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Natural Park California Fossil Laws


Thecosmilia Trichitoma

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma

I have been looking into a new fossil site exposing the Bay Point Formation in San Diego, CA. I want to see if it would be legal for me to go collecting there, as it looks like it could be a good exposure. The signs around it say that it is a "Natural Park commissioned by the City of San Diego." I couldn't find anything on Natural Park fossil laws when I looked them up. Does anyone know of the regulations of them?

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma
1 minute ago, DPS Ammonite said:

Contact the City of San Diego and ask them to cite the regulations and where to find them.

How do you do that? Which department should I contact?

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Parks & Recreation.  ;)

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma

My message to the park division was not able to come through. I think I won't collect there unless I see specific regulation that says otherwise; it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma

Thank you! It is illegal to collect there then. " Defacing rocks, structures, or property is prohibited [SDMC 63.0102(b)(5)]."

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
8 hours ago, Thecosmilia Trichitoma said:

Thank you! It is illegal to collect there then. " Defacing rocks, structures, or property is prohibited [SDMC 63.0102(b)(5)]."

 

I'd say that's not actually the one you need to be concerned about. I mean, there's always the chance something already detached and is just lying around - i.e., a fossil that has naturally weathered out. However, when taken in combination with "Collection or destruction of any natural feature is prohibited [SDMC 63.0102(b)(4)]", I'd say that even picking up a loose fossil would not be allowed. That's the one that is the most restrictive.

 

I'm mentioning this, as at a lot of coastal sites here in France collection is permitted/tolerated (not quite sure which, and may differ from site to site), as long as you don't chop anything out of the cliffs or shelves. Thus, the distinction between these two pertinent. Not that it changes anything in your situation, though :Confused05:

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma
5 hours ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

I'd say that's not actually the one you need to be concerned about. I mean, there's always the chance something already detached and is just lying around - i.e., a fossil that has naturally weathered out. However, when taken in combination with "Collection or destruction of any natural feature is prohibited [SDMC 63.0102(b)(4)]", I'd say that even picking up a loose fossil would not be allowed. That's the one that is the most restrictive.

 

I'm mentioning this, as at a lot of coastal sites here in France collection is permitted/tolerated (not quite sure which, and may differ from site to site), as long as you don't chop anything out of the cliffs or shelves. Thus, the distinction between these two pertinent. Not that it changes anything in your situation, though :Confused05:

California is pretty strict on its fossil hunting laws, and its unlikely I could collect there. At first I thought it was a National Forest due to the similar sign, but I’m glad I checked before I went there. Currently my main site is collecting the road cuts in a large private university campus. They’re not very productive, with only one or two finds per hunt, but no one in the university cares if I pick up a loose shell eroding out the side of a street or parking lot. The only hope here that I might collecting in the park would be obtaining one of the “special use” permits mentioned in one of the rule documents, which are mainly for weddings but are also issued for clearing brush, building structures, etc. Even without a permit, I would most likely be able to collect without any problems, as the local Natural History museum supports amateurs ever since “Jeff’s site” was discovered by a kid hunting on a site his Grandma drove him to. It was illegal for him to do so, but he ended up finding an amazingly productive fossil mammal site. Another person brought a shark tooth they found in a canyon to the museum, and ended up finding an important San Diego Formation site that has produced a lot of cetacean skeletons. The head of paleontology there has said that he is fine with non comercial amateur collecting. However, all of this was against the law, and I don’t want to break it, even if it is unlikely that I will get in trouble. 

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma

My best hope for a fossil site on public land would be a site where rock from a construction site is dumped. Then it wouldn’t be a natural feature, the Paleontology museum would already have have taken what they want, and no one cares if a few shells go missing from a dump pile. Still have to find one, though. One time salvage paleontologists at a construction site somewhere in Chula Vista let people go in and sift for bird bones, sand dollars, shark teeth, etc. But that was one time in the 90s (I think) and is unlikely to happen again.

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