New Member Intro


New Member Intro

Postby booker » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:01 am

Hello all! I'm new to the board, a PA native living in Maryland now.

Well, Maryland pretty much has the kabash on any prospecting activities. Maryland law prohibits collecting, defacing, destruction, and/or general disturbance of rocks, minerals, fossils, caves, archeological artifacts, plants and animals on State property, including State parks, forests and natural wildlife areas. Federal Land has the same restrictions (to the best of my knowledge). If you happen to get permission from a land owner you can do almost any non-industrial prospecting that doesn't involve chemicals, but any of the areas that I know of where it would even be worthwhile (beyond recreation) are public land. If anybody knows differently, I'd love to hear about it.

For example, many years ago, there were large gold mining operations all around Washington D.C., along the streams and feeders to the Potomac, throughout Montgomery County, just north and west of the District in Maryland. They've long been shut down, although a lot of the debris piles more-or-less remain. These piles produced massive amounts of gold and the mining companies didn't bother extracting the smaller flakes and dust. From talking to people who did work some of these areas 20-30 years ago, it wouldn't be impossible to pull several ounces a year with regular day-trips. Unfortunately, for at least five years now, it's all off-limits to dig, pan, whatever.

That said, I've turned my attention back to PA and Virginia. I've thoroughly searched the PA DCNR website, there doesn't appear to be a specific page that says anything about gold panning restrictions, prospecting laws, etc. Does anybody know, is current, official information available?

Re: New Member Intro

Postby PennRunGold » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:37 pm

You ask a tough question. I don't think you will find a any laws or regulations set in stone. Big Brother don't want you to do anything in their streams. Best to ask people in the area you plan on going to.
It's strange how much you've got to know before you know how little you know!
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:24 am

Re: New Member Intro

Postby susie q » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:41 pm

Hi Booker...I hope this may help some...Sue


Recreational prospecting is the search for precious metals, gemstones and semi-precious minerals. In Pennsylvania, hunting for gold is the most common form of recreational prospecting. Prospecting enthusiasts often hunt for gold at public rights of way where bridges cross gold-bearing streams using a shovel and gold pan. Prospecting equipment can be found at hobby stores, rock shops, metal detector retailers and hardware stores in areas where gold hunting is popular.

• Non-motorized pans, shovels, pan or dish-type hand classifiers and picks.
• Non-motorized sluice boxes, sieves, concentrators and mini-rocker boxes.

• Suction dredges with a nozzle no larger than four inches in diameter.
• High-bankers or suction dredge/high-banker combinations with a water intake no larger than two and one-half inches (inside) diameter, which are operated entirely below the ordinary high water line.

If you are planning to use a suction dredge or high-banker, you must first apply for a permit from the appropriate Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regional office. Applicants are encouraged to have a pre-application meeting with DEP to discuss the nature and scope of their proposed activities before applying for this permit. To ensure that the pre-application meeting is as productive as possible for both parties, applicants must be prepared to discuss the following issues:
The location of the proposed dredging.
The type of dredging equipment.
An estimate of the amount of material that will be dredged.
A plan for disposing of any excess material.
The proximity of any public drinking water sources.

When applying for a permit, applicants should also consider:
Stocked or wild trout streams with the following seasonal restrictions:
Stocked trout streams March 1 – June 15
Wild trout streams Oct. 1 – Dec. 31
Lake Erie tributaries Sept. 1 – April 30

The use of chemicals or other contaminants is prohibited.

The removal of precious metals, gemstones or minerals from submerged lands of this commonwealth in quantities which are commercially usable or marketable in conjunction with any permitted dredging activity is subject to the royalty and agreement provisions of the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. DEP’s regional offices can help determine if you are prospecting on submerged lands. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 3930-FS-DEP4099 Rev. 3/2009

If you plan to prospect on state game land, state forestland or in a state park, please contact the appropriate agencies before prospecting to ensure that you are familiar with their rules and regulations.

DEP permits do not convey any property rights. You must obtain permission from the property owner before prospecting on private property or public lands.
For more information, visit, keyword: Prospecting or contact:

Northcentral Regional Office
208 W. Third St., Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701
570-327-3574 Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union

Southcentral Regional Office
909 Elmerton Ave.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
717-705-4707 Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York

Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-0790
570-826-2511 Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming

Southeast Regional Office
2 East Main Street
Norristown, PA 19401
484-250-5970 Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia

Northwest Regional Office
230 Chestnut St.
Meadville, PA 16335
814-332-6984 Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango and Warren

Southwest Regional Office
400 Waterfront Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4745
412-442-4000 Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland

Bureau of Watershed Management
Division of Waterways, Wetlands and Stormwater Management
P.O. Box 8775
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8775
Fax 717-772-5986
susie q
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 5:37 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: New Member Intro

Postby Old_Festus » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:56 pm

I'm a new member also living in eastern PA.

Although this thread is 3 years old.... it is very useful in answering a few questions I have regard how PA looks at hobbyist prospecting. I'm interesting in panning a local creek for recreation and trying to do it without upsetting anyone. (government, conservationists and any possible land owners).

I need to research the matter of "public right of way" as far as areas where bridges cross over creeks etc, to better understand just how far you can legally wander to to each side of a bridge crossing etc. There are no houses around the area I have my eye on, so hopefully I can determine if there are any private land holders that I need to speak to.

Having just joined the discussion board, I sure some of my questions will have already been addressed.
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Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: New Member Intro

Postby goldlady » Thu May 02, 2013 1:50 pm

Welcome to the message board.
These are tough questions.........and no absolute answers.
Generally; public access from a bridge is ok.

But no prospecting in State Game Lands!!!
And you don't want to be in an area where they are stocking trout.
There are some property owners out there that believe they own the streams.

We have a meeting in Stormstown this Saturday, if you are interested in attending.

Good Luck,
Posts: 82
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:39 pm
Location: Central PA

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