Forest Service proposing limits geocaches, metal detectors

| February 21, 2010 | 1 Comment
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ASHEVILLE — The National Forests in NC wants to prohibit leaving geocaches in Wildernesses, Experimental Forests or Wild and Scenic River corridors, and limiting the possession or use of metal detectors on National Forest lands.

Under the proposal, geocachers, which use GPS devices to locate caches as part of a scavenger hunt, would be still allowed to advertise and seek out “virtual” caches in these areas, which reference already existing features such as waterfalls and scenic vistas.

One popular area that would be affected by this rule is the Bent Creek Experimental Forest near Asheville. A list of all affected areas is posted on the forest website (www.cs/unca/nfsnc).

The agency said the order will protect the wild values found in the wildnerness and on designated rivers and will avoid items conflicting with research activities.

Federal regulations already require geocachers get permission from the local ranger district office prior to leaving a cache anywhere on the forest.

The agency said in one recent incident, an unmarked and unapproved geocache was left in an ammunition box not far from Asheville. The geocache appeared to be a threat to public safety and cost law enforcement personnel a lot of time investigating it, the forest service said.

Detailed information on geocaching requirements can also be found on the forest website.

The second rule would prohibit possession or use of metal detectors outside of designated areas.

The agency said that many archaeological sites on the forest have been significantly damaged from treasure hunting, by those who loot sites to sell artifacts, and by others who are unaware that it’s illegal to disturb and remove artifacts from federal land without a research permit.

Several forest areas have been identified that would remain open to recreational metal detecting for modern items like coins – primarily swimming beaches. These include Lake Powhatan Swim Beach, Jackrabbit Swim beach, Cheoah Point Swim Beach, Flanners Beach (Croatan NF) and Kings Mountain Point Beach (Uwharrie NF). Permission for one-time use of metal detectors to help find lost personal property could still be granted by Forest Officers.

Additional information on these closures can be found on the forest website (www.cs/unca/nfsnc). Comments on this proposal should be mailed before March 15 to the National Forests in North Carolina, 160A Zillicoa Street, Asheville, 28801, or sent to “”

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Category: General Topics, Legislative Actions, Treasures Headlines

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  1. coinseeker says:

    At the rate we are seeing the public will not be able to use public lands. We will only enjoy it in books, TV and pictures. When will the insanity end!

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