BLM enforces ARPA

From the desert to ebay - sometimes antique finds are for sale.

From the desert to ebay – antique finds.

Before you pick up that old bottle in the Eastern Sierra desert, remember the Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement might catch and fine you.

A citizen recently called Sierra Wave Media to ask about a report that a retired man in the Chalfant area had been contacted by BLM Law Enforcement for picking up old bottles in the desert. The citizen said BLM then went to the man’s house to take more items. BLM Manager in Bishop, Bernadette Lovato, said, “I can’t tell you about Chalfant.” However, she did point out that BLM has two Law Enforcement officers who conduct regular patrols and investigate citizen reports of those who take items over 50 years old from BLM lands.

Lovato said, “We have several ongoing investigations regarding people collecting artifacts.” The same law that applied to the theft of petroglyphs applies to the theft of any item 50 years old or older. She said this is a violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act or ARPA.

Lovato acknowledged that Inyo and Mono have a long history of people collecting artifacts. Many use metal detectors to help search for interesting items. How do citizens know if an object is over 50 years old? Lovato said the cans are different and bottles are a different color. She said, “It really isn’t appropriate to take anything off federal lands.”

 

, , , ,

83 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jerome
Jerome
9 years ago

Where do they come up with this crap? Laws protecting trash. Give me a break! Its someone’s garbage! I can see protecting prehistoric Indian sites, old ghost towns, old mining buildings and such but old trash? There’s thousands of museums, colleges and universities with tons of these old so called… Read more »

salblaster
salblaster
9 years ago

got some questions for benny. when you say horses have no natural predators does that include mountain lions and coyotes, i don’t know but it seems to me they could prey on young small horses. when you say horses foul water supplys i agree, but does’nt every animal that drinks… Read more »

amazed
amazed
9 years ago

while reading these blogs for several days , I have been trying to learn if surface collecting arrowheads is illegal. I’m sure employees of BLM have been following as well. Why don’ any of them offer an answer to that issue for us. Some of us really would like to… Read more »

RJF
RJF
9 years ago

A number of laws and the provisions of them are being mixed up here. First, arrowhead collecting is exempted from the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, but such collection is still prohibited by the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Congress was aware that the 1906 law was not helping… Read more »

Tim
Tim
9 years ago

Why is it illegal to pick up old cans but OK for DWP to tear down historic buildings on 395? In the city it’s difficult to see how harmful big government is yet in the country it’s obvious. Can you imagine how dreadful our slavery and servitude will be when… Read more »

salblaster
salblaster
9 years ago

what a bummer, a lot of people collect old bottles and horshoes and cans and never thought they were breakin the law. now were crimanals, but that’s it, we’ve been warned. no trying to tell claim i did’nt know i can’t pick up bottles if caught. just like a road… Read more »

Kathy
Kathy
9 years ago

BLM are you serious! What about the thousands of horses that you have taken off public lands. Like to see you put yourselves in jail or pay the taxpayers back some of the millions they have paid you. Being a bit hypocritical don’t you think?

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

What about some of these ol time Bishop folks who have made a life long hobby of removing mining equipment (gas engines) and restoring them from BLM land. Many of you have seen them at the Tri-County fair over the years.. I’m currious what statute of limitations on such a… Read more »

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

To be true: The BLM is killing our wild mustangs.
Here are some informative web pages:

http://wildhorsepreservation.org/

http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/

=

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

The truth of the matter is .. they do kill some of them, They are corraled in places like the “Donkey Farm” in Ridgecrest, officially known as “The wild horse and burro preparation facility”. The government rounds them up, puts them in these facilities (Ridgecrest being one of two), they… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

AS MJA says, they are Iconic figures, and are viable animals to be roaming the lands. And they are being systematically rounded up for elimination of their presence on the land, because of someone’s personal feelings about their existence on the range lands and deserts. If you ever get a… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

That’s the beef lobby. Don’t let no dol gum horses and donkeys eat my cattle’s feed. Imagine if the beef industry had to pay auction prices for what is now free government grazing land. They would yell and scream to high heaven.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

Well I’d rather eat range beef than beef that is kept in corrals, eating, in some cases .. ground up animals, and other drugs and chemicals. I am not beef industry, but I know what the better of the two beefs would be. And contrary to some belief, range cows… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

If you wanto see the Mustangs in the wild, just drive out to River Springs on Hwy 120. It’s a lot closer than Ridgecrest.

benny
benny
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

I wrote a long post to let you know that you don’t have the background or science background to make the claims you do in your posts in regards to wild horses. Your conclusions are not backed up with the sciences of botany, range management, wildlife management or ecology. My… Read more »

benny
benny
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

I made a huge mistake in the last post by calling them “wild horses.” They are feral animals and not native to North America since the end of the Pleistocene epoch and the subsequent retreat of the North American ice sheet. The ecosystems that we have now evolved since then… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

