The Flathead National Forest is located in the northwest corner of Montana.
Where is this Forest?


Forest Products Permits

What Are Special Forest Products?

Special forest products are non-timber goods that can be found in the forest such as mushroom, beargrass leaves, fern greens, pinecones, evergreen boughs and huckleberries. Because many of these items have a commercial value, they may be over-harvested if not managed. In order to protect these resources, yet make them available to the public, the Flathead National Forest has adopted collection limits for these products. The forest has developed a Special Forest Products Plan to assure sustainable harvest of these resources into the future.

Why do I need to pay a fee, or obtain a permit for certain products?

All plants on National Forest Service lands, from tiny lichens to the largest trees, belong to the American Public. Just as the Forest Service sells timber, harvesting plant materials that are of value must be purchased for a fair market value with the proceeds going to the U.S. Treasury. Permits are sometimes required to provide guidelines for appropriate collection, make collectors aware of any restrictions in collecting and to display the appropriate fee.

Special Forest Products on the Flathead National Forest

Listed below are the limits, fees and permit requirements for most products available. All limits and fees are for personal use only, and apply to one adult per calendar year. Gathering any product to be sold is considered commercial harvesting. Some of these products may be harvested in greater quantities for commercial use, however, different permits and fees are required. For more information about commercial harvesting, and more details on the limits and permit requirements for these and other products, contact one of the Flathead National Forest offices.


Gathering Special Forest Products from the Flathead National Forest (.pdf)


Forest Product Fee


No permit or fee required up to 10 gallons.
Amounts greater than 10 gallons requires commercial use permit.


Fern Greens
(fiddleheads and leaves only)

Limit: 20 lbs. green weight. Free-use permit required which lists all species prohibited from collection.


Seeds, Fruits and Berries
(Other Than Huckleberries)

No fees, limits or permits required.


Beargrass Leaves
(no collection of flowering or seed heads allowed)

No permit or fees for up to 20 lbs. Amounts greater than 20 lbs. require commercial use permit.



Permit required. $5 per cord, 4 cord minimum, 12 cord maximum.





Mushrooms (up to 5 lbs.)

No Permit required up to 5 gallons, with a one gallon per day possession limit.
Fee permits are required in designated collection areas, such as recent burns.
Check your local Forest Service office for the location of these collection areas.

Mushrooms(over 5 and up to 20lbs.)

Free use permit required. Children must be over age 12. Mushrooms must be cut in half lengthwise upon collection. (Commercial fee permits are required in designated collection areas. Check your local Forest Service office for the location of these collection areas).









Transplants - Trees
No permit required for up to 5 trees. Free Personal Use Permit required to collect 5-20 trees(No Cedar or Pacific Yew).

Transplants- Shrubs, Forbs, Ferns and Grasses
Free Use Permit required: Up to 20 plants total. Free-use permit lists all species prohibited from collection.



Roots, Bulbs and Herbs

Permit required for any collecting.


Christmas Trees

Limit: 2 trees per household.

$5.00 ea.

Mosses and Lichens

Limit: 1 lb. dry weight. Free-use permit required which lists all species prohibited from collection.


Evergreen Boughs

No permit or fee required for up to 100 lbs. green weight (except for Pacific Yew which has a 50lb. limit). Amounts greater than 100 lbs. ( or 50 lbs. for Pacific Yew) requires a commercial-use permit.


Native Plants Cuttings

No fee, but free-use permits with quantity limits are required for certain species. Check with your local Forest Service office.


Rock Landscaping

Minerals permit required for up to 4 tons/year maximum. Use of hand tools only for loose rock.