[meteorite-list] Fossils and Public Lands (10-23-01)
From: David Freeman <dfreeman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:47:10 2004
Dear Eric, Bob, and List;
I buy, sell and trade fossil fishes, petrified wood, and other local
rocks besides meteorites and Wyoming nephrite jade.
I have a verbal, and non legal gentleman's agreement with the local BLM
district office here (best that I could get then and since...). I am
permitted to purchase estate sale rocks with the intent for resale or
redistribution for commercial purposes (ie trade wood for fossil fishes
which I can sell for money to purchase more meteorites which I then sell
sometimes to buy more jade). I wholesale trade rocks with other shops
when I can as well. I enjoy the barter system for resupply when it is
I have no legal contract with the local BLM and at am the mercy of the
local district BLM manager and his ranger ( this is the same group that
the State BLM district three years ago told me to go ahead and file a
claim if I find a public land meteorite). Within the next year, our
district manager will retire and our ranger will transfer to another
So, I am rather like Moses, wandering around lost, and eating bugs and
honey. I am required to keep two piles of rocks, one which is my
commercial pile and one being my privately collected-for-personal use
only pile. I maintain my chamber of commerce membership and offer
exhibits to the local museums and educational facilities. I maintain a
positive profile in the community and don't get too big in my "hobby"
small business. I make small charatable donations at local events.
I am quite sure that if I were to become a full time rock purveyor and
start harvesting public land wood, or other rocks (meteorites...???),
(jade, fossil fishes~fish come from lease-dig at Kemmerer) without
proper blessing, that it would take twenty-four months of investigation
and I would be in legal proceedings with the Dept. of Interior.
As I see it now, we have enough laws to cover 'most everything, but it
is the interpretation that is vague and subject to the latest regime to
interpret and enforce.
(no shameless adds),
>In a message dated 10-Nov-01 2:21:05 AM Pacific Standard Time,
><< <<The proposed legislation would expand the right of amateur collectors to
>collect fossils on certain public lands and for the first time extend that
>right to commercial collectors>>
> That part looks good. Seems that the issue is being given careful
>consideration by the various interested groups. Yes? No? >>
>If you read the text of the bill you will see that the text you quoted above
>is incorrect. If you want to collect on federal property you must have a
>permit with the exception of a "casual collector". The casual collector can
>only collect for non-commercial purposes; i.e. he can't sell it or charge
>people to view what he finds. In addition if the item is a vertebrate or
>some nonspecific rare plant or invertebrate then a permit is still needed.
>If a permit is used to collect something then it belongs to the government,
>period, no exceptions, no compensation mentioned or required.
> So if you find a beautiful fossil skeleton you are supposed to leave it
>right there and go to a bureaucrat to file for a permit. After they decide
>if you are qualified to recover it (a specific condition of issuance) they
>will give you a permit and you can go to the expense of recovering it. At
>which time they will say thank you very much it is ours now.
> Alternatively they could decide you are not capable and issue a permit
>to a scientific institution instead and they, with nothing but time on their
>hands and closets full of money, will immediately fly out the door to collect
> OR - the casual collector will just grab a hammer and chisel and bang it
>out, take it home and put it on eBay. Unless he was caught in the act of
>recovery or said it came from federal property nothing could be done.
> Without compensation for permitted recovery this bill is fatally flawed.
> It will not accomplish what it proposes to do which is save as much
>scientific/educational material as possible.
> One other statement in the bill is that fossils are a nonrenewable
>resource. That is a significant difference from meteorites which are falling
>all the time.
>Show your support at the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund - http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/my-pay-page/PKAXFNQH7EKCX/058-5084202-7156648
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Received on Sat 10 Nov 2001 11:54:23 AM PST