Metal Detecting In Illinois?
You Should Know The Law

If you want to go metal detecting in Illinois, there are laws to follow. The most important law is the ARPA law which I will explain below.

You should also be aware of any laws in city, town, or villages of Illinois. Some of the parks may have laws against detecting.

The ARPA law is the main law that dictates how any of the following laws that have been written since ARPA can be implemented. It's important that you familiarize yourself with ARPA.

Individuals have been arrested for breaking these laws.

ARPA (Archeological Resources Preservation Act).

Visit my laws page for the ARPA explanation and some of the problems people face who break this law.

In addition to the above ARPA law, the State of Illinois 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."


"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, 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 Illinois town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials.

Metal Detecting In Illinois?
Know The Laws!

Metal detecting in Illinois on public lands or parks may be allowed. However, for each area you need to apply for a permit. You cannot remove any items of historical significance from the State lands.
1787 Colonial Copper found while metal detecting

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Do Not Let These Laws Stop You From Detecting in Illinois

I receive many emails from people who are upset with the laws that restrict our ability to enjoy the hobby. Many individuals just give up, and their detectors end up in the closet, never to be used again. That’s the wrong approach. What you should do if your considering quitting the hobby, is to stay with it. If we quit, the beauracrats, and the archaeologists who want to see our hobby destroyed, will win.

My home page is all about metal detecting in eastern ghost towns. Have you ever tried metal detecting in Illinois ghost towns?

Are You Interested In A Metal detector Or Accessories?

Buried Treasure Books

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