Forest Products Permits

A man stands a top a truck bed full of walnuts.

Collecting forest products from the Hoosier National Forest has long been a popular pastime. Collecting from the forest provides families enjoyable outings to the forest while bringing home useful products. Some Forest products require permits to be harvested and some do not. In most instances, permits are put in place to protect the resource from over-harvesting and to promote natural development. Forest Product permits can be obtained by contacting your local Forest office.

Remember, collecting products on private land without permission is trespassing and constitutes theft. Maps are available to assist you with determining land ownership.

Common Forest Products



Collecting firewood my be done on the Forest but it requires a permit and can only be done in specific, assigned areas. The cost of a firewood permit is $20 for permission to cut two cords of firewood. Please contact our Tell City office for information on availability of a firewood permit. See our cutting firewood guide for more information. 


Collecting Plants

Digging for plants, including Ginseng and yellow root or goldenseal, is no longer permitted on the Hoosier. What was once a popular and profitable use of the Forest led to many plants locally approaching rare or endangered status. In order to allow the plant populations to reestablish themselves and recover from collecting pressures, collecting plants has been suspended on the Hoosier National Forest.


Fruits and Nuts

Gathering fruits and nuts from forest trees or plants is allowed for personal use on the Hoosier National Forest. Fruits and nuts that be found include blackberries, raspberries, walnuts, hickory nuts, pecan, or rose hips. Collection is only allowed for personal use. Commercial use requires a Special Uses permit.



Mushrooms are a Springtime favorite for many Hoosiers. Morels and snakeheads are the most popular, but many other edible mushrooms like puffballs and chantrelles can be found on the Hoosier. Collecting mushrooms for personal use is allowed. Commercial use, including collecting mushrooms to sell, is prohibited.


Pine Cones

Visitors are welcome to collect pine cones. Pine cones are often gathered by families for crafts and Christmas decorations. Pine stands are found throughout the Hoosier making locating and collecting of these products easy.


Rock Collecting

There are several unique rocks on the Hoosier National Forest. Geodes are especially unusual and popular for visitors to collect. Small quantities of rocks for personal use may be collected on the Forest. Geodes are generally found only in the northern part of the forest in stream-beds. These rocks may not be resold or bartered, and there should be no earth disturbed in the process of collecting.


Precious Minerals

Precious minerals including gold and gems such as garnet are found in very limited quantities on the Forest. Recreational gold panning or panning for sapphires and garnets is allowed so long as no commercial equipment such as dredges or sluices are used and no earth is disturbed. No panning is allowed in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area.


Artifacts and Antiquities

Much of the Hoosier National Forest was once settled by Native Americans and early pioneers. Historians and archaeologists are still examining these sites to learn more about the Forest and our heritage. Arrowheads, spear points, pottery, and grinding stones; bottles, old equipment, and other household utensils from homesteads; these traces of the past and the people who once lived here. These items are protected and may not be removed.


Metal Detectors

Use of a metal detector to search for coins or other antiques and historic artifacts is prohibited on all National Forests. These objects are part of the cultural history of the area and are protected under federal antiquities acts. However, metal detectors may be used on beach areas in developed recreation sites to collect coins and other modern items.