An effort is underway to inform/remind people that digging for artifacts at Northwest Arkansas's Beaver Lake is against the law.
The Army Corps of Engineers is asking the public to help preserve things often found there, like Native American arrowheads and pottery, as well as remains of buildings, rock art and ceramics.
Anyone who removes artifacts from any public land at Beaver Lake risks being arrested and charged. An arrest could mean facing fines as high as $250,000 or sentencing of up to 10 years in jail.
Corps park rangers report noticing an increase in incidents of people taking advantage of low lake levels to dig for artifacts.
There are federal laws in place intended to ensure the protection of any item over 100 years old, that is potentially of archaeological interest.
According to the Arkansas Archaeological Society, what is often considered a harmless hobby, digging is actually destroying the past.
They say removing artifacts to sell or add to a personal collection destroys the historical context of the item. In some cases, people aren't aware of the harm they're causing. Others simply don't care.
Park rangers would like Beaver Lake visitors to keep an eye out for people digging for artifacts and report any illegal activity they see. They ask that you do not attempt to confront anyone engaging in illegal activities.
If you see someone digging illegally on the shores of Beaver Lake, you can call the Corps office at (479) 636-1210, ext. 1701.