The information on this page is taken directly from the Bureau of Land Management’s website. Be sure to visit the site to make sure that the information given here is current and up to date.
Are You Allowed To Take Rocks and Minerals From Public Land?
One of the awesome things about living in the United States is that millions of square miles has been set aside for the public to enjoy. This designated area is cared for and overseen by The Bureau of Land Management, or BLM.
The mission of the BLM is to, “Sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
The BLM mission statement is true for all people who love and enjoy the outdoors, including rockhounds like you and I!
So Can I Take Rocks and Minerals From Public Lands?
The first thing to remember is to always, always be 100% sure who’s property you’re on. The last thing you want to do is get caught trespassing on private property when you think you were on public land.
Finally, to answer the question…yes. You can take rocks and minerals from public lands. But there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind. For example, you can only collect rocks on BLM lands if it’s for personal use and not used to sell.
How Much Are You Allowed To Take?
The Bureau of Land Management says that unless otherwise marked or posted, you are allowed to take up to 25 lbs of rocks, minerals and semi-precious stones home with you. They also mention that you can only keep up to 250 lbs of rock specimens per year.
Keep reading to learn more about the rules and regulations of keeping rocks and minerals on public land.
According to the BLM website:
Rocks, minerals, and semiprecious gemstones may be collected on public lands managed by the BLM without charge or permit as long as:
- The specimens are for personal use and are not collected for commercial purposes or bartered to commercial dealers.
- You may collect reasonable amounts of specimens. In Arizona, the BLM sets the “reasonable” limits for personal use as up to 25 pounds per day, plus one piece, with a total limit of 250 pounds per year. These limits are for mineral specimens, common invertebrate fossils, semiprecious gemstones, other rock, and petrified wood.
- A group of people does not pool their yearly allotment to collect a piece larger than 250 pounds of either rockhounding specimens or petrified wood.
- Collection does not occur in developed recreation sites or areas, unless designated as a rockhounding area by BLM.
- Collection is not prohibited or restricted and posted.
- Collection, excavation or removal are not aided with motorized or mechanical devices, including heavy equipment or explosives. Metal detectors are acceptable, with the exception of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
- No undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands occurs during the removal of rock, minerals, or gemstones.
- For pieces of petrified wood heavier than 250 pounds or situation not covered here, please contact your local BLM office.
- If you wish to obtain more than 250 pounds of rock in a year, please visit the local BLM office to arrange to purchase it.