Outdoors

Umatilla requires permits for serious mushroomers


Morel mushrooms, prized for the dinner table, are especially abundant in the next spring after a forest fire. 
 (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Morel mushrooms, prized for the dinner table, are especially abundant in the next spring after a forest fire. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

PUBLIC LANDS — Mushrooms are pushing their way up through the warming spring soil in forests around the region, and pickers are heading out to greet them.

National forests generally allow people to pick mushrooms freely, but if you're harvesting more than a few gallons of fungi, you may need a commercial permit, depending on the forest.

In the Blue Mountains, the Umatilla National Forest requires a Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent to park a vehicle at many sites.

In adddition, commercial harvest permits are required for picking more than a gallon of mushrooms on the Oregon side of the Blues or more than five gallons on the Washington side.

The forest offers a 2013 mushroom guide with information on rules and tips on where to pick.

Read on for more details from the Umatilla.

The Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests have created a 2013 Mushroom Guide to help understand some of the rules and regulations surrounding mushroom picking. It is currently available on all three forest websites and can also be obtained at any of the Ranger District offices of the Forests.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Mushroomers on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests 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 at this time. Northwest Forest Passes cost $5.00 for each day pass or $30.00 for an annual pass.
 
Proper identification and determination of whether a mushroom is edible is the responsibility of the picker. Many forest mushroom varieties are poisonous.  When in doubt throw it out!



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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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