You make it sound as hard as it is to become a “local” in the Eastern Sierra.
BK

benny
benny
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

My post reappeared, the internet is such a mystery at times!

benny
benny
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

There isn’t sufficient forage available for them. Range conservationists keep track of that and recommend how may animals can live and not change or destroy vegetation. Horses don’t have any natural predators in North America because the horse is not natural to the ecosystems of North America. You have no… Read more »

Where Benny may be getting his info
Where Benny may be getting his info
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

“In my opinion, at the root of the assertion that animals have rights is the belief that animals and men are equal in creation, that man evolved from apes, and that creation is an allegorical myth contained in the Bible. There is no escaping the connection between secular humanism and… Read more »

Conservative Manifesto?
Conservative Manifesto?
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

“I once asked a long-haired maggot-infested FM-type environmentalist wacko: “Would you say the owl has evolved to a superior position over the mouse?” He answered, “Oh yeah, man, an owl can fly, he sees at night.”

Conservative guru, Rush Limbaugh

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

So benny because you went to college or you read a lot about studies about this subject written by others who went to college and studied the matter, you are an expert. And people who have practical experience, living on the land, working the land, do know anything .. you… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Let me add .. there is no such thing as a controlled environment outside of an enclosed room that encapsulates the controlled environment you are trying to replicate.

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

The BLM is killing our mustangs too! =

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

To be fair, I don’t believe they are.
Benett Kessler

benny
benny
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

“Wild’ horses are feral animals and should be removed from all public lands. They are fouling water sources and killing native songbirds and other wildlife. Horses have not been native to North America since the last ice sheet retreated at the end of the Pleistocene epoch around 10-12 thousand years… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  benny

So benny .. tell me .. why are you still here .. you are just as feral as those horses, in your own explanation of things .. as we all are .. I guess we should all leave the continent .. including all aboriginal peoples. After you benny. Cattle grazing… Read more »

Carman Prisco
Carman Prisco
9 years ago

Depending on the context of how and where its done surface collecting of arrowheads only does not fall under ARPA. Other laws do exist to protect them, also under ARPA in brief, an item is not considered and artifact unless it’s 100 years of age. What the manager should have… Read more »

RJF
RJF
9 years ago
Reply to  Carman Prisco

Unless I missed it when I read the rather short 1906 act, it did not give an age of an object. The ARPA defined the years as 100 and is much more clear than the 1906 act.

Really ?
Really ?
9 years ago

Doesn’t the “Finders Keepers” rule apply here? The old artifacts found, are not navtive or part of the Land, it’s really old Trash. I see it as a good thing to remove trash and rusty objects that could potentially hurt the land and wild life.

MJA
MJA
9 years ago
Reply to  Really ?

Those blue bottles are non-native evasive objects,
Thanks for picking them up!

=

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

I am over 50 years old so if found in the desert please leave me alone and don’t pick me up. It works for me how about you.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, we’d be food for the critters, then someone will find our bones, and call the BLM, they would probably get arrested for murder until proven innocent LOL.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Federal land in the Owens Valley belongs as much to someone in Sarasota Fl or Saint Paul MN who comes out west to visit as it belongs to someone living in Lone Pine. There is enough non-Federal land to disturb. Leave Federal lands alone. They are everyone’s patrimony, not your… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
9 years ago

Tortoise, I think you’ve got that backward. The BLM seems to be saying that the desert is everyone’s trash dump. Although to be fair, adding more trash isn’t needed. Only old trash is beautiful.

Blutarsky
Blutarsky
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

One of the things I enjoy when I hike the alluvial fans above Lone Pine, is finding old relics. They all tell their stories to me. I leave them in place for others to enjoy. Scofflaws posting on sites like this only makes responsible citizens want to pass stricter laws… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

I don’t have it backwards. I see this all over the west. Locals chafe at Federal ownership of land and the rules on that land’s use, thinking it is “their land” rather than belonging to the nation as a whole. The citizen of New York or Texas has as much… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

Yes Tortoise, it does belong to the whole lot of us, and not to the federal govt exclusively. The trouble seems to be, that some people, as you say, think that is OK to restrict people from using public lands. This goes for members of the public as well as… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Well, since it belongs to all of us who is going to administer it if not the Federal Government? What that means is that the rules for that land are not set by the locals but by the government we elect in part to take care of those lands, and… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Some of the rest of the nation does not value the land like it should as well. So that doesn’t hold much weight. Most of the nation as a whole, do not have any idea of the issues in the various regions, and you have those who sell them a… Read more »

