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Ochoco NF: Mushrooms free, but please know the rules


The Ochoco National Forest wants people to have fun collecting mushrooms on the national forest, but to also remind everyone to obtain a permit and make sure you know the rules.

This year, mushroom collection activity on the Ochoco National Forest has increased considerably over recent years due to the extent of forest fires last year. Forest spokesman Patrick Lair said morel mushrooms are prevalent in wildfire-affected areas, especially in darker, wetter forests.

“Many people follow the burns, and we had some big fires last year,” Lair told NewsChannel 21. “The number of pickers was much higher this year and has led to some management challenges.”

If you are headed out to collect mushrooms, you’re urged to stop by the Forest Service office in Prineville to get a Free Use permit (they’re free!) and spend a little time getting familiar with the rules.

Some of the rules include:

A Free Use permit allows you to gather up to two gallons per person per day.
Mushrooms in your possession should be cut in half lengthwise at time of harvest.
It is not legal to sell mushrooms harvested under a Free Use permit.
Do not disturb the surrounding vegetation. Leave some fruiting bodies to produce spores for the next year.
Do not remove or scrape away the duff layer. No raking is allowed.
Mushroom collection is not allowed within a research natural area.

Know before you go!

Spending a little time getting to know the rules before you head out will ensure that you and your family have a better experience, and will help conserve resources for other people and future years.

Contact Public Affairs Officer Patrick Lair at (541) 416-6647 or with questions.

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