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Author Topic: Relic hunting rivers  (Read 778 times)

John M. Brooke

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Relic hunting rivers
« on: August 03, 2016, 11:01:54 PM »
Does anyone know what the laws are regarding relic hunting legally navigable rivers in Virginia?

Lamar

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 03:25:23 PM »
I'm sure there are others who know more about this than I do - but, since they haven't spoken up, I'll give it a shot.

Some people got in hot water some years ago for messing with the USS Cumberland (sunk by the CSS Virginia) and the CSS Florida (illegally captured in Brazil by the Yankees, then sank near Newport News). Shipwrecks are off limits under federal law.
               https://www.nps.gov/archeology/submerged/intro.htm

Here's a site that might give you the answer you are seeking.
               http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=VA

According to what I read, you're OK if it's not under federal control, covered by a local statute, or not a state park (beaches in a state park require a permit). If a river is navigable, the state claims ownership, unless the owner can trace back to a crown grant
               http://www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/kingsgrants.html
but I don't think state ownership, by itself, prohibits metal detecting.

John M. Brooke

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2016, 02:30:11 PM »
Lamar,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I would like to attempt a river hunt, but I still get the feeling the law is not on my side. You can't do anything these days! It's become the "No Fun Nation"

Garret

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2016, 04:44:25 PM »
I'm guessing all those large Brooke shells recovered from the James River from the CSS Richmond grounding were done before the laws were actually enforced then? 
"Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress.  But I repeat myself."  Mark Twain

Pete George

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2016, 09:15:34 PM »
  At the time, the projectiles dumped overboard from the CSS Richmond were legal to recover because they were not on or "in association with" (meaning, the debris field from) a shipwreck.  That essential point tends to remain true today. Shipwrecks are protected. Stuff thrown into the river, no connection to a shipwreck, is not legally protected.  To my knowledge, only one state has tried to claim everything that's underwater, namely, Alabama during the 1990s, which our esteemed fellow forum member Steve Phillips fought hard to get repealed, and succeeded.  But I may not be up-to-date on recent deveopments in "Maritime/Riverene Archeology Law.

Regards,
Pete     

Garret

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2016, 12:33:33 AM »
Thanks Pete.  You are a wealth of knowledge.  I could listen to you talk about artillery 24-7.   ;D
"Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress.  But I repeat myself."  Mark Twain

CarlS

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2016, 11:02:51 AM »
That's good because he can talk about it 24x7!   ;D
Best,
Carl

Pete George

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Re: Relic hunting rivers
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2016, 09:26:36 PM »
Aw, shucks.  "Guilty as charged." :)

Regards,
Pete