Missouri Cities and Towns that Prohibit or Restrict Detecting

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
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Have you ever researched a potential detecting place on public land, gotten all excited about it, loaded up, and traveled an hour or more to get there and discover that metal detecting or digging is banned in the park? I have. Or have you been detecting a park when a local police officer comes up and tells you that there is a city ordinance against digging in the park? Yep.

I would like to create a depository here for all known towns and areas where detecting and digging is not allowed by statute, ordinance, or rule. My goal is for all of us Missouri diggers to share our knowledge so that we may learn the towns to avoid and to concentrate on the places that are digger-friendly. Please comment and let me know of a specific city or park that bans detecting and/or digging, and I will endeavor to keep this post updated. Please try to include the city code or ordinance section if there is one.

Also note that in communities where the prohibition is posted in the park or on an online list of park rules but NOT in the city code, an officer still has the option of writing a citation for disorderly conduct or some similar offense. I urge everyone to obey posted prohibitions as they would an actual ordinance. Ignoring local laws and posted rules are a violation of the metal detectorists’ code of ethics.

The List:

ANY United States government land (National Parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, etc) - 54 U.S.C. § 320301–320303 and a whole host of Federal regulations.

National Forests – Allowed, with restrictions. Prospecting is generally ok and searching for modern items newer than 50 years old is ok. Refer to their fact sheet here for specific CFR and USC references: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5261774.pdf

State Parks, Missouri state conservation lands, and lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources – Section 252.045 RSMO; 253.035 RSMO; 3 CSR 10-11.110; 10 CSR 90-2.040
*Note* You may obtain a free permit from the Department of Natural Resources to detect the sand swim beaches at specified State Parks during specified times. See https://mostateparks.com/activity/metal-detecting

Clay County (ALL county parks) – Section 90.20

Wentzville City Parks – Section 220.090(2)

Blue Springs – Section 910.080 (Their ordinance specifically prohibits using a metal detector in City parks, not simply digging. Sheesh.)

Owensville City Parks – Sections 225.040 and 225.050

Independence – Section 13.01.005

Cape Girardeau – Section 18-7

Springfield – Section 82-1(a)(1)

Columbia City Parks – Section 17-52. However, the City will issue a free metal detecting permit that allows you to detect certain parks or areas. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to use a “probe” such as a screwdriver with a diameter no larger than 3/8” and you may not lift the sod in any manner. You are forbidden from using shovels, trowels, sod cutters, or knifes. You must also carry a bag with you to collect trash that you may find. See https://www.como.gov/ParksandRec/Activities_and_Programs/metaldetectors.php

O’Fallon – Section 225.070(I). Park policy states that detecting prohibited in certain areas. Restrictions on size and width of hand digging tools. ANY items of historical or archaeological significance must be turned over to city officials. See https://www.ofallon.mo.us/parks&rec/images/pubs/metal-detecting-policy.pdf (Note that the City Code section states that all items recovered must be turned over to city officials, but the policy only sats historical/archaeological and individually identifiable items must be turned over.)

Branson – Allowed, but with some restrictions. See. http://www.bransonparksandrecreation.com/files/1396392111_Metal Detecting Policy 3-1-14.pdf (These are actually common-sense restrictions that I wish communities would adopt rather than outright bans.)

Carthage – Allowed, but a park policy states that items of historic significance should be turned over to City officials

Marshall City Parks – Posted rule prohibiting digging

Sweet Springs City Parks – Posted rule prohibiting detecting (specifically) and digging. (I cannot locate their City Code online, and was informed that a paper copy of the code is available for viewing at the city hall during business hours.)
 

