Selling Specimens from Federal Public Lands

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Question:  May I lawfully sell or trade rock, gemstone, mineral, or fossil specimens that I collect on federal public lands as a recreational rockhounder?

Answer:  No.  Recreational rockhounds are not allowed to collect specimens on federal public property to sell or barter unless specifically authorized to do so.  The federal public lands belong to all Americans and, as a matter of common sense, it would be ridiculous to allow a small number of individuals to convert public property to a private business inventory (while externalizing the costs of that activity onto the rest of the public who could no longer enjoy the public resource).  Commercial rockhounds and similar business models, however, can seek to negotiate permits or contracts with the applicable federal agency that would allow them to sell or trade specimens.

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