2018 Mushroom Picking on the Kootenai National Forest

The Kootenai National Forest is expecting an excellent crop of morel mushrooms this year due to the extensive area effected by wildfires in 2017.  Various types of permits will be available for the 2018 mushroom season.  Please see the detailed information below for specifics on permits and collection areas.  Maps of the proposed commercial harvest areas and proposed commercial camp locations are available on the Northern Region Mushroom Website, as well as general information regarding mushroom harvesting across the Region.

Permit Area Maps and information pertaining to mushroom harvesting will be available at various Forest Service office locations when permits become available.  Personal Use Charge and Commercial mushroom permits are expected to be available beginning May 7, 2018.  Commercial Camping permits will be available at local Forest Service offices.

View/Download the Brochure for Personal and Incidental Collection of Mushrooms in the Northern Region (pdf, .4 kb)

General Information

Photo showing morels in a burnt forest area

The best times for successful mushroom gathering are dependent upon the conditions in a specific area.  Mushrooms emerge in the spring when moisture, soil, aspect, snow levels and temperatures are just right. Generally the season starts in May and extends through June. 
Most often the best location for mushrooms is in areas that were burned or the soil was disturbed the previous year. Sometimes there are mushrooms found two-three years after the burn, although usually the first year is generally the optimal season. The spring snow pack helps determine the amount and timing of mushroom growth.  Snow melt can greatly influence when, and for how long, mushrooms survive.

Safety Precautions

Photos showing a closeup of morels including a sliced morel

Please use caution when venturing to your picking area.  Due to this year's snow pack, roads at higher elevations may remain impassible due to snow and debris through June! Also rivers and creeks are typically running very high and can be dangerous.
Be aware of your surroundings while picking.  Burn areas can be very dangerous due to the high number of hazard trees that may be present.  A "hazard tree" is a tree that has a structural defect that makes it likely to fail in whole or in part. Falling trees are an ever-present hazard when traveling or camping in the forest, yet too often we are unaware of the risks associated with defective trees. Trees are defective from age, fire and/or disease.  

Permits

Types of Permits Available for the 2018 Mushroom Season

 

Commercial

Personal Use Charge

Personal Use Free

Incidental

Permit Required

YES, permit is required for each person 12 years and older to collect mushrooms anywhere on the Forest.

YES, permit is required for each person 12 years and older to collect mushrooms anywhere on the Forest.

YES, permit is required for each person 12 years and older to collect mushrooms anywhere on the Forest.

NO

Permit Area

Designated Commercial Areas ONLY

Kootenai National Forest

Kootenai National Forest

Kootenai National Forest

Season or Permit Length

May 7, 2018 to July 7, 2018

May 7, 2018 through September 30, 2018

Through September 30, 2018

Calendar Year 2018

Minimum Charge

$20.00

$20.00

$0.00

Not Applicable

Maximum Charge

$300.00 per season

$300.00 per season

$0.00

Not Applicable

Minimum Amount

20 Gallons (50 Lbs.)
7 days
7.1 Lbs. per day

20 Gallons (50 Lbs.)

5 Gallons (12.5 Lbs.)

Not Applicable

Maximum Amount

Per Permit:
100 Gallons (250 Lbs.)
Season
4.2 Lbs per day

Per Individual:
300 Gallons (750 Lbs.)
*Up to 3 Season 
Permits per individual

300 Gallons (750 Lbs.)

20 Gallons (50 Lbs.)

1 gallon per day in possession
5 gallons total per person, per season

Other Requirements

Mushrooms may be kept whole and may be sold.

 

Camping in designated group locations ONLY with a valid commercial camping permit

All mushrooms must be sliced lengthwise in half at the time of harvesting.

Resale of mushrooms is prohibited.

All mushrooms must be sliced lengthwise in half at the time of harvesting.

Resale of mushrooms is prohibited.

 

All mushrooms must be sliced lengthwise in half at the time of harvesting.

Resale of mushrooms is prohibited.