable some where, some how, on some overzealous misinformed rights stomper wearing a uniform! mad.gif

Knowing more of what ANY LAWS/REGS/CODES say pertaining to the activity in question will better for the persons involved!

Want to look up some more on your own?......... Here is a great link to access all USC, CFR, PLO .....etc
GPO Access website

Guess that was more than a "couple" questions! tongue.gif laugh.gif
CP

CP
Thanks Faaus,

Seemed like all those quotes kinda fit here for "prospecting", even if it does make a long read. laugh.gif
Didn't seem that long when I posted it all....whew.

What else should be added here? anyone.gif

Denise
Great information Dan!

How about that it would be a great reference to print off and have in the field. wink.gif
Some of us cant quote laws and regs as good as others, but know its our right.
That way if any officials confront you about your activities, you can show them the print off
of their own handbooks/manuals, CFRs and the law.

It is their job to already know this information, but you would be surprised how many dont. There is even a directive in the handbooks that tells them as employees, they must know and use the pertanent mining laws, regulations etc when working with mining claims and the owners.
Its hard to argue with kind words and knowledgeable information, but they may try.
biggrin.gif

Everyone can also find more details on the CFRs, FSH(forest service handbook) and the USCs(United States code) in the
"Valuable References" section of the forums here.
happy088.gif

Stay safe out there everyone, and happy prospecting!
nm jack
emoticon-misc-004.gif Ok here is a question. If I'm dredging on my claim how much material can I move before the FS/BLM requires me to file a POO or NOI.
russau
QUOTE (nm jack @ Oct 16 2009, 07:45 AM) *
emoticon-misc-004.gif Ok here is a question. If I'm dredging on my claim how much material can I move before the FS/BLM requires me to file a POO or NOI.

they cant require you to file at all! remember the 1866/1872 mining laws!know what it says for your own protection and to keep from help setting a precident!
nm jack
Thanks Russ. I very seldom ask a question here I don't already know the answer to. What I wanted to know was what CFR it was under since the FS doesn't have a clue most of the time. There are too
many CFR's to memorize and besides I have CRS biggrin.gif
russau
search the 1866 and the 1872 mining laws. or over on the GPAA site and over on www.49ermike.com they already have a thred going on these laws. also Armidillo mining is selling the 3 DVD set of Hal Anthonys explaination of the 1866 law. i just sent off for it. there is just soooooooo much info in these laws that, just as Denise said, have a copy with you to read/referance from so you get it right and know what your talking about. i carry a binder in my trailer with all my different state laws/permits that i need. if i get questioned/told/ or asked about what im doing, i can easily pull out my binder and show them the facts/truth. but before you open your mouth, know what your talking about to keep from putting your foot in it! most forest /blm employees dont know what the laws are and how it applies to you and i or even to the land. they just know what the wants are from their boss or what theyve been told by some green agenda person!
Denise
No reason to send them to another site Russ. We have all that information right here in the CP forums. biggrin.gif Have for a long time now.
You can find all that kind of info in the "Land Rights, Laws and References " section of the forums.
Best of all its free, and open for all to read here! Im sure Dan will be able to help you out on that one Gary. happy088.gif
Hes great that way! happy.gif
CP
Thank you Denise, you are correct too. Most the information being discussed on all these different sites is actually quoted here, and has been discussed here since the conception of the ColoradoProspector club/website nearly 7 years ago. Wow time sure does fly by! greensmilies-017.gif
Good thing we can find this info here too, especially for those of us who don't have extra greensmilies-007.gif with the economy this year..........! biggrin.gif

So, even though there may be more responses at other sites.......the actual information needed to read for yourself is here, or can be found easily from here. The number of replies being higher on other threads/sites doesn't mean the information there is any better.
Funny, even the researchers posting at other websites see value of posting here too, and seem to be doing at least some, if not alot of their research from here as well. Why not you the people? wink.gif
That is what the ColoradoProspector forums are for......discussions of information that can be read for yourself in truth.

