The Shasta-Trinity National Forest, known for its spring wildflowers, hunting, and fishing, is also a popular destination for those on the hunt for wild mushrooms. This year, the spring mushroom harvest season at the Shasta McCloud Management Unit is set to start later than usual due to the lingering snowfall. From the 22nd of May to the 31st of July 2023, enthusiasts will have the opportunity to partake in this unique outdoor activity.
Wild mushrooms, including popular varieties like morels and boletus, flourish under the forest’s cover of leaves, dead wood, and other debris. They typically sprout after moderate or heavy rain. Those new to mushroom harvesting are advised to learn how to distinguish between edible and poisonous varieties before venturing out, preferably accompanied by someone experienced in the activity.
Individuals can collect up to one gallon of mushrooms per day for personal use under the Incidental Use regulation, with a five-gallon yearly limit. However, these mushrooms cannot be sold or exchanged. To ensure the future growth of the mushrooms, those with a cap diameter equal to or greater than two inches must be cut or broken into quarter sections immediately upon picking, as per the Special Forest Products Incidental Use Guide.
Commercial permits, available to anyone aged 18 or older, can be purchased from the McCloud and Mt. Shasta Ranger Stations. The rates range from $1.00 per pound or $5 for five pounds per day. The minimum purchase is a $20 permit for twenty pounds, valid for four days, while the maximum is a $150 permit for 150 pounds, valid for 29 days. Additional days can be purchased at $5.00 per day. All permit holders must accurately fill out the “Product Record of Removal” section on the permit.
The Shasta McCloud Unit also emphasized the importance of following rules against raking ground litter, which can destroy the mushroom ‘beds’ and take a long time to recover. They also urged visitors to be considerate of other pickers, pack out any garbage they bring in, and tread lightly on the land, particularly when roads are wet and muddy. Additionally, visitors are asked to use caution while driving due to potential hazards such as fallen trees and road damage.
For more information about safe mushroom types and environmentally friendly harvesting methods, please contact the McCloud Ranger Station at (530) 964-2184 or the Mt. Shasta Ranger Station at (530) 926-4511.