Monday, March 12, 2012

Rules for foraging on public land in the Pacific Northwest

Pertaining to harvesting mushrooms, berries, greens, roots, seaweeds, fish, shellfish, and game in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California

Photo courtesy of pudgyindian2.blogspot.com
This is only intended to be a summary of harvesting rules for major jurisdictions (federal, state, and provincial lands and waters).  Please follow the links that I provided to review the exact wording of the regulations.  Smaller jurisdictions such as counties, townships, municipalities, or district lands are (mostly) not included in this guide but represent other potential foraging areas.  Under no circumstances is it okay to harvest on private lands without permission or on public land, when it is against the rules.  Where information is not provided or is insufficient, calling or writing the regulatory office of the land manager may be necessary.  Please be aware that every jurisdiction may have specially designated areas where all foraging is prohibited, and that the protection status of some species changes dramatically between state and federal jurisdictions.  Before you harvest, you are responsible for knowing the rules regulating every location and item that you intend to collect.  Regulations are listed from north (Alaska) to south (California)

Compiled by T. Abe Lloyd on March 12, 2012

 


Alaska

-Maps:  The Public Lands Information Center has an online map that identifies the many types of public lands in Alaska.
-All State Lands:  Harvesting a small number of wild plants, mushrooms, berries, and other plant materials (excluding seaweeds) for personal, non-commercial use is generally allowed on all Alaska State Lands.  Commercial harvest of non-timber forest products is allowed by a permit issued by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land & Water.  You can purchase licenses to fish, collect shellfish, seaweed, and hunt game online.
-National Forests (US Forest Service):  In general harvesting “incidental amounts” of mushrooms and berries for personal use is allowed without a permit in National Forests.  This is often limited to 1 gallon of berries or mushrooms.  Check your specific National Forest for details (see below for links).  In some cases, calling or visiting the district headquarters may be necessary.  Harvesting from wilderness areas is prohibited.
Personal and Subsistence Use:  No permit is required for the personal and subsistence harvest of mushrooms, bark, ferns, moss, berries, cones, herbs, roots, and wildflowers.
Commercial Use: A permit is required.
-National Parks:
Denali:  Gathering fruit, berries, mushrooms, and other plan materials for subsistence uses is allowed in the ANILCA additions to the Park and in the Preserve.  No permit required.
Glacier Bay National Park:  Regulations unclear.  See Superintendent’s Compendium.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park:  The collection or gathering of mushrooms for personal consumption is limited to two 5-gallon containers of whole, fresh mushrooms per person per day.  Unclear on berry harvest restrictions.  See Superintendent’s Compendium.
-National Wildlife Refuges: According to Federal Code, the noncommercial gathering by local rural residents of fruits, berries, mushrooms, and other plant materials for subsistence uses, and the noncommercial gathering of dead or downed timber for firewood, shall be allowed without a permit.  Hunting and fishing are allowed in National Wildlife Refuges in accordance with federal and state regulations.
-Bureau of Land Management: ????
 
For information on rare and threatened plants, see the UAA Alaska Natural Heritage Program website.
 

British Columbia

-Maps:  The iMapBC website offers an online map of British Columbia with layers for administrative boundaries for public lands and many other features relevant to foragers trying to identify appropriate places to harvest. 
-Provincial Forest Lands: Commercial and personal use harvesting of mushrooms, berries, fern fiddleheads, and greens is freely allowed.
-Indian Reserves: Mushroom and berry picking requires permission.
-Tree Farm Licences: Mushroom and berry picking requires permission.
-Regional Parks: Mushroom and berry picking requires permission.
-Leased Crown Land, and Private Land: Mushroom and berry picking requires permission.
-National Parks: Mushroom picking is not allowed.
-Defense Lands: Mushroom picking is not allowed.
-Provincial Parks, Ecological or Special Reserves, and Recreation Areas: Mushroom picking is not allowed.  Hand-to-mouth picking of berries is overlooked but no picking into containers.
-Capital Regional District (Victoria):  Berries can be hand-to-mouth picked in regional parks, but not collected in bucketfuls. (www.crd.bc.ca/parks/beinvolved/documents/SUM06VIP.pdf)
-Provincial Tidelands:  Seaweed harvesting for personal, non-commercial use is freely allowed without a permit on crown lands except specially managed areas such as Ecological Reserves, Marine Reserves, Provincial Parks, and Federal Parks.  Commercial harvest is allowed with a permit and several special restrictions apply.  See here for more details.

