Incidental-Use Guide

We recommend that you print out the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest’s Incidental Free Use Guide and respective Special Forest Products Harvest Area Map to bring with you on your outings. 

What is Incidental Use?

A permit is typically required to harvest special forest products on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. For minor amounts of forest products that are for one’s direct personal use a permit may not be required. This page lists the products and the amounts that may be harvested under incidental use without charge and without the need of a permit when these products are used for your own use. It also describes how products may be harvested and provides information on the locations where harvest may occur. Materials gathered under incidental use cannot be sold or exchanged in any form.

Products and quantity limits may change from time to time to protect forest resources. It is the responsibility of the harvester to stay current with updates. You may contact any of our offices or check this website for the most current listings.

Conditions of Incidental Use
  • Harvest or transport of products collected under Incidental-Use cannot take place while any person present in your group is harvesting or transporting the same product(s) under a charge permit.
  • Only products listed may be harvested and only from areas open for the harvest of those products. Harvest area maps are available at any Forest office at no charge. It is your responsibility to ensure you are on open National Forest Lands.
  • In order to protect the land and resources, products may be removed or limits lowered without notice; it is your responsibility to stay up to date. You may visit our web page or contact our offices to stay current.
  • Individual product harvesting techniques must be followed; refer to each of the product headings for details or contact our office.
  • Follow all road and area closures. Closures are placed to reduce the spread of forest diseases, protect wildlife & land resources, or to provide for public safety. Vehicles are not allowed on closed roads or off roads. Do not block roads or gates.
  • Protect the ground, surrounding vegetation, and soil from damage and disturbance.
  • Pack it in. Pack it out. Please do not litter!
  • Bury human waste a minimum of 12-18 inches deep and 200 feet away from any water source or open road.
  • Do not harvest within 200 feet of any water body, campground, active contract area, or building.
  • Be able to correctly identify species before harvesting. Harvest of any protected species or any part of it is strictly prohibited. There are numerous species that are poisonous. It is the harvester’s responsibility to ensure they know the status of species and to not harvest or damage any protected species.

WHEN IN DOUBT…LEAVE IT IN THE WOODS!

  • Please do your part in taking care of our valuable resources; respect the land and all forest visitors.

Where Can I Harvest?

No harvest is allowed within operating contract areas such as forest product sales, pre-commercial thinning areas, etc. There is NO harvest within 200 feet of any building, campground, state highway, river, stream, pond, lake, or other water body.

Harvesting of special forest products is only allowed on National Forest Lands within the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest that fall outside of administrative sites, wilderness areas, botanical areas, and research natural areas.

These areas are not typically marked in the field, and it is the harvester’s responsibility to ensure they are on open lands when harvesting. Special Forest Products Harvest Area maps are available to guide harvesters to lands open for special forest products collection and may be accessed off this page and are also provided at no charge at all our offices.

What Can I Harvest?

Product:

Daily Limit

Yearly Limit

Beargrass, Western Swordfern, & Other Foliage

2 pounds

20 pounds

Berries

1 gallon

5 gallons

Boughs, Twigs, & Other Cuttings

5 pounds

40 pounds

Cones

Maximum of 5 sugar pine cones per day.

15 cones       

5 bushels

Firewood

1/8 cord             (4 ft x 2 ft x 2ft)

2 cords

Only for on-Forest camping use. Only dead & down material may be collected.

Fruits & Seeds

1 pound

20 pounds

Medicinals

2 pounds

20 Pounds

Mushrooms                                       NO MATSUTAKE MUSHROOMS

1 gallon

5 gallons

How Do I Harvest?

Beargrass, Western Swordfern, & Other Foliage

The leaves of beargrass, western swordfern, and other plants are collected for a variety of purposes. Species that are common may be harvested for one’s personal use. Up to 2 pounds of leaves may be harvested per day with a maximum limit of 20 pounds per year.

Only the leaves may be harvested under this category. The branch and root system must be left undisturbed to ensure leaf re-growth and to foster the health of the plant following harvest. Choosing only leaves that you can reasonably use and harvesting a limited number of leaves from any one plant promotes a healthy plant.

