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U.S. Forest Service

Collection Permits

Permits to collect plants or plant material can typically be obtained at a USDA Forest Service District Office. Permit types vary depending on collection needs and Forest Service personnel will identify whether a permit is required and if so what type. Permitting, if needed, is implemented for the protection of both resource and collector.

Permit types, costs, stipulations, etc. may vary by Forest and Region. The minimum charge for small (commercial and personal-use sales); including other forest products is $20 per permit (FS-2400-1). Higher minimum charges may occur, if necessary, to offset processing costs.

This permit is used to collect fees and to authorize forest product removal that is expected to have limited resource impacts. The permit is a license to a person to allow removal of forest products when such removal would be illegal without a permit.

This permit is not appropriate for:

  • Product value over $300
  • Time period of over 1 year.
  • Special protection needs for aquatic, heritage resources, or threatened and endangered species habitat.

When supply is not limited and value is low, free use of special forest products may be granted to individuals for personal use. Individuals are prohibited from selling or exchanging material harvested or gathered under free use. For botanical collection and bioprospecting, when such use qualifies for free-use, a Forest Products Free-Use Permit is appropriate. Permits for Forest Botanical Products, including research permits, are addressed in FSH 2409.18, Chapter 80.

Forest Service units may also provide specifications such as:

  • Specific locations where collection is not permitted, such as Research Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, etc.
  • Permit area map.
  • List of rare plant species, look-alikes, or plant parts that may not be collected.
  • Seasonal restrictions.
  • Important safety practices related to collection.

native wildflower garden at the Munising Ranger District office of the Hiawatha National Forest. A native wildflower garden greets visitors to the Munising Ranger District office on the Hiawatha National Forest. Photo by Deb Leblanc.

area along a trail where wildflowers were dug up and removed from the forest. Unfortunately, someone felt the need to illegally remove a large number wildflowers from along a trail where everyone may view the deed. Photo by USDA Forest Service.

blue-flowered penstemons in an alpine meadow on Mt. Harrison. Blue-flowered penstemons as far as the eye can see in an alpine meadow on Mt. Harrison, Sawtooth National Forest. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.