Great to see that so many are now following this train of thought too. The authorities work for us the people and what we need to do is read and understand what pertains to our right to prospect/mine! They aren't going to "tell us" how or what we prospect!

For NM_Jack's question............Russ stated it right, they can not require you to file either. The NOI is not something I would recommend anyone file as a miner. Unless you'd like the rangers to "determine" if you are creating a "significant resource disturbance" or not. stop.gif

When a POO should be filed is above in the CFR's.

All the answers to your questions are in this very thread above your post on page 1. Begining with the first post on Colorado state gov's definition for prospecting, and the CFR's you just asked about too.
Just gotta' read it. happy088.gif
As a claim owner, this is the kind of info you'll want to read up on and know too, for sure!

Basically from what you've said though, using a 2 inch" backpack unit or sluicing a few buckets.....you've got no worries. happy088.gif IMHO biggrin.gif

If you were to ever begin a large scale operation under POO that did create a significant disturbance, then there is also a Colorado aggregate extraction guideline pdf down load in the thread titled "state permits" that you would want to read over.

Hopefully everyone finds this information useful. Good luck out there prospecting everyone!
emoticon-misc-004.gif

CP
bottledigger
Great info, thumbsupsmileyanim.gif Thanks to ColoradoProspector.com. emoticon-object-018.gif
bottledigger
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

METAL DETECTING ON THE NATIONAL FORESTS

United States Department of Agriculture

Uinta National Forest
88 West l00 North
P.O. mx 1428
Provo, Utah 84603
801-342-5100

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 USDA.gov
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.

Sincerely,


PETER W. KARP
Forest Supervisor

Enclosure

cc Jack Troyer, R4 -- . Regional Forester


METAL DETECTING ON THE NATIONAL PORESTS

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
.4(a)).

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
property.


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
programs.

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
http://www.oasstjortintime.com
CP
QUOTE (bottledigger @ Feb 21 2010, 10:56 AM) *
Great info, thumbsupsmileyanim.gif Thanks to ColoradoProspector.com. emoticon-object-018.gif


Thank you bottledigger, we try very hard to keep valid information for folks to reference to when needed. Glad you find the information useful and hopefully many more do too. biggrin.gif Nothing beats having knowledge in the field to help get the job done! happy088.gif

The above post is ok and we'll leave it in this thread. Thanks for posting that up.
I'd like to point out to everyone reading this, even though the author had good intentions and is quite correct about detecting under the mining laws.......as a bona fide prospector in the field. But....... many of todays legal problems or issues stem from the combining of the words prospecting with recreational.
Although one can be a recreationalist prospecting for gold say, but a recreationalist outside of a reacreational area proclaiming to be a "prospector" while on "vacation" or "camping" under the mining law just doesn't cut the mustard in the field. sadno.gif
Matter of fact that is exactly what the government is trying to deliniate and regulate in most situations...... the recreationalists.

Where as, a bona fide prospector in the field has a much different vocabulary, knowledge, and actions used in the field. IE, they are not "vacationing" or "recreating", but are in fact "prospecting" (an actual step of filing claims and mining), as a bona fide prospector in his actions and acceptence of his own responibility in the field.

Recreationalists often do not have, nor care to learn, the laws and behaviors of a bona fide prospector......Thus we have many of today's "problem issues" and quite frankly if the prospector doesn't wish to learn or accept the responibility as they should be, then they are really better off in an actual recreational area with extra guidance/regulations.

This FS website page mentioned above shows exactly what I'm describing (officials attempt to regulate recreationalists). If you look it's not the National Forest Service's main webpage, it's the Uinta forest page. BLM websites are set up much the same in there is a national page, then states or regions that all have their own pages as well. Colorado's BLM Royal Gorge page has many regulations for the "Arkansas headwater recreational area" for example. Those regulations applied to the "Arkansas headwater recreational area" do not apply generally across the board for any other BLM lands, those national laws are already present for the bona fide prospector in the field.