Licenses for fresh water fishing, trapping, and hunting can be purchased from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations online.
Licenses for fishing in saltwater (including crabs, shellfish, and more) and Salmon fishing in freshwater can be purchased from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans online.
British Columbia has a consolidated source of information for edible mushroom harvesting.

For information on species and ecosystems at risk in BC, see the Ministry of Environment Website.

Washington State

-Maps:  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has an interactive mapping website called GoHunt, which can be useful to foragers (including those that don’t hunt).  Zoom into the area of interest, check “WDFW/Public Lands” on the left hand sidebar, click on the “I” next to the check box, and then select “Major Public Lands.”  Using the identify tool (found in the upper left hand mapping toolbar) click on a parcel of public land to identify who it is managed by. 
Many Counties in Washington State have online plat maps for identifying private landowners.
The Public Lands Information Center also has an online map that identifies many types of public land in Washington.
-State Forests:  The non-commercial harvest of mushrooms, berries, fiddleheads, and other Special Forest Products for personal consumption is allowed on lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (state forests).  Limits include up to 5 gallons of mushrooms per person per year, and three gallons of a single species of berry per person per year.  Harvest from DNR-managed campgrounds and picnic sites, Natural Area Preserves, and Natural Resource Conservation Areas is prohibited.  For details see the DNR website.
-State Fish and Wildlife Areas:  A few Wildlife Areas managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife allow personal use mushroom and berry picking.  Check before you pick.  Any commercial collection on WDFW public land requires a permit from the department (WAC 232-13-080).  You can purchase licenses to fish, collect shellfish, and hunt game online.
-State Tidelands:  Over 60% of Washington’s intertidal lands are owned privately.  A Shellfish and Seaweed license is required to harvest seaweed for personal (RCW 79.96.210) use for all persons over 15 years old.  Up to 10 pounds per person may be harvested.  Seaweed harvest is open on National Park beaches but closed on all State Park beaches except Fort Flagler, Fort Ebey, and Fort Worden State Parks, where special conditions apply.  All kelps must be cut 1' above the holdfast.  For more information see here.
-State Parks:  The non-commercial harvest of nonmarine edible plants and mushrooms for personal consumption is allowed on all land managed by Washington State Parks except natural area preserves.  For more details see WAC 352-28-030 Harvest of Edibles and the Parks Service Natural Resources Management Policy (page 12).
-National Forests (US Forest Service)In general harvesting “incidental amounts” of mushrooms and berries for personal use is allowed without a permit.  This is often limited to 1 gallon of berries or mushrooms.  Check your specific National Forest for details (see below for links).  In some cases, calling or visiting the district headquarters may be necessary.  Harvesting from wilderness areas is prohibited.
Personal use: No permit is needed for "incidental" amounts of some products, for personal use: such as up to 20 pounds (2 large armloads) of greenery (boughs, ferns, salal, etc.); 8 gallons (1 bushel) or less of cones, up to 60 mushrooms or 3 gallons (whichever is less volume) of mushrooms or up to 3 gallons of Huckleberries.  Harvest of any Matsutake (Pine) mushrooms requires a commercial use permit.  If you are removing more than “incidental amounts of a product for personal use, you must get a "personal use" permit.
Commercial use: If you are pursuing a commercial venture, you must obtain a "commercial use" permit. Please check with the District Office nearest you for information on where to obtain the permit you need.
Personal use: No permit is needed for up to three gallons of berries in a year.  But these berries may not be sold or bartered.  A free use permit is required for harvesting mushrooms, conks, cones, green, but these products must not be sold or bartered.
Commercial use: Commercial harvest of beargrass, berries, mushrooms, and Salal is allowed with a permit.  See the above link for prices and restrictions.
Personal use: Permits required.  Special Forest Products permits are available for harvesting non-timber vegetative materials including seeds, roots, bark, berries, mosses, ferns, and edible mushrooms.  Permits for predetermined personal use levels are available free of charge.  Contact the nearest Forest Service offices to check availability or for more information.
Personal use: A permit is required for personal use mushroom picking.  Rates are $5 per day between April 15 - July 31, and $10/day between August 1 - December 31.
Commercial use: A permit is required for commercial mushroom picking.  Rates are $100 per season, Spring or Fall.
Personal use: No permit is required for personal use picking of mushrooms. Daily limit per person is one gallon of a single species of mushrooms, and three gallons of three separate species. There is also a state hauling limit per vehicles of three gallons of a single species, and nine gallons of three separate species.
Commercial use: A permit is required for commercial mushroom picking.  Rates are $50.00 for 14 days, $80.00 for 30 days, or $120.00 for a calendar year permit. Make an appointment to buy a permit at your nearest district office
Foraging prohibited (as of March 9, 2012)
-National Parks:
North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake Recreation Area:  Edible fruits, nuts, and berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption with some restrictions.  1.1 quarts per person per day.  Mushroom collected is prohibited.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
Mt. Rainier National Park:  Edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption with some restrictions.  1 gallon per person per day may be gathered.  See Park Regulations Compendium for more details.
Olympic National Park: Edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and berries may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption with some restrictions.  1 quart person per day with the exception of cranberries, which have a special allowance and exotic species, which have no restrictions.  See link to the Superintendent’s Compendium for details.
-National Wildlife Refuges:  Generally, hunting and fishing when done in accordance with State and Federal regulations is allowed in National Wildlife refuges.  The harvesting of berries and mushrooms regulated by the specific wildlife refuge, so ask before you pick.
-Bureau of Land Management: ????
-Bellingham City Parks: “You are welcome to pick berries as long as you are careful not to damage the plant life in the area that you are picking.”  Bellingham Parks and Recreation, personal communication March 12, 2012.
-Whatcom County Parks:  Fishing and collecting shellfish are allowed (with the appropriate State and Federal licenses) in County Parks unless otherwise posted.  8,000 acres of Stewart, Lookout & Anderson Mountains were proposed with berry picking, and fishing included as acceptable uses.

