Metal Detecting In Wisconsin?
You Should Know The Law
Metal detecting in Wisconsin follows the ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act).
Please click on the link below for the ARPA explanation and some of the problems people face who break this law.
Be sure and read through the entire page.
Even though ARPA does not specifically mention "metal detecting", you need to understand what ARPA says about digging artifacts.
Pay particular attention to the section of stories that have been related to me about what happens when individuals break these laws.
ARPA and YOU
Code Book: Wisconsin Statutes Citation: § 23.095, § 23.79 Section Title: Protection of natural resources: prohibitions; penalties; exceptions; judgment
(§23.095)(1m) Prohibits a person from damaging or attempting to damage natural resources or archeological features located on state-owned lands under the supervision, management or control of the Department of Natural Resources except as authorized by the department, excluding state-owned lands that are beds of navigable waters. (2m) Prohibits a person from damaging any natural resource or archeological feature located in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. (3)(b) Declares that any person who damages or attempts to damage an archeological feature under (1m) or (2m) shall forfeit not more than $200. (3)(c) Declares that a person who violates (1m) or (2m) and the violation involves damaging or attempting to damage a natural resource and the violation occurs on land in a state natural area, as defined in s. 23.27(1)(h), shall forfeit not more than $2,000. (3)(d)(1) Declares that a person who violates (1m) or (2m) and the violation involves damaging or attempting to damage an archeological feature shall forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $10,000. (3)(d)(2) Declares that a person who violates (1m) or (2m) and the violation involves intentionally damaging or intentionally attempting to damage an archeological feature shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both. (3)(d)(3) Declares that a person who violates (2m) and the violation involves intentionally damaging or attempting to damage an archeological feature in the pursuit of commercial gain shall, in addition to the penalty imposed under (3)(d)(2), be fined an amount two times the gross value gained or the gross loss caused by the violation, whichever is the greater, plus court costs and the costs of investigation and prosecution, reasonably incurred. (4)(b) Exempts any person who damages a natural resource or an archeological feature by the discharge of a hazardous substance from responsibility under this section unless the damage was caused by intent. Allows the court to order the restoration of the archeological feature. (§23.79)(3) Enables the court to order restoration of an archeological feature subject to the prohibition under §23.095(1m).
Code Book: Wisconsin Statutes Citation: § 29.921, § 29.927, § 29.931 Section Title: Department of Natural Resources--enforcement regarding archeology: arrests and warrants; public nuisances; seizures
(§29.921)(2) Enables the Department of Natural Resources and its wardens to serve warrants and processes or to arrest any person, with or without a warrant, for violation or suspected violation of §44.47 (archeological investigation on land owned by the state or a political subdivision without a permit issued by the State Historical Society) occurring on the bed of any stream or lake. Enables any warden to stop and board any boat, automobile, snowmobile or other vehicle if the warden suspects that there is a violation of §44.47. (§29.927)(11) Declares to be a public nuisance any vehicle, remote sensing equipment, navigational device, survey equipment, scuba gear or other equipment or device used in the commission of a crime relating to a submerged cultural resource in violation of §44.47. (§29.931)(2)(a) Directs the Department of Natural Resources and its wardens to seize and hold subject to the order of the county court any apparatus, appliance, equipment, vehicle or device that has been declared by §29.03 to be a public nuisance which is being used in he commission of a crime relating to a submerged cultural resource in violation of §44.47. Enables the court to order confiscation of such public nuisance if it is proved that it was used in the commission of a crime relating to a submerged cultural resource within the previous six months.
In addition to the above ARPA law, if you are metal detecting in Wisconsin, Wisconsin also has a law that deals with the Department of Natural Resources.
Metal detector use is permitted only: · on unturfed areas or · on beaches or · on unturfed shoreline below the ordinary high water level or · when locating a specific item lost by a property user or · when specifically authorized by the State Archaeologist on a planned project.
Please click here to view that law.
Wisconsin like every State has another law that you should understand, the National Historic Preservation Act. (NHPA)
NHPA of Wisconsin
If you are metal detecting in Wisconsin, on land that is not privately owned,
do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than ugh 100 years.
If you are metal detecting in Wisconsin on private property, be sure you get written permission from the landowner.
For detecting in Wisconsin, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.
I cannot be responsible for any outdated laws from the time of this posting.
My home page is all about metal detecting in eastern ghost towns.