WTF
WTF
9 years ago

“I tossed my empty out the window and popped the top from another can of Schlitz. Littering the public highway? Of course I litter the public highway. Every chance I get. After all, it’s not the beer cans that are ugly; it’s the highway that is ugly. Beer cans are… Read more »

RJF
RJF
9 years ago
Reply to  WTF

He is wrong because the highway is then more ugly. Abbey had some astute observations, but at heart his conservation ethic was overly influenced by not just rebelliousness, but anarchy. He was also “morally challenged” on a number of issues. A friend of mine took a backpack trip and related… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

I can see the reason why some laws have to be. Like this business of the ones who stole the rock art. But the law can not be anything other than black and white, no gray areas. That is part of the problem with things that happen to people like… Read more »

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

Why is it that the specialized law enforcement in the Owens Valley have such a difficult time in dealing with the people they come in contact with and make such horrendous judgment calls ? Fish & Game, (the bear cubs) Dept. of Forestry (Steve Searles), BLM, (the old man &… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

You got that right Big Rick. All they care about is writing people up.

Cops stereotyped
Cops stereotyped
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Now, THAT’S an interesting stereotype of policemen, Trouble (“… all they care about is …”)
With the amount of intense anger (directed towards virtually the bureaucracy in general) from certain groups today, I can safely say I’m glad cops have the guns.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Up here they have more than guns, big ego’s top my list. I refer mostly to our bush whacking CHP speed trappers.

sickenedbythis
sickenedbythis
9 years ago

extremely disconcerting. How would BLM know where the items in the gentleman’s house came from? Might have been private land. There are two people at BLM, Lovato being one, who are completely out of control. The other is the ‘new’ archaeologist. They have no sense of balance. Yes, its wonderful… Read more »

You Got To Be Kidding!
You Got To Be Kidding!
9 years ago
Reply to  sickenedbythis

The old guy was most likely raised to beleive that if you always tell the truth you won’t get in trouble. He was also raised to respect Law Enforcement and most likely gave the BLM rangers permission to search his home. It is amazing that we all survived for over… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

Well I think there is a need for some law enforcement, but what we need more, is responsible, sensible law enforcement in these agencies, not the frustrated individuals we seem to have in these agencies now.

Double-speak
Double-speak
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

More law enforcement means more tax dollars spent.
More tax dollars spent infuriates certain individuals of a particular political persuasion.

RJF
RJF
9 years ago

There were increased threats to employees trying to enforce laws on public lands. There were a large number of employees being harassed, assaulted and physically harmed (battery). The agencies were starting to see the affects of the violations. Just letting violations occur without addressing them was no longer acceptable. Resources… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  RJF

I totally get what you’re saying about picking things up RJF, but I would have to add .. If they are left there (items of antiquity) And as you say … the archeologist come along, they find them, do they leave them .. no .. they pick them up, catalog… Read more »

RJF is undermedicater
RJF is undermedicater
9 years ago
Reply to  RJF

“…some events [in Mammoth] have come very close to becoming riots”
says RJF.

Funny, I’ve never heard of any function in Mammoth that would come anywhere near what this is guy is whining about.

Instead of breaking your meds in half, RJ, why not just take the whole damn thing?

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  sickenedbythis

Very true about being out of control sickened … personal agendas get in the way, unfortunately we are stuck with their agendas. We need new people in there that do the job the right way.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Just because it’s agianst some silly little law, doesn’t make it a sin.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
9 years ago

Back about 5 or 6 years ago I went out on a big rig accident scene clean up at the bottom of Towne’s Pass in Death Valley…a really bad accident with a fatality,big impact and lots of truck parts on the road and in the desert.And being on National Park… Read more »

enoughalready
enoughalready
9 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Thats good Wayne. Which type of can was that? This one? Did you happen to pick up any of the wrong type of broken glass? How long was the lecture along side the road? Did she go thru the whole bag? Did she put the trash back in its correct… Read more »

ferdinandlopez
ferdinandlopez
9 years ago

does god collect old bottles?

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
9 years ago
Reply to  ferdinandlopez

Doesn’t EVERYONE, Ferdinand ? I have been for 30 years and I will continue to do so until I’m in a wheelchair or dead. Every antique store in the Owens Valley is LOADED with old amethyst colored whiskey & medicine bottles that have been found or dug up, locally. Are… Read more »

Blutarsky
Blutarsky
9 years ago

This country doesn’t belong to a few rural malcontents. It belongs to all of us.

The law is the law. Respect of it is what makes us great.

John
John
9 years ago

Do Federal lands belong to “We The People”?

