Frequently Asked Questions - Rules/Regulations

FAQs - Rules/Regulations

There are state and federal regulations applicable to rock, fossil, and artifact collecting of which both collectors and buyers should be aware.

THE INFORMATION BELOW IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. WE ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY LEGAL ISSUES ANYONE REFERENCING THIS WEBSITE MAY BE INVOLVED IN. THIS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED A COMPLETE AND EXHAUSTIVE REVIEW OF STATE, FEDERAL OR INTERNATIONAL LAWS ON COMMERCE IN OR POSSESSION OF ANIMAL PARTS

No. It is illegal to remove ANYTHING from Yellowstone National Park. You would be surprised how many tourists are unaware of this, even though it is clearly stated in the literature one receives when entering the park. I recall one lady furiously recounting how a park ranger made her father leave a 30 pound piece of petrified wood.

Collecting is prohibited from National Parks, Monuments, and Preserves. Nearly all State Parks prohibit collecting with certain exceptions. Non-commercial collectors of wood on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land are restricted to 25 pounds per day, 250 pounds per year, with permits required for specimens over 250 pounds.

Vertebrate fossils may not be collected from public lands.

Without a permit issued by the governing authority, It is illegal to remove any Indian artifact from any federal lands. The Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) allows possession of: items found on private land; items in one’s lawful possession prior to Oct. 31, 1979; arrowheads found on the surface. Be careful when purchasing Indian artifacts- illegally harvested artifacts are subject to seizure without compensation to the owners. If you don’t know the origin of the item, it is best to not purchase it.

A fossil is defined as the evidence in rock of the presence of a plant or an animal from an earlier geological period. Fossils therefore include bones, petrified wood, coprolite, leaf imprints and dinosaur footprints. “Reasonable amounts” of invertebrate fossils may be collected from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land for non-commercial uses without a permit.

Many regulations exist regarding animal parts commerce. With few exceptions, it is illegal to sell, and in some cases illegal to even possess, endangered species animal parts. Commerce in animal parts can be a very dirty and unethical business. Do yourself and the animals a favor and refrain from buying animal parts.

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