Permits are now on sale for commercial harvesting of mushrooms from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Permits will be sold at local ranger stations and the U.S. Forest Service headquarters office.
Areas where commercial harvesting of mushrooms may occur include portions of the national forest burned in the Carlton Complex Fire in the Methow Valley Ranger District and in the Table Mountain and Peavine fire areas on the Cle Elum and Wenatchee River Ranger Districts.
Collection or possession of more than three gallons per day or the intent to sell mushrooms requires a commercial permit. A two-day permit costs $20, a 30-day permit is $50 and a season permit is $100; the spring season runs from April 20 through July 31 and the fall season is from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Permits must be in the harvester’s possession when collecting mushrooms.
Individuals with commercial morel mushroom harvesting permits will be able to harvest mushrooms only from areas listed on the ranger district mushroom maps they receive at the time they purchase a permit. The maps will be available at locations where the permits are sold and on the forest web site at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/mushroom.
Two areas will be designated as commercial mushroom harvester camps — North Summit Sno-Park and Black Canyon Sno-Park, both located on the Methow Valley Ranger District. Commercial mushroom harvesters will be directed to use these Sno-Parks when staying overnight in the national forest.
Harvesting mushrooms for personal use is free and no permit is required. People may harvest, possess and transport morel mushrooms in amounts of less than three gallons per person per day.
The growing season for morel mushrooms begins as soon as snow melts and continues through July depending upon elevation, slope aspect and precipitation, according to a Forest Service press release. The exact start date for harvest will depend upon when mushrooms begin to appear in fire areas.
“Morel mushrooms commonly grow in late spring and early summer in burned areas the year immediately following the fires,” said Mick Mueller, Wenatchee River Ranger District environmental coordinator and amateur mycologist. “With the snow melting off so early this year we might see mushrooms appearing earlier than normal.”