Metal Detecting In Minnesota?
What Is The Law?

Metal detecting in Minnesota is allowed, except for inside State Parks. In addition, there is a Federal Law named the Archeological Resources Preservation Act, or ARPA.

I have stories of individuals who have been arrested for breaking these laws. Some, knowingly broke the law. When that happens, it casts a dark shadow over the metal detecting hobby.

Remember, I am talking about breaking these laws when going on to State or Federal lands.

Metal Detecting in Minnesota and ARPA

ARPA was the original law that protected Indian Lands, and artifacts from being stolen by individuals.

Even though ARPA does not specifically mention "metal detecting", you need to understand what ARPA says about digging artifacts. The ARPA law protects Federal or State Lands. When you are searching on private property ARPA has no control. But make sure you have permission from the property owner when you’re a metal detecting their property.

Also pay attention to the laws that deal with Indian burial sites in Minnesota. Basically, stay away from detecting and or digging in those areas.

Once again, if you are detecting in Minnesota, and you are on State or Federal Land, do not dig anything that you believe is an artifact, or anything that is older than 100 years.

For detecting in Minnesota, town, village and city parks, you'll need to check with those local officials. Many city, town, and villages have different laws or ordinances. Some have no laws, or are not even aware of any. However, it’s a good idea to check first before you plan on detecting in parks.

School yards are also areas that may be off limits. Again, check with the school before you detect.

Metal detecting in Minnesota State Parks is not allowed.


Many times I am asked if it’s even worth it to continue to metal detect, or to even join the hobby. People are afraid of the laws. They wonder if the laws have limited the amount of areas we can detect in, or if they will get arrested. My answer is always the same. DON’T QUIT. By quitting, or not starting in the hobby, you are giving into the people and organizations that want to ban metal detecting. If you quit, they win.

For years, I was verbally attacked and slandered by Archaeologists because of my metal detecting, TV series. 

Are You Interested In A Metal Detector Or Accessories?

Did you know that Minnesota has ghost towns? And they can be a great place to search for relics. Metal detecting in Minnesota ghost towns?

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