For more information on mushroom collecting in Washington State, click here.
For information on rare plants and animals see the Washington Natural Heritage Program website.

Oregon State

-Maps:  The Oregon Map website has online taxlot base maps for the entire state of Oregon and is useful for identifying both public and private landowners.
Many Counties in Oregon have online plat maps for identifying private landowners.
The Public Lands Information Center also has an online map that identifies many types of public land in Oregon.
-State Forests:  The harvest of mushrooms and berries is allowed on all lands managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry up to 1 gallon of mushrooms per vehicle.  More information can be found online.
-State Parks and Recreation Areas:  Oregon state law (Division 10: General Park Rules, 736-010-0055 Cultural, Historic, Natural and Wildlife Resources, section 5) dictates, “A person may gather for personal consumption berries, fruits, mushrooms, or similar edibles.”
-State Wildlife Areas:  A few Wildlife Areas managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife allow berry picking.  Check before you pick.  You can purchase licenses to fish, collect shellfish, and hunt game online.
-State Tidelands:  All coastal lands between the vegetation line and the mean low water are part of Oregon’s Ocean Shore Recreation Area (with some specially designated Marine Reserves) and are thus held in trust for the public.  Persons collecting less than 2,000 pounds of kelp per year from submerged lands for personal consumption do not require a lease from the Department of State Lands (ORS 274.865).  For more information see about seaweed harvest in Oregon click here. For information about shellfish information go to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
-National Forests (US Forest Service):  In general harvesting “incidental amounts” of mushrooms and berries for personal use is allowed with a free permit.  This is often limited to 1 gallon of berries or mushrooms.  Check your specific National Forest for details (see below for links).  In some cases, calling or visiting the district headquarters may be necessary.  Harvesting from wilderness areas is prohibited.
Deschutes National Forest Permits required.  A free permit is required for small quantities of personal use products.  For large quantities and commercial use a minimum fee of $20 is required.
Fremont-Winema National Forest Permits required.  Free use and commercial use permits are available at all forest offices.
Malheur National Forest No permit required for personal use collection of mushrooms (less than a gallon in OR and 3 gallons in WA).  A minimum $20 permit is required for commercial use.
Mt. Hood National Forest Small amounts of berries and mushrooms may be harvested and eaten within the park without a permit.  Collecting greater amounts for personal use and commercial harvesting require a permit.
Ochoco National Forest Permits required.  A free use permit is available for small quantities.  A $20 (min) personal use permit is required for large quantities.  A $20 (min) permit is available is required for products that will be sold, bartered, or traded.
Siuslaw National Forest Permit required.
Umatilla National Forest No permit required for personal use collection of mushrooms (less than a gallon in OR and 5 gallons in WA).  A minimum $20 permit is required for commercial use.
Umpqua National Forest Permits required.  Free use and commercial use permits are available at all forest offices.
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Permits requiredFree use and commercial permits are available
Crooked River National Grassland Permits required.  For small quantities of personal use products, permits may be free. For large quantities, or commercial use, a fee is charged. When a fee is charged, there is a minimum fee of $20.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (Can’t find any info)
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area *Foraging prohibited (as of March 9, 2012)
-National Parks:
Crater Lake National Park.  Blueberries, Huckleberries, Serviceberries, and Thimbleberries may be harvested in all areas of the park.  There is a possession limit of 1 quart per person and they must be consumed within the park.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
-National Wildlife Refuges:  Generally, hunting and fishing when done in accordance with State and Federal regulations is allowed in National Wildlife refuges.  The harvesting of berries and mushrooms regulated by the specific wildlife refuge, so ask before you pick.
-Bureau of Land Management:  Collecting berries and mushrooms for non-commercial personal use is allowed in areas not under special conservation protection.
Salem District 5 gallons of each berry species per person per year.  1 gallon of mushrooms per person per day for a total of 5 gallons of each species per person per year.  Several restrictions apply.
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument 1 gallon per day of all allowed species.

