Mushroom hunting in the Umatilla National Forest - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Mushroom hunting in the Umatilla National Forest

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UMATILLA NATIONAL FOREST, OR - Mushroom hunting season is in full swing in National Forests around the area. 

Right now morel mushrooms are the ones popping up that can often be found in areas you probably wouldn't expect. Mushrooms like environments such as dead vegetation and areas that have been recently logged or where a fire burned. 

But before you hit the ground hunting, there are some rules for the Malheur/Umatilla/Wallowa-Whitman National Forests

Free-Use:

  1. A permit is not required to harvest, possess, or transport less than one gallon in Oregon or less than five gallons in Washington.
  2. Mushrooms harvested free of charge cannot be sold, bartered, or given away. 

Commercial Permits A Commercial Mushroom Permit is required if:

  1. You are 18 years or older and harvest mushrooms to sell, or; You harvest, possess, or transport more than one gallon in Oregon or more than five gallons in Washington. 
  2. A government-issued identification (ID) must be in the Permittee's posse

Commercial mushroomers are required to keep a record of the date, time and number of gallons removed off National Forest Lands on the Product Quantity Removal Record located on the front of your mushroom permit. 

The minimum charge for all forest product permits is $20. The cost per day to pick mushrooms is $2 per day and you will be required to buy the minimum, 10 consecutive days permit (except on the Malheur NF) for $20. An annual permit sells for $100.00. 

**Commercial mushroom picking is prohibited in wilderness areas. Possessing more than one gallon of mushrooms within Oregon wilderness areas or five gallons within Washington wilderness areas is considered commercial and therefore prohibited.**

And the rule of thumb in the forest is, when in doubt, throw it out because some of the mushrooms can be poisonous, Jeff Duke with the Walla Walla fire crew said to always do your research before and after picking.

"I always go by the rule if your not 100 percent sure don't eat it," said Duke. 

Always make sure to prepare before heading out to hunt. The Forest Service suggests:

  1. Know the Area: Study the lay of the land before you start. Carry a map and compass and learn how to use them. Be on the lookout for landmarks such as a mountain, road or stream. 
  2. Dress Properly: Always assume you may not make it back before dark and the weather may worsen. Wear layers of clothes. Wool is always a good choice because it retains its warmth even when wet. 
  3. Carry the Essentials: Pack a lunch or a few snacks. Bring matches or a lighter, a pocket knife and a whistle. Whistling carries farther than the human voice and uses less energy than yelling. Have a Plan: Let someone know exactly where you will be and when you will return. Report late arrivals promptly. 
  4. Be Physically and Mentally Prepared: Don't overdo it. Know your physical limits. Mentally prepare yourself for a survival situation. Think it through before it happens. 
  5. What to do if You Become Lost: Sit tight, wait, and stay calm. Keep warm and dry. Build a shelter and a fire before it gets dark. Make your location visible. Signal for help with three whistle blasts. A controlled fire with some green branches or a signal mirror can be seen from the air. Leave lots of clues such as notes, messages in the dirt and good footprints. Stay on trails or roads.

You can also access information on Mushrooms and the National Forests through their new app: Pacific Northwest National Forests. Right now it is only available for Apple, but Forest Officials say they are working on the Android version. 

For more visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd580780.pdf

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