Forest Service Regulations
Personal, Free Use
Naches Ranger District, 10237 U.S. Highway 12, Naches, WA 98937, 509/653-1401
All rock removal on the Naches Ranger District requires a permit. All free use and personal use rock must be gathered from one of the three approved quarries. Both rock permits are site specific; an individual permit is needed for each quarry. No stones may be removed from streams, riverbeds or banks. Permits are issued for National Forest land sites only. See accompanying maps for authorized areas and quarry description or constraints.
Personal use permits are $20.00 per ton with a $10.00 administrative fee for each individual permit.
*Free use permits are issued only for a 14-day period.
*Personal use rock permit is valid for 30 days from the date purchased.
Within a designated quarry, free use and personal use rock must be collected from existing road edge. Roads may not be constructed. Mechanical equipment is not allowed for quarry operations. No individual rock in excess of 1/3 cubic yard or heavier than 1,000 pounds may be taken with a personal use permit. Free use permitted rocks may not exceed 100 pounds each and the permit is limited to 500 pounds total, not to exceed 20 individual rocks.
Clear Creek Quarry: This quarry is located off White Pass/U.S. Highway 12, off Tieton Road/FS Road #1200, spur road #540 and contains building stone of varied size & color. Quarry starts 1-1/2 mile past the Forest Service Road 1200/1200-540 junction, and provides building stone, somewhat angular in character, though a variety of materials are available.
Rock Creek Quarry: This quarry is located off Chinook Pass/State Route 410, Rock Creek Road/FS Road #1702, spur road #550. Material consists of building stone, somewhat more rounded in character.
Rattlesnake Quarry: This quarry is located off Chinook Pass/State Route 410, Nile Road, Rattlesnake Rd./FS Rd. # 1500, McDaniel Lake/FS Road # 1502, spur road #610, and consists of flat, angular material.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an equal opportunity provider and employer."
United States Department of Agriculture
Okanogan- Wenatchee National Forest
Law Enforcement & Investigations
215 Melody Lane Wenatchee, WA 98801 TTY (509) 664-9201 Voice (509) 664-9200
Joseph J. Wernex
Dear Mr. Wernex:
Thank you for your letter concerning collecting rock on the Naches Ranger District. We have several options for collecting rock.
Minimal ground disturbance is permissible; however when digging pits to extract rocks, for instant geodes, then it becomes an issue of mining and resource damage.
If a rock is too large to fit easily into a 5 gallon bucket then option 2 comes into play. I have included a rock hounding handout.
I hope this brief outline of our rock collecting regulations and the enclosed handouts helps. I do apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you. Our intent is to provide the best information available. If you have any further questions please contact Doug Jenkins, our Visitor Services and Information Specialist, at 509-653-1468. He can assist you with obtaining a permit or help answer any further questions you have.
Caring for the Land and Serving People
Printed on Recycled Paper
United States Department of Agriculture
Pacific Northwest Region
Rock Hounding and Recreational Prospecting
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
National Forests are outstanding areas for exploring the natural environment. Simply looking at rocks and trees, and exploring trails is considered recreational activity. However, because of the potential impact of numerous visitors digging in the ground or removing rocks from the National Forest, some restrictions apply to those who wish to undertake those activities.
If you are simply looking at rocks, you are technically prospecting. A prospector or rock hound may take up to five gallon of rock sample a year from the National Forest without a permit. If you wish to collect or remove more rock samples than one gallon a year, if you intend to remove a unique rock resource, or if your activity requires disturbing the ground surface, you will need to receive special permission. If you simply want between one to twenty total large rocks, the District will issue you one free use rock permit each year. If you wish to remove more than 20 rocks or a total of 500 pounds of rock a year, you may purchase a rock permit. This permit has special requirements defining where you can take rock and how you must avoid impacts.
If you are claiming a mineral resource under the 1872 mining laws you must first locate a type or form of mineral which is unique and has value. Without that discovery, you may not stake a mineral claim. Common forms of minerals, such as gravel or general stones, cannot be claimed under the 1872 mining laws. A "Gold Panning" handout is available at the Naches District which outlines additional requirements for this type of mineral extraction.
You may prospect for minerals if your operations avoid impacting surface land features. If you plan to undertake any exploratory work, which requires disturbing the ground surface, or if you undertake any activity that has potential to affect a forest resource, you will need to submit a formal "Notice of Intent" as outlined in the district gold panning guide.
Sometimes rock hounds utilize metal detectors for their activity. The Naches District "Gold Panning" handout also addresses metal detectors, panning, and dredging and special requirements associated with working in a stream or on the stream bank. Stream restrictions are implemented to protect fish habitat.
The Code of Federal Regulations protects some special rocks. Petrified animal and plant remains are protected as are arrowheads and other Native American stone features including rock art, painted rocks, sculptured rock, and tools.
Some National Forest areas' offer unique rock samples or special rock resources. Research Natural Areas, campgrounds, administrative sites, and other closed areas may have special restrictions to protect those special resources. Identify the areas you propose to visit and inquire at your local ranger station about any special restrictions, which are in effect. On the Naches District, Boulder cave is closed for a few months each year to protect bat habitat. The Rattlesnake drainage and designated Wilderness is closed to mineral claims. If your rock hounding involves camping on National Forest lands, you must abide by all general