For information on rare and threatened plants, see the Oregon Department of Agriculture Plant Division, Plant Conservation website.

Idaho

-Maps: The Public Lands Information Center also has an online map that identifies many types of public land in Idaho.
Many Counties in Idaho have online plat maps for identifying private landowners.
-Department of Lands: ??
-State Parks: ??
-Wildlife Management AreasIt is illegal to cut, dig, or remove any grasses, forbes, or trees from Wildlife Management Areas managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Berry picking is not specified and mushroom picking is mentioned in at least one Wildlife management area brochure.  Be sure to ask.  Licensed hunting and fishing are allowed in most areas if done in accordance with state regulations.  Contact the regional office for more information.
-National Forests (US Forest Service):  In general harvesting “incidental amounts” of mushrooms and berries for personal use is allowed without a permit in National Forests.  This is often limited to 1 gallon of berries or mushrooms.  Check your specific National Forest for details (see below for links).  In some cases, calling or visiting the district headquarters may be necessary.  Harvesting from wilderness areas is prohibited.
Boise National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Caribou National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Challis National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Curlew National Grassland no information on berries or mushrooms
Nez Perce National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Salmon National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Targhee National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
-National Parks:
Craters of the Moon:  Not specified.
-National Wildlife Refuges:  Generally, hunting and fishing when done in accordance with State and Federal regulations is allowed in National Wildlife refuges.  The harvesting of berries and mushrooms regulated by the specific wildlife refuge, so ask before you pick.
-Bureau of Land Management: ????

For information on rare and endangered plants and animals see the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation website.

