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Umatilla National Forest prepares for mushroom season following 2021 wildfires

NewsOfOregonPost_USFS

PENDLETON, Ore. (April 27, 2022) — As the snow recedes, various fungi will begin returning to the forest floor. Because mushrooms often can be found within recently burned areas, Umatilla National Forest officials are anticipating large numbers of mushroom hunters (both commercial and recreational) may visit the Pomeroy Ranger District and surrounding communities this spring. Forest officials remind the public that picking small quantities of mushrooms for personal use does not require a permit, but those mushrooms cannot be sold, bartered, or given away. 
Under free-use, individuals are authorized to harvest, possess, or transport less than one gallon of mushrooms in Oregon or less than five gallons in Washington. A commercial mushroom permit is required for those that intend to harvest mushrooms to sell, or individuals that plan to harvest, possess, or transport more than one gallon in Oregon or more than five gallons in Washington. Commercial mushroom picking is prohibited in Wilderness areas; but mushrooms can be harvested for free use within Wilderness areas, up to the legal daily limits identified for each state above.
Commercial mushroom permits cost $2 per day, with a minimum purchase of 10 days ($20), or an annual permit (valid from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) for $100. An individual must be 18 years or older to purchase a commercial mushroom permit. Commercial mushroom permits can be purchased from the Umatilla National Forest in the following ways:

  1. Contact one of the Umatilla National Forest offices listed below to set up an appointment. 
  2. Email the Umatilla National Forest at r6_umatilla_public_inquiries@fs.fed.us to receive an electronic commercial mushroom permit and guide. 

The Forest Service requires an Industrial Camping Permit if commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers plan to camp overnight on National Forest System lands. Industrial camping permits can be obtained at the local Ranger District Office or electronically by contacting the Forest where the individual plans to harvest. Maps will be provided with the permit and are also available on the Forest website. Commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers are prohibited from camping in developed campgrounds. At this time, two Industrial Camp locations have been identified on the Pomeroy Ranger District.
Some mushroom hunters are interested in harvesting within past prescribed burn or wildfire areas. Past prescribed burn locations are identified on an interactive prescribed fire map for the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. To locate recent wildfires, please refer to the National Interagency Fire Center’s interactive wildfire map or contact the Umatilla National Forest for maps of the Lick Creek or Green Ridge Fires. However, the public should be cautious when entering a recently burned area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags. Dead or dying trees that remain standing after a fire are unstable, especially in high winds. Temporary road and area closures may also still be in effect from last year’s wildfires where unsafe conditions, such as hazard trees, are still being mitigated. 
With the continued growing interest in harvesting mushrooms from National Forests, proper identification and determination of whether a mushroom is edible crucial and is the responsibility of the picker. Many Forest mushroom varieties are poisonous. There are many guidebooks 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.
Please check with the local Ranger District office for updates on road conditions and current closures. Some areas on the Umatilla National Forest are also still not accessible due to mud, snow or snow drifts. In addition, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and serious safety concerns, especially if visitors are unprepared. The Umatilla National Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) display the open and seasonally open road system on the Umatilla National Forest. MVUMs are free and can be picked up at any Umatilla National Forest office or downloaded from the Forest website. Cross-country travel is prohibited under the Umatilla National Forest’s travel management plan.
Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla or by contacting one of the following Forest offices:

  • Supervisor’s Office (541) 278-3716 
  • North Fork John Day Ranger District (541) 427-3231
  • Heppner Ranger District (541) 676-9187
  • Walla Walla Ranger District (509) 522-6290
  • Pomeroy Ranger District (509) 843-1891

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