Regulations

Collecting rocks and fossils can be a large part of what a rockhound does.  A responsible collector needs to know (and follow!) the rules.  Below is a listing of activities, and what different State and Federal agency you should be following in North Dakota:

Paleontological Resources Protection Act

BLM Rockhounding

USFS Collecting

ND Parks and Recreation Park Use Rules

National Park Service Recreational Collecting

Corps of Engineers Public Property

Bureau of Reclamation Subtitle B

Fossils:

  • The Paleontological Resource Protection Act:  fossils found on private land are the property of the landowner.  Fossils found on public land are property of the state, and may not be removed.
  • Bureau of Land Management – Montana Dakota
    • No removal or destruction of vertebrate or other fossils of interest.
    • Surface or hand tools only
  • US Forest Service – Northern Region
    • No permit required for plant and invertebrate fossils
    • Surface or hand tools only
  • National Park Service
  • Corps of Engineers
    • No
  • Bureau of Reclamation

Petrified Wood:

  • Bureau of Land Management – Montana Dakota
    • 25 pounds plus 1 additional piece per day.  No more than 250 pounds per year.
    • Non commercial use
  • US Forest Service – Northern Region
    • No permit required for plant fossils
  • National Park Service
  • Corps of Engineers
    • No
  • Bureau of Reclamation
    • No

Rocks & Minerals:

  • Bureau of Land Management – Montana Dakota
    • Surface rocks & minerals in reasonable quantities
    • Non commercial use
  • US Forest Service – Northern Region
    • No permit required for collection for private purposes of any rock, coin, bullet, or mineral which is not an archaeological resource.
  • National Park Service
  • Corps of Engineers
    • No
  • Bureau of Reclamation
    • No

Metal Detecting / Gold Panning:

  • Bureau of Land Management – Montana Dakota
    • Yes
  • US Forest Service – Northern Region
    • Yes – this is a low surface impact activity.  Shallow digging only.
  • ND Parks & Rec
    • No – (58-02-08-16)
  • National Park Service
  • Corps of Engineers
    • No
  • Bureau of Reclamation
    • No (Subtitle B, 423.28)

Archaeological  / Cultural Resources:

  • Bureau of Land Management – Montana Dakota
    • No!  Leave it be, do not disturb or remove.  Report any find.
  • US Forest Service – Northern Region
    • No!  Leave it be, do not disturb or remove.  Report any find.
  • National Park Service
  • Corps of Engineers
    • No
  • Bureau of Reclamation
    • No (Subtitle B, 423.28)