Forest Products for Personal Use

Image of products that can be harvested in the forest

What is incidental use?

For minor amounts of forest products that are for one’s direct personal use, a permit may not be required and there is no cost for collecting the items.  This is considered Incidental Use.

Incidental Use rules are specific for the products and the amounts that may be harvested.    Materials gathered under incidental use must be for your own personal use and cannot be sold or exchanged in any form, nor be used for making something to be sold.

Products and quantity limits may change from time to time to protect forest resources.  It is the responsibility of the harvester to stay current with updates.  You may contact any of our offices for the most current information.

Printable Incidental Use Brochure (PDF file).


What can I harvest?

Product Daily Limit Yearly Limit
Beargrass, Western Swordfern, and other foliage 2 pounds 20 pounds
Berries 1 gallon 5 gallons
Boughs, twigs, and other cuttings 5 pounds 40 pounds

Cones

Maximum of 5 Sugar Pine cones per day

15 cones 5 bushels

Firewood

Only for on-forest camping use. 

Only dead and down materials may be collected.

1/8 cord (4 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft) 2 cords
Fruits and seeds 1 pound 20 pounds
Medicinals 2 pounds 20 pounds

Mushrooms

Does not include Matsutake mushrooms

1 gallon 5 gallons

 

Where can I harvest?

These areas are not typically marked in the field, and it is the harvester's responsibility to ensure they are on open lands when harvesting.  Motor Vehicle Use Maps help harvesters ensure they are on the Forest. The maps are available online or at any office for no charge.

  • No harvest is allowed within operating contract areas such as forest product sales, pre-commercial thinning areas, etc. 
  • There is NO harvest within 200 feet of any building, campground, state highway, river, stream, pond, lake, or other body of water.
  • Harvesting of special forest products is only allowed on National Forest Lands within the Klamath National Forest, outside of administrative sites, wilderness areas, botanical areas, and research natural areas.

 

Conditions of Incidental Use

  • Harvest or transport of products collected under Incidental Use cannot take place while any person present in your group is harvesting or transporting the same product(s) under a charge permit.
  • Only products listed may be harvested, and only from areas open for the harvest of those products.  It is your responsibility to ensure you are on open National Forest Lands.  Klamath MVUM maps are available, no charge, at all offices or for download here.
  • In order to protect the land and resources, products may be removed from Incidental Use or limits lowered without notice; it is your responsibility to stay up to date.  Contact any of our offices for the most current information.
  • Individual product harvesting techniques must be followed; refer to each of the product headings for details or contact our office.
  • Follow all road and area closures.  Closures are placed to reduce the spread of forest diseases, protect wildlife and land resources, or to provide for public safety.  Vehicles are not allowed on closed roads or off roads.  Do not block roads or gates.
  • Protect the ground, surrounding vegetation and soil from damage and disturbance.
  • Pack it in/Pack it out.  Please do not litter!
  • Bury human waste a minimum of 12-18 inches deep and 200 feet away from any water source or open road.  Do not bury toilet paper.  Pack it out.
  • Do not harvest within 200 feet of any water body, campground, active contract area, or building.
  • Be able to correctly identify species before harvesting.  Harvest of any protected species or any part of a protected species is strictly prohibited. It is the harvester's responsibility to ensure they know the status of each species and to avoid harvest or damage of any protected species.
  • There are numerous species that are poisonous.  When in doubt...LEAVE IT IN THE WOODS!
  • Please do your part to take care of our valuable resources; respect the land and all forest visitors.

 

Additional Product Specific Conditions

Beargrass, Western Swordfern, and other foliage

The leaves of beargrass, western swordfern, and other plants are collected for a variety of purposes.  Species that are common may be harvested for one's personal use.  Up to two pounds of leaves may be harvested per day, with a maximum limit of 20 pounds per year.

Only the leaves may be harvested under this category.  The branch and root system must be left undisturbed to ensure leaf re-growth and to foster the health of the plant following harvest.  Choosing only leaves that you can reasonably use and harvesting a limited number of leaves from any one plant promotes a healthy plant.

Berries

Blackberries, Elderberries, Huckleberries, Raspberries, etc. may be harvested for one's own direct personal use up to one gallon per day, with a limit of five gallons per year.

