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Laws on Texas Coast Beaches

Here is an answer to an individual on the WWATS www.wwats.org site about metal detecting on Texas beaches and the state's Antiquities Code. I felt we can all benefit from my answer since so many are detecting the Texas coast this time of year. This should be something to put in your club's newsletter or handouts for new members. For if you get on-line it is very depressing what our state government has to say about metal detecting in Texas. Much of it is untrue and is there to scare away those interested in the hobby.
 
The Texas Antiquities Code is much the same as all the individual states in America, it was established to preserve our natural heritage (more specifically - found Indian artifacts). However, our government has found ways to also include most everything that can be dated 50 years or older. (50 year rule that our government follows is in direct conflict with the 100 year rule set be Congress in 1979 in the Archeological Resource Protection Act---ARPA). Makes you wonder which set or laws and regulations as American citizens should we be following??
 
In as much as we all are concern as to preserving our past, it seems at times our government is over reacting towards a simple recreational hobby as metal detecting that millions of Americas enjoy today. Yet many properties are still open to us to enjoy that hobby as long as you respect the property and the owner's rules or regulations. In short, "treat the property as if it is yours and respect it as you would request anyone to do on your own place". In Texas most all public lands are open for responsible metal detecting, like the beaches on the Texas coast and Galveston Beaches. Many of us have detecting them for decades now. Most of your rangers patrolling those beaches have enough common sense to know we are in fact helping to keep such beaches and other public properties clean by placing the trash we find in the proper containers when we leave.

There are areas closed to our activity such as the Texas State Parks, where we have been fighting for over a decade to open those parks to our activity on "public use areas" only that are already pre-disturbed. At this time 38 other states in America allow metal detecting and digging in such areas of their state parks, but not Texas. We will keep fighting and someday win our state parks in Texas.
 
Also, since 1989 our activity is allowed on beaches, swimming areas, playgrounds and some picnic areas of the Army Corps of Engineer's properties surrounding area lakes from coast to coast, this is the first nationwide metal detecting policy.

Of course, private property is usually the better place for our hobby as long as permission was acquired from the landowner first. Most of my greatest finds in my 39 years for detecting was found on private property.

Still today, most all the public parks, school grounds, and more will allow our activity as long as you respect the property. Many do not honor that respect, thus many properties are closed every year. Just remember that the Antiquities Code is only for public and state owned land, it does not affect private property as much as some government agencies would like for you to believe. There are many many places you can feel comfortable in enjoying your metal detecting activity, so good luck and happy hunting. Was glad to help. Visit WWATS site www.wwats.org or www.protecthehobbynow site to keep up on laws that govern our recreational hobbies and ask permission when on private property.


Keith Wills, Owner East Texas Metal Detectors

We saved our right to metal detect DCR Beaches!

 

As the WWATS Geocache Director I was sent this and I feel that this should be forwarded to all of my friends who metal detect. This appears to be a small victory for us. Please pass this along to your clubs as well other who enjoy our activity.
Robert Wright

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:48 PM, Roger Barbrick This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. wrote

To my metal detecting friends;
Today after I sent another email reminding the DCR that we were waiting for a response, I received the following email.

Dear Mr. Barbrick:
 
I am sending this email on behalf of Mrs. Ellen FitzPatrick who is currently out of office.
 
Thank you for your follow-up email. We apologize for any confusion and hope that this email can provide some clarification.
 
After receiving your latest email, I consulted with several of my colleagues in order to better understand the intent of the latest recommendation regarding our metal detecting regulation. As it pertains to metal detecting on coastal and inland beaches, permission from the park supervisor will actually not be required. I apologize for any confusion that may have been caused by the previous email. As for other non-beach areas within DCR parks and forests – where metal detecting is not currently allowed due to potential natural, cultural, and archaeological resource protection concerns – metal detecting will be allowed when searching for specific lost personal property with verbal permission from the park supervisor.
 
Once again, thank you for your continued interest in DCR. We hope this addresses your questions.
 
