Foraging on public Lands?


Sep 30, 2014
The New York Times ran an interesting article about the impact of foraging hikers on our national lands. We took a hike a few years ago in a fire-affected part of the Eldorade NF and were amazed by the number of foragers--some carrying a shopping bag full of morels. We managed to hike past them a few miles and camp in solitude.

It would be interesting to have someone study and/or compare the effects of this kind of activity in the national forests, compared to the oraging done by Native Americans before Europeans arrived.
Around here as I was growing up it was almost exclusively the old Italians that hunted mushrooms. It's become much more mainstream lately. The only state park in CA that allows mushroom foraging is Salt Point over on the coast. Between the lack of other sites being accessible and the increased interest in foraging (due mostly to online promotion) SP gets hammered during the winter months. Like everything else there are two camps with opposing views to lessen this impact---either shut it down completely or open up more areas so traffic gets more spread around. Only going to get worse as population continues to increase.
All mentioned is out of hand.... Leading to destruction of resources. Like everything else, it next to free and I can exploit it to make money.
Back in the 90's, commercial mushroom harvesting took off in the Yaak country of NW Montana. Lots of money to be made so of course things were out of hand eventually. At one point, weapons were fired and the State Police were called in to assist USFS law enforcement. Crazy times.

I found a cache of collected antlers in Yellowstone a few years back. They had been sitting there for a few years by the time I found them. I suspect they are still there. A few decades ago, law enforcement starting putting plugs in the antlers they found in the Park so Park antlers could be ID'ed later.
I'm sure the rise of the farm-to-table foodie movement played a role in mushroom trafficking. I remember seeing a run on chanterelles at the bougie gourmet market in N Oakland after Alice Water published a chanterelle stuffing recipe in NYT.