Laws about detecting curb strips (AKA Road Verge) in your area.

tmac20

Greenie
Nov 20, 2020
15
26
Michigan, USA
Detector(s) used
Garrett AT PRO and Pro pin pointer
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
So I am curious to know if anyone has ran into trouble metal detecting around the curb strips (The area between the sidewalk and street) in your town /city?
I have done quite a bit of "Digging" online, and see that these areas are typically considered public property. However, I reached out to my local police department (in Ann Arbor, Michigan) for more info, they got back to me after 1-1/2 months with an email saying "As for public property, it would likely be okay to simply metal detect. However, actually digging up and taking items would be a different matter. For these reasons, I would suggest that you enjoy your hobby on property where you have the expressed permission of the owner". Well this kind of defeats the purpose of the hobby doesn't it? Also if the property is 'Public' can the police restrict this activity? I know there may be different laws State to State, but I see guys digging these areas on Youtube all the time.
Has anyone been approached by the police for detecting these areas?
Thanks
 
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cudamark

Gold Member
Mar 16, 2011
12,392
12,404
San Diego
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Primary Interest:
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See what happens when you ask instead of just looking up the rules yourself? You get someone's personal opinion instead of law. If there is nothing prohibiting metal detecting, it isn't illegal. Now, that being said, sure, you're going to run across people (both private and public employees) that will complain, or, tell you that you can't do that. If it's an official of some sort, just comply and come back another day and time. If it's private party, such as the land owner in back of that curb strip, just smile and move down the road. The only cop that has ever told me to stop was when I just happened to be in front of the mayor's house :censored:! The rest of the complaints I've received were the "land barons" who think they own that chunk of land. I tend to pick and chose which section I hunt. I generally avoid well manicured strips. They're less likely to have good targets, and more likely to get someone upset if I want to cut a plug.
 

NJearthman

Sr. Member
Oct 31, 2020
347
599
Central Jersey THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
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AT PRO, EQUINOX 600
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All Treasure Hunting
Great question!!! Don’t know of any laws prohibiting this in NJ. Personally just always feel skidish about any onlookers such as passers by, even in cars, not to mention the homeowner on the other side of the sidewalk peering out from behind their curtains. I’d rather detect far from the onlooking eyes of the maddening crowd. ����??? The white lie I thought of using if ever confronted anywhere while detecting is that “my daughter lost a ring in the vicinity” ��
 

nuggetdog

Sr. Member
Jan 29, 2014
255
321
Utah
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Equinox 800
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Any city property where I live is off limits to metal detecting due to some idiots digging gopher size holes at the fairgrounds and not properly filling them in.
 

worldtalker

Gold Member
May 11, 2011
20,938
28,618
Western Mass.
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Any city property where I live is off limits to metal detecting due to some idiots digging gopher size holes at the fairgrounds and not properly filling them in.

I lost out on a prime park where I recovered 16 gold,and,lost count of silver jewelry due to a stunt like that.
 
OP
tmac20

tmac20

Greenie
Nov 20, 2020
15
26
Michigan, USA
Detector(s) used
Garrett AT PRO and Pro pin pointer
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
I typically prefer to detect in more private areas myself, but I had a short window to hunt one day, and found 5 wheaties in a 20 yard stretch of sidewalk. Now I'm really interested in hitting those areas, but am fuzzy on the rules for this, and the police were not helpful.
I don't mind the occasional passer by that has a comment, but I guess I'll just play dumb if the cops ever do show up.
I like the lost ring angle too! :laughing7:
Thanks guys
 
OP
tmac20

tmac20

Greenie
Nov 20, 2020
15
26
Michigan, USA
Detector(s) used
Garrett AT PRO and Pro pin pointer
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Any city property where I live is off limits to metal detecting due to some idiots digging gopher size holes at the fairgrounds and not properly filling them in.

"One bad apple..."
 

Swaveab

Hero Member
Jul 21, 2015
635
669
Southwest PA
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Safari
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Other
If they don't cite the law then it's only their opinion. Just do it until the cops come to say you've violated the law and ask them to tell you which one. If a law then apologize and tell the officer you're sorry and won't do it again. (that day)
 

CASPER-2

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Jan 3, 2012
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we usually call them "tree belts" - yrs ago they either had trees or still do
in the early 80s there were 100s of hunters in my area and schools and parks were hammered
i started hitting them in older towns in the area and cleaned up - until others saw me doing them or heard from grapevines i was getting lots of silver and nice coins ...then others started doing them
try finding ones around parks and schools that others are afraid to hit due to being near traffic
ones near old parade routes
have done well on ones outside of old cemeteries
ones near old stores - real old candy stores
ones near old churches
was shocked at amount of silver found on old neighborhood ones
you should do good if you are in area that gets snow - sidewalks get shoveled and dumped on them
 

ArfieBoy

Silver Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,599
3,958
N.E. Oregon
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Compass X-70, Compass X-80, Compass X-90, Compass Judge 2, Garrett AT Pro
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In my town we call them "parking strips." The city owns the land from the sidewalk out to the street, but the property owner is required to maintain the strip. And, yes, many property owners think they own the strip. One of the best ways I have found is to ask the homeowner nicely for permission to hunt the strip. In their mind it is no different than asking to hunt their lawn, and many will grant you permission. But... some won't!
 