Berries

Huckleberries, Elderberries, and other berries may be harvested for one’s own direct personal use up to one gallon per day with a limit of 5 gallons per year. Choosing only berries that you can reasonably use and gathering conservatively from any one plant and from each berry patch will ensure a viable local seed bank as well as maintain a food source for wildlife use. Stems, branches, and leaves must be protected while harvesting to maintain plant health, which helps promote successful berry production in the future.

Boughs, Twigs, & Other Cuttings

Some of our evergreen conifer trees may be used for bough collection. Several other trees and shrubs are used for collection of cuttings, which include harvesting part of a plant’s twigs. Plants that are common are available for collection for one’s personal use up to five pounds per day with a 40 pound yearly limit.

Choosing only those cuttings that you can reasonably use and only a few from any one plant promotes a stronger plant. Choosing disease and insect-free cuttings and boughs helps ensure you do not spread pests and helps keep our forests and urban woodlots healthy.

Cones

Many of our conifers have ideal cones for decorative uses such as wreaths, potpourris, and other crafts. Only dry conifer cones that are on the ground may be harvested. Choosing only cones that are completely dry and free of damage helps prevent the spread of insects and disease. For your personal use you may collect up to 15 cones per day up to 5 bushels worth (6 cubic feet) per year. A maximum of five sugar pine cones may be harvested per day.

Firewood

If you are camping on the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest, you may collect up to 1/8 cord (4 ft x 2 ft x 2ft) of firewood for your campfire up to 2 cords per year. Only dead and down wood may be used for collection, all wood must be cut into 3 foot sections or smaller, and all firewood must remain on National Forest Lands at all times.

When using firewood you can reduce the amount of wood you use and smoke you produce. Please make sure you only use dry wood that is ready to be used as fuel. Start your fires quickly using small kindling; keep your fires burning hot and small. This will keep the air cleaner, keep you warmer longer, and reduce your impact on the land.

Prior to harvesting wood and burning a campfire check the current Fire Danger Level and follow current local Public Use Restrictions (check our Forest website or contact the District office where you will be).

Functioning spark arresters are a requirement on all power saws. Use of chainsaws requires you to carry fire prevention tools with each saw including an axe, shovel, and fire extinguisher of at least 8 oz. capacity. Depending on the public use restrictions in effect, it may also require a one-hour fire watch after using the saw. We encourage you to collect your wood by hand with the aid of hand saws.

Always take the necessary fire safety precautions before, during, and after you build your fire to keep you within requirements and reduce safety risks to everyone. In general, don’t build your fire on, above, or below dead vegetation and keep a ten foot buffer of mineral soil clear of all grass, leaves, rotten logs or stumps, and other vegetation. Keep your fire small, never leave your fire unattended, and keep within reach water and a shovel to throw dirt over your fire. Before leaving drown your fire with water, stir the coals and ash, and drown it again until it’s cool to the touch.

Fruits & Seeds

The fruits and seeds of several plants are collected for a variety of uses ranging from making edible jams to growing the plants themselves. Plants that are common may be harvest for one’s personal use up to one pound per day with a 20 pound yearly limit.

Medicinals

Some plant species have unique chemical properties with medicinal qualities. Species that are common may be harvested for your personal use below the two pound daily limit and within the 20 pound yearly limit. Choosing only the plant part that is needed and gathering conservatively from any one plant or from each group will ensure a viable local seed source.

Mushrooms

There is a wide variety of mushrooms that are common on the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest that may be harvested for your personal use without a permit. You may harvest up to one gallon per day within the five gallon yearly limit. Under incidental use NO MATSUTAKE mushrooms may be harvested.

Mushrooms are the fruiting part of living organisms called fungi, of which the vast majority is in the leaf litter, the duff layer, and soil. Carefully pluck or cut mushrooms without disturbing the ground to protect the living organisms below ground net. The maximum width allowed for any extraction tool is one inch (2.54 cm). Do not rake or dig for mushrooms and do not pull mushrooms up. This helps sustain a healthy fungi population that will continue to produce mushrooms in the future. Keeping your harvested mushrooms in a basket or container with openings helps to spread spores around as you are picking, aiding the chance for successful reproduction and expansion of local populations.

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