Metal Detecting Form

Metal detecting is allowed in over 30 state parks. Detecting areas vary by park, from developed public-use areas and unoccupied campsites to designated areas.


Metal detecting is permitted only within specified portions of approved state parks – parks that permit metal detecting will have maps and registration information posted at the park; if no information is posted, the park does not permit this activity.

Any find that appears to have historical or archaeological significance may not be removed from where it was found. Report all findings immediately to a park employee and do not further disturb the area.

Properly dispose of all found or recovered litter.

Group-detecting events require a special recreation event application.

Metal detecting in camping areas open to metal detecting is permitted only in unoccupied campsites.

Users shall not destroy park facilities, natural features, or historical or archaeological resources. No item appearing to be of historical or archaeological significance, remaining from either early pioneer or military activity or from Native American presence, may be removed from where it was found. You must report any such findings immediately to a park employee, and you must not further disturb the area in which the find occurred.

Metal detecting is allowed between the ocean water’s edge and the mean high tide line along the Washington coast.


RCW 79A.05.305(3)(5) Declaration of policy – Lands for public park purposes – requires the agency to “protect cultural and historical resources, locations, and artifacts and preserve and maintain habitat which will protect and promote endangered, threatened, and sensitive plants, and endangered, threatened, and sensitive animal species.”

RCW 79A.05.165(a) Penalties – removal or destruction of any natural items (trees, shrubs, timber, plants or natural object in any park) is a misdemeanor under Washington State Law.

WAC 352-32-235 Use of metal detectors in state parks – allows the use and operation of metal detectors as well as the removal of small contemporary materials within selected state parks.

WSPRC Commission Natural Resources Management Policy 65-04-01 – requires that “where existing recreational developments or uses are believed to degrade natural resources of regional or statewide significance...the agency will... alleviate the impacts by limiting, removing, relocating, or mitigating the recreational activity.”

Metal detecting code of ethics

It's a good idea to keep in mind the metal detector's Code of Ethics, especially if you're new to the activity:

  • I WILL always check federal, state, county and local laws before searching.

  • I WILL respect private property and do no metal detecting without the owner's permission.

  • I WILL fill all holes and excavations.

  • I WILL appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources, wildlife and private property.

  • I WILL use thoughtfulness, consideration and courtesy at all times.

  • I WILL leave gates as found.

  • I WILL remove and properly dispose of any trash that I find.

  • I WILL NOT litter.

  • I WILL NOT destroy property, buildings or what is left of ghost towns and deserted structures.

  • I WILL NOT tamper with signs, structural facilities or equipment.

Registration for metal detecting use

You will receive an email copy of this form. You must have a copy with you when metal detecting in State Parks. 

Permits are valid for one year from the date of registration.

Full name

Check the park(s) where you will be metal detecting

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