Message #166:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Laws Prohibiting Theft of Petrified Wood
Date: Fri, 24 May 96 15:11:00 MST
Encoding: 74 TEXT

From: Cathy Johnson 

I am constantly being asked about the laws on collecting petrified wood.  I 
can't find a law for or against it (except in the Petrified Forest National 
Park).  Do you know of a law that applies in Arizona to state or federal 
land.Thanks for your help.


Cathy --
Thanks for your inquiry.  For prohibitions on federal lands, you should 
check with someone like Bob Rogers, BLM Special Agent in Charge (Arizona) 
(602) 650-0339.  Here's what I can tell you about Arizona Laws:

ARS 41-853 names petrified wood as the official 'State Fossil.'  [no puns 

ARS 41-841 protects vertebrate paleontological sites (and hence vertebrate 
fossils); it also says  "...or any other paleontological or historical 
feature..." [regarding this phraseology, the law may be open to 
interpretation...check with the AZ AG's office].

ARS 37-501 provides a penalty for anyone on State Trust lands who knowingly 
extracts or removes oil, gas, coal, mineral, earth, rock, fertilizer or 
fossils of any kind or description therefrom. [the operative word in 37-501 
is 'knowingly' ].

See the statutory wording (attached):

41-853. State 
fossil Petrified wood, or araucarioxylon arizonicum, is the official 
state fossil.

41-841. Archaeological discoveries; definition
A. No person, except when acting as a duly authorized agent of an 
institution or corporation referred to in section 41-842, shall excavate in 
or upon any historic or prehistoric ruin, burial ground, archaeological or 
vertebrate paleontological site, or site including fossilized footprints, 
inscriptions made by human agency, or any other archaeological, 
paleontological or historical feature, situated on lands owned or controlled 
by the state of Arizona, or any agency thereof.
B. A person shall not collect any archaeological specimen situated on lands 
owned or controlled by this state or any agency of this state without 
obtaining a permit authorizing the activity as provided under section 
41-842. For the purpose of this subsection, "archaeological specimen" means 
any item resulting from past human life or activities which is at least one 
hundred years old including petroglyphs, pictographs, paintings, pottery, 
tools, ornaments, jewelry, textiles, ceremonial objects, weapons, armaments, 
vessels, ships, vehicles and human skeletal remains. Archaeological specimen 
does not include arrowheads, coins or bottles.

37-501. Trespass on state lands; classification
A person is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor who:
1. Knowingly commits a trespass upon state lands, either by cutting down or 
destroying timber or wood standing or growing thereon, by carrying away 
timber or wood therefrom, by mowing, cutting, or removing hay or grass 
thereon or therefrom, or by grazing livestock thereon, unless he has a lease 
or sublease approved by the department for the area being grazed.
2. Knowingly extracts or removes oil, gas, coal, mineral, earth, rock, 
fertilizer or fossils of any kind or description therefrom.
3. Knowingly without right injures or removes any building, fence or 
improvements on state lands, or unlawfully occupies, plows or cultivates any 
of the lands.
4. With criminal negligence exposes growing trees, shrubs or undergrowth 
standing on state lands to danger or destruction by fire.