Forest Products Permits

Fuelwood Cutting Permit

Forest Service Sign indicating the entrance to a firewood cutting area.Permits for collecting fuelwood are available from any Modoc National Forest Office in person or by mail. Rules and regulations are printed on the permit. For additional information or for a mail in permit request, 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 4 mines where the public 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 3 95 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 (May-October depending on weather and road conditions) 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 a predetermined amount per year of obsidian for their own personal use. This obsidian may not be sold or traded. Collection for resale is a violation of the Free Use Authorization permit.

Free Use Authorizations

Free Use Authorizations are available during the open season (May-October depending on weather and road conditions) at:

  • Modoc National Forest Supervisor's Office - 225 West 8th Street Alturas, CA 96101
  • Warner Mountain Ranger District Office - 710 Townsend St. Cedarville, CA 96104
  • Davis Creek Mercantile - 41942 Highway 395 Davis Creek, CA 96108

Applications for commercial collection are only available at the Supervisor's Office. Call ahead for an appointment for a commercial permit: 530-233-5811.

Note: 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, obsidian rocks stacked on top of each other can also be an artifact and must be protected.

Christmas Tree Permits

A cartoon of a man and his daughter carrying a Christmas tree over his shoulder.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 Permits

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

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 information contact the District Office nearest you.

Other Forest Products

If you wish to collect other Forest Products such as  berries, pine nuts, grasses, boughs, live plants, pinecones, cinders, or slate, please call the District Office for the area in which you plan to collect for information about these permits.