Northern California

-Maps: The Public Lands Information Center also has an online map that identifies many types of public land in California.
Many Counties in California have online plat maps for identifying private landowners.
-State Parks:  Harvesting of wild foods is severely restricted in California State Parks, “No person shall willfully or negligently pick, dig up, cut… any tree or plant or portion thereof, including but not limited… flowers, foliage, berries, fruit, grass… shrubs, cones, and dead wood, except in specific units when authorization by the District Superintendent or Deputy Director of Off-Highway Motor Vehicles to take berries, or gather mushrooms, or gather pine cones, or collect driftwood is posted at the headquarters of the unit to which the authorization applies.”  Some parks do have special allowances, so be sure to ask.
-State Forests:  Harvesting mushrooms requires a permit in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. No information could be found on other lands managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.  Call your local ranger station.  California Penal Code Section 384A states that all harvesting of vegetation on state lands without a permit is illegal with stiff fines (up to 6 months in jail or a $1000 fine).
-State Tidelands:  The State Lands Commission owns title to the intertidal and subtidal lands below the mean high tide line.  The personal collection of marine aquatic plants, for which take is authorized is allowed without a permit for up to a total of 10 pounds wet weight.  Harvesting is prohibited in marine life refuges, marine reserves, ecological reserves, national parks, and state underwater parks.  No eel grass (Zostera sp.), surf grass (Phyllospadix sp.), or sea palm (Postelsia sp.) may be cut or disturbed.  Commercial harvest of seaweed is allowed by permit and several additional regulations apply.  For more information see here.
-National Forests (US Forest Service):  In general harvesting “incidental amounts” of mushrooms and berries for personal use is allowed without a permit in National Forests.  This is often limited to 1 gallon of berries or mushrooms.  Check your specific National Forest for details (see below for links).  In some cases, calling or visiting the district headquarters may be necessary.  Harvesting from wilderness areas is prohibited.
Six Rivers National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Shasta-Trinity National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
Plumas National Forest no information on berries or mushrooms
-National Parks:
Redwood National Park:  Fruits, nuts, and berries can be gathered by hand for personal use and consumption with some restrictions.  All species of berries and hazelnuts can be harvested with a limit of 1 gallon per person per day.  Tanoak acorns can be harvested with a limit of 10 gallons per person per day.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details. 
Lava Beds National Monument:  Fruits, nuts, and berries can be gathered by hand for personal use and consumption up to 2 pounds per day.  Collection of mushrooms is prohibited.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area:  Fruits, nuts, and berries can be gathered by hand for personal use and consumption with some restrictions.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
Lassen Volcanic National Park:  A permit is required for the collection or consumption of any fruits, nuts, or berries of locally grown plants in quantities greater than on pint with some restrictions as to the species.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
Point Reyes National Seashore:  The following fruits and mushrooms may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption: Blackberries, Raspberries, Thimbelberries, Salmonberries, Huckleberries, or apples (up to 2 quarts per person per day).  Mushrooms (up to 2 gallons and 1 mushroom per adult per day).  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
Yosemite National Park:  The following fruits and mushrooms may be gathered by hand for personal consumption up to 1 pint per person per day for immediate consumption: Blackberries, Raspberries, Elderberries, Strawberries, Thimbleberries, Huckleberries.  Himalayan Blackberries can be gathered in unlimited quantity.  See Superintendent’s Compendium for more details.
-National Wildlife Refuges:  Generally, hunting and fishing when done in accordance with State and Federal regulations is allowed in National Wildlife refuges.  The harvesting of berries and mushrooms regulated by the specific wildlife refuge, so ask before you pick.
-Bureau of Land Management: ????

For information on rare and threatened plants, see the California Department of Fish and Game’s Rare Plant Program website.
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10 comments:

  1. --updated to include links with maps of public lands.
    --updated to include links with information on rare, endangered, and threatened plants.

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  2. This seems to be a fine list of rules and regs - but why no ethical guidelines?

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  3. That is an important consideration that I hope to write about soon. In the mean time, see the introduction section on conservation in Sam Thayer's book Nature's Garden (pg 18-20).

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  4. Look up native plant societies - they often have good ethical guidelines

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  5. Thanks for providing such valuable info worth recommending to our friends and followers. More power to you!

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  6. im a student from high school and I haven't found any website that has abiotic or biotic features for whiskeytown

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  7. Check out National Park Service website for Whiskeytown Recreation Area: http://www.nps.gov/whis/naturescience/index.htm


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  8. Wow. This is really helpful to someone studying botany who is not "from there" and who will be wildcrafting in this region (particularly Mendocino County). I imagine the rules are the same for the careful, ethical collection of plant/leaf materials? Looks like that falls under permits for plant specimens in the Redwoods Superintendent's Compendium. Incredible work, I will use this list as a valued resource. Thank you so much!

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  9. What can you do if you believe someone is commercially selling mushrooms gathered without the correct permits?

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  10. You could report them to the agency that manages the land that they are collecting the mushrooms from. Given current budget constraints, I expect official investigation would only be prioritized for cases with ample evidence that suggests repeated, and blatant disregard for the rules. But it all starts with a report.

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