4.30.19 Springs temperatures invite mushrooms to the Blue Mountains

A small light colored edible morel mushroom growing on the forest floor.


Springs temperatures invite mushrooms to the Blue Mountains

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JOHN DAY, PENDLETON, and BAKER CITY, Ore. – It’s that time again, when fungi begin pushing their way up through the soil. Avid mushroom hunters, both recreational and commercial, await their arrival every spring.

For those that are picking small quantities for personal use, a permit is not required to harvest, possess, or transport less than one gallon in Oregon or less than five gallons in Washington. These free-use mushrooms are for personal consumption and cannot be sold, bartered, or given away.

A commercial mushroom permit is required if you are 18 years or older and harvest mushrooms to sell -- or if you plan to harvest, possess, or transport more than one gallon in Oregon or more than five gallons in Washington. Purchasing a permit requires a valid government-issued ID. Commercial mushroom picking is prohibited in wilderness areas; therefore you cannot possess more than one gallon within Oregon wilderness boundaries or five gallons within Washington wilderness boundaries.

An industrial camping permit is required if commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers plan to camp overnight on National Forest System lands. Industrial camping permits can only be obtained at the local Ranger District Office on the forest of which you plan to harvest. Commercial mushroom harvesters and buyers are prohibited from camping in developed campgrounds.

Commercial permit rates:

  • Consecutive-Day (except for the Malheur): $2 per day, minimum 10 days = $20 
    • (Example: 14-day permit =$28)
  • Annual Permit: Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 = $100

Temporary road and area closures may still be in effect in last year's wildfire areas where unsafe conditions, such as hazard trees, are still being mitigated. Please check with the local ranger district office for updates on road conditions and current closures.

Mushroom harvesters on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests are required to display a recreation pass in the windshield of their vehicle when using a designated fee trailhead. Northwest Forest Passes cost $5 for each day pass or $30 for an annual pass. Recreation passes are available at Forest Service Offices and online through Discover Your Northwest at: http://www.discovernw.org/. The Malheur National Forest does not require a recreation pass.

Please note that many forest mushroom varieties are poisonous. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out! It is the responsibility of the picker to properly identify a mushroom and determine of whether a mushroom is edible. There are many guide books available to assist with identification. Some forests offer field guides for sale. Your local library, county extension office and local Mycological Society are also good sources of information.

Consider these tips to enhance your personal safety in the woods: be prepared, pack the "ten essentials," travel with others, and be sure to tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you expect to return.

Enjoy your national forests, and please don’t leave your trash behind.


A small light colored edible morel mushroom growing on the forest floor.