The following information was taken from the BLM site shown above.

The BLM manages paleontology on the public lands using scientific principles and expertise. Scientific and paleontological research on the public lands have led to the discovery of new types of organisms and have also brought us important revelations about the history of ecosystem diversity and climate change on planet Earth. The BLM paleontology program works to preserve and protect paleontological resources for the benefit of current and future generations; assess for the presence and significance of paleontological resources prior to making land use decisions; facilitate insightful research into the geology and paleobiomes that preserve extinct organisms; and produce programs that increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of paleontological resources. 

Paleontological Resources Preservation Act


A proposed Department of Interior regulation has been released to guide implementation of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 (PRPA). The proposed regulation provides standards for a coordinated approach to the management of valuable paleontological resources on the public lands managed by the BLM. The regulation clarifies how the BLM will manage paleontological resources on public lands to ensure they are available for current and future generations to enjoy as part of America’s national heritage.  The proposed regulation is now available at the Federal Register. Search for Regulation Identification Number 1093-AA16. 

PRPA applies to land managed by five bureaus: the BLM, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service.  All of these bureaus, except for the Forest Service, are part of the Department of Interior. The proposed regulation applies to lands managed by these four bureaus in the Department of Interior. The Forest Service, as part of the Department of Agriculture, undertook their rulemaking process separately. Read the Forest Service rule and the BLM fact sheet.

View partner paleontology websites through the links below.



Casual or hobby collecting of reasonable amounts of common invertebrate and plant fossils is allowable without a permit. A reasonable amount is what a collector may keep for a personal hobby collection or display in their home. These fossils must be for personal use; they may not be sold.

Common invertebrate fossils include the fossilized remains of animals without a backbone, including snails, oysters, ammonites, corals, shellfish, and others.  This also includes different types of preservation of animals in rock, including tracks, traces, burrows, impressions, and original hard-parts.

Plant fossils include leaf and stem impressions, root traces, and original material.  Although petrified wood was once a tree, slightly different regulations apply to the collection of it because in its current state, it is classified as a mineral. Up to 25 pounds of petrified wood per day may be collected without a permit, provided that the total removed by one person does not exceed 250 pounds in one calendar year.

Some invertebrate or plant fossils are rare or unusual.  Rare or unusual invertebrate or plant fossils must be deposited in a museum and may only be collected with a paleontological resource use permit.

Some lands may be closed to hobby or casual collecting of fossils, so always check with the local BLM office in the area you would like to collect from. 


If you find a fossile please leave it, take a GPS location and report it to the BLM