It’s difficult to find places to legally harvest mushrooms in California. There are a lot of land however, foragers cannot trespass and gather mushrooms illegally. The reason why foraging for mushrooms is illegal in most state parks is because of the potential for damage to park resources, particularly trees vulnerable to forest pathogens.

Salt Point State Park in California is the only California State Park that allow mushroom foraging.

Within California, law-abiding mushroom gatherers are limited to national and state forests, where collecting is allowed after obtaining a free permit, and they’re also welcome in Point Reyes National Seashore, which is managed by the National Park Service, and Salt Point State Park.

Mushroom foraging is not allowed in any of the parks in the Bay Area District because of the impacts to natural and cultural resources from the considerable amount of off-trail use that occurs with mushroom gathering, and the sensitivity of park resources.

Because hunters must search for mushrooms where others have not yet been, they are known for creating new trails in the forest, which results in the trampling of plants. Some illegally dig into the duff with rakes and shovels or leave trash, toilet paper and human waste behind.

Forest pathogens and the ability of foragers and other visitors to spread them has become a major issue recently.

When mushroom hunters come to gather boletes and chanterelles, which tend to like the conditions near Bishop Pines, they can inadvertently pick the pathogens up on their shoes and transport them to other pine stands.

There are guidelines at Salt Point that were designed to protect the ecosystem. One small sign at the park entrance reads “ONLY YOU CAN ENSURE THAT SALT POINT REMAINS OPEN TO COLLECTING!”

The sign reads:

A limit of five pounds of mushrooms per person can be gathered, and guests should avoid disturbing park vegetation, raking the ground, digging or littering. “Do not disturb or destroy mushrooms which you do not intend to collect.

As of the moment, mushroom foraging is still being considered harmful for the environment in general so it’s either all state parks open to mushroom collection to relieve some of the strain on Salt Point, or Salt Point outlaws the practice.

 

Source

Photo Credit