The Ghost Towner’s

Code of Ethics



An unknown person once wrote...

"The past belongs to the future - but only the present can preserve it.”


To that I would like to add my own personal credo...

"Preservation through education."

Ghost towns are not a permanent resource. They are rapidly falling victim to the elements, the passage of time, and vandalism. I have been exploring and researching ghost towns for over 40 years now, and it deeply saddens me to see the decline in the tangible remains at various sites.  Granted a lot of the structural attrition is due to the natural forces of aging and weather, BUT unfortunately a lot of the decline is also pure vandalism.  So, I earnestly ask each of you to practice low-impact visitation, and spread the word.  May each one of us do our part in helping protect what remains of these rickety relics of Americana.  In an era when the very civil liberties we Americans take for granted are being threatened, we must do what we can to avoid having those same liberties and freedoms taken away by those who feel they “know better” than us what we need.  The past truly does belong to the future - but only the present (we) can preserve it. Though education, we CAN preserve our heritage. NOT by allowing others to act, but by each of us taking personal responsibility for our own actions, using common sense and following a code of ethics.


Ghost Town USA asks that when you visit a ghost town please abide by the following:




·       Trespass, or enter privately-owned land without proper written permission from the landowner.

·       Destroy, damage or deface any buildings or other structures, or cause any disturbance to the foundations that could cause damage in the future.

·       Disturb any structures that are locked or appear to be occupied.


·       Observe all rules and regulations, be they private, local, state, or national.

·       Camp and make fires only in designated safe locations.

·       Leave the land and vegetation as it is.

·       Fill all holes or excavations.

·       Remove and properly dispose of any trash I find, and will not litter.

·       Respect the rights and property of landowners, leave gates as found, and obey all posted signs.

·       Appreciate and protect this nation's ghost towns and the heritage they represent.

Always conduct myself in a manner that is courteous and polite, and always show consideration for others.




*The “Treasure Hunters Code of Ethics,” was developed by the Federation of Metal Detector and Archeological Clubs (FMDAC) and is shown on their website. 

It is also printed monthly in Western & Eastern Treasures magazine, published by People's Publishing Co., San Anselmo, CA. 

The “Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics” has been modified by Ghost Town USA from that code, and is used by their permission.




Ghost Town USA and Gary B. Speck Publications endorse the mission, purpose and goals of the FMDAC and support the rights of metal detectorists, treasure hunters and relic hunters to responsibly enjoy their hobbies as long as they abide by the “Treasure Hunters Code of Ethics,” AND our own Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics. This support DOES NOT either imply, endorse or condone violations of that code of ethics, nor does it give permission for anyone to damage or destroy historical sites; violate any local, state or federal laws; trespass or infringe on the legal rights of landowners.



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