Sincerely,
DCR MassParks Team

So as you can see we will continue to be allowed to metal detect on all DCR coastal & inland beaches and without 1st having to seek permission, according to the above email. :-)

Below is the comeplete trail of emails ending with the above statement that we can continue to detect the DCR beaches.
Thank you all for your support and help in getting our message to the DCR.
We are not Vandals, we are Hobbiest that do much more good than most know and through our efforts I think we showed everyone the truth about what we do.
When reading the email thread below, start from the bottom and read your way up if you want to see what transpired.
Thanks again for helping me get this done! It wouldn't have happened without your phonecalls, emails and signing the petition!

Roger Barbrick (Dirtscanner)
Salem, MA

 Dear Mr. Barbrick:
 
I am sending this email on behalf of Mrs. Ellen FitzPatrick who is currently out of office.
 
Thank you for your follow-up email. We apologize for any confusion and hope that this email can provide some clarification.
 
After receiving your latest email, I consulted with several of my colleagues in order to better understand the intent of the latest recommendation regarding our metal detecting regulation. As it pertains to metal detecting on coastal and inland beaches, permission from the park supervisor will actually not be required. I apologize for any confusion that may have been caused by the previous email. As for other non-beach areas within DCR parks and forests – where metal detecting is not currently allowed due to potential natural, cultural, and archaeological resource protection concerns – metal detecting will be allowed when searching for specific lost personal property with verbal permission from the park supervisor.
 
Once again, thank you for your continued interest in DCR. We hope this addresses your questions.
 
Sincerely,
DCR MassParks Team
 
From: Roger Barbrick
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:25 AM
To: Palmer, Shaneice (DCR)
Subject: Fwd: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Barbrick
To: ellen.fitzpatrick
Cc: gary.briere
Sent: Wed, Jun 18, 2014 9:23 am
Subject: Re: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
We are patiently awaiting clarification of the DCR Beach metal detecting status. Recently 2 other detectorists were not allowed to metal detect on a DCR beach (Salisbury). Please update us on the status of metal detecting on the DCR beaches.
I was told that metal detecting would continue to be allowed pending a change to that status, but we are still being told not to detect on some beaches.
Could you please forward me the name and email address of the DCR staff or person chairing the rules committee?
Thank you,
Roger Barbrick
978-835-5679
Salem, Ma


-----Original Message-----
From: FitzPatrick, Ellen (DCR) (DCR)
To: 'Roger Barbrick'
Sent: Fri, Jun 6, 2014 4:31 pm
Subject: RE: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
Thanks
 
Ellen Smith FitzPatrick
DCR Community Relations Coordinator
251 Causeway St., Suite 900
Boston, MA  02114
PH:  617-626-1412   FAX:  617-626-1351
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:  www.mass.gov/dcr/
 
From: Roger Barbrick
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2014 4:28 PM
To: FitzPatrick, Ellen (DCR)
Subject: Re: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
 
Thank you so much for getting back to me. This is a very important matter to a lot of people and we will wait to hear from you, hopefully soon.
Thanks again
Roger Barbrick

-----Original Message-----
From: FitzPatrick, Ellen (DCR) (DCR)
To: 'Roger Barbrick'
Sent: Fri, Jun 6, 2014 4:04 pm
Subject: RE: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
Mr. Barbrick, I apologize for not responding sooner.  I did forward your message to the DCR staff working on the metal detecting policy and I’m waiting for them to get back to me with a response.  I will get back to you soon.  Thanks for your patience.
 
Ellen Smith FitzPatrick
DCR Community Relations Coordinator
251 Causeway St., Suite 900
Boston, MA  02114
PH:  617-626-1412   FAX:  617-626-1351
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:  www.mass.gov/dcr/
 
From: Roger Barbrick
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 9:53 PM
To: FitzPatrick, Ellen (DCR)
Cc: Briere, Gary (DCR); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
 
I was wondering if you saw my message and if you could please respond for clarification?
Thank you
Roger Barbrick