I don't personally know details on the Uinta forest area but many of these webpages (like Colorado BLM RG field office), are geared towards these very high impact use areas and they are regulating multiple "recreational uses" for those high impact areas. I've also found that many of these are withdrawn from mineral entry too, so you can still prospect there but not file new claims. Not to say there are not claims within those areas because there very often are.

Well hope I've not rambled on too much but I wanted to show the point between actual laws and extra regulation due to recreational high use areas.

CP
Scratch60
QUOTE (russau @ Oct 16 2009, 08:59 AM) *
they cant require you to file at all! remember the 1866/1872 mining laws!know what it says for your own protection and to keep from help setting a precident!

I just visited the Fairplay FS office. They were pleasant enough, but I got a handout that (at the bottom) says "Anything other than panning; i.e. any activities that might cause significant disturbance of surface resources, falls into another category and requires a notice of intent with the Forest Service." (emphasis there's)
Can I just quote the 1872 Mining Act and keep shoveling gravel in to my highbanker? Somehow don't think that will satisfy the Federales. Has anyone on this forum successfully argued the point with a ranger?
As for the BLM, apparently, all they have to do is declare an area:ie Cache Creek, as 'acquired land' and its magically innured from the Mining Act of 1872 (see the BLM Royal Gorge site).
I think it could be argued as a tenant of law that regulations do not trump laws. Regulations cannot be used to negate or as lawyers say "vacate" a law. It's an end run around laws that were meant to protect the rights of citizens with the intent of restricting those very rights. Laws derive their power from the Constitution, regulations derive their power from bureaucrats.
Sorry about the rant, but until I can get the facts through my thick head, I'll put off buying that highbanker/combo.
russau
before you attempt ot throw the 1866/1872 mining laws in their face when stopped, make surewho owns the property your working! public land/state land/county/city land! the 1866/1872 mining laws only pertain to the public lands, not state/county/city. on these grounds the law is different!i keep a folder with the laws that pertain to where im at and in there i have my permits also. this folder is sorta thick cause i travel around to many states and need to have my paperwork in order if/when stoipped. its amazing how when they see how organized my paperwork is, they tend to back off!
CP
Hi Scratch,

The FS is not even authorized to regulate mining (see 36cfr scope) and on the Arkansas headwater recreational area those rules are specific only to that area which has been withdrawn from mineral entry. The rest of the states BLM land does not have those special rules like Cache Creek and the Arkansas river do.
Here is a thread about Colorado dredging and highbanking that I've explained a bit more about the Arkansas headwater rec area's special designation.

The FS officials will often say or even put out print or website information that is completely false and many times illegal according to the actual law.
Even though I've heard absurd things from the very same office's volunteer staff like......if you don't see any fences you should be able to prospect. rolleyes.gif stop.gif
But yes I've challenged rangers in that office (including the past head ranger) as well as other district head rangers and backed them off their personal opinions to find the law.
Do they go by the laws I've showed them in the past? .......... Who knows?! confused0082[1].gif

Good job digging in for the right information thumbsupsmileyanim.gif , I think you've got wind of how the FS officials will "help" find the right stuff. stooges.gif
Crusty
Today's thread posted to the Facebook page! Good emoticon-object-024.gif reading! :)

Olog the Ogre
I'm late to the conversation, but based upon another thread or two out there, I figured I'd better read this one.

I have a couple questions.

" While information gathered by prospecting
concerning mineral resources within National Forest Wilderness
may be utilized in connection with the location of valuable
mineral deposits which may be discovered through such activity
and which may be open to such location, attention is directed
to the fact that no claim may be located after midnight,
December 31, 1983, and no valid discovery may be made after
that time on any location purportedly made before that time.
"

What does that mean?

