2020 Mushroom Picking on the Kootenai National Forest

2020 Mushroom Permits

Depending on the year - Free Use and/or Commercial Use mushroom harvesting permits may be offered by the Forest.  The mushroom season will vary somewhat with local weather and site conditions.

  • INCIDENTAL USE - Mushrooms may be gathered up to 20 gallons.
  • There will be No Commercial Harvesting on the Forest for 2020


  • Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Beware of falling snags and stump holes, especially in burned areas.
  • You are not permitted to be on private property. It is your responsibility to know where harvesting is allowed.
  • Motorized vehicles are not allowed on closed roads or off of existing roads.
  • Raking or other ground disturbances are not allowed. Use a knife to cut the mushroom or break the stem off at ground level. Please leave the area cleaner than you found it.

Maps of Prescribed Burn Area Locations

The following maps show areas of mushroom picking opportunities in prescribed burns from 2019 on the KNF.  Maps are in pdf format for viewing / download.

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.  

Be Bear Aware!

We want you to stay safe while out collecting mushrooms! Read our Northern Region Bear Guide for information on traveling and camping in bear country.