Choosing only berries that you can reasonably use and gathering conservatively from any one plant and berry patch will ensure a viable local seed bank, as well as maintain a food source for wildlife.  Stems, branches, and leaves must be protected while harvesting to maintain plant health.  This helps to promote successful berry production in the future.

Boughs, twigs, and other cuttings

Some of our evergreen conifer trees may be used for bough collection.  Several other trees and shrubs may also be used for collection of cuttings, including harvesting part of a plant's twigs.  Plants that are common are available for collection for one's personal use, up to five pounds per day with a 40-pound yearly limit.

Choosing only those cuttings that you can reasonably use and only a few from any one plant promotes a stronger plant.  Choosing disease and insect-free cuttings and boughs helps ensure you do not spread pests and helps to keep our forests and urban woodlots healthy.

Cones

Many of our conifers have ideal cones for decorative uses such as wreaths, potpourris, and other crafts.  Only dry conifer cones that are on the ground may be collected.  Choosing only cones that are completely dry and free of damage helps prevent the spread of insects and disease.

For your personal use you may collect up to fifteen cones per day, up to five bushels (6 cubic feet) per year.  A maximum of five sugar pine cones may be harvested per day.

Firewood

If you are camping on the Klamath National Forest, you may gather up to 1/8 cord (4 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft) of firewood for your campfire, up to two cords per year.  Only dead and down wood may be collected.  All wood must be cut into 3-foot sections or smaller.  All firewood must remain at the campsite and may only be used on National Forest Lands.

You will reduce the amount of firewood you use and smoke you produce by only using dry, seasoned wood.  Start your fire quickly by using small kindling.  Keep the fire burning hot and small.  This will keep the air cleaner, keep you warmer longer, and reduce your impact on the land.

Prior to harvesting wood and burning a campfire, know the current fire restrictions and obtain your campfire permits.

Functioning spark arresters are required for all power saws.  Use of a chainsaw requires you carry fire prevention tools with each saw including an axe, shovel, and fire extinguisher of at least 8 oz capacity.  Depending on the current fire restrictions in effect, a one-hour fire watch after using the saw may be required.  We encourage you to collect your wood by hand with the aid of hand saws.

Always take the necessary fire safety precautions before, during, and after you build a fire to keep within requirements and reduce safety risks to everyone.  In general, don't build your fire on, above, or below dead vegetation.  Keep a ten-foot buffer of mineral soil (bare soil clear of all grass, leaves, rotten logs or stumps, and other vegetation.)  Keep your fire small, never leave your fire unattended, and keep water and a shovel to throw dirt on the fire within reach.  Before leaving, drown the fire with water, stir the coals and ash, then drown it again, and repeat until it is cool to the touch.

Fruits and seeds

The fruits and seeds of several plants are collected for a variety of purposes ranging from making edible jams to growing the plants themselves.  Plants that are common may be harvested for your personal use, up to one pound per day with a 20-pound yearly limit.

Medicinals

Some plant species have unique chemical properties with medicinal qualities.  Species that are common may be harvested for your personal use below the two-pound daily limit and within the 20-pound yearly limit.  Choosing only the plant part that is needed and gathering conservatively from any one plant or from each group will ensure a viable local seed source.

Mushrooms

There is a wide variety of mushrooms that are common on the Klamath National Forest that may be harvested for your personal use without a permit.  You may harvest up to one gallon per day within the five-gallon yearly limit.  Under Incidental Use, no MATSUTAKE mushrooms may be harvested.

Mushrooms are the fruiting part of living organisms, of which the vast majority is in the leaf litter, the duff layer, and the soil.  Carefully pluck or cut mushrooms without disturbing the ground to protect the living organism's fungal net.  The maximum width allowed for any extraction tool is one inch (2.54 cm).  Do not rake or dig for mushrooms, and do not pull them up.  Plucking or cutting only helps sustain a healthy fungi population that will continue to produce mushrooms in the future.  Keeping your harvested mushrooms in a basket or container with openings helps to spread spores as you are picking.  This improves the chance for successful reproduction and expansion of local populations.