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Slingshot

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Apr 3, 2004
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Signs - lyrics by the Five Man Electrical Band https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tesla/signs.html

You will eventually come to the conclusion that the Status Quo feels challenged by your detecting activities, has made laws against such activities, and will send muscle to enforce their will upon you. In a final "Last Stand" set in the near future, a band of Merry Men, clad in forest green, will sally forth from Sherwood Forest at night armed with metal detectors and bent on a mission to recover lost gold, silver, and modern junk coinage from forbidden ground. The gold and silver they will keep, but the clad will be spent upon pitchers of golden ale. See Y'all at the Blue Boar Inn...
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
Detector(s) used
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab E-Trac, Garrett Super Sluice, Banjo Pan
Primary Interest:
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Signs - lyrics by the Five Man Electrical Band https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tesla/signs.html

You will eventually come to the conclusion that the Status Quo feels challenged by your detecting activities, has made laws against such activities, and will send muscle to enforce their will upon you. In a final "Last Stand" set in the near future, a band of Merry Men, clad in forest green, will sally forth from Sherwood Forest at night armed with metal detectors and bent on a mission to recover lost gold, silver, and modern junk coinage from forbidden ground. The gold and silver they will keep, but the clad will be spent upon pitchers of golden ale. See Y'all at the Blue Boar Inn...

That's quite a bleak view of the dystopia that awaits us. I would recommend that we begin stockpiling batteries and Chinese knockoff pinpointers now to arm us for the coming battles, but it seems all resistance is futile. I will continue to seek refuge in the sidewalk strips, water tower lots, and the free parks in the free communities of Missouri until the time of the Gathering.
 

materdigger1

Sr. Member
Jun 7, 2012
369
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Natchez, Mississippi
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Hey - I am from Mississippi but do travel to the Cape Girardeau area bout 2 to 3 times a year - do you know of any detector friendly areas within ah hour or so drive of the Cape area to detect and would anyone like to get together - I will be in Cape Girardeau on Nov 24th and 25th, 2017 - wanting to detect somewhere - any suggestions - I am very experienced detectorist for 16 years - can help anyone new to the hobby as well
 

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lucky92

Jr. Member
Nov 30, 2017
56
163
Jefferson City missouri
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I spoke with some one in the department over seeing road repairs and she said it’s ok to detect any where between the road and sidewalks, and an officer with the capital police said they don’t mind people detecting around the old prison, they are the ones that are responsible and patrol that area, i wish i would have gotten names,
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
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Add Washington to the list. City Code Section 130.090.
 

Missourian

Banned
Feb 16, 2018
1
0
Primary Interest:
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" Please comment and let me know of a specific city or park that bans detecting and/or digging, and I will endeavor to keep this post updated. "

Most any park will have a code against " digging "

" Ignoring local laws and posted rules are a violation of the metal detectorists’ code of ethics. "

There is no such thing as " the metal detectorists' code of ethics " There are countless versions floating around and none of them are official. You can make your own up and be as much in compliance as any other.
If there is no sign at the park ,just detect,unless it is a National Park or National Historic site where the rules are clearly published online. The best thing for the hobby is to not be seen and if seen to look very low key by not having a shovel.knee pads,finds pouch ect.
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
Detector(s) used
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab E-Trac, Garrett Super Sluice, Banjo Pan
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Most any park will have a code against " digging "

That is simply not true. In fact, most parks in Missouri DO NOT have any sort of prohibition against digging by metal detectorists. Now, I am not saying you can go in with a backhoe in your favorite park, but you can use a shovel or hand tool to recover targets.

There is no such thing as " the metal detectorists' code of ethics "

This is true, though every version that I have seen admonishes us not to dig where we know we shouldn't - where it is illegal. It is true that some in the hobby are not ethical at all, and will violate laws, personal property, and even what most of us would perceive as a "code of ethics."

If there is no sign at the park ,just detect,unless it is a National Park or National Historic site where the rules are clearly published online.

This is a terrible idea, and you run the risk of getting a citation or summons if you don't do your research into local laws ahead of time. Try that on Conservation land and see what happens. It is not good for the hobby when some idiot gets ticketed for violating a law or ordinance against digging in a public place, especially if it is publicized.
 

Tom_in_CA

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Mar 23, 2007
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midMoTreasure: Me thinks you are "swatting hornet's nests".

That is simply not true. In fact, most parks in Missouri DO NOT have any sort of prohibition against digging by metal detectorists......