MARK
MARK
9 years ago
Reply to  John

“It really isn’t appropriate to take anything off federal lands.”

I think it’s really Public Lands. However the BLM & USFS are slowly brainwashing the public to think otherwise to have more control over us sheeple.

Dingo
Dingo
9 years ago

If the BLM was unable to notice petroglyphs being removed with power tools I wonder what makes them think they will notice somebody who has been military trained to conceal themselves and their tracks from removing artifacts.
Good luck BLM this is gonna be fun.

Gus
Gus
9 years ago

Forget the “Green Gestapo”, now lookout for the Brown Gestapo”, waching our every move, guess those BigFat Pension funds aren’t satisfying enough for those Big-Fat-Tax-Eaters 🙂

Ragu
Ragu
9 years ago
Reply to  Gus

Sorry misguided buddy, I just retired after 31 yeas in the govt. People on welfare are doing better than I am and I still pay taxes which means I pay for part of my mere pension. Now as for our congressman and other elected idiots, That my friend is a… Read more »

ferdinandlopez
ferdinandlopez
9 years ago

guess you cant even have fun picking up trash anymore

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
9 years ago

So will this guy be fined and sentenced to hours of community service?…..picking up trash in the desert?

Strict v open and free
Strict v open and free
9 years ago

Well, this action is certainly an example of how strict some people view society in general. Some of our more paranoid citizens believe life has become so unstable that we need more and more laws, and more and more police to enforce those laws. I don’t ever recall this being… Read more »

Jeremiah's stance
Jeremiah's stance
9 years ago

Yeah sure, Thousands of people getting away with it but yet they still find justification to prosecute a select few? And then what build a facility to house all the confiscated items?
Somebody please explain to me how we are in a deficit again?

esfotoguy
esfotoguy
9 years ago

Only in the good ole USof A can you get fined for picking up old trash…..lets say it again…OLD TRASH…amazing

Joe
Joe
9 years ago

From what I can tell reading the ARPA, it applies only to excavations on public lands, not surface collecting. So if the guy is out there and picks up the bottle on the surface it’s ok. If he’s taking a shovel out, then he’s in violation. Unfortunately it is going… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Surface collecting is illegal under ARPA. Its original intent in ’79 was to protect Native American sites, but it can be also used for historic artifacts as well. Anything over 100 years old falls under ARPA. Here’s the relevant passage: “No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under… Read more »

Joe
Joe
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark- For the benefit of the public, can you post the link to the specific ARPA language prohibiting surface collecting? Why is the local office stating 50 yrs when you are quoting 100 yrs?

Joe
Joe
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Interestingly, in the ARPA document, in Section 6, part G and Section 7 Part 3, one may collect surface arrowheads without prosecution. I also did find reference to 100 years old, so why is the local office stating 50 years?

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Hi Joe… I don’t know anything about the 50 years thing — that’s news to me, and I’m emailing the BLM today to find out more. I do know about the arrowhead issue, however: there’s something commonly called the “Boy Scout exclusion” in ARPA, that gives exception to arrowhead collectors.… Read more »

Jeremiah's stance
Jeremiah's stance
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I admire your courage, But really who made these laws and who do they serve? I can tell you in my opinion we have all these federal services but, when it comes to a deliverable that actually provides a service to people is seldom scene! I appreciate the fact the… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Mo Udall (D-AZ) made this law. It serves all Americans, regardless of ancestry. I can tell you that ARPA has nothing to do whatsoever with Citizens United.

Jeremiah's stance
Jeremiah's stance
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Laws don’t always serve Americans and never will I blindly support anything! I am sure ARPA has nothing to do with Citizens united but if we the people want to compete with Lobbyists and other donors that have their way with the system we call democracy, then we need to… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Good one Jerry!

Big Rick
Big Rick
9 years ago

They (BLM) went to the guys house & took MORE items ? REALLY ? How can they know WHAT was found and WHERE ? Personally, I have collected THOUSANDS of bottles & other artifacts over the past 30 years from Arizona to Wyoming and never had an issue come up… Read more »

BobK
BobK
9 years ago

“It really isn’t appropriate to take anything off of federal land.” That’s not what the official policy of the BLM and Inyo National forest is. Metal detector use in campgrounds, recreation areas and other locations is not against the law. Google metal detecting BLM lands in Ca. and in National… Read more »

You Got To Be Kidding!
You Got To Be Kidding!
9 years ago

It sounds like that BLM could throw about 90% of the population of the Owens Valley in jail for picking up trash from the by gone days. I guess these BLM wanna be cops don’t have any real criminals to chase so they chose to ruin the life of some… Read more »