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Matsutake mushrooms make their way from Oregon national forests to Japanese markets every year, and pickers can start collecting Wednesday.
Permits for commercial harvesting of matsutake mushrooms are required on the Umpqua, Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, and Willamette national forests and cost $200 for the season, or $10 per day with a five-day minimum (picking days need not be consecutive). A $100 permit for half-season (30 consecutive days) is also available.
Prospective pickers may be required to view an interpretive slide show before being issued a permit