BEND, Ore. - The U.S. Forest Service is warning you to wait just a little over one more week to pick an early-growing mushroom.
Matsutake mushrooms are sprouting up earlier than normal, thanks in part to damp conditions. It's illegal to pick them, however, until after Labor Day, when the season opens.
"There's really no need to pick them out of season -- and when you do that, you can affect the ecology of the mushroom and reduce the chances of people having them in the future," Deschutes National Forest Public Affairs Officer Jean Nelson-Dean said Friday.
The Matsutake mushroom season runs through Nov. 3.
Here's Friday's news release from the Deschutes National Forest, with all the details:
Four national forests in Oregon will open the 2019 commercial harvest season for Matsutake mushrooms following Labor Day Weekend.
Matsutake mushroom season opens on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette national forests. The 2019 season runs from September 3 to November 3, 2019.
A commercial permit must be purchased to pick any Matsutake mushroom on National Forests that is harvested for resale. Permits cost $200 for the 62-day season, $100 for a half season permit (valid for 31 consecutive days) or $8 per day with a three-day minimum purchase (picking days do not need to be consecutive). Harvesters must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid ID in to purchase a permit.
The Chemult, Chiloquin and Crescent Ranger District Offices will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 3 for permit sales. Regular office hours are Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Chemult Ranger District, 110500 Hwy 97 North, Chemult, OR; and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Crescent Ranger District, 136471 Hwy 97 North, Crescent, OR.
Permits also are available at other ranger district offices on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua, and Willamette national gorests.
Each purchase of a permit includes information and a map of areas open to harvest. The permit is NOT valid on state or private property. Areas closed to harvest include Crater Lake National Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and Research Natural Areas, Wilderness areas, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area (OCRA), campgrounds and other posted closed areas.
The Forest Service requires commercial harvesters to have written permission from the agency to camp on any National Forest lands, except in designated camping areas. A campground for commercial harvesters opens September 3 at Little Odell Mushroom Camp near Crescent Lake, OR. The Crescent Ranger District manages the camp. Site occupancy allows up to 8 persons and 2 vehicles. There are fire pits, however no other services are provided. For more information about the Little Odell Mushroom Camp, you can contact Crescent Ranger District at 541-433-3200.
For more information about the Matsutake mushroom program, contact one of these participating Forest Service offices: Chemult Ranger District at 541-365-7001, Crescent Ranger District at 541-433-3200, Umpqua National Forest at 541-957-3200, or the Willamette National Forest at 541-225-6300.