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Thread: Wow, talking to State Government is like talking to a brick wall....

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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2013
    Fairmont, West Virginia
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    Wow, talking to State Government is like talking to a brick wall....

    So I had sent a proposal to my states Historic preservation board outlining an idea that I had for this summer. The idea was that since I am an avid genealogist as well as now getting into MD'ng that this summer on an already planned trip to find the homesteading places of my family that I would take along my metal detector and see if I could find anything there. I told them that I was even willing to share what I had found with local and state museums if they would be interested in some of my findings, since I am not into it for monetary gain just for the historic value of the finds. I informed them that I knew that there were state laws and guidelines to follow for such activity that had been put in place by their office. I just got an e-mail back from them stating that I could go and find the places and could run the metal detector but that I was in no way to disturb anything at the sight. They also informed me that, like I didn't know, that taking property from land privately owned was considered theft. They finished up by telling me that they were not lawyers and that I should contact a lawyer to make sure that I was within state regulations. They said nothing about obtaining the permit that is available here in West Virginia to excavate and remove which was really what I was looking for anyways. Sorry just wanted to vent a little about it. I really just do not understand why, if they are not going to these places and looking or doing anything to research or excavate why people should not be allowed to do it with their own time and money.

  2. #2
    us
    Oct 2009
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    Permit for what? Are you hunting on private land? Don't involve any level of government in your metal detecting, it will never end well for you.
    scotty544 likes this.

  3. #3
    us
    Apr 2013
    Fairmont, West Virginia
    Treasure Hunter VLF, Teknetics Alpha 2000, Garrett Pro-Pointer
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    Code Book: West Virginia Code Citation: §20- 7A-5 Section Title: Archeology; permits for excavation; how obtained; prohibitions; penalties

    Summary: Prohibits a person from excavating, removing, destroying, injuring or defacing a historic or prehistoric ruin, burial ground, or archeological or paleontological site, including saltpeter workings, relics or inscriptions, fossilized footprints, bones or any other such feature which may be found in any cave.


    Summary: Prohibits the disturbance or destruction, except as permitted under §29-1-8 and §29-1-8a, of historic and prehistoric landmarks, sites and districts identified by the Historic Preservation Section of the Division of Culture and History, on lands owned or leased by the state, or on private lands where investigation and development rights have been acquired by the state by lease or contract. Declares that a person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months, or both.

    Those are the state laws pertaining to digging anything that has historic value. Since the sights that I would be going to are from the mid 1700's and up I thought that I would just contact the state about getting the proper permit for anything that I may find. I have found that ignorance of the law is not a good defense, so I was just trying to stay within the legal guidelines.

  4. #4

    Dec 2003
    Western Schuylkill County
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    it's called greed

  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2013
    Fairmont, West Virginia
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    It is sad. I know that the government makes up most laws just so that they can line their pockets and such, and I even agree with most laws that are protecting historic places. I mean you really don't want people that are going to go in there and not at least put dirt back in a hole to be allowed to search. But I would think that they would see someone that was at least attempting to stay within the limits of the law as being someone that would not do anything to destroy something of importance. I don't know just frustrating. I wrote them back and informed them that I would continue on with my original plan of finding the places and that I would run the detector but not dig. I also told them that I would inform them of where, if found, these places are and that it would be nice if they were not going to issue me a permit to at least themselves look into it. By the way Jeff is that a Mason's ring in your pic?

  6. #6

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    I agree with Jason. I do not, for the life-of-me, see where you said you were hunting any type land within their jurisdiction, and/or "without permission" from the current land-owner. Am I missing something? If these were the "homesteading lands of your ancestors", then who's land is it NOW ? Only if it were a state or federal land, can they say something like that. You can indeed "disturb" artifacts, on land by which there is no law saying you can't. No, no need to "contact lawers" everytime any of us goes to a sandbox. That's silly. If someone is that skittish that they maybe can't detect in a certain place, they are welcome to look up rules for himself at said-place. If nothing says "no metal detectors", then presto, there you go.

    As for your noble effort to give finds to the govt. or museums, welcome to the harsh cruel reality of "artifacts and archies". You can knock yourself silly if you want, and try till you're blue in the face, but ...... archaeologists (who would be tasked with answering a letter like yours) are going to be diametrically opposed to any of us "yahoos" tromping about digging stuff up. EVEN ON LAND THAT THEY HAVE NO SAY SO OVER, they will still try to insinuate that you can't, and so forth.

