Gathering Firewood and other Forest Products on the Lolo National Forest


Forest Products

The gathering of other Forest products for personal use, such as mushrooms, transplants, huckleberries, etc. is FREE (with some requiring a valid permit) through 2020.  Charge permits are required for Post and Poles. Please adhere to these regulations and best practices (summarized below) while gathering Forest products. For questions, call your local Ranger Station.

Those interested in collecting forest products need to first contact the Lolo National Forest by phone and provide their contact details, and a free, hard-copy permit will be issued by mail. In-person pickup at Ranger District offices may also be available, depending upon location, and will comply with CDC requirements for social distancing. 

Please observe these guidelines for Forest Products:

  • Mushrooms - may be gathered in quantities up to 5 gallons without a permit.  Quantities greater than 5 gallons require a free use permit.  All mushrooms shall be split in half lengthwise prior to leaving the site.
  • Huckleberries - may be gathered in quantities up to 10 gallons for free without a permit.
  • Boughs – may be gathered in quantities up to 100lbs for free without a permit.  Please limit collections to utility corridors and along road cut/fill slopes.
  • Beargrass – may be gathered in quantities up to 20lbs for free without a permit.
  • Transplants - please contact your local Ranger District to obtain a free use permit.
  • Post and Pole – charge permits are required and can be obtained by contacting your local Ranger District.

Best Practices:

  • Protect future harvests. Reduce impacts to the fungi by not disturbing the soil.  No raking, digging, or other ground disturbances are allowed when collecting mushrooms. Cut or break off mushrooms at ground level.
  • Road Access: Motor Vehicle Use Maps for designated motorized roads and seasonal closures are available for download online. Motorized travel off designated roads and trails is prohibited.
  • Collect from a wide-ranging area, do not limit all your collecting to a small area.
  • If there is any ground disturbance, do your best to fill in the hole and cover with sod or dead plant material. Try not to leave exposed bare soil, as this is where weeds become established.
  • Many native plant species transplant readily into gardens, however, for various reasons some native species are very sensitive and have a high rate of mortality when transplanted. In selecting species to transplant, rely upon information from gardeners and nurseries, on which species survive best. Transplanting works best when plants are dug on cool days and replanted immediately. It is best to keep roots moist and not allow them to come in contact with air. Water well the first growing season. Most plants, especially shrubs and trees, transplant best when dormant (fall or early spring). To help increase a transplant’s chance of survival, mark the North side of the tree before removal and then line up the same side when you re-plant it.

Personal firewood cutting will be free to the public until further notice

The Lolo National Forest will continue to offer free firewood for personal use until further notice, and the forest is requiring the public obtain a free permit before harvesting. Forest officials are asking that the public call their local Forest Service office to obtain a hard copy permit in order to track harvesting and communicate important wildfire safety and collection information. Quantities up to 12 cords are authorized with a free use permit.

Those interested in collecting firewood need to first contact the Lolo National Forest by phone and provide their contact details, and a free, hard-copy permit will be issued by mail. In-person pickup at Ranger District offices may also be available, depending upon location, and will comply with CDC requirements for social distancing. 

The Basics

  • firewood cut and stacked in a pilePersonal firewood cutting will continue to be FREE on the Lolo National Forest (until further notice). 
  • Woodcutters can take up to 12 cords of firewood for personal use. A cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long.
  • Personal use firewood cutting allows you to remove downed timber or to cut standing dead trees in allowed areas.
  • Contact the local ranger district to see if there are any specific local restrictions or requirements other than those listed below.

Special Area Restrictions to Firewood Gathering

  • Firewood gathering is prohibited in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Pattee Canyon area near Missoula
  • Rock Creek: Firewood gathering is prohibited October 1-April 30 on Lolo National Forest land ¼ mile either side of Rock Creek, Brewster Creek, and Ranch Creek and ¼ mile either side of National Forest System Roads 4308, 4296 and 102 as shown on maps and described in Order No. F10-015-Lolo-D3.
  • Seeley Lake Ranger District: Firewood gathering is prohibited around most of the northern half of Seeley Lake, and the north-eastern sides of Lake Inez, Lake Alva and Rainy Lake. Please visit this link for more information and refer to the attached map.

General Standards and Regulations

  • Do not fell green (live) trees for firewood. Do not cut cedar or Pacific yew.
  • Do not cut standing dead trees or down logs with signs, tags or paint marks on them. 
  • Firewood gathering is prohibited in all developed recreation areas, campgrounds and wild and scenic river corridors.
  • Firewood gathering is prohibited within timber sale units or other areas signed or shown on the firewood gathering area map (if provided) as being closed to firewood gathering.
  • Trees or logs must NOT be felled or skidded across live streams, lakes, or reservoirs. If a tree is accidentally felled into a waterway, leave the entire tree.  Firewood gathering is prohibited within 150 feet of any running stream, pond, lake, marshy, or wet area
  • The following activities are prohibited:  using over-the-terrain vehicles for skidding, yarding or skidding systems in excess of 100 feet, log trucks for hauling, or vehicles driven off roadways to gather firewood.
  • Six feet is the maximum length piece that may be removed under the firewood program.
  • The following are fire regulations for vehicles and chainsaws (during proclaimed fire season):
    • Chainsaw operators must have a serviceable fire extinguisher (liquid chemical 8 oz. or dry chemical 1 lb.) and shovel available at all times.
    • Chainsaws must be equipped with an approved spark arrestor screen.
    • All vehicles must be equipped with a baffled muffler and serviceable tailpipe.
  • Pile or lop and scatter slash away from roads, power lines, telephone lines, ditches and stream courses.

Woodcutters should also use caution while driving on Forest Service roads. Many remain snow covered and icy at higher elevations. Roads at lower elevations are wet and muddy and the soft roadbed can easily be damaged by vehicle traffic. Please adhere to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps available here.        

Please contact your local district office for updates and more information

  • Lolo National Forest Supervisor’s Office: 406-329-3750
  • Missoula Ranger District: 406-329-3814
  • Ninemile Ranger District: 406-626-5201
  • Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger District: 406-826-3821
  • Seeley Lake Ranger District: 406-677-2233
  • Superior Ranger District: 406-822-4233