Metal Detecting on a Land Trust

Metal Detecting Land Trust Explained

Metal detection is one of the best hobbies and professions for the nature wanderer, but before we let you out in the field, allow us to have the concept of metal detector land trust explained.

Metal Detector Land Trust Explained

Metal detecting is an excellent hobby for increasing our understanding of the past. While anyone is legally allowed to do some metal detecting, one cannot simply trespass to accomplish it.

An understanding of a Land Trust in metal detecting is to understand the power of research and consent.

If it’s occupied private land, the permission of the tenant and the landowner should be requested. If it’s public land, seek the advice of local authorities if you can metal detect it. Either way, having a formal and written agreement is an excellent precaution for possible issues later on. (source)

That’s why to have metal detector land trust explained to our readers; we divided this article into four categories – why land trusts exist, places you’re allowed to use a metal detector, places you’re not allowed to do so, and FAQs.

Metal Detecting Tip: Treasure hunting doesn’t mean making a mess, digging holes and destroying historic sites. Use some ethics and preserve history. Sharing pictures and documenting the location and researching the back story is the most important part of finding treasure. Read my article 👉 Metal Detecting Rules, Ethics and Laws

Why Land Trusts Exist

Especially for first-time metal detector enthusiasts, it can be frustrating to know that metal detecting isn’t only about finding cool pieces. Instead, it also involves lots of research on the lands you’re about to explore.

The reason why regulations on metal detecting vary per place is due to the different environmental values of the land and how such activity can hugely impact the area’s ecology. In addition, some places sought after as potential metal detecting sites hold sacred historical and cultural significance.

These are among the reasons why consent and research are such essential elements in metal detecting.

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I love the CKG Sand Scoop for Beach Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting and Beaches are a perfect match. To search a beach you’ve GOT TO HAVE A SAND SCOOP. CKG Sand Scoops are heavy duty and able to be used as a shovel.

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Places Where You Can Metal Detect

The first step towards having the metal detector land trust explained is having sufficient knowledge of the places where you can and cannot detect metal.

To start, places, where you can metal detect with proper compliance with their regulations are the following:

Conservation Easements

Conservation easements refer to converted private lands that protect a specific type of environmental quality. Although conservation easements work like nature reserves, they are usually open for metal detector enthusiasts.


Did you know that the United States is home to almost a billion acres of farmland? Aside from a staggering land area, many farmlands also used to be battlegrounds during the Civil or Revolutionary Wars – one can only imagine the treasure they might hold.

National Forests

Out of all conservation lands in the United States, national forests are among the few typologies that allow metal detecting. National forests are all over the country, and with over 2 million acres to explore, you and your metal detector are on a long journey. (source)

However, there are rare cases when metal detecting is not allowed in a national forest – when excessive logging is happening in it.

Public And State Parks

With captivating views and spanning lands to explore, metal detecting in public and state parks is the perfect way to bask in nature without setting aside your hobby.

Remember that public and state parks’ permission to go metal detecting varies from park to park. Some parks would have no problem with it; some would have certain regulations to follow, while some would flat-out say no.

One way to gauge whether a park would allow metal detecting or not is to check its environmental significance and level of conservation practice.

For instance, parks catering to endangered species or habitats would be less likely to welcome metal detector enthusiasts. On the other hand, parks with a generally good ecosystem would be more lenient.

If you’d like more articles about metal detecting check out the links below.

State Beaches

Although many state beaches are still under conservation protection, the good news is that they tend to have more flexible regulations regarding metal detecting.

Since most metal detector enthusiasts will only explore the sand, there’s a slim chance that your devices will harm any sensitive habitat or wildlife – especially if you’ve only dug a few holes.

Lands Under the Bureau of Land Management

If you’re looking for a place where metal detecting is not only allowed but also encouraged, you should look into the lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. If you’re looking for more direction on searching on BLM Land check out this article. 👉 Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land?

The federal management oversees around 10% of land distributed throughout the United States, making it a safe bet for metal detector enthusiasts. These lands are also accessible and are usually located along the road. (source)

Places Where You Can’t Metal Detect

Where metal detecting isn't allowed
Where metal detecting isn’t allowed

As exciting as these places sound, make sure to keep your metal detectors off of these lands:

Historic Sites

Metal detecting is prohibited in historic sites due to the possibility of finding historically valuable artifacts that the US government has already claimed.

Aside from being a source of artifacts, many historical sites are also owned by Native Americans and are part of their burial grounds. Hence, public access is prohibited on these sacred lands.

It would be better to prevent disputes treading your metal detector in historic sites altogether.

Metal Detecting Tip: After years of swinging my machine, I’ve come to realize find treasure is cool, but also having a conservation ethic is better. If you read just a little bit about the 1906 Antiquities Act you understand the idea of perseveration and conservation. Here’s a link. 👉 Antiquities Act U.S. Department of Interior

National Monuments

National monuments are built with the finest materials and tasked to protect the natural habitat. It is why metal detecting is generally not allowed.

The only exception when metal detection could be allowed is when looking for historical artifacts for academic purposes with appropriate permissions.

National Parks

These places are designed to protect their natural beauty and habitat, which is why even the slightest human interference, such as metal detecting, can be a big deal to them.

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  • You might be wondering what type of metal detector is best for finding gold. Read -> Best VLF for Gold
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Frequently Asked Questions

1.     Can You Keep the Gold You Found on Your Land?

Yes, you still own the gold even if you don’t have the mineral rights to your property. After all, you still own the property – at least from the ground up. (Source)

2.     Can You Keep the Gold You Found on Public Land?

Yes, although the government regulates the quantity of gold, you can keep it. For more information, you can familiarize yourself with the rules set by the Bureau of Land Management. (Source)

3.     What Happens If You Find Something Valuable While Metal Detecting?

Under the US Civil Law, the finder automatically owns any treasure found on one’s land. If it was found on another person’s private property, then it should be equally split by the founder and the landowner. (Source)

4.     Can You Keep a Treasure You Found on Private Lands?

Unless the original owner claims it, the person who found an abandoned, lost, or a treasured item gets to keep it.

If the item is declared treasure, the keeper should offer the item for sale to museums at a price regulated by the Treasure Valuation Committee. If no museum seeks interest in the item, the keeper can retain it. (Source)

5.     Can You Keep a Treasure You Found on Public Lands?

No. According to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, the government owns any “archaeological resources” found on public lands. It is especially true if the treasure is more than one hundred years old. (Source)

6.     Can You Keep a Treasure You Found on The Beach?

If you find simple trinkets on a public beach, you can definitely keep them. However, some private beaches require you to report any found items to their designated personnel. (Source)

7.     Can You Keep a Sunken Treasure?

Yes. Anyone who finds a shipwreck can claim its full ownership since the vessel’s original owner has given up trying to recover its remains. (Source)

One Last Sweep

Now that we have explained the metal detector land trust, you are one step ahead towards safer and more responsible metal detecting – creating more trust between the key persons and agencies involved.

Check Out These Spots for Your Next Metal Detecting Trip


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Read about David -> HERE

Want to send me a question – contact


  1. James Parker, “Can You Metal Detect On Conservation Land?”, Renew Method, June 24, 2022. Accessed August 26, 2022.
  2. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Metal Detecting in State Parks”, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, n.d.,areas%20of%20swimming%20pool%20complexes. Accessed August 27, 2022.
  3. Interview Area, “What is the Law on Finding Treasure?”, Interview Area, n.d. Accessed August 27, 2022.
  4. Rebecca McCarthy, “Metal Detecting on Your Farmland,” Barker Gotelee Solicitors, June 19, 2017. Accessed August 27, 2022.
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