Collecting Regulations

NARG gets numerous inquiries regarding the collecting regulations for federal and state land agencies. Here is what I've found out so far. Please let us know if you have additional information that should be included on this page.

  • Fossil collecting for commercial reasons is strictly prohibited on any state or federal lands.
  • Specific areas may be posted, or designated, with different regulations. Before collecting, check with the local agency office to assure compliance.
  • Limited fossil collecting for non-commercial, personal use on some public lands is legal.
    Fossil Type
    Managing Agency Plants Invertebrate Vertebrate Additional Information
    Private Land Permission Permission Permission All private land requires permission from landowner.
    United States National Parks Permit Permit Permit All collecting within National Park Service areas requires a permit, and these permits are only issued for scientific research with an approved research proposal.

    National Park Service:

    United States National Forests Yes Yes Permit US Forest Service
    Bureau of Land Management Yes Yes Permit Fossils of plants and invertebrates that are rare or scientifically important for research projects may require a special paleontological collecting permit.

    BLM Rock Collecting Guide

    Oregon State Parks, Forestry, and Fish & Wildlife lands Permit Permit Permit Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
    Oregon Highway Road Cuts Yes Yes Permit The Oregon State Highway system is included in the Oregon State Lands but collecting of fossils is permitted state-wide within highway right-of ways, unless excavation is destructive to the roadcut or it is posted "No Trespassing".

    Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries

    Oregon Beaches Yes Yes Permit Exception to Oregon Administrative Rules 736-020-0035: "In accordance with ORS 390.725, natural products of the ocean shore, such as agates, small amounts of marine algae, driftwood or souvenirs of the ocean shore, may be taken by any person, for their own, noncommercial use, from the State recreation areas as described by ORS 390.635, without a permit, except that no person shall collect any amount of natural product of the ocean shore where prohibited by state or federal regulation or right of private ownership."
    Washington State Parks, Forestry, and Fish & Wildlife lands Permit Permit Permit Washington State Division of Geology and Earch Resources
    Washington Highway Road Cuts Yes Yes Permit Collecting of visible common invertebrate fossil material is allowed but only along non-limited access highways. Digging or other invasive activity, removal of ground cover, trees, and plants as well as collecting along limited access highways (Interstate highways) is strictly prohibited.
    Washington Beaches ? ? ?