I need some rocks. Where do I go?
October 13, 2006 7:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I find places where it's legal to gather rocks?

I'd like to build a stone circle in my back yard, and I think it would be fun to go out somewhere and gather the rocks myself. I just don't know where to go. A riverbed, a park, a quarry?

I've done some Googling around, and I've found a lot of places where it's illegal: State parks, city parks, along the side of the highway, and so on.

I've read some of the local rock hound groups' web sites, and they all seem horribly designed and uninformative. A few of them listed places they went, but they didn't really have directions, and they seemed focused on hiking for hours to find geodes and things. I just want a short walk and some decent chunks of stone.

How can I find a place to gather rocks?
posted by agropyron to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, I'm in the Seattle area.
posted by agropyron at 7:53 AM on October 13, 2006

Perhaps a local quarry? I live in Bloomington, and limestone is really cheap, and can be found/bought in any manner or fashion.
posted by Kudos at 7:55 AM on October 13, 2006

gravel pits have cast-out stones that are too large. perhaps they will donate some?

Some farmers will have stones along the edges of their fields. ask before you take, because they are sometimes useful.

along the same lines, anywhere where stones are unwelcome is where you want to end up. Depending on your location, raw unclaimed land could be very far away.
posted by clord at 8:06 AM on October 13, 2006

I work with geologists at a university far from you. They know exactly where this sort of thing is legal and are very good people. You should call the geology department of your local Uni and talk to them- they *will* know the right answer!
posted by fake at 8:09 AM on October 13, 2006

Best answer: I go to my local forest service every year and buy a five dollar permit to gather rocks in state and federal forest land. Ihave to say exactly where I will get them (scouted before hand).

I live in Idaho.
posted by cda at 8:55 AM on October 13, 2006

Best answer: State parks, national parks and city parks are a bad idea. Call your nearest national forest and, even better, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office and ask them. The BLM is usually most into this sort of thing. These agencies usually have permits which for a small fee let you gather rocks. Alternatively, just pick up the rocks from some public lands (NF or BLM) and don't feel bad about it and/or call some of the local rock hound groups and get their advice. Central/Eastern WA BLM just seems like the right choice in my muddied memory.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:58 AM on October 13, 2006

be sure not to gather rocks that are right on the edge of roads if they look like they might be there for drainage reasons or to prevent erosion (not sure if that's obvious)
posted by cda at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2006

Seconding BLM land. Haven't looked into it, but I think they wouldn't care.

Also, construction sites doing land preparation. They might appreciate it.
posted by salvia at 1:54 PM on October 13, 2006

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