Is it Legal to Keep an Artifact Found at a WA State Park?
What would you do if you found a fossil at a WA State Park? Is it legal to keep?
I guess if no one knew about it, you'd be ok. But wouldn't you want to know more about it? Where it come from? How did it get here? What good is it too keep for yourself? I found it interesting to learn that there is a program to inspire people to turn over artifacts to the proper people. This would mean that others would be able to enjoy the find as much as you. And by doing so, you would get to learn the history behind the find.
It is illegal to disturb cultural and natural resources. See Below:
RCW: 27.53.060- Disturbing archaeological resource or site
RCW: 79A.05.165 – Penalties for disturbing, taking, destroying Natural Resources
Because park visitors have found historical objects WA State Parks' Stewardship Division developed the STEWARD program.
If you discover an object that you believe may be valuable, it's recommended that you:
stop and leave it, tell a park employee about it, email info about your find to ARTIFACT@parkswa.gov, write down info about your discovery (record where it was found), take at least one photo of it, record the GPS location on a map, and finally DON'T share the info with anyone else.
When artifacts are found, Collections staff preserve it, research it, and record or catalog it. And then, the object makes its way to a proper home, most likely, a museum where others can view it. You can learn more here.