2019 Mushroom Picking on the Kootenai National Forest

2019 Mushroom Permits and Fees

Types of Use:

  • INCIDENTAL USE allows for the picking of up to five gallons (about two grocery bags) of mushrooms or less for the season. No permit is required. No more than one gallon of mushrooms is allowed in a harvester's possession each day.
  • PERSONAL USE FREE PERMITS are available at all Kootenai National Forest District Offices. These allow for the harvest of up to 20 gallons for the season for ages 12+. There is no fee for a personal use permit and the permit is valid for the 2019 season only.
  • There will be no commercial or personal use charge permits available in 2019.

Maps of Fire Locations

The following maps show the location of the 3 large fires from 2018.  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.