The enjoyment of rockhounding depends on everyone abiding by a few simple principles. We have a responsibility to each other, the landowners, and the Earth to preserve the adventures for future generations.
At Northern Maine Minerals, we have been very fortunate to work with some of the best in their trades. From mining Herkimer Diamond quartz crystals in New York to tourmaline mining in Maine. Each mine owner has their own set of rules, but for the most part, I can summarize those rules every mine owner shares.
Rule #1:. Trust! Within the community of mine owners, mineral dealers, and rockhounds, your word is your bond. Trust plays a very critical role on digging teams, when visiting mines unattended, when selling and when buying. Once your trust is broken, it can never be fully restored. Always be honest!
Rule #2: Get Permission! It is as simple as picking up the phone and making a few calls. Within a few minutes time, you can have all the permission you need to access a collecting site. Having the land owner's permission keeps areas open to collecting! Many localities are closed permanently to everyone after one person is caught trespassing!
Rule #3: If you carry it in, then carry it out! Land owners are gracious enough to let strangers poke around on their property. The least we can do is take our trash with us. Collecting sites have been closed because of people leaving trash everywhere!
Rule #4: Obey Landowner Requirements. After seeking permission to access a collecting site, the landowners will usually give you some quick rules. Please follow these rules! Make sure to ask if you are allowed to hit the mine wall or only allowed to dig the dump piles. This is very important!
Rule #5: Respect Safety! Do not undermine vegetation or boulders in such a way as it could collapse on someone. Large trees have fallen because of this and nearly killed innocent collectors. Don't leave huge trench scars without filling them in afterward. Someone not aware of the trench could break an ankle or leg because of carelessness. This can happen to unsuspecting wildlife too! Do your best to fill in your holes!
If everyone would follow these 5 simple rules, we can ensure our hobby and passion can continue for generations.