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Documenting your collecting areas. ALAA has advised for several years now, that AFMS Societies, Federations and individuals document their collecting areas with the site-specific routes used, and the identification of the material collected, along with your valuable history at these places.

  • We suggest this, because if/when a collecting area is threatened of being closed, you want to be more ready ahead of time to address the issue with good input. If you or your club haven’t collected this information already, best to get going on this project ASAP, so you have it.
  • Remember, some of your collecting areas aren’t very accessible during the winter and summer months due to extreme heat, snow, melting of snowpack mountains, desert flash floods.
  • Your club’s hand drawn vintage field trip maps are always wonderful to look at, but may not be up to date any longer when it comes to the route numbers, and that old tree that was a sign post of where to turn. Sometimes, the signage to your routes changes over the years due to weather, human folly or BLM makes a change, all which may not match up with your old map. Make sure your maps are up to date, even if you know them by heart while you are driving. Best to make sure your documenting is current while you enjoy the good weather on your field trip.

There is a reason ALAA has asked over the years to send us a copy of the ALAA Field...

Trips Journals. Without this information, ALAA won’t be able to include that information when we send in our comment letters in support of Recreational Rockhounding on your behalf. We keep a file of this information, but we don’t share that information, unless there is a critical collecting access issue at hand.

  • When public lands begins talking about closing access to your collecting areas, it’s been important to share that information with other AFMS societies. That way they can use the same site-specific route information with the list of collected material in their comment letters, in their support of you. One rockhound can have a lot of positive impact with their comment letter. More rockhounds with the same site-specific information in their public comments and public comment letters, adds even more positive benefit.
  • Getting to know your Public Lands Managers. We’ve found stopping by the field office near your field trip to say “hello” is a great way for the managers to get to know Rockhounds. We are good people and great to work with, but many of them still don’t know much about us. Mention you are affiliated with the national organization, American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS), and that members abide by the AFMS Code of Ethics. Give a copy of the “code” to them. The managers are always impressed we have a code of ethics.

ALAA Field Trip Journal Forms to Help You Document Your Collecting Site Information           

  • There are many ways Recreational Rockhounds can work together with Public Lands Management. It is important that we develop good working relationships with management. Volunteering to give them a hand is a great way to do that. If you see a disturbance that you know is not right, like a lot of trash scattered around, uncovered holes, evidence someone had come in without any regard to the landscape and took down trees and bushes to get to material, report this to the field office.
  • Trash Clean Ups. More societies are getting on board with doing these. Plan ahead. Contact the field office to let them know you’d like to schedule a clean-up. They normally supply the bags, and will work with you to organize the date. They’ll tell you the spot they’d like you put the filled bags, old tires, etc., so they can pick them up. Take a fun group photo with the trash and send it to ALAA, your club editor, even your federation’s editor so we can all give you credit for your good deed. You can add the photo to your club’s annual scrapbook, too.
  • Other Ideas. Another great idea some clubs are doing is working with Public Lands and Park management, to create displays for the public who visits them. These displays can be of the rough and polished rocks, minerals and legal fossils found in the area. You can also offer to help with public education by creating and assisting with occasional field trips and mini workshops. You can plan ahead, and invite the manager to a field trip with you so they get to know you and your club better. Show them the fun experience we are all so familiar with in learning about the amazing rocks, minerals and fossils we have knowledge about. Don’t forget to supply a picnic basket to share!
  • Memo Of Understanding (MOU’s). ALAA/CFMS and the BLM accomplished writing a MOU for the Hauser Geode Beds a few years ago. That MOU is still active today. There is a criteria of commitment required to keep the MOU in place, but it’s all so very easy to work with. Creating a MOU is something ALAA can help you with, and our help if free.

Seeing Strange Signs?

It’s rare, but not unheard of to come across a sign within a collecting area that wasn’t there before, stating private property or a claim. Sometimes someone will put a sign up like this, and it’s not actually a legal private property nor a legal claim. Report it to the local field office and ask them to look into it. With some of these problems and given the vast acreage management is responsible for overseeing, they may not be aware of it. They will appreciate you bringing it to their attention. They may not have an answer for you overnight, but they will, so stay in touch with them.

A large measure of our enjoyment of our hobby consists of collecting in the field. For that reason, members of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS) are proud to endorse the AFMS Code of Ethics.   AFMS Code of Ethics

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