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Barbrick
To: ellen.fitzpatrick
Cc: gary.briere
Sent: Thu, May 29, 2014 1:59 pm
Subject: Re: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
Dear Ellen Fitzpatrick, I want to thank you for your response to my inquiry, however I do need some clarification if you don't mind.
In the paragraph that I have pasted below you stated a couple of things that the metal detecting community and I would like clarified please.
Am I to understand that recreational metal detecting will be allowed with verbal permission from a park supervisor and not just only to search for a "specific" item? If the answer is yes, how does someone get permission to detect on an ocean beach like Nahant or Revere, etc, especially in the evening  or very early in the morning? Metal detecting ideally is done by the majority of us at or near low-tide and that sometimes requires us to be there at unusual hours.
Thank you
Roger Barbrick

With regard to metal detecting, the proposed draft regulations issued last fall would have required written permission from DCR personnel for the purpose of recovering lost personal property.  In its latest draft, DCR is now recommending that this activity be allowed to continue on inland and coastal beach areas with the simple permission of the park supervisor and when it is not in conflict with other’s enjoyment of the beach or harmful to natural resource areas.  In order to protect cultural and archaeological resources and the natural landscape of many of our park and forest lands, metal detecting would only be approved in these areas when the metal detector is assisting a customer to locate a specific lost item.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: FitzPatrick, Ellen (DCR) (DCR)
To: 'Roger Barbrick'
Cc: 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. '
Sent: Thu, May 29, 2014 11:23 am
Subject: RE: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
Dear Mr. Barbrick:
 
On behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), thank you for your outreach and inquiry regarding metal detecting and for expressing your thoughts and concerns in reference to proposed draft regulations regarding this activity on DCR property. We appreciate your time in communicating with us on this matter.
 
As you know, DCR is in the process of finalizing a new set of Park Rules and Regulations that would consolidate a variety of regulations that were originally promulgated by its predecessor agencies – the MDC (Metropolitan District Commission) and the DEM (Department of Environmental Management). The consolidation of these regulations would achieve the goal of establishing uniform rules and regulations across the entire state parks system; thereby enhancing understanding among park visitors and simplifying enforcement for our staff.
 
In the fall of 2013, DCR publicly issued a copy of its proposed draft regulations (302 CMR 12.00) and posted these draft regulations on the DCR website. In addition, the agency hosted a series of five public hearings across the Commonwealth and provided a 30-day written comment period in an effort to solicit public input on the draft. This public process has resulted in a considerable amount of valuable public feedback that the agency thoroughly reviewed and considered.
 
With regard to metal detecting, the proposed draft regulations issued last fall would have required written permission from DCR personnel for the purpose of recovering lost personal property.  In its latest draft, DCR is now recommending that this activity be allowed to continue on inland and coastal beach areas with the simple permission of the park supervisor and when it is not in conflict with other’s enjoyment of the beach or harmful to natural resource areas.  In order to protect cultural and archaeological resources and the natural landscape of many of our park and forest lands, metal detecting would only be approved in these areas when the metal detector is assisting a customer to locate a specific lost item.
 
Once again, thank you for your outreach and for your input. We hope that this response has served to address your concerns. DCR anticipates moving into the next phase of the promulgation process soon. If you would like to receive automatic updates regarding this topic, we encourage you to join our e-mail distribution list by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and specifying your interest in receiving information related to the promulgation of our park regulations.
 
Sincerely,
DCR MassParks
 
From: Roger Barbrick
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2014 3:32 PM
To: Parks, Mass (DCR)
Cc: Hickey, William (DCR)
Subject: Metal detecting on DCR beaches
 
To Whom it may Concern;
I am writing this email to ask a question regarding the recreational use of metal detectors on DCR saltwater beaches. My question is, has metal detecting actually been banned on all DCR run beaches and if so why is this happening?
 
The reason I ask is because in early April of 2014 I was approached by a DCR Ranger and advised that metal detecting will no longer be allowed on DCR State Beaches, and that come July 1, 2014 citizens will start being ticketed if found to be metal detecting on any Massachusetts DCR run State Beach.
As metal detecting hobbyists, my friends and I have been allowed to enjoy the recreation of metal detecting at the local saltwater beaches of Massachusetts for as long as I can remember. Needless to say I was very disturbed by what the DCR Ranger was telling me and that has brought me to make this inquiry.
 
