Dirt detectives not happy with new Raleigh ordinance

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Dirt detectives in Raleigh aren't happy with a new city ordinance that impacts their favorite hobby at Dorothea Dix Park.

Adam Larrabee is the founder of the North Carolina Dirt Detectives. As his metal detector beeps over the grass at Dix Park, he searches for memories of North Carolina's past.

"We love history, we love saving stuff from the ground," Larrabee explained.

The NC Dirt Detectives have spent years finding history buried in the ground across North Carolina. Recently, though, the Raleigh City Council implemented a ban on their pastime.

"This has always been a legal thing," said Christopher Evans, a member of the North Carolina Dirt Detectives.

City Council members said treasures like old civil war bullets and relics are taken from the park, but there is no real way of tracking what then happened to those items.

City Council member Bonner Gaylord explained that officials wanted to make sure the items weren't being sold or kept for private benefit.

Larrabee is adamant that his group isn't composed of treasure hunters.

"We're not pirates," Larrabee said. "We don't do it for profit. We do it for the thrill of the hunt, and just to, you know, save history."

The group says that the majority of the stuff that they find is trash, which they make sure ends up in the bin. But despite mountains of trash, the group says that it's all worth it to find something hidden with bits of the Tar Heel State's history.

"And you're the first person to look at it in the last 100, 200 years depending on where you're at," said Dirt Detective Doug Hill.

Right now, the Dirt Detectives are hoping to work out a compromise with the city, which is something that Councilman Gaylord would consider.

"I would be more than happy to work with an organization about a registry system or someway that those public artifacts are kept in a public domain," Gaylord explained.

Gaylord says he plans to bring the issue up at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 9.

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