Missourian is right: Every single park in the USA, at every single level (city, county, state, and fed) WILL have something about digging. It may not use the word "dig". It might use "deface". Or "alter". Or "molest", etc.... And all such verbiage pre-dates metal detectors. Drafted so that, of course, no one can go vandalize the park, spin donuts with their 4WD on the lawn, cut down the trees for firewood, etc...

And the only thing you accomplish by waltzing in and asking bored desk-jockeys about md'ing, is that they envision geeks with shovels. And will pass out the "safe answer". I mean, sheesk, that's the FASTEST way to get a "no", is to go in saying "hi, can I dig in the park ?" :BangHead: Then you'll find "no's" at places that ...... quite frankly ..... were never a problem before. Why are you swatting hornet's nests Bryan ?

Does this mean you'll never have any busy-body lookie-lous to differ ? OF COURSE NOT. Metal detecting has connotations after all (that you might be about to leave a hole). So the mere fact of an occasional scram does NOT mean to "rush around like a chicken with your head cut off seeking clarifications and permissions". It just means: Give lip service, and avoid that one lookie lou in the future.

Why can't you just go at lower traffic times and avoid such kill-joys ? Heck, it's gotten to where I do 90% of my nice-manicured turf hunting at night nowadays. So peaceful. So serene. You are simply NOT going to get red carpets rolled out for you in this hobby. And not going to get "express permissions" to dig. All you're going to accomplish is getting rules/policies implemented AGAINST us, if you continue swatting hornet's nests.

If you have filled your holes, stomped and fluffed it up, then technically you haven't alterED, defacED, or made holes, right ? Ie.: there's no "holes" (past tense) if you filled it in and left no trace. And I would apply this logic to dig vs dug too. Does that mean every last person will agree with those semantics ? OF COURSE NOT. Fine then, avoid them and choose a more discreet time. Like nose-picking: You can spend your entire life trying to convince others that it's ok. Or .... just choose more discreet times to pick your nose. So as not to offend the squeemish.

..... This is a terrible idea, and you run the risk of getting a citation or summons if you don't do your research into local laws ahead of time. Try that on Conservation land and see what happens. It is not good for the hobby when some idiot gets ticketed for violating a law or ordinance against digging in a public place, especially if it is publicized.

Couple of things to reply to this: Sure, if there's truly a law that says "no metal detecting", then by all means, abide. But if you're talking about ancillary catch-all verbiage (eg.: alter/deface, lost & found, annoyances, parade permits, etc...), then ....... no .... I disagree. You will not be able to give me any example of someone getting a citation or summons for such places. Unless they were someone being a total nuisance, who can't take a warning. Or night sneaking obvious sensitive monuments or whatever.

And sadly, when persons set out to do research like yours, they end up getting laws/rule/policies in place AGAINST us. Because: Guess what that desk jockey will be thinking the next time he's driving by the park and sees an md'r ? He'll recall the earlier inquiry and think : "Aha! There's one of *them* ", and start booting others. I've seen this happen before. And we've traced it back to well meaning md'rs who go in swatting hornet's nests like you're doing.

You can continue to make your lists if you want. Be sure to use words like "dig", "alter", "take", "remove", "cultural heritage" and "indian bones". By the time you are done, you will have a "no" on every single speck of land in your state. Then you can sit back proud of yourself. Meanwhile all the old-timers who never had a problem at most of those places, will be scratching their heads and saying: "Since when ??"
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
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Missourian is right: Every single park in the USA, at every single level (city, county, state, and fed) WILL have something about digging. It may not use the word "dig". It might use "deface". Or "alter". Or "molest", etc....

Tom, I respectfully disagree with you. Every single park in the USA at every single level DOES NOT have something against digging. I detect public parks, and the ones I detect do not have ordinances that include the words you mentioned - dig, alter, molest, deface, take, remove, cultural heritage, and Indian bones. In fact, as you can see from this list, it is just a handful that DO.