If this is true, I do not understand why this form of recreation should be taken away from the citizens that enjoy metal detecting. There are thousands of us that enjoy the hobby and follow strict guidelines and a code of conduct when it comes to metal detecting. We remove any trash that we find on the beaches and we conduct ourselves in a respectable manner. In fact there have been sponsored events conducted by organized metal detecting groups on Massachusetts beaches that have been enjoyed by many children and adults of this state.
 
I personally don't know of any incident involving a metal detecting hobbyists that would give cause to ban detecting on DCR saltwater beaches. As a matter of fact, I only know of metal detecting hobbyists helping others by returning lost jewelry and other items, while also removing tons of trash that they have found while detecting.
 
I would be very grateful if I could receive a timely response to this inquiry so that the metal detecting community and I know how to proceed.
 
Could you please attach a link to the relevant CMR or MGL. if one is available regarding a ban on metal detecting.
 
Sincerely,
Roger Barbrick
Salem, Massachusetts

 

ALABAMA - Aboriginal Mounds, Earthworks and Other Antiquities Act

 

ALABAMA

Citation: Aboriginal Mounds, Earthworks and Other Antiquities (Alabama Code §41-3-1 to §41-3-6); Alabama Cemetery and Human Remains Protection Act (93-905); Burials (Alabama Historical Commission Chapter 460-x-10).

Date Enacted: 1915, amended 1993

Summary: The Aboriginal Mounds, Earthworks and Other Antiquities Act claims state ownership of all antiquities in the state including mounds, prehistoric burials; prehistoric and historic forts and earthworks; and the materials contained within these resources. Non-state residents are prohibited from excavating these resources although private land owners may allow a non-resident to excavate mounds and burials on private lands so long as the artifacts remain in the state. Further, the law specifically states that excavation should not damage crops or houses on private lands. Alabama places responsibility for implementing its preservation laws in the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC), which is responsible for the issuing of permits for the excavation, relocation, and/or restoration of cemeteries and human remains. All permits are issued by the Director of the AHC after consultation and coordination between interested or concerned parties including, where appropriate, the Indian Affairs Commission and other groups representing significant cultural or ethnic affiliations. If burials to be disturbed for any reason have been interred for 75 years or longer, or the date of interment is undetermined, the permittee shall consult with the AHC. Any person who knows of the discovery of human remains and/or funerary objects on state or private land ceases any and all land-disturbing activity and notifies the AHC immediately. Any person who willfully or maliciously desecrates an American Indian place of burial or funerary objects on property not owned by that person, or injures, defaces, removes or destroys any tomb, monument or container of human remains, and invades or mutilates the human corpse or remains is guilty of a Class C felony.

Jurisdiction: All state and private lands.

Statute of Limitations: Not specified.

Areas Covered Under Act: Human remains and funerary objects.

Ownership: State ownership of all antiquities on state lands.

Review/Consultation Committee: Alabama Historical Commission consults with the Indian Affairs Commission.

Liable: Anyone who illegally disturbs human burial sites.

Penalties: Violations of burial law is a class C felony; violations of archaeological sites is a misdemeanor with fines up to $1000, or up to one year in jail, or both.

Exemptions: Not specified.

Permitting: The Alabama Historical Commission issues excavation permits.

TEXAS: Senate Bill 934

TEXAS: SB 934

As many of you have been following, Senate Bill 934 to allow metal detecting in Texas State Parks that did in fact pass in the Natural Resource Committee for the Texas State Senate, then went on to the Senate floor and pass there as well, with flying colors. We can thank Senator Jane Nelson This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for her hard work and dedication to see this Bill through. However, the next step was to introduce the Bill to the House during this session. House Representative Paul Sadler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. agreed to sponsor the Bill to the State Recreational Resource Committee and support it through the House. Next the Chairman of the Committee had to schedule the Bill to be read before that Committee, that was Representative Ed Kuempel from San Antonio area,

(Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), which we found out from Rep. Sadler that Kuempel was influenced by the Parks Dept. to not allow the Bill to be read before Committee. We also found out that there was ample time for the Bill’s reading to the Committee before the end of session.

