Forest Products Permits

Fuelwood Cutting Permit

Forest Service Sign indicating the entrance to a firewood cutting area.The Modoc National Forest is waiving the need for personal use firewood permits until further notice. However, all firewood cutting rules remain in place. Please do not cut at all within current timber sales identified by boundary markers and painted trees.

Please call 530-233-5811 and leave a message for prompt response about specific requirements.

Call the daily fire danger and woodcutter line at 530-233-8819 before cutting.

El Bosque Nacional Modoc renuncia a la necesidad de permisos de leña para uso personal. Si no pudo comprar un permiso antes del cierre de nuestras oficinas, vaya y corte lo que necesita para su familia durante este momento difícil. Todas las reglas de corte de leña permanecen vigentes.

Llame al 530-233-5811 y deje un mensaje para una pronta respuesta sobre los requisitos específicos.

Llame al leñador y al peligro de incendio diario antes de cortar. 530-233-8819

When required, permits for collecting fuelwood are available from any Modoc National Forest Office. Rules and regulations are printed on the permit.

For additional information, please visit our fuelwood pages.

Obsidian Permits

Obsidian is of volcanic origin and looks like black glassThe volcanic deposits found in the Warner Mountains come in many forms. From the light weight pumice sometimes called “floating rocks” to the dense, glass-like obsidian, the colors and diversity are amazing. The Warner Mountains are famous for the variety of obsidian and for the four mines where folks can, with a permit, collect it. The four mines, Pink Lady, Lassen Creek Rainbow, Needles and Middle Fork Davis Creek are all located within a few miles of US Hwy 395 near the Oregon border. The colors of obsidian range from jet black, to grey, to pink. Rainbow obsidian, found at the Rainbow mine and Middle Fork Davis Creek is sought after for its colorful sheen. Pink obsidian from Pink Lady and the bundles of obsidian needles from the Needles Mine are most popular.

Obsidian is dense volcanic glass, usually rhyolite in composition and typically black in color. Obsidian is often formed in rhyolite lava flows where the lava cools so fast that crystals do not have time to grow. Glass, unlike crystals, has no regular structure and therefore fractures in smooth, curved shapes. The intersections of these fractures can form edges sharper than the finest steel blades. For this reason, obsidian was used by many native cultures to make arrowheads and blades.

On the Modoc National Forest, obsidian excavation may be done during the open season under a Free Use Authorization at any of the four designated common use areas: Lassen Creek Rainbow Mine, Needles Mine, Middle Fork Davis Creek Mine, Pink Lady Mine. Excavation is allowed at these locations only. The Free Use Authorization allows a visitor to collect obsidian for their own personal use. Collection for resale is a violation of the Free Use Authorization permit. 


**Due to rampant theft and irresponsible practices, commercial mining permits are no longer available**

Free Use Authorizations

The obsidian collection season will run this year from July 1 through Labor Day Weekend. Adults 18 years or older are issued one-day permits authorizing collection of two five-gallon buckets of obsidian using only hand tools. A maximum of three permits per person per year can be issued up to three days in advance. Permits are only available at the Modoc National Forest Headquarters at 225 W. 8th St. in Alturas, Calif. Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Valid picture identification is required for each individual seeking permits. Collection permits for weekends and holidays must be obtained on days Forest Headquarters is open.

An image showing the areas where obsidian may be collected with a permit

Obsidian Collecting Areas

**The removal of artifacts or disturbance of a prehistoric archaeological site is a violation of federal law and can carry significant penalties.  Many people are familiar with flakes and arrowheads but, rocks stacked on top of each other can also be an artifact.**

Christmas Tree Permits

You can cut your own Christmas tree on the Modoc National Forest by purchasing a permit. Christmas tree permits are $10 each and usually go on sale just before Thanksgiving.

You must have your permit with you when cutting the tree, and you must present it to any Peace Officer or Forest Officer upon request. Sign your permit and attach it around the trunk of the tree inbetween the limbs, sealing the ends of permit so it must be broken when removed. The permit must be signed and secured on the tree at all times when transporting.

For more information on purchasing permits, cutting trees and forest regulations see our Christmas tree permit page.

Mushroom Picking

Other than Matsutake mushrooms (read below for Matsutake information), five gallons/person/day may be collected for personal use without a permit. Mushrooms that are commonly found on the forest are morel, shaggy mane and bolete.

  • No raking or scraping of ground surface or disturbance of the mushroom parent material allowed when harvesting mushrooms.
  • Tools for harvesting will not exceed 1" (one inch) wide and 18" (eighteen inches) long.

Matsutake mushrooms may be collected only on a commercial permit. Matsutake season usually runs from early September through early November. Permits may be purchased for 5 days, 7 days, 30 days or the full season. For Matsutake permit prices, rules and exact collection dates contact the nearest District Office. Permits must be purchased in person and identification is required.

Posts and Poles Permits

Permits and tags for lodgepole or Juniper posts or poles are available at all forest offices.  Special rules apply and that are different  from fuelwood permits. A minimum fee is charged. Large quantities of posts or poles for resale require a commercial permit. For permits, rules and more information contact the District Office nearest you.

Other Forest Products

Tree Boughs

Personal use is limited to 20 pounds/person/day, no permit required. Commercial use requires a permit when quantity is over 20 pounds/person/day or any product is to be sold. Commercial use permits may be available, talk to District Rangers on a case-by-case basis for special areas or needs.


Mineral materials contracts are available on a case-by-case basis. Contact Minerals Administrator/Engineering at 530-233-8850 for more information.

Juniper Berries      

Personal Use - 20 gallons/person/day, no permit required. Commercial users may talk to District Ranger on a case-by-case basis for special areas or needs.

Live Plants

Personal Use – Maximum of 5% of any localized population and total collection of 20 individuals; no permit required.

Commercial Use – No permit available. Talk to District Ranger on a case-by-case basis for special use or needs.

Pine Cones

Personal Use - no permit required; limit of 2 bushels (16 gallons) per day and 6 bushels (48 gallons) per year.

Commercial Use - permit required. Talk to District Ranger on a case-by-case basis for special use or needs.

Dead and Down Wood

Any species, small amounts not covered under firewood permit (mahogany, chunks in road, etc.) to be used on Forest.

Personal use – No permit required; limited to 1/4 cord.

Commercial use – Requests covered under firewood permits.

Non-Profit Organization Mahogany Collection – Permit required. Talk to District Ranger on a case-by-case basis for special use or needs.


Please call the District Office for the area in which you plan to collect for more information.