Mushrooms are one of the things that make this a favorite time of year for many visitors to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Mushrooms can normally be collected for a 4-6 week period after the snow has melted. In an effort to provide opportunities for recreational pickers, commercial harvesting is not authorized on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Picking mushrooms with the intent to sell them is considered commercial harvesting.
No permit or fee is required for personal use. Hikers, campers and other people visiting the Bridger- Teton National Forest may collect up to one gallon of mushrooms per person per day.
Mushrooms gathered under incidental harvest are for personal use only. Selling or exchanging mushrooms gathered incidentally is a violation of Federal Regulations (Title 36 CFR 261.6F), punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
“Morels are the most popular mushroom harvested on the Forest,” said Public Affairs Officer Mary Cernicek. “Any novice should consult books or an expert before eating any mushrooms they collect since many types look similar to mushrooms which can be toxic,” she said.
Mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungi which grows as a complex mat layer in the top soil layers. The mushrooms we collect will naturally mature and release spores. Morels increase in size as they age and their growth depends on the moisture, temperature, and fertility of the soil.
“There are no sure-fire ways to find mushrooms. They are often elusive, but generally if you’ve found them in an area in the past, they are likely to be there again,” Cernicek said. “Dell Creek and Cliff Creek are popular areas on the Forest this year.”
“There is no commercial mushroom picking on the Bridger-Teton National Forest,” Cernicek stated. “There have been a few citations handed out this season to commercial outfits who harvested in excess of 80 pounds of mushrooms each,” she said. “It is strictly prohibited across the Forest to sell or trade mushrooms gathered for personal use,” she said.
Any area that is open and accessible and free from current travel restrictions or closure areas may be explored for mushrooms by the public. “Remember, raking the duff or litter layer can ruin mushrooms and destroy future crop potential,” Cernicek said. “Think of others take only what you can use and please leave the rest for others to find,” she stated.
For more information, visit the Forest Website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf . For additional information, contact the Bridger-Teton National Forest at (307) 739-5500.