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Permitting system proposed for morel mushrooms

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | March 8, 2022 7:00 AM

Following last summer’s wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed morel mushroom permit system for 2022.

An expected jump in personal and commercial mushroom gatherers precipitated the move, federal officials wrote in a scoping notice issued March 1. The proposal, which includes the portion of the Kootenai National Forest burned by the South Yaak Fire, is designed to give gatherers collecting mushrooms “reasonable opportunities for both personal and commercial harvest of mushrooms while minimizing the social and resource impacts that may occur …”

Under the system, campsites would be designated for commercial harvesters to help with sanitation. Areas not designated for commercial gathering would be open to the public for personal harvesting. Residents can gather up to five gallons of mushrooms before being required to get a permit, free of charge, from the Forest Service.

“Permits would be valid for any area outside designated commercial harvest areas on National Forest System lands unless restricted by Forest Plan management area direction or special closure,” reads the scoping notice.

Officials said they were consulting with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Historic Preservation Office and local law enforcement agencies on the proposal. The public also is invited to weigh in on the permit system.

Those interested in commenting can send their remarks to appeals-northern-regional-office@usda.gov (write “mushroom” in the subject line) or to “Kim Smolt — Mushroom Permits” at 26 For Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804. Comments should be postmarked no later than March 16.

Questions should be directed to David Hattis at david.hattis@usda.gov or by calling (406) 381-6674.

For more information, go to: fs.usda.gov/detail/r1/passes-permits/?cid=fseprd573491.