Morel Mushrooms In The Morning – What A NW Picker Needs To Know
I don't like mushrooms on my pizza, or on a plate next to my steak, or in my can of cream of anything soup...but I know many people do.
Not A Fan But Here I Am
So in my role as an informational Public Servant, I will take it upon myself, on behalf of mycophagists everywhere, to stare down the "Morel in the mirror" and reach out to share the latest info on mushroom gathering here in the Pacific Northwest.
The U.S. Forest Service says if you're planning to hunt for morel mushrooms you may need a permit and permit sales will be able to purchase a commercial harvesting permit starting May 2.
Who Needs A Mushroom Permit
Now to be clear, not ALL mushroom pickers will need a permit. But those who plan to collect or possess more than five gallons of mushrooms per day or sell mushrooms will need a "commercial permit" which will be sold at Forest Service offices in Winthrop, Chelan, Cle Elum, and Naches.
A two-day permit costs $30, a 30-day permit is $80, and a season permit is $100; for the season that runs from May 2 through July 31. Permits will need to be in the harvester’s possession when collecting mushrooms. Permits, and maps in six languages, are available for harvest areas in the Cedar Creek, Cub Creek 2, and Schneider Springs fire areas in the forest.
Personal pickers don't need a permit but they do need to know the guidelines
Harvesting free mushrooms for personal use
Up to five gallons per person per day, individuals must obtain and carry a copy of the Free Incidental Use Mushroom Information Sheet with them while harvesting in lieu of a permit. This information sheet can be printed off the forest website at https://go.usa.gov/xQ3YJ and is also available at local national forest offices
For those who may not have hunted and harvested mushrooms before, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Mushroom pickers should be especially aware of dead trees where they park and stop for breaks or lunch. Dead trees may fall or have branches fall out of them unexpectedly. While there are thousands of acres open to mushroom harvesting, harvesters also need to be aware of prohibited areas like Wilderness.
Chelan District Ranger Kari Grover-Wier:
By respecting the rules and minimizing impacts, mushroom harvesting can continue to be a sustainable forest product and in turn, can benefit local businesses and communities.