And the only thing you accomplish by waltzing in and asking bored desk-jockeys about md'ing, is that they envision geeks with shovels. And will pass out the "safe answer". I mean, sheesk, that's the FASTEST way to get a "no", is to go in saying "hi, can I dig in the park ?"

Again, I disagree with you on this point as well. Of the times that I have asked park or city officials, not a one has told me no. Most park officials are aware of the hobby and have observed detectorists out and about in their facilities. I will include the caveat that I have NOT asked permission from any of the cities listed on this post as they have the prohibitions on the books.

You will not be able to give me any example of someone getting a citation or summons for such places. Unless they were someone being a total nuisance, who can't take a warning.

You are correct. I do not personally know anyone who has received a citation from detecting in a public park where digging is prohibited. I do know a person who has received a warning in Columbia, MO and one who has received a warning in Cape Girardeau, MO. The point of making a list is so people know where the ordinances are in force do avoid getting cited. As detectorists, it is our responsibility to know local laws, and to be good ambassadors for our hobby.

I may be misinterpreting what you are suggesting in your post but I feel that you are saying that it is ok to detect in a park even if there is an ordinance against digging/defacing/altering/removing/etc, and that it is best to avoid people when you do it. Am I way off on my understanding of what you are trying to say? I think that sort of attitude is more destructive to our hobby than any violation of a local law. It confirms the impression that the anti-detectorists already have in their minds about us.

To counter your statement that research leads to more laws, I give you Carthage, MO as an example. Some wacky citizen was apparently bothered by detectorists and demanded that the city council enact a ban on digging in the city parks. Detectorists responded by going to council meetings and showing how most of us are ethical, responsible, and respectful of property. The proponent used your generalization that "all other parks don't let people detect," but the detectorists were able to counter with facts and statistics that proved otherwise. The town mayor later said that the proponent presented "exaggerated and erroneous information" to the council. The detectorists were able to prevent the ban.

I apologize if I sound argumentative to you. I think we just disagree on this topic, and it is perfectly ok for two people to disagree these days, despite what we see in our media and culture.
 

Tom_in_CA

Gold Member
Mar 23, 2007
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Tom, I respectfully disagree with you. Every single park in the USA at every single level DOES NOT have something against digging. I detect public parks, and the ones I detect do not have ordinances that include the words you mentioned - dig, alter, molest, deface, take, remove, .....

Really ? Tell me any park where you've gotten permission. And I'll bet that I can find something that forbids altering, destroying, harvesting, removing, taking, vandalizing, defacing, etc..... Or I can just simply call that city and say: "Hi. Can I dig in the park please? And take park features home with me ?" And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that I can get a "no". So as you see, it's depending on who you talk to, their mood/whim, how you phrase it, etc.... Ie.: Russian Roulette.

Hard to believe you've never gotten a "no". My hats off to you.

Also: At the other parks where you didn't bother to even ask (because you saw the evil word "dig" or "alter" in the rules), I'll bet that guys detect there and no one cares less.

For example: In my city, I have no doubt that if I studied the park rules long enough, I'd find something that .... in some way .... given the right semantics, forbids digging. Yet so long as you're not being a nuisance, you're ignored. So why rock that boat ? Why swat hornet's nests ?

No I do not consider any of those words to apply to us. Because if you leave no trace, then presto, you haven't made "holes" or "altered" anything. Why let someone else decide otherwise ? (who perhaps never gave the matter a moment's thought till you came in with the "pressing issue" for them to decide).
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
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Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab E-Trac, Garrett Super Sluice, Banjo Pan
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Tom and hillanddale - Thank you for your response and the debate. I am glad that we can have a civil conversation about this issue that clearly we see from different points of view.

Really ? Tell me any park where you've gotten permission. And I'll bet that I can find something that forbids altering, destroying, harvesting, removing, taking, vandalizing, defacing, etc..... Or I can just simply call that city and say: "Hi. Can I dig in the park please? And take park features home with me ?" And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that I can get a "no".

