MDing in West Virginia Ghost Towns

George (MN)

Hero Member
May 16, 2005
All land is owned by someone and most places are considered private. So you would have to find out who the owner is and ask permission. If the land is owned by the state, it is probably a state park or state-owned forest. In many states they won't even consider a request to hunt, or detecting is allowed on non-historical sites only.

If land is owned by the Feds, no permission is likely & you many be facing very high fine or imprisonment if you detect there without permission.

If an individual or family owns it, you might be able to get permission. If a town has just a few people left, they might consider themselves owners of all and may say yes, but many are grouchy old people who don't trust strangers and value privacy.

Sometimes small cities that are semi-ghost towns can be a good place to hunt. If you see vacant lots, they could've been bought by the neighbor but in many towns where people abandoned an unsaleable house, the city took over ownership. Could be possible to get permission from city to detect all the vacant lots they own.

If a town is now a county park, rules vary by county.

I hope someone who has had success getting permission for ghost towns will write something here. Best wishes, George (MN)

digging wv

Sr. Member
Sep 16, 2007
Cabin Creek
Detector(s) used
Prizm V
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
A lot of land in the central and southwestern regions of W.Va. are owned by coal companies. There are numerous abandoned towns and they are not hard to find. Just drive up most any hollow. Unless the area is gated with "No Trespassing" signs just go for it. You will find that unless the area is active with mining you can go about anywhere you wish. Just watch out for mine cracks and abrupt high walls. I live in south central WV and have no problems dirt fishing.

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