Umatilla National Forest releases guide to mushroom collecting

UMATILLA NATIONAL FOREST NEWS RELEASE -- It’s about that time again when fungi begin pushing their way up through the soil. Avid mushroom hunters, both recreational and commercial, await their arrival every spring.

Remembering when, where, how, and if a permit is required for mushroom hunting will help in planning your mushroom hunting trip this year. The Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests have created a 2014 Mushroom Guide to help harvesters understand how to best contribute to the sustainable management of this resource. It is currently available on all three Forest websites and can also be obtained at any of the Ranger District and Forest offices.

A permit is not required to harvest, possess, or transport less than one gallon in Oregon or less than five gallons in Washington. These free-use mushrooms are for personal consumption and cannot be sold, bartered, or given away. A commercial mushroom permit is required if you are 18 years or older and harvest mushrooms to sell, or if you plan to harvest, possess, or transport more than one gallon in Oregon or more than five gallons in Washington.

An Industrial Camping Permit is required if commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers plan to camp overnight on National Forest System lands.  Industrial camping permits can only be obtained at the local Ranger District Office.  Commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers are prohibited from camping in developed campgrounds.

Commercial permit rates

Consecutive-Day:  $2.00 per day, minimum 10 days = $20.00 (Example: 14-day permit =$28.00)
Annual Permit:   Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 = $100.00
Buyer's permit:  $600.00 plus administrative costs

Commercial mushroom picking is prohibited in wilderness areas; therefore you cannot possess more than one gallon within Oregon wilderness boundaries or five gallons within Washington wilderness boundaries.

Beginning this season, commercial mushroomers will be required to keep a record of the date, time, and quantity of mushrooms removed from the National Forest System Lands.  There is a chart on the front of the permit called the “Product Quantity Removal Record”.  This new requirement will be enforced.  Additional information can be found in the Mushroom Guide.

Mushroomers on the Umatilla National Forests and Wallowa-Whitman are required to display a recreation pass in the windshield of their vehicle when using a designated fee trailhead. The Malheur National Forest does not require a recreation pass. Northwest Forest Passes cost $5.00 for each day pass or $30.00 for an annual pass. Recreation passes are available at Forest Service Offices and online through Discover Your Northwest at: http://www.discovernw.org/.

Each year interest grows in harvesting wild mushrooms from National Forests. Proper identification and determination of whether a mushroom is edible is the responsibility of the picker. Many forest mushroom varieties are poisonous. There are many guide books available to assist with identification. Some forests offer field guides for sale. Your local library, county extension office and local Mycological Society are good sources of information. Remember: When in doubt throw it out.

Have a great visit to the Blue Mountains, be prepared, enjoy your stay, and please don’t leave trash behind.