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We have just learned, due to our nations First Lady’s pet project called “Heritage of America Program”, that ALL AGENCIES of this nation’s government has been placed on alert to protect America’s Heritage at all cost. Unfortunately, it is again left up to those government agencies as to what is or what are not natural or historical resources within this country’s heritage.

Of late, we have seen several serious examples of government agencies acting on what they thought would possibly get them “points” with the federal government. Once again these examples are focused on our hobby and the folks in it.

Example: On November 4th, Danny Macon plead guilty in federal court to an ARPA charge (16 USC 470ee(d) and 18 USC 3559(a)(6)) that was filed against him for stealing artifacts from Castillo de San Felipe Del Morro (or El Morro), a 16th century fort located in the park.

Note: In Mr. Macon case here, he was in fact caught stealing artifacts which our folks do not approve of and Mr. Macon is guilty and deserves his sentence of $5000 and one year in Jail.

Example: A new Alabama law designed to keep our state's historic artifacts from being sold by bounty hunters is getting its first test. The chairman and CEO of the Outdoor Channel was arrested in Selma Monday for allegedly taking a Civil War relic from the Alabama River. Perry Massie, Chairman-CEO of The Outdoor Channel was arrested for taking artifacts. A spokesman for the company released a statement saying, "Based on guidance from Mr. Phillips, Massie believed there was no problem prospecting where they were in the Alabama River. He was very surprised when he learned their activities were apparently not legal."

Example: Just this week a close friend was arrested for dredging a swimming area on a local lake. He was ticketed by the game warden and the next day federal officers showed up at his home and arrested him and searched his home and confiscated his relic, jewelry and other collections, including his car. All this because he had mention to the game warden that he relic hunts and occasional finds military buttons in old campsites. I personally will be working with him on this and reading over his paperwork and help him in determining what action he should take. At this time, I do not know if it has to do with any state or federal lands, but I know he is smart enough to stay off those places. I maybe Army Corps lands, I’m not sure at this time.

In short folks, Please stay off property unless you have “written permission” from the owner or manager. Please follow our National Policy with the Corps of Engineers (you can down load and print that policy off my Webster at: and if you have a question, ask the district manager, but carry this National policy with in your vehicle when hunting any Corps areas.) Why don’t we all just stay off Federal Lands until we are able to also get a National Policy with them as we did with the Corps. This was the reason why I went to Washington to visit with the Forest Service. We do not need anymore “bad marks” against us in the future, if our hobby is to have a future

Sincerely, Keith R. Wills, president

W.W.A.T.S.     Worldwide Association of Treasure Seekers

Forest Service Policy on Metal Detecting

Forest Service Policy on Metal Detecting

(A Letter Sent to Betty Weeks)

In part the letter says:

Normally, there is no restriction imposed by the Forest Service against removal of small quantities of rock and other geological specimens from the National Forest Systems lands. Indeed, we view this activity as a desirable educational and recreational pursuit to be generally encouraged. The one exception is a special use permit required for the removal of vertebrate fossils and significant fossils of scientific and educational interest.

Your desire to use a metal detector to hunt in the national forest is perfectly permissible, provided you respect the prior rights of others, create no significant disturbance to the land surface, and avoid disturbing historical sites. We suggest you visit the local District Ranger's office if you have a question about a specific area.

Please contact us if you require additional information.

Kenneth R. Johnson
Assistant Director of Minerals and Geology Management.