Answered By: Joelle Maurepas
Last Updated: Jul 04, 2016     Views: 4567


In Louisiana it's prohibited to use a metal detector in State Parks.  Other public and private lands are a little more complicated.  Metal detecting isn't necessarily prohibited, but may require prior licensing and notification from a number of different agencies with guarantees of preservation of certain sites of academic and preservation interest.

Also, if you search the Revised Statutes/Louisiana Criminal Code referred to by the code below, you'll find that knowingly searching for, removing, or altering any kind of materials that may be perceived as cultural or archaelogical in nature can result in extremely punitive fines as well as jail time.

This is covered under the Louisiana Administrative Code Title 25, Cultural Resource, Chapter 3. Rules and Regulations Section 303 Park Property and Environment.

I've copied the relevant portion below.  You can browse the entire Code here:

§303.      Park Property and Environment

A.    The provisions of the Louisiana Criminal Code
(R.S. 14:1 et seq.) shall be enforced on all OSP sites.

B.    No person shall intentionally remove, damage, disturb, or destroy any OSP property or the property of another person, without the consent of the owner. "Property" shall include but is not limited to structures, watercraft, movables, signs, markers, natural features, cultural features wildlife, and plants.

C.    No person shall cut, destroy, or damage timber on any site, except as necessary to meet established management criteria, including insect control, public safety, and approved park construction. No timber cutting or removal may occur without the written permission of the assistant secretary or his designee.

D.    No building, structure, or other feature of any site may be altered, erected, or constructed without written consent of the assistant secretary or his designee.

E.    The assistant secretary shall, in consultation with the site manager, approve a carrying capacity for each OSP site. Once a carrying capacity has been reached, or when additional visitors would adversely impact the site, the site manager is authorized to close the site to incoming visitors.

F.     Food and beverages are prohibited in structures or areas containing historical furnishings or displays except in designated meeting rooms and assembly locations, or in conjunction with park programs.  Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed structures.

G.    No person shall excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any cultural or archaeological resource located on any site.

H.    The display, possession, and/or use of metal detectors or similar devices is prohibited. It is strictly forbidden to dig for or otherwise remove any historical feature, relic or artifact. Persons wishing to excavate and remove historical features by professional archaeological means for research purposes must request a permit from the Louisiana Archaeological Survey and Antiquities Commission. Applications for such permits must be made through the assistant secretary.

I.     No person shall plant material or otherwise introduce plant material on any site without the written approval of the assistant secretary or his designee.

J.     Visitors to state historic sites are prohibited from leaving designated historic trails and may not walk on historic earthworks, fortifications, mounds or like features without specific permission of the site manager. 


Metal detecting is not treated by the Municipal Code of the City of Baton Rouge. 

Generally, activities that are not addressed at the local level are regulated by state law.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 225 231 3750. 

Comments (5)

  1. Just wanted to clarify whether or not it is illegal to metal detect at a public playground or beach (i.e. the Baton Rouge beach near LSU). It appears that it is.
    by Rachel on Nov 22, 2012.
  2. For public spaces it appears it is generally prohibited, but the best option would be to check with whoever maintains the area. The BREC park on Standford avenue (and most BREC parks) with the beach area does allow metal detecting:


    The use of metal detectors can be a great hobby and way to stay fit in the parks! Metal Detecting is allowed in public areas of BREC parks with the exception of all golf courses, all athletic ball fields, Greenwood Community Park, North Sherwood Forest Community Park, Magnolia Mound, BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo and Liberty Lagoon. The following rules must be followed when metal detecting in the BREC parks.

    Metal detecting is only allowed during daylight hours.

    All federal and state antiquity laws must be obeyed.

    If you find an item of possible historic or cultural significance, leave the item where you found it. Please contact park staff. Historic or culturally significant items or the property of BREC and will be used to help interpret the park and our history.

    The probing and digging for items is limited to the use of an ice pick, screwdriver or small knife. The use of larger digging tools is prohibited.

    All turf, dirt, etc. must be left in the original condition after digging. Take care to not damage tree roots.

    All articles found in BREC parks having a value of over $100 must be turned over to BREC.

    The cutting of vegetation and driving of motor vehicles outside of designated areas is prohibited.

    Metal Detecting in playgrounds is only allowed when children are not present.

    Please help keep the parks clean and remove debris.

    Utilities are located in the park. Do not probe deeper than six inches.

    Metal detecting is an at risk hobby or sport and BREC is not responsible for any injuries resulting from this activity.

    Please help keep the hobby of metal detecting an allowable use in the parks by respecting the rules and caring for the parks. These rules are subject to change.
    by andrew tadman on Nov 23, 2012.
  3. Joell u said its complicated.when you should just say its not were can we go metal detect?? Im in lakecharles la
    by JamesR on Jul 04, 2016.
  4. So get this sulphur parks and recreation told me i could metal detect but i cant dig.!!!!!! Really
    by JamesR on Jul 04, 2016.
  5. That's the same thing I've heard about Sulphur parks JamesR. It seems to be the same in many areas. They're allowing us to find coins and jewelry that people may have dropped, but they don't want the grounds dug up. Look at it on the bright side, they could just say "no."
    by BHagar on Jan 03, 2017.

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