Bitterroot Forest Plans Mushroom Harvest
The burned areas of two large forest fires last year could be prime areas for mushrooms this year.
The Bitterroot National Forest is seeking comments on its plan to offer personal and commercial mushroom harvests later this spring. Mushroom seasons vary depending on weather conditions and elevation, according to Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest. A popular Morel mushroom harvest is expected between April and August.
Options being considered this year are a combination of both personal and commercial picking areas.
The two areas are the 41 Complex east of Hamilton in the Sapphire Mountains and the Saddle Complex on both the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis National Forests at the south end of the valley, up West Fork.
The proposal designates "personal and commercial" use areas about 19,100 acres of the 41 Complex off the Skalkaho Highway and the Saddle Complex on the West Fork Ranger District. An additional 28,000 acres on both fires will be designated as a "personal use only" harvest area.
The forest will not be issuing any special camping permits to mushroom harvesters and no heavy equipment will be allowed. All harvesting is limited to hand picking.
Kody Messerschmidt of the Darby Darby Ranger District has more information at (406) 821-3913. Public comments on the plan will be accepted through March 23.
Maps are available on-line at the Bitterroot National Forest website. Scroll down to "2012 Mushroom Harvest Project."