VANCOUVER, Wash. (Aug 20, 2019) — Thanks to a mild summer season, huckleberry season is well underway in much of the Pacific Northwest, and fall mushrooms have arrived as much as a month ahead of normal in some areas.
The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region reminds all forest users to “know before you go” and check with your local forest supervisor’s office or ranger district for applicable seasonal info and permit requirements before picking berries, mushrooms, or any other forest products on your favorite National Forest or Grassland.
The huckleberry grows throughout the Pacific Northwest, but the season begins and end at different times in across the region, as factors from latitude, to local climate even elevation play a role in when the berries ripen.
Free-use permits are available for non-commercial harvesting of many forest products on National Forests. The permits are issued at no cost, but the process allows natural resource managers to assess the demand for various forest products.
The permitting process also helps the agency ensure that berry pickers, mushroom pickers, and other harvesters of forest products are informed of any restrictions on they type or quantities of a particular forest product that can be collected by a single user, and what areas are protected or otherwise not being opened to harvests during the current season.
Commercial permits are required for any user seeking to harvest berries, mushrooms, plants, or any other forest products for resale.
On the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, for example, commercial huckleberry permits are currently available at all Ranger District offices, and at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters. Commercial permits cost $60 for 14 days, or $105 for the season. All people harvesting more than three gallons, or selling any quantity of berries, must obtain a commercial huckleberry permit. (Under Washington State law huckleberry buyers and sellers must also register their sales transactions. For details, visit: www.fs.usda.gov/main/giffordpinchot/passes-permits/forestproducts).
A free-use permit is also required when harvesting berries for personal consumption. There is no cost for free-use permits. To apply for and print a free-use huckleberry permit valid for approved areas of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, visit: https://apps.fs.usda.gov/gp.
Please note: Some areas of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are closed to huckleberry harvesting. These include the legislated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, all legislated Wildernesses, and the “Handshake Agreement” area of Sawtooth Berry Fields. In addition, a temporary closure to public camping will be in effect for the month of August in a small area of the Pole Patch huckleberry area. A map of areas open to personal picking and commercial harvesting will be provided with all 2019 permits, as areas open to harvest have changed this year.
For detailed information about forest products and permits on other forests, contact the Forest Supervisor’s office or District Ranger’s office for the forest you would live to visit.
Source information: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (press release)