Forest Service proposing limits

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Here's something that might be of interest to prospectors. Though this article is specific to North Carolina right now, how long might it be before this applies to ALL Forest Service land and to nugget hunters? They seek to prohibit possession or use of metal detectors outside of "designated areas". Who decides on the boundaries of the designated areas? Considering the budget crisis in DC and the necessary budget cuts that are definitely coming soon, perhaps they should consider the first cuts to personnel in the BLM and Forest Service. Just my opinion.

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Ouch... here's the issue:

“The second USFS rule would prohibit possession or use of metal detectors outside of USFS designated areas.

The agency said that many archaeological sites on the forest have been significantly damaged from treasure hunting, by those who loot sites to sell artifacts, and by others who are unaware that it’s illegal to disturb and remove artifacts from federal land without a research permit.

Additional information on these closures can be found on the forest website (www.cs/unca/nfsnc). Comments on this proposal should be mailed before March 15 to the National Forests in North Carolina, 160A Zillicoa Street, Asheville, 28801, or sent to “[email protected]

Seems FS doesn't much like public use of "public forest". They admit to alreadying having laws and regulations to stop and protect historical and archy sites. They are just unable to educate the public and enforce existing laws. Seems a piss poor way to manage public land. (It's like having a speed limit on forest roads, then also prohibiting any vehicles capable of exceeding that speed limit.) That's our new world, liberty (with sideboard limits) or socialism (telling others how to live). Time for MD folks to comment, and IMO you should also send those comments to your congressman and senators.

Good Luck & Keep Smiling...

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It seems the ideology of "if we can't enforce it then close it off" is becoming popular. In California they have suggested as part of the new regulations for dredging to close down remote area's because they can't enforce the rules. It seems funny to me though, because if you openly admit that you can't enforce it then a person can go about there business without much worry...

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One issue here is the mining laws. The right to prospect and stake a claim does not extend everywhere in the US. The 1872 mining laws that give us the right to look for minerals and file mining claims only applies in 19 of the 50 states! It includes the western states (but not Hawaii), and a few others, but not South Carolina.


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Chris is right on about the difference with the 19 Western States. Anything to the East is a whole different game.

In the East there is a lot of "split estate" issues. Mineral rights are "subsurface estate" and most land ownership in the plains States does not include subsurface rights (Ask the Wyoming ranchers who have had gas wells drilled on their land against their wishes). The situation gets more complex the further East you go.

The 1872 mining law has not prevented agency attempts at encroachment on mining rights in the Western States. Issues similar to those raised in South Carolina have been raised in many places in the West. Look into the Forest Service travesty outside of White Oaks, New Mexico or the takings by the State at Columbia, California. There are many many more examples, as there will be in the future. The history of prospecting and mining in the West is, partially, a study in the ongoing struggle to maintain the right to extract minerals on the people's land.

The recent attempt by the agencies in California to convince dredgers that waters on BLM or Forest or Public lands are "within" the State of California are doomed to fail in the courts. In the meantime they have convinced many dredgers that they are subject to agency determinations, effectively halting most wet prospecting.



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