Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines!
US Forest Service:
Brief summary of restrictions:
BLM Rockhounding Regulations:
- BLM defines rockhounding as “the collection of reasonable amounts of mineral specimens, rocks, semi-precious gems, petrified wood, and invertebrate fossils.” Invertebrate fossils are remains of living creatures that don’t have bones such as corals or shellfish as well as common plant fossils.
- Generally, public lands are open to rockhounding unless it is at the National Monuments. Also, make sure to check the land you might be collecting rocks, minerals and fossils are in fact under BLM management since borders between different jurisdictions and owners are not always marked.
- The BLM regulations in Oregon and Washington limit the no-fee daily limit for collecting for personal use to 25 pounds plus one piece. The yearly limit is 250 pounds in total. Those include minerals, semi-precious gemstones, common invertebrate fossils, petrified wood, and other rocks.
- Only hand tools like shovels, picks, and hammers are allowed. Metal detectors are allowed too. Motorized, mechanized, heavy equipment as well as explosives are prohibited.
- A group of individuals can’t pool their yearly allowance to collect a mineral, rock, or a petrified wood piece larger than 250 pounds.
- Rockhounding is not allowed on developed recreational sites unless those are designated as rockhounding areas.
- For obtaining larger than 250 pounds of material you have to contact your local BLM office.
- Check with BLM for the current regulations and specific locations to find out if there are any are mining claims in the area.
- Rockhounding is restricted in Wilderness Area to the surface collection only.
- Native American and other historical artifacts such as arrowheads, pieces of pottery, human burial remains, etc. can’t be collected. Vertebrate fossils like fish, mammals, dinosaurs, or any other creature with a skeletal structure can’t be collected as well.
U.S. National Forest Regulations
The U.S. Forest Service permits recreational rockhounding on the most National Forest lands. Recreational rock collecting is defined as
- Collection of small amounts of widespread, low-value, relatively common minerals and stones (common quartz crystals, agate, obsidian) for noncommercial use.
- Hobby mining activities; such as recreational gold panning or use of metal detectors to prospect for gold nuggets and other naturally occurring metals.
- The U.S. Forest Service limits amounts of specimens up to 10 pounds. Some lands within the National Forest are closed for collecting due to wilderness designation.
- Contact the U.S. Forest Service for up-to-date information.
- Vertebrate fossils like animals, dinosaurs, and fish bones can’t be collected.
Archaeological items like fragments of pottery, arrowheads, etc. can’t be collected as well.
River and Creek Rockhounding Regulations
- If the river or creek is designated Essential Salmon Habitat you may collect up to one cubic yard of wood, rocks or gravel per year using non-motorized equipment without needing a removal-fill permit.
- If the stream is a designated State Scenic Waterway, you need a scenic waterway removal-fill permit to collect any materials. You can collect up to 50 cubic yards of material per year without a removal-fill permit for all other waterways.
Oregon Coast Rockhounding Regulations
- While a particular part of the beach might be a part of the Oregon State Park and follows regulations given below, there are some general rules for collecting materials at the beach.
- You can remove no more than a one-gallon container per person per day of agates and other non-living items such as shells, stones, and fossils and up to three gallons per person per calendar year.