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Metal Detecting In Iowa?
Understand The Law

Metal detecting in Iowa can result in you breaking the law. Be careful of the laws. Especially the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act) law.

ARPA

In addition to the above ARPA law, the State of Iowa also follows the strict ruling of the 1966 "National Historic Preservation Act", which states:

"The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was enacted in 1966 to protect the Nation’s historical resources from increasing development and expansion pressures by establishing a comprehensive national historic preservation policy. It defines historic properties to encompass a broad interpretation of American history and acknowledges significance at all levels, not just nationally. Furthermore, historic properties are now understood and appreciated as part of—not isolated from—the landscape in which they belong. Implementation of this act is mainly through 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 63, Determinations of Eligibility for Inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and 36 CFR part 800, Protection of Historic Properties. The regulations that implement the NHPA and their accompanying guidance documents formulate a proactive national policy on historic preservation. It specifically directs federal government agencies to take historic preservation into account in planning their initiatives and actions. Thus, the federal government is now a full partner and a leader in historic preservation."

MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT

"The NHPA defines historic preservation as “the protection, rehabilitation, restoration and reconstruction of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, or culture.”

As confusing as the above laws may seem, if you are metal detecting in Iowa?

Do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years.

Especially if you are on any State Lands.

If you want to detect on private property, then be sure you get written permission from the landowner.

For metal detecting in Iowa town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.

Reminder -No Metal Detecting in Iowa on State Lands. More information on the ARPA law can be found here.

Beach Areas

You can only use a metal detector in the fowling areas. Designated beach areas from 5/22 to 9/7 each year. Metal detectors are to be used only from the times of 4am to 11am each day. From 9/8 to 5/21 metal detectors can be used from 4am to 10:30pm each day.

Lakes that have been drained, or artificial lakes that have been drained or if the water level of any lake has been lowered for any reason, metal detector use may be allowed from 4:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. After the lakebed has been thoroughly surveyed for archaeological resources and a survey report has been completed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office can detecting once again begin. However, Please check with local park staff to ensure this has been done.

When metal detecting in Iowa on beaches theses tools must be used.

Probes that are no longer than 12 inches. They cannot be more than one inch wide and one-quarter-inch thick.

Sand scoop or sieve over 10 inches in diameter cannot be used.

When digging, the excavation must be limited to three inches square when using probes and 10 inches in diameter when using sand scoops or sieves. The disturbed area is to be restored as nearly as possible to its original condition.

Litter aprons or bags are to be worn or carried while metal detecting. All dug litter is to be disposed of in approved trash containers.

All items found are subject to the provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 644.

Owners of lost items may use a metal detector in areas where their use is normally prohibited only upon special arrangement with the park ranger or with the park manager in charge of the area. A written approval must be granted before metal detector use may begin.

Do Not Let These Laws Stop You From Metal Detecting in Iowa
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