Metal Detectors


Contact Information

Submit completed permits to:

Parks and Recreation Department

1 S. 7th Street

Columbia, MO 65201


Fax: 573-874-7640


metal detector


The purpose of this policy is to establish management guidelines for metal detecting, so as to minimize impact on the parks, recreational facilities, and natural and cultural resources managed by the Department.

The Columbia Parks & Recreation Department permits metal detecting in developed parks that do not contain any designated archaeological sites or are not designated Natural Areas. Certain parks, in their entirety, are off limits. This list may be amended at any time by the Director of Parks and Recreation.

person using a metal detector


  1. Use is prohibited in the following parks and general locations:

    • Nifong Park, Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary, Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Area, Bear Creek Nature Area located in Cosmo Park
    • Athletic fields, including open playfield areas utilized for practice
    • Fenced locations or sites that normally require an entry fee for access
    • Golf courses: LA Nickell Golf Course and all of Lake of the Woods Recreation Area
    • Landscaped beds
    • Park construction sites
  2. Metal detecting at Stephens Lake Park swimming beach shall be from 7:00 am to 10:00 am only.
  3. A metal detector permit does not reserve a park area. Activities may not occur in areas where someone holds a park reservation permit or during special events in the park.
  4. Only “probes” such as a screwdriver no larger than 3/8” diameter are allowed. Shovels, trowels, plug cutters and knives are not permitted. Metal must be removed with minimal sod disturbance. Sod may not be lifted in any manner. There should be no noticeable impact to park property resulting from metal detecting activity.
  5. A litter apron or bag is to be worn or carried during metal detector use and all litter disposed of in trash containers or removed from site.
  6. If an archaeological artifact is found, the metal detecting activity shall cease and the permit holder shall promptly notify the Parks and Recreation Department.
  7. The Director of Parks and Recreation may approve use of a metal detector in areas where their use is normally prohibited, only upon special arrangement, in cases when a specific item is lost or to assist with official investigations.
  8. All other park policies must be followed.
  9. A copy of this permit must be in possession of permit holder when using metal detector and permit holder must have photo identification. Park Rangers may review permit and check on activity. If actions are questionable, as per the Ranger, metal detecting should cease immediately until situation is clarified.
  10. Failure to follow established procedures will cause permit to be revoked and may cause civil action if warranted.


  1. Before metal detecting in a park, individual(s) must complete an Official Metal Detecting Permit and submit to the Parks and Recreation Department, 1 S. 7th Street, Columbia, Missouri 65201.
  2. After the permit has been completed the P&R Director or designee will approve or deny the permit. (Non-compliance of policy requirements will result in denial of the permit)
  3. The original copy of the completed permit is to remain on file at the P&R Department. A copy of the permit, approved or denied, is to be given to the applicant. If the permit is denied, the justification is to be recorded on the permit.
  4. Once approved, the permit is valid for one year.