Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Metal Detecting Prohibited in Georgia State Parks

Why is it so hard to find state regulations regarding metal detecting?

If you read the Georgia State Parks "Park Rules and Regulations" nothing is said about metal detecting. http://gastateparks.org/rules?s=14493.0.0.5&genstatic=1 

It is important to note that Georgia lists some thing like seventy State Parks in its system.

However at a January 13, 2015 meeting of the Upson County GA Commissioners, County Manager Jim Wheeless stated several citizens had inquired  about the use of metal detectors at Sprewell Bluff park. Wheeless checked with the Department of Natural Resources about the matter and was told the use of metal detectors is prohibited and anyone using one is subject to being a ticket for the violation.

“The only reason they could tell us is with the possibility of any artifacts in the area, they didn’t want them disturbed,” said Wheeless. “So, the use of a metal detector is prohibited.”

According to the DNR’s Rules and Regulations website, in reference to “collecting” anything from land owned by the state of Georgia, the following is stated: “All wildlife, plant life, driftwood, artifacts and any other natural or man-made features are protected and may not be disturbed or removed. Please leave wildflowers for other visitors to enjoy. Possession of metal detecting equipment is prohibited.”

On this website
 There is a whole page devoted to restrictions for both hobbyists and professional archaeologists.

When Is it legal for hobbyists to collect artifacts or dig for artifacts?
Surface collecting:
1. It is legal to collect artifacts from the surface of dry land on privately owned property if the land is not posted, gated, or fenced against entry. We recommend obtaining written permission from the landowner to protect the property owner's rights and to protect the visitor from trespassing. (OCGA 12-3-621
2. It is not legal to surface collect, dig, or metal detect on state property. This includes Civil War sites.  (OCGA 12-3-10(n), [12-3-52)

Digging/Metal Detecting:
1. With the exception of burials and associated objects, archaeological sites belong to the landowner. Landowners can dig archaeological sites - with the exception of burials - that are on their property. DNR recommends that you preserve any archaeological sites that you may own for future generations.

2. On privately-owned land, it is legal to dig for artifacts (including when artifacts have been found by metal detecting) if you have written permission of the landowner. All lands in Georgia are either owned privately or by the local, state, or federal government. This includes Civil War sites. Hobbyists and professional archaeologists alike must determine who owns the land and ask their permission first, before undertaking any activity. 

3. It is not legal to surface collect, dig, or metal detect on state property. This includes Civil War sites. (OCGA 12-3-10(n), 12-3-52)





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