And then we have this one:

"Casual use means activities ordinarily resulting in no or negligible

disturbance of the public lands or resources. For example--

(1) Casual use generally includes the collection of geochemical,

rock, soil, or mineral specimens using hand tools; hand panning; or non-

motorized sluicing. It may include use of small portable suction

dredges. It also generally includes use of metal detectors, gold spears

and other battery-operated devices for sensing the presence of minerals,

and hand and battery-operated drywashers.
"

The last one would suggest that under the definition of casual, a small dredge does not require a permit. That's confusing because the BLM specifically requires a permit for any dredge work at all.

Also, all of this seems to revolve around the concept of "A significant amount of surface" changes. Well, has anyone been to Cripple Creek and viewed the mine up there? THAT is significant land damage. In one persons entire lifetime, even with an operation like the Hoffman's on "Gold Rush", that much damage could not be caused very easily. That mine took a century to get that big.

So my question would be, who sets these "standards" on what is significant? Some ecologist's would scream over a shovel full, others who are a little more industrial minded wouldn't consider "significant" damage until tree's fall down.

Almost the entire of Southern Colorado is built on prior gold mining efforts. Garfield, Monarch, Breckenridge, Maysville, Granite... all these towns are literally built on tailings. And there are a lot more. The Arkansas River is just one long tailings all the way from North Fork all the way down to Pueblo. How can we damage anything with small dredge's when those giant dredge's already destroyed the natural landscape over a hundred years ago?

Further, there are no "natural wildlife" in the Arkansas. We destroyed the natural ecology at the same time frame and all the trout that are in that river is bred in Salida. They can't even claim that small dredge work will disturb them because they don't belong here either! Plus it doesn't matter - if we accidentally kill a few fish, well a lot more will replace them by next breeding season. The river is too fast now for catfish because when they dredged it, they also straightened it - the damage is done and now they "mitigate" it, and yet they are clamoring over us? OMG.

As an individual, when I leave a site I always back fill, but I dig one heck of a hole. I try to move about ten yards a day by hand. By some people's definition, I am worse than a beaver but I just use a shovel and a pick - I have seem claims with less damage than I do in a day and they have machines. This whole thing is very confusing and there are no specific definitions.
johnnybravo300
The fast answers.....
You can't file a claim on protected wilderness lands after Dec31 1983, all that means.
Casual use is a definition used by blm and defined by law having to do with land disturbance I believe. It might be considered casual use to dig at clear creek, cache creek, fairplay public area, point Barr, wilderness areas? or any open space or public access. Special limited rules can apply. Usually these places are withdrawn to new claims.
Heck even on your own claim it may be considered casual use if you aren't making a mess? I don't know why that would need a name? Hehe

The amount and level of surface damage and eco impact you are causing is up to you to consider as a professional and responsible miner. Every mining situation is different. There are documents and applications and legal channels to follow in that case and blm will be more involved with the claim holder.

I am in no way a lawyer haha. Some of this may be my interpretation.
johnnybravo300
The casual use term is a strange one.
MikeS
I would argue the first clause Olog mentioned about wilderness is not absolute. Some of the individual legislation designating wilderness areas have written into them exemptions such as being able to establish mineral rights (stake a claim) for 20 years after the designation is made.

Although some states and agencies push for permit for dredging, the regulation mentioned is more in line with the law and I would argue the law does not prohibit "motorized sluicing" like it portrays in the regulation either(my personal take).

The larger mining operations mentioned are well beyond "casual use" and they are in most cases following proper plans of operations and other requirements.
johnnybravo300
I've only seen written approval needed for some dredging but not motorized sluicing. At least around here they consider dredging more of a disturbance I guess. A motorized sluice is still limited by shoveling ability and how much you can move in a day maybe?

A motorized sluice to me would seem like it could be a realistic testing tool for a possible claim so you couldn't really go get permits everytime you test somewhere.
I wouldn't hesitate to use one of them or a dry washer anywhere either.
Neither one does what a dredge does. They both take shovel work.
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