TICONDEROGA — It's still OK to use a metal detector in Ticonderoga, as long as you don't dig up what you find.
Following a recent public hearing on a local law that would have banned metal detectors on town property, the Ticonderoga Town Council decided to drop the issue, Supervisor Debra Malaney said.
"No further action is being taken. It's good for us to discuss these things with the public. We had a good, low-key discussion."
About 15 people showed up, she said, and most were opposed to a metal-detector ban.
"We decided existing laws cover this. Surface detecting is OK. You just can't dig."
Current laws on trespassing and theft protect them, she said, and state law prohibits disturbing the ground at parklands, such as Percy Thompson Bicentennial Park.
Metal detectors will locate items such as coins, rings, musketballs and other metallic objects.
A hand-held metal detector is made up of a control box connected by a shaft to a search head, the part that senses metal.
Owners of the devices sweep the search head in a pattern over the ground until an audible signal indicating metal is generated.
Town Councilman Jeffrey Cook said the use of metal detectors in Ticonderoga was an issue 12 years ago, when Fort Ticonderoga proposed a relics law banning them.
At that time, there had been several instances of treasure-hunters using the detectors at or near fort property.
"It was a major issue then because people were going to the fort and removing things," he said. "They were going metal-detecting there."
The Town Council also decided back then not to pass a local law against the devices, he said, and their usage had fallen off since.
The issue came back recently because Town Clerk Tonya Thompson got calls from people bringing their metal detectors to history-rich Ticonderoga, Malaney said.
"Tonya got one call from someone who said, 'I want to come there to go metal-detecting, and if you say no, show me the law.'"
But the town's parklands are already protected from digging, Malaney said, and someone who pockets an arrowhead or musketball could be prosecuted for theft.
Also, Fort Ticonderoga already bars the use of metal detectors on its property, she said.
Fort Ticonderoga Curator Chris Fox came to the public hearing, Malaney said, and told them the fort would be OK with whatever they decided to do.
"He did say this is a huge issue. So it was good we did this (hearing)."
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