Prospecting in the Lynx Creek Mineral Withdrawal Area

The area on the attached map was withdrawn from mineral exploration by a series of public land orders issued between 1957 and 1971. The withdrawal was done to protect the scenic values, riparian vegetation and recreational opportunities of the area.

The Forest Service recognizes gold panning and metal detecting as legitimate recreational pursuits. In doing so, these activities will be allowed in this area, subject to the following prohibitions designed to protect the environment.

  • ALL PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM MUTILATING, DEFACING, REMOVING, DISTURBING, INJURING OR DESTROYING ANY NATURAL FEATURE OR ANY PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. (Title 36 CFR 261.9a)
  • EXCEPT FOR GOLD PANS, METAL DETECTORS AND HAND TOOLS, SUCH AS PICKS AND SHOVELS, IT IS PROHIBITED TO USE ANY MOTORIZED OR MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT OR MINING AIDS USED FOR MINERAL EXTRACTION WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE WITHDRAWAL AREA, AS DEFINED ON THE ATTACHED MAP. (Title 36 CFR 261.53 e & f) **
  • VIOLATION OF THESE PROHIBITIONS IS PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $500, OR IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN 6 MONTHS, OR BOTH.

** Motorized Equipment Includes: Any equipment having or using an engine or motor.

** Mechanical Equipment and Mining Aids Include: Sluice boxes, dry washers, gold screws, gold bugs, rocker boxes, wheel barrows or other devices designed to increase production above that level obtained with gold pans and hand tools.

Important Mining & Recreational Tips

  • Pick/shovel excavations may only be done in conjunction with gold panning and metal detecting and must be made below the high water mark of the stream channel. All excavations must be filled in before leaving the area.
  • Do not cut trees, limbs or brush, do not dig up ground cover.
  • Pack out everything you brought into the area, especially trash.
  • Do not wash yourself or your dishes in Lynx Creek or any of it's tributaries. All wash water is to be contained and disposed of, off of National Forest Land. Bury human waste 4 to 6 inches deep and at least 100 feet from the stream channel.
  • If a fire is necessary, build it safely, do not leave it unattended, extinguish it, and naturalize the area before leaving.
  • Camping is limited to a 14-day stay within a 30-day period. 

Additional information can be obtained from Prescott National Forest offices.

For the Use of Metal Detectors on the National Forest

The allowable use of metal detectors on National Forest system lands takes a number of different forms. Detectors are used in searching for treasure trove, locating historical and pre historical artifacts and features, prospecting for minerals, and searching for recent coins and lost metal objects. Of these four types of uses for metal detectors, the first three are covered by existing regulations that require special authorization, i.e. special use permits, notice of intent, or operating plan.

The search for treasure trove, which is defined as money, unmounted gems, or precious metals in the form of coin, plate, or bullion that has been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovering it later, is an activity which is regulated by the Forest Service. Searching for treasure trove has the potential of causing considerable disturbance and damage to resources and thus requires a Special Use Permit from the Forest Service. Methods utilized in searching for treasure trove must be specified in the permits issued. Permits may not be granted in each and every case, but applications will be reviewed with attention being paid to the justification given and guarantees for the restoration of any damage that might occur to other resources. The use of metal detectors in searching for treasure trove is permissible when under this type of permit, but must be kept within the conditions of the permit.

The use of a metal detector to locate objects of historic or archaeological value is permissible subject to the provisions of the Antiquities Act of 1906, the Archaeological Resources Preservation Act 1979, and the Secretary of Agriculture's regulations. Such use requires a Special Use Permit covering the exploration, excavation. appropriation, or removal of historic and archaeological materials and information. Such permits are available for legitimate historical and pre historical research activities by qualified individuals. Unauthorized use of metal detectors in the search for and collection of historic and archaeological artifacts is a violation of existing regulations and statutes.

The use of a metal detector to locate mineral deposits such as gold, and silver on National Forest System lands is considered prospecting and is subject to the provisions of the General Mining Law of 1872.

Searching for coins of recent vintage (less than 50 years) and small objects having no historical value, as a recreational pursuit, using a hand-held metal detector, does not currently require a Special Use Permit as long as the use of the equipment is confined to areas which do no posses historic or prehistoric resources.

Questions concerning the use of metal detection equipment should be referred to the applicable District Ranger.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/prescott/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5359247