Now by law, agencies are not allowed to vote on any Bill before a committee or influence that committee other than testifying before the committee. So what did we learn here?

  We learned that the Texas State Parks & Wildlife Department contacted the Sierra Club to testify in their behalf against the Bill before the Natural Resource Committee in the Senate. Just as the Director of the Texas State Parks testified before the Senate Committee as an agency, their counter-part the Sierra Club testified against the Bill. They were both defeated and the Bill passed in the Committee and on the Senate floor.

  Now we learn just how far the Texas State Parks & Wildlife Dept. will go to break the law and influence the House Committee chairman to not allow the Bill to be read before the Committee during this session. 

  IN SHORT---Our Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. “WILL BREAK THE LAW TO GET THEIR WAY”! This is called politics to them!

So in two years the legislators will meet again and we’ll be ready. Our plans are to introduce the Bill in both the House and the Senate at the same time. Again, more than ever, we will need your help. We must start all over in two years and go through the process again.

Please thank Jack Tipping This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for all his hard work to open the state parks for all of us and let him know he has all of our support in the future.

Thanks,

Keith R. Wills

WASHINGTON: Use of metal detectors in state parks.

WASHINGTON: 

WAC 352-32-235   Use of metal detectors in state parks.The use and operation of metal detectors, as well as the removal of small contemporary materials, is permitted within selected state parks as designated by the director or designee, in accordance with all commission direction on land management, and subject to the conditions and limitations specified.

     (1) The use of metal detectors is permitted only within specified portions of approved state parks as posted for public reference. Metal detecting may be allowed in an approved campsite occupied by the registered detectorist and in unoccupied campsites within approved campgrounds.

     (2) The use of metal detectors within a state park shall be limited to daylight hours that the park has posted as "open." No use shall be allowed during periods of seasonal or emergency park closure, except where otherwise posted.

     (3) Any person wishing to use a metal detector shall so indicate to park personnel at the park where the use is to occur, by complying with the registration process provided for such purpose.

     (4) Exceptional uses of metal detectors in state parks may be allowed through the issuance of a special recreation event application, available from the agency.

     (5) This section does not apply to commission employees while engaged in the performance of their duties.

     (6) Persons operating metal detectors in state parks and state park areas shall:

     (a) Observe all laws and regulations.

     (b) Never destroy or disturb park facilities, natural features, or historical or archeological resources. No item which is, or appears to be of historical or archaeological significance, may be removed from the site at which it was found. Any such find shall be immediately reported to park personnel, and the area in which the find occurred shall not be disturbed further.

     (c) Limit digging implements to ice picks, screwdrivers and probes not to exceed two inches in width and sand scoops not to exceed six inches in width and eight inches in length, containing perforations no less than one-half inch in width, to be used only on sand surfaces. Any holes dug shall be limited to six inches maximum depth and shall be immediately refilled and the surface restored to its earlier condition.

     (d) Properly dispose of all found or recovered trash and litter.

     (e) Conduct themselves with thoughtfulness, courtesy and consideration for others, and not interfere with other recreational activities. An operator shall not allow any emitted metal detector sound audible to other park users.

     (7) Any violation of this section is an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.


[Statutory Authority: Chapter 79A.05 RCW, including RCW 79A.05.030 , 79A.05.035 , 79A.05.055 , and 79A.05.070 . 00-13-070, § 352-32-235, filed 6/16/00, effective 7/17/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.51.040 and 43.51.180 (7). 97-12-042, § 352-32-235, filed 6/2/97, effective 7/3/97; 92-19-098, § 352-32-235, filed 9/17/92, effective 10/18/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.51.040 . 92-15-118, § 352-32-235, filed 7/21/92, effective 8/21/92. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.51.040 and 43.51.060 . 90-04-025, § 352-32-235, filed 1/29/90, effective 3/1/90; 87-08-007 (Order 99), § 352-32-235, filed 3/23/87, effective 9/8/87.]

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