  7. #7

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragg765 View Post
    Code Book: West Virginia Code Citation: §20- 7A-5 Section Title: Archeology; permits for excavation; how obtained; prohibitions; penalties

    Summary: Prohibits a person from excavating, removing, destroying, injuring or defacing a historic or prehistoric ruin, burial ground, or archeological or paleontological site, including saltpeter workings, relics or inscriptions, fossilized footprints, bones or any other such feature which may be found in any cave.


    Summary: Prohibits the disturbance or destruction, except as permitted under §29-1-8 and §29-1-8a, of historic and prehistoric landmarks, sites and districts identified by the Historic Preservation Section of the Division of Culture and History, on lands owned or leased by the state, or on private lands where investigation and development rights have been acquired by the state by lease or contract. Declares that a person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months, or both.

    Those are the state laws pertaining to digging anything that has historic value. Since the sights that I would be going to are from the mid 1700's and up I thought that I would just contact the state about getting the proper permit for anything that I may find. I have found that ignorance of the law is not a good defense, so I was just trying to stay within the legal guidelines.
    bragg, that would only apply to state lands, not other forms of land (city, county, and private). And as I read the OP's post, I don't see anything there to indicate that this is now state or federal land (unless I missed something in the OPs post?)

  8. #8
    us
    Jan 2012
    Garrett Ace250 Minelab Safari
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    Why would u contact someone other than the land owner is the big question. The poperty owner is the only people u nees to talk with if its on private property.

  9. #9
    us
    Apr 2013
    Fairmont, West Virginia
    Treasure Hunter VLF, Teknetics Alpha 2000, Garrett Pro-Pointer
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    Sorry guys I left out the part that it was on State land for the most part. Some of the places I have had a hard time of tracking down and getting any type of mapping for, West Virginia does not have that many online maps that show property lines for reference. Being as some of them were on state owned property I thought that I would just contact the state for the proper permit.

  10. #10

    Jul 2012
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    Amen Jasen! At least in the not so good for metal detecting old USA.

  11. #11
    us
    Oct 2009
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    7421 times
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragg765 View Post
    Sorry guys I left out the part that it was on State land for the most part. Some of the places I have had a hard time of tracking down and getting any type of mapping for, West Virginia does not have that many online maps that show property lines for reference. Being as some of them were on state owned property I thought that I would just contact the state for the proper permit.
    Well, that sucks for you that your old family land is now state owned. I understand what you were trying to do, but it's always like that. The state won't let anyone but an academic archie dig on their lands. What the state owns, it won't let anyone touch; well, until a friend of a politician pays $$$$ to take that unused state land and develop it into a strip mall to make even more $$$$ from.

  12. #12
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
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    ........And bury or destroy what's there without regard for it's historical/collector value......after we've paid for a study by the way.......

  13. #13
    us
    Jan 2012
    Garrett Ace250 Minelab Safari
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    If its in a remote place I would have at it.

  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2013
    Fairmont, West Virginia
    Treasure Hunter VLF, Teknetics Alpha 2000, Garrett Pro-Pointer
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    6 times
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    A few of the places are really remote. I think that I may have a peak if there is some sound that peaks my interest.

  15. #15
    us
    Feb 2012
    God's Country
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    Quote Originally Posted by dholland02 View Post
    If its in a remote place I would have at it.
    Be careful with those state rangers and conservation officers. I was once in a "remote place", some city property that bordered a state forest controlled by the DNR. Next thing I know, a conservation officer came out of nowhere to inform me that I was illegally detecting in the state forest. I got off lucky, but was informed if he caught me or anyone else again it would be very bad news. No asking for forgiveness there.

    My dad had a friend who was deer hunting from his boat on a river by 10,000 acres of federal owned property. Well he got caught. He was able to get his truck, boat, gun, and hunting equipment back....once he bought it all back at a government auction, after his legal fees.

    Indiana too has a "permit" to detect on state property. I never have found out how one would obtain such a permit, but I could imagine it would be impossible unless you were part of a state funded or college archaeological dig. Pretty soon it will be unting on private property only, as the major city parks around here are slowly banning detecting.

 

 
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