I delight in photographing the many mushrooms and fungus I discover in the woods. However, the morrel is the only identification that I trust for myself. I dry morrels and store. They are a wonderful flavor addition to a winter stew.
My supply of dried morrels is running low. I am thinking of spring and the morrel harvest. Several readers have inquired about the rules for mushroom picking. Please read the following exerts from the
US Forest Service Guide. Happy Hunting!
Mushroom Harvest In The Lolo National Forest
Picking five gallons of mushrooms or less for the season is considered Incidental Use and does not require any kind of permit. Mushrooms picked under Incidental Use must be cut in half lengthwise and cannot be sold. Incidental Use is allowed across the Lolo National Forest except in the Commercial portions of the Chippy and Jocko Fire perimeters.
Types of Permits
Commercial Harvest permits will be sold for only two designated areas:
- portions of the Chippy Fire on the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District, and
- portions of the Jocko Lakes Fire
Personal Use permits will be sold at all Lolo N.F. Ranger District offices at a cost of $20 and will allow the harvest of 20 gallons of mushrooms per permit. Individuals are allowed to purchase more than one Personal Use permit throughout the season.
Buyers permits will not be sold on the Lolo National Forest and buying stations will not be established on the forest grounds.
Under 12 are restricted to Incidental Use
Personal Use (over age 12 only)
- Permit required for picking more than five gallons
- Ages 12-17 do not need to have the permit co-signed by an adult
Commercial Use (over age 12 only)
- Permit required for picking more than 20 gallons
- Ages 12-17 must have permit co-signed by an adult
Designated campsites for Commercial mushroom harvesters will not be established on the forest. However, Commercial harvesters will be able to obtain a free extended camping permit at the Plains/Thompson Falls and Seeley Lake Ranger Districts that will allow them to camp in dispersed areas only beyond the 14-day stay limit. Extended camping permits are valid only for the harvest season and individuals will need to have the permit in their possession or have it displayed at their campsite. Personal Use pickers may camp at dispersed sites but not beyond the 14-day stay limit.
Camps shall be located at least 300 feet away from streams, creeks, lakes, and other riparian areas.
Traveling on Forest roads and motorized off-road or cross country travel
Motorized cross country travel is not allowed on the Lolo National Forest. Please see the forest visitor map (available at Ranger District offices) for designated trail and road information.
Avoid areas where logging activity or road construction is taking place.
Do not block gates or travel behind locked gates.
Seasonal road closures for spring conditions may be in effect. Contact the local Ranger District office for current information on open and closed roads.
Resource Protection – please follow these rules when harvesting mushrooms on the Lolo National Forest
Please minimize the impacts to the actual fungus by not disturbing the ground habitat, and by cutting, not pulling the mushrooms from the ground.
No raking or other ground disturbances are allowed when picking mushrooms.
Do not leave trash on the forest or at campgrounds. Pack out – what you pack in.
Use sanitation facilities, or dispose of human waste in a hole at least 8 inches deep and 300 feet from water or open roads.
Do not discharge firearms in or around campsites, near private homes, or over bodies of water.
Keep dogs under control when in the forest and follow campground rules regarding pets.
Mushroom harvesters and campers must abide by the Lolo N.F. food storage strategy:
Be aware of the food storage requirements.
Prevent encounters with bears and other wildlife by storing food properly.
- Use established fire rings and clear an area around the outside perimeter of the fire.
- Do not leave a campfire unattended.
- Completely extinguish your campfire before leaving it.
- Do not burn food or trash – use designated trash facilities.
Fire Area Maps
Maps of the burned areas across the forest are available on the Lolo National Forest website, under Passes and Permits https://www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo/). Maps are also available at each Ranger District Office.
Know Your Mushrooms
Proper identification of mushrooms is the responsibility of the harvester. Some mushrooms are poisonous. Field guides and website resources should be consulted before harvesting. The western Montana Mycological Association website address is: www.fungaljungal.org.
Know Where You Are – And Harvest Only Where Allowed For Your Permit
Commercial harvesters must be in Commercial areas.
Incidental and Personal Use pickers must not harvest in Commercial areas.
Respect other land owner’s requirements.
Purchasing a Permit
Personal Use permits will be available at all Ranger District offices (please see the forest website for phone numbers and locations (https://www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo/). Commercial permits will be available only at the Seeley Lake and Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger Districts.