GREAT FALLS — Free-use permits are available for mushrooms for the 2021 season, which runs through September 30. Permits allow a person to collect up to 20 gallons (~50 pounds) of mushrooms.
As controlled burn and wildfire season comes through, mushrooms blossom in the renewed soil. Mushroom harvest season is here and runs through September. The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest is offering free mushroom harvesting permits.
Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest officials said in a news release that people who plan to harvest less than one gallon at a time and less than five gallons total in the season do not need a permit, but must still ensure they are following Forest terms and conditions, which include:
- Cut (do not pull) mushrooms at ground level to reduce impacts to the fungus;
- Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise at the time of collection (to prevent re-sale);
- Avoid raking, digging, and other ground disturbances;
- Follow ‘the rule of thumb’ – collect no mushrooms smaller than an average adult thumb.
“Permits are required for those who harvest up to five gallons as a time as they help to track harvesting and communicate important collection information.” said Forest Products Program Manager Sharon Scott. “There are several species of mushroom that are popular on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest, including morels which tend to grow fruit in areas burned by wildfires.”
Click here to view the mushroom guide on the U.S. Forest Service website (PDF).