Georgivs

Hero Member
May 16, 2018
790
1,657
Athens Georgia
Detector(s) used
Garret AT pro
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
I just called my PDs regular non emergency number and they connected me to the department of public works. The person I talked to there was like "between the sidewalk and the road? yeah thats public property, knock yourself out!"
 

cudamark

Gold Member
Mar 16, 2011
12,392
12,404
San Diego
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
3
Detector(s) used
XP Deus 2, Equinox 800, Fisher Impulse AQ, E-Trac, 3 Excal 1000's, White's TM808, VibraProbe, 15" NEL Attack, 5X10 Joey, Steath 920ix and 720i, TRX, etc....
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I just called my PDs regular non emergency number and they connected me to the department of public works. The person I talked to there was like "between the sidewalk and the road? yeah thats public property, knock yourself out!"

What would you have done if the person on the phone said it was off limits?.........and there is no rule against it? Hunt it anyway, or, stay away based just on that one phone call to some bored and biased bureaucrat? Who cares what an unknown somebody says on the phone. It's what is written down in law that it should be based on. But, as my old tag line ("jus cuz it's wrote down, don't make it so") indicates to me, even then, it's not always followed in practice. You can follow the rules to the letter, and still find someone who will complain, or, have their own idea on how others should conduct themselves. Give them a badge and they can make things miserable for you.
 

tigerglide

Jr. Member
Jan 23, 2019
40
45
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
If the curb strip is maintained by the local municipality then I would say hunt it until you are told different...if this strip is in front of a house or in a neighborhood is maintained by the residents I would stay off without permission to detect in front of each house
 

IDXMonster

Hero Member
Mar 16, 2014
765
1,255
New Glarus,WI
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Past….Deus1, CTX3030, Equinox800, eTrac, Compadre
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
In my town we call them "parking strips." The city owns the land from the sidewalk out to the street, but the property owner is required to maintain the strip. And, yes, many property owners think they own the strip. One of the best ways I have found is to ask the homeowner nicely for permission to hunt the strip. In their mind it is no different than asking to hunt their lawn, and many will grant you permission. But... some won't!

I LOVE this answer and I’ll tell you why! IF I had a curb strip in front of my house, I would have to take care of it and therefore have more of a “stake” in it than some “random dude”. Now...if a random dude comes along and starts messing with it...I might not like that. Not because of what they are actually doing, but because they didn’t ask ME, the guy who has a bigger interest in it than him, to mess with it! Me being me, if a person got ahold of me and asked if messing with it would be OK, I wouldn’t care as long as it wasn’t messed UP.
The whole idea of ASKING the homeowner who takes care of it just seems like common sense. Even though they might not technically own it, why stuff that fact in their face while horsing around in the strip they just mowed? And IF someone were to say no....do you know how many curb strips there are? Too many for ALL of us to effectively detect in our combined lifetimes. Just ask the next one! It’s a really simple “out” without getting anyone else involved over what would seem to many police as a “petty matter”. What Arfie suggested is the only way to hunt with guaranteed respect for the hobby. We respectfully move along when asked to, we respectfully take care of the ones we are allowed to hunt. And as suggested...you just might get the entire yard for being respectful.
 

NC Digger

Bronze Member
Oct 16, 2015
1,362
2,069
Gaston County, NC
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Safari, Excal2, CTX
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I love hunting sidewalk strips. My town has no problem with it and I really don't care about the looks. I do know down in SC some towns won't let you detect them. Have at it until they tell you you can't and show you the ordinance!
 

nardo422

Newbie
Dec 18, 2022
1
2
My 'Script' if approached:

So, I'm actually legally allowed to hunt this area since it's owned by the city. Most people don't realize that these strips are an easement and not a part of their plot. Also, my retrieval techniques are fine tuned so you wouldn't even know I pulled a target once I'm done with the process ... I'm kind of like a 'dirt surgeon' in that regard. How about you watch me retrieve the next target I detect if I get a signal ... it's actually a pretty interesting process.

At this point, most will either appreciate the education and leave you alone and/or tag along to learn. If they insist on pursing the conflict:

I'm not trying to cause any conflict here ... just minding my own business and doing my hobby. That said, if it bothers you that much and you're not interested in me showing you the process then I'll just move on to the next strip. Thanks, and have a good day.
 

rogueaviation

Jr. Member
Apr 23, 2015
80
70
Grand Haven, MI
Detector(s) used
Whites Coinmaster, Whites MXT
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
My 'Script' if approached:



At this point, most will either appreciate the education and leave you alone and/or tag along to learn. If they insist on pursing the conflict:
That's a good script, Dude. Being nice never hurts. If the "landowner" homeowner is persistent, just go on the the next one. No sense getting in a scrape up for a chunk of land you can come back to later.

--Matt
 

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