[All in Missouri] Jefferson City, Boonville, Holts Summit, Fulton, Tipton, Clarksburg, Otterville, Pilot Grove, Centertown, Jamestown, Russellville, Sedalia, Cole Camp, Missouri State Fair Grounds, Rennick, Prairie Home, Syracuse, Warrensburg, Wellsville, Montgomery City just to name a few. Some times, city employees and police will stop and chat, and they are usually interested in seeing the finds. You can get good information from them on where other people have found stuff and what they have found.

Also: At the other parks where you didn't bother to even ask (because you saw the evil word "dig" or "alter" in the rules), I'll bet that guys detect there and no one cares less.

Maybe, and even likely. But I am not willing to risk it. That is my personal decision, and I recognize that other detectorists choose to be less cautious. Others can't be stopped by any law or even private property rights. I think that is an individual choice that each of us makes when we go out to a public spot. You have an argument that if you cut a clean plug and fill it back carefully, then you have not "cut, dug, defaced, or injured" the ground or grass. I disagree, but I can see where you are coming from.

As Tom said - " It may not use the word "dig". It might use "deface". Or "alter". Or "molest", etc...." Look at the city codes. If there is wording there that covers city property ,it will include parks. Pay attention to the " etc" part of Tom's statement.

I have, and those are all key words that I look for.

Why was the wacky citizen bothered by detectorists ? That is what you need to know. You may have been able to avoid having to go argue your position if steps were taken to keep the issue from coming up.

I am not sure on this as I am about 3 hours away from Carthage (never been there myself to detect, but would like to). If I were to take a wild guess, I would presume that the wacky citizen is a liberal and hated anyone enjoying an activity that the wacky citizen did not enjoy themselves. Liberals tend to do that, whine to the government to ban an activity that they do not like or understand.

Look, I realize that we probably won't convince the other to change their minds. I will concede that if you are keeping to yourself and not causing a scene, then it is less likely that anyone will bother you. And I will concede to the both of you that I would be more likely to detect a park where the ordinance uses the words "disfigure, mar, or injure" rather than "dig or cut" because I believe, as Tom said, there is a stronger argument that cutting a neat plug does not harm the turf. All of the towns I listed explicitly prohibit "metal detecting" or they use the dreaded "dig or cut" language. I will say that in my research I have not seen the words "disfigure, mar or injure" alone without "dig or cut" in the ordinance as well. It is my choice to be cautious, and to share information with the Missouri community of detectorists so that nobody will be blindsided by a park official or cop who has had a bad day and wants to make an example of someone detecting in the park.
 

Tom_in_CA

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Mar 23, 2007
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Tom and hillanddale - Thank you for your response and the debate. I am glad that we can have a civil conversation about this issue that clearly we see from different points of view ....

Mid-mo-Treasures: You too have been more than fair. Thanx.

To me , as a past president of a club, I find this fascinating topic (to a fault, ha). Because I saw such issues arise first hand. And have seen the evolution of this psychology grow. Saw a person who moved to our city in the mid 1980s. He attended his first club meeting. When the show & tell portion of the club meeting came up, one member held up an old coin for his entry ....... saying: " .... found in Central park". The visitor raised an objection: "I thought md'ing wasn't allowed in central park ??". A few of us turned around, looked at him, and said "Since when ?" ??? Turned out he'd gone into city hall .... AND ASKED . See ?

It had never been an issue before (never occurred to any of us that you needed to "ask" in the first place). So now confusion arose among the 25 or so attendees. Wondering if this now meant we couldn't go to the parks anymore. Some of the old-timers said: "Nonsense. You can go to the park. No one cares". While the skittish said: "But .... this answer came straight from city hall. How can you argue with that?".

Dispute arose as to whether or not we go to "get this clarified", blah blah blah. But in the end, nothing became of it. And now, 30+ yrs. later, you can still hunt the parks here no problem. Provided you're not sticking out like a sore thumb and being a nuisance. So you tell me: Was it a good idea to have asked ? Should we have gone "seeking clarification" ? etc....

