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Beachcombers Beware ~ Regulation Variation at National Seashores

Posted by Jody on January 12, 2012

We already know that every beach is different; the view, the sand, the shoreline, the coastal critters! Another thing that varies from beach to beach are the laws and ordinances regarding beachcombing and seashell collecting.

Just North of San Francisco, California

Just North of San Francisco, California

Beachcombers Beware ~ even among the ten federally protected areas known as National Seashores, which are managed by the National Park Service (an agency of the United States Department of the Interior), shelling  regulations and rules can vary greatly. Here is just a sampling of the diverse shelling and collecting regulations within the National Park System:

Point Reyes National Seashore (Northern California) has very strict regulations regarding collecting items within the park. “All objects (plants and animals (or parts of them such as flowers, seashells, or antlers), historic artifacts, minerals, etc.) within the National Seashore are protected and may not be collected. However, certain products are available for personal (non-commercial) use only in limited quantities. These are: Blackberries, Raspberries, Thimbleberries, Gooseberries, Salmonberries, Huckleberries, or apples – 2 quarts per person per day / Mushrooms – 2 gallons plus 1 mushroom per adult per day.” (Okie Dokie ~ That’s mighty interesting!)

McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California (©Jody Diehl)

At Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland and Virginia) the collection of seashells is allowed under the following guideline: “Shell Collecting  / Limit collecting to a gallon or less of unoccupied shells to ensure a supply for beach dwelling organisms.”

Padre Island National Seashore (Texas Gulf Coast) “allows visitors to take up to five gallons of seashells, as long as they are not used commercially. Shell collecting is permitted as long as the mollusk in the shell is no longer living. Check carefully to make sure that the shell is empty or the organism has died before you collect.” The Padre Island National Seashore website even offers a downloadable brochure with helpful tips for successful seashell hunting within the park.

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

It’s so important to know before you go!  You can check the National Park Service website for the specific National Seashore you’ll be visiting. After all, the above examples show three different National Seashores, all within the same National Park System, where the seashell collecting restrictions range from no collecting to one gallon or less of unoccupied specimens, and all the way up to five gallons of hand picked beach treasures!

Have a great day at the beach & happy beachcombing!



One Response to “Beachcombers Beware ~ Regulation Variation at National Seashores”

  1. […] Beachcombers Beware ~ Regulation Variation at National Seashores […]

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