Skip to Main Content
Management assumptions and program realities: a case study of non-commercial fern gatheringAuthor(s): Janet E. Alm; Dale J. Blahna; Deborah J. Chavez
Source: In: Chavez, Deborah J.; Winter, Patricia L.; Absher, James D., eds. Recreation visitor research: studies of diversity. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-210. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 87-96. Chapter 8
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (461.94 KB)
DescriptionIn the mid-1990s, picking bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn) fiddleheads became a popular activity on the Mountaintop (formerly Arrowhead) Ranger District (MRD) of the San Bernardino National Forest in California. Concerned that fern picking was affecting the resource and that pickers were making large profits by selling the ferns, the MRD developed a program to charge a commercially based fee and limit fern picking to designated areas. Several years after implementation, MRD staff asked scientists to evaluate the program. Biologically, bracken ferns are very resistant, and there was no evidence of overpicking on the MRD. Studies also found no evidence of commercial resale of the ferns. Rather, fern gathering was a culturally-based recreational activity pursued primarily by Korean and Japanese family groups. Most participants picked for social and outdoor experiences and used the ferns in the preparation of culturally significant traditional dishes. As a result of program rules designed for commercial picking, most participants gathered many fewer pounds of ferns than they paid for. Similarly, many of the program violations resulted from the incompatibility between the commercially based rules and the pickers' recreational motivations. This case illustrates that special forest products programs and management strategies need to be based on site-specific biological and sociological factors.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationAlm, Janet E.; Blahna, Dale J.; Chavez, Deborah J. 2008. Management assumptions and program realities: a case study of noncommercial fern gathering. In: Chavez, Deborah J.; Winter, Patricia L.; Absher, James D., eds. Recreation visitor research: studies of diversity. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-210. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 87-96. Chapter 8.
KeywordsSpecial forest products, commercial use, recreation, race, ethnicity, bracken fern, ferns, program evaluation
- Supplemental treatments to aid planted Douglas-fir in dense bracken fern
- Reforestation trials and secondary succession with three levels of overstory shade in the Grand Fir Mosaic ecosystem
- Chemical and mineralogical conversion of Andisols following invasion by bracken fern
XML: View XML