So after that experience, I began to wonder if this wasn't THE EXACT GENESIS of a lot of the supposed 'off-limits' spots we hear about. Ie.: did they begin by someone going and swatting hornet's nests? When they simply could have kept a low profile and not been bothered ? And sure enough: When I study a lot of stories, you do indeed find this to be true (not always . But ... just sayin' ...)

.... [All in Missouri] Jefferson City, Boonville, Holts Summit, Fulton, Tipton, Clarksburg, Otterville, Pilot Grove, Centertown, Jamestown, Russellville, Sedalia, Cole Camp, Missouri State Fair Grounds, Rennick, Prairie Home, Syracuse, Warrensburg, Wellsville, Montgomery City just to name a few......

And I'll bet you that in any one of those cities, I can find some language that .... standing on one foot and squinting real hard, can be construed to forbid digging and md'ing. And I'll bet I can go to those exact same city hall desks, and find someone to tell me "no". And then all I would have to say is: "Gee that's funny. Because Mid-mo-Treasure is out digging up the parks right now. Don't you think you should stop him ?" Of course I'd never do that. But am just saying you've been lucky in the Russian Roulette game so far.

..... You have an argument that if you cut a clean plug and fill it back carefully, then you have not "cut, dug, defaced, or injured" the ground or grass. I disagree, but I can see where you are coming from ... All of the towns I listed explicitly prohibit "metal detecting" or they use the dreaded "dig or cut" language. I will say that in my research I have not seen the words "disfigure, mar or injure" alone without "dig or cut" in the ordinance as well.....

Ok. So it sounds like you *do* see the grammatical sense of deface versus defacED. Ie.: that if you leave no trace of your presence, then ...... presto, you haven't defacED anything. Right ? But you DO have a problem (understandable) with the word "dig". Right ? Ok, since you've agreed with deface vs defacED. Then ask yourself, what is the difference between dig versus dug ? Only present versus past tense. Right ? THE EXACT SAME DIFFERENCE AS DIG vs DUG. Just present vs past tense. It's just that we don't say "diggED".

It's merely a spelling issue. Hence if you follow the logic on deface vs defaced , then you ought to follow the same present vs past tense with "dig". Thus I do not construe mention of "dig" to mean "no md'ing". Or "must ask can I".
 

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Ambam

Greenie
Jun 16, 2014
11
5
St. Louis, MO
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Thank you for posting the cities you've found clear evidence of restrictions. I'd like to add St. Louis County parks have restrictions on digging--they allow a probe only (in practice, no park rangers have had an issue with small hand shovels, but the rules say use a probe).
Have you looked at the rules for Maplewood? (in St. Louis). I've tried to figure out if it would be allowed, but was confused. I always lean towards NOT digging a public park if I'm unsure of the interpretation of the rules, but I also avoid asking "officials" if I can...
Most of the time if I'm out hunting, even in a public park, I just get a wave from the police or park rangers. Maybe a quick chat about finds. Even places where others have had issues (Forest Park, for instance).
Thanks for any information you can provide!
 

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MidMoTreasure

MidMoTreasure

Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2012
335
713
Mid-Missouri
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Unfortunately, Maplewood prevents digging or using any digging tools in the parks. See Section 36-80 of their city code. There is nothing against the use of a probe though.
 

transvamp747

Newbie
Sep 4, 2009
2
0
To Missourian "there is no such thing as code of ethics"

With due respect to you and everyone who agrees with you: you're wrong and in sure you will be willing to be in the right.

Code of ethics | The Federation of Metal Detector & Archeological Clubs, Inc.

In case we didn't know, we have a federation and would be great if you become a member. They have lobbyists in Washington who fight hard to preserve our rights. Aside from a minimal cost to be a member, it's imperative that we do our part and observe the Code of Ethics. This is how we can support the FMDAC to be successful.
 

Treasure_Hunter

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Staff member
Jul 27, 2006
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With due respect to you and everyone who agrees with you: you're wrong and in sure you will be willing to be in the right.

Code of ethics | The Federation of Metal Detector & Archeological Clubs, Inc.

In case we didn't know, we have a federation and would be great if you become a member. They have lobbyists in Washington who fight hard to preserve our rights. Aside from a minimal cost to be a member, it's imperative that we do our part and observe the Code of Ethics. This is how we can support the FMDAC to be successful.

Missourian was banned 3 years ago, he is Kemper, a troll banned on most detecting forums.
 

massey631

Jr. Member
Apr 25, 2022
35
11
Have you ever researched a potential detecting place on public land, gotten all excited about it, loaded up, and traveled an hour or more to get there and discover that metal detecting or digging is banned in the park? I have. Or have you been detecting a park when a local police officer comes up and tells you that there is a city ordinance against digging in the park? Yep.

I would like to create a depository here for all known towns and areas where detecting and digging is not allowed by statute, ordinance, or rule. My goal is for all of us Missouri diggers to share our knowledge so that we may learn the towns to avoid and to concentrate on the places that are digger-friendly. Please comment and let me know of a specific city or park that bans detecting and/or digging, and I will endeavor to keep this post updated. Please try to include the city code or ordinance section if there is one.

Also note that in communities where the prohibition is posted in the park or on an online list of park rules but NOT in the city code, an officer still has the option of writing a citation for disorderly conduct or some similar offense. I urge everyone to obey posted prohibitions as they would an actual ordinance. Ignoring local laws and posted rules are a violation of the metal detectorists’ code of ethics.

The List:

ANY United States government land (National Parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, etc) - 54 U.S.C. § 320301–320303 and a whole host of Federal regulations.

National Forests – Allowed, with restrictions. Prospecting is generally ok and searching for modern items newer than 50 years old is ok. Refer to their fact sheet here for specific CFR and USC references: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5261774.pdf

State Parks, Missouri state conservation lands, and lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources – Section 252.045 RSMO; 253.035 RSMO; 3 CSR 10-11.110; 10 CSR 90-2.040
*Note* You may obtain a free permit from the Department of Natural Resources to detect the sand swim beaches at specified State Parks during specified times. See https://mostateparks.com/activity/metal-detecting

Clay County (ALL county parks) – Section 90.20

Wentzville City Parks – Section 220.090(2)

Blue Springs – Section 910.080 (Their ordinance specifically prohibits using a metal detector in City parks, not simply digging. Sheesh.)

Owensville City Parks – Sections 225.040 and 225.050

Independence – Section 13.01.005

Cape Girardeau – Section 18-7

Springfield – Section 82-1(a)(1)

Columbia City Parks – Section 17-52. However, the City will issue a free metal detecting permit that allows you to detect certain parks or areas. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to use a “probe” such as a screwdriver with a diameter no larger than 3/8” and you may not lift the sod in any manner. You are forbidden from using shovels, trowels, sod cutters, or knifes. You must also carry a bag with you to collect trash that you may find. See https://www.como.gov/ParksandRec/Activities_and_Programs/metaldetectors.php

O’Fallon – Section 225.070(I). Park policy states that detecting prohibited in certain areas. Restrictions on size and width of hand digging tools. ANY items of historical or archaeological significance must be turned over to city officials. See https://www.ofallon.mo.us/parks&rec/images/pubs/metal-detecting-policy.pdf (Note that the City Code section states that all items recovered must be turned over to city officials, but the policy only sats historical/archaeological and individually identifiable items must be turned over.)

Branson – Allowed, but with some restrictions. See. http://www.bransonparksandrecreation.com/files/1396392111_Metal Detecting Policy 3-1-14.pdf (These are actually common-sense restrictions that I wish communities would adopt rather than outright bans.)

Carthage – Allowed, but a park policy states that items of historic significance should be turned over to City officials

Marshall City Parks – Posted rule prohibiting digging

Sweet Springs City Parks – Posted rule prohibiting detecting (specifically) and digging. (I cannot locate their City Code online, and was informed that a paper copy of the code is available for viewing at the city hall during business hours.)
You cannot get into trouble for scanning for Gold. It's alot of fun. You should try it soon.
 

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