Shari Ellis posted an update 2 years, 7 months ago2 years, 7 months ago2 years, 7 months ago
This question was asked on a Florida Fossil Club facebook page and I’m curious about the answer?
What are the rules on looking for fossils where FDOT has excavated for road projects?
I know that if we are talking about human artifacts, folks shouldn’t remove them. But what about fossil material?
There are a lot of road projects going on–at least in central Florida.
Well here it goes, I am sure their will be some different opinions out there, this should be a good thread… 🙂
The analogy I like to use for ANY construction site, is that if there were a pallet of Sod/Grass, do you think it would be ok to take some home for your yard? Without permission, clearly no, that would be stealing, it is property that someone else has paid for, for a specific purpose. However, some site managers may have the authority to authorize property being removed, so in this grassy example if you have permission from the site manager to take a couple squares of grass, then you have done your due diligence by seeking permission. When it comes to DOT projects, some of the borrow pits used may be owned(or leased) by the state, county, or local municipality. My opinion is permission would need to come from them. On fill material at construction sites, you cannot just pull over and start going through it, I have also seen the posts like that on Facebook, and find it highly disturbing. It may be state owned fill, but it was assigned, or purchased, for a specific project and not meant for the general public’s consumption. You can ask the site manager if you can collect, they may give you permission, I suspect many site managers do not have that legal authority, but at least you have done your due diligence by getting permission.
Anyway, just my 2 cents worth.
We are having some issues with this down here in Southwest Florida with lack of access and pits to go to. Collectors are now “thinking outside the box” and looking for places to go. It’s not just the DOT road work sites, but also the gated communities! Regarding the construction sites, my view (which I just wrote about in our newsletter) is that we need to ask permission. You need to ask permission – just like what Paul Roth said – with the manager who’s operating the construction site. Unfortunately, some of these people are collecting during the work week when workers are present and construction machinery is on, and it’s causing problems. The amateur/educational clubs can talk to their members about ethics and asking for permission, but it’s hard to reach the independent collectors out there who don’t necessarily follow some of the ethical standards, so they may push the grey area and do things they shouldn’t do. I received a couple of strongly-worded emails last rainy season from presidents of homeowners associations citing concerns of privacy and safety. People were trespassing through construction entrances at night by flashlight to collect in a gated community! This definitely reflects badly on all of the amateur/avocational organizations who do good things for the community at large (and collectors as a whole). We all have to be more ethical and ask permission – that’s what I do! We don’t want to create an atmosphere where this becomes a problem and then the construction companies start complaining to the local city or county government — their response may be to create more rules and regulations, or possibly fines for trespassing. I do not want to see this happen. Remember the unethical action of a few can ruin it for the many!