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Legality of river locations - Florida


FossilFreak

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Over the last year, I have really been enjoying collecting fossils in the rivers. I understand that you are not allowed to collect in the area inside a public state park. However, I'm trying to understand if I'm allowed to collect in a river that is in or borders a county park. I think the answer is yes, but I thought someone on here might no better.

 

Thanks,

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The only example I can think of where this is an issue is in the Peace River where it is adjacent to Paynes Creek Historic State Park.

 

https://goo.gl/maps/jBYcfnToywQZ1T7z8

 

I do know that collecting of anything (other than photos) is not permitted within the park and apparently using the park as an access point to the Peace River for collecting is also not permitted. I've heard it said that the stretch of the river adjacent to the park's east border is also off limits to collecting. The Florida Fossil Permit would seem to indicate that publicly navigable waterways are state property and thus allowable for collecting and it could be argued that the river is not part of the State Park but public lands where fossil hunting would be allowed but most folks don't feel the need to push the point as there is lots of the Peace River to hunt and this stretch is less than half of a mile which could be easily skipped. No idea if that stretch of the river even has any gravel beds--much of the river is sandy and relatively useless for fossil hunting.

 

It is often said that it is more expedient to ask for forgiveness rather than permission but I think it is wise not to follow that line of thinking when hunting fossils (with permit) in Florida. I would suggest looking for a contact email or phone number for the county park you have in mind and trying to speak to someone there and inquire whether they would have an issue hunting for fossils in a river that is adjacent to their park--not forgetting to mention that you are a permitted fossil hunter. Just like asking for permission to hunt on private property, the up-front approach is often the best way to make sure you have no issues. In the past folks have contacted Richard Hulbert (who issues the Florida Fossil Permits) asking specific questions. Generally, I believe his responses to previous similar questions was to try to contact the park in question and see if they have any issues rather to just assume they are fine with it. If you wish to contact Richard, I'd email him and mention your permit number in the email. You can find his contact information from the FLMNH website:

 

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/nhdept/professional-staff/

 

Be safe--be smart. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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7 minutes ago, digit said:

I do know that collecting of anything (other than photos) is not permitted within the park and apparently using the park as an access point to the Peace River for collecting is also not permitted. I've heard it said that the stretch of the river adjacent to the park's east border is also off limits to collecting. The Florida Fossil Permit would seem to indicate that publicly navigable waterways are state property and thus allowable for collecting and it could be argued that the river is not part of the State Park but public lands where fossil hunting would be allowed but most folks don't feel the need to push the point as there is lots of the Peace River to hunt and this stretch is less than half of a mile which could be easily skipped. No idea if that stretch of the river even has any gravel beds--much of the river is sandy and relatively useless for fossil hunting.

 

The Florida Department of Environment Protection (DEP) administers all regulations related to Florida waterways. Oversees Cabinet affairs, the office of operations, state lands and Florida’s state park system.

For any question related to Fossil Hunting on Florida Waterways, ASK them.. They are very friendly and very responsive.  You can send them an email.

Get used to the idea that on any Florida waterway, you can do whatever the PUBLIC authority administering that waterway allows you to do, and nothing else.

So, DEP administers all Florida Waterways and all Florida State Parks ( including the waterways that run inside or adjacent to State Parks).  Florida DEP rules say no fossil hunting in any waterway that runs inside or adjacent to a State Park.

 

Who administers County or local Parks and Preserves?   DEP delegates the administration of County/Local Parks and Preserves to the Public entity  owning the Park/Preserve. I only understand the rules on a few County Preserves. The potential fines and incarceration are severe based on a Judge's judgement  of your intentions and knowledge of applicable law.

40 minutes ago, digit said:

I would suggest looking for a contact email or phone number for the county park you have in mind and trying to speak to someone there and inquire whether they would have an issue hunting for fossils in a river that is adjacent to their park

 

I would STRONGLY suggest you check with the Administrator of the county park, and if the word "Preserve" is applicable, forget about it.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Shellseeker said:

Florida DEP rules say no fossil hunting in any waterway that runs inside or adjacent to a State Park.

That explains Paynes Prarie State Park. :) Again, no great loss as there are miles and miles of the Peace River.

 

9 hours ago, Shellseeker said:

I would STRONGLY suggest you check with the Administrator of the county park, and if the word "Preserve" is applicable, forget about it.

Indeed. County parks would not fall under the FDEP ruling for state parks and may operate under different rules. Always best to check and avoid unpleasant situations. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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  • 1 month later...

Last season I noticed that as you head south on the Peace River passing Paynes Creek and the state park area there is a sign on the west side marking the southern boundary of the park.  This makes it easy to insure you are not hunting in a protected area.

 

 

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That's convenient. Wonder if there is a similar marker at the upstream edge of the park?

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Not to change the topic, but I want to comment on digit's mention of "better to ask forgiveness than permission."  which he says is unadvisable in Florida.  I would expand that to everywhere (at least in the states).  I have met too many ranchers/landowners who do not like fossil hunters because 15 years ago they found someone on their land trespassing and collecting fossils.  ALWAYS ask permission.  What you do reflects on our whole community and our ability to pursue our hobby. 

 

Ok, back to waterways in FL.

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Indeed! My specific recommendation for Florida should extend out to the other states. I know that J.P. works diligently to maintain relationships with the ranchers/land owners in his area where he hunts for fossils. Do try to locate land owners and ask their permission to enter their properties and don't be "that guy" that ruins things for the rest of us. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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