NEW PROPOSED BLM COLLECTING RULES - Response due by Feb 6, 2017
To: ROCKHOUNDING COLLEAGUES IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN FEDERATION OF MINERALOGICAL SOCIETIES
From: Mike Nelson, Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society, RMFMS PLAC Chairman
Re: Proposed collecting rules for invertebrate fossils on BLM land
On March 30, 2009, the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PPRA) became law on lands managed by various agencies of the federal
government. Although the Senate Interior Appropriation Subcommittee in 1999 asked federal agencies to prepare a report on fossil resource
management, most rockhounds and many professional paleontologists believed any new regulations (in my opinion) would be written to
protect vertebrate fossils. However, unbeknownst to most fossil collectors, the United States Forest Service (USFS) published
(May 23, 2013) draft regulations concerning the collection of invertebrate fossils on land managed by the agency. The comment period
was 60 days and the Agency received few legitimate (non-form letters) concerns. Candidly, the proposal caught many rockhounds “off guard”
and it was tough to organize informational responses. In my opinion, rockhounds lost many, many collecting privileges associated with
invertebrate fossils. However, in defense of the USFS, the Agency was simply interpreting tenants of the PPRA, and that is the magic
This week in December 2016 proposed regulations for lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior (Bureau of Land Management
[BLM]; National Park Service [NPS]; Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS]; Bureau of Reclamation [BR]) were published in the Federal Register
and became available for comments. I would request that rockhounds and clubs interested in collecting invertebrate fossils from Interior
lands examine these proposed rules and offer comments. As with USFS regulations, the proposed Interior rules are quite restrictive and
will involve virtually any rockhound or collector of invertebrate fossils. In addition, Interior interpretations of PPRA rules differ
somewhat from those of the USFS. The Federal Register is not easy bedtime reading; however, this new proposal is critical to future
collecting. If you observe sections or rules that are disagreeable, please construct reasonable responses and send comments to the
appropriate address. Your comments should be personal (individual or club) as form letters are not really successful.
December and January are holiday seasons for many rockhounds and many club newsletters are taking time off from publishing.
Therefore, the RMFMS Board thought it imperative that clubs/members receive this “call for action” via e-mail.
You may find the proposed rules at:
Please remember as you comment:
- Provide first and last name, city, state, & country.
- All other fields of information are optional.
- Keep in mind that much of this information is publicly viewable.
- Comments may be typed in the box provided or they may be uploaded as attachments (Word docs or PDFs only).
- Comments may be brief or in-depth/well-researched. Comments with facts to support them are much more useful (e.g., examples of overlooked scenarios).
- Keep comments civil and straightforward.
- Comments using offensive terms, threats, or other inappropriate language will be disregarded.
For more see: www.savefossilcollecting.org