Please check the land status before collecting, and consider the impact on the experience of other visitors to BLM land

Petrified Wood on BLM Land

Utah contains large areas of Federal Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Petrified wood is one kind of fossil that can generally be collected on BLM land, with some exceptions. The activity of collecting petrified wood is categorized as rockhounding.

Certain lands that are withdrawn or reserved for specific purposes other than rockhounding are off limits to rockhounding. These off-limits areas include the following:

  • Outstanding Natural Areas
  • Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
  • Recreation Sites
  • National Historic Sites


If you are unsure of the land status, you should check in advance with the applicable BLM district.

On BLM lands that are open to rockhounding, there are collecting and other restrictions. A BLM permit may be needed depending on the amount of material you collect, how you collect it, where or when you collect, and whether it is used commercially.

Generally speaking, rockhounders may collect rocks, minerals, semiprecious gemstones, petrified wood, and common plant and invertebrate fossils (e.g., shellfish, corals, trilobites, crinoids) on BLM-managed public lands without charge or permit as long as:

  • The specimens are for personal use
  • The specimens are not collected for commercial purposes or bartered to commercial dealers
  • You only collect small, non-commercial, reasonable amounts of specimens – 25 lbs. per day, and a total of 250 lbs. per year for petrified wood.
  • Special permits are required for any specimen greater than 250 pounds.
  • Collection does not occur in developed recreation sites or areas, unless designated as a rockhounding area by BLM
  • Collection is not prohibited or restricted and posted
  • You limit collecting tools to hand tools such as shovels and picks
  • Collection, excavation, or removal is not aided with motorized or mechanical devices, including heavy equipment or explosives.  Metal detectors often times are acceptable, but there are exceptions (e.g., San Pedro National Conservation Area)


Always keep in mind that there is no collecting of any kind allowed in national parks or national monuments. Utah State Lands generally have the same collection rules as BLM land. And of course you cannot collect on private lands without the owner’s permission. It’s always a good idea to consult land ownership maps before collecting.


Safety Tips

Rockhounding can be a potentially dangerous hobby. To minimize the risk of injury, please remember:

  • Wear protective equipment.
  • Do not work alone, and let someone else know your schedule.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Watch for others, and when on slopes, never work directly above or below anyone.
  • Do not enter abandoned mines or shafts.

Some fossil wood preserves amazing detail

Angiosperm leaf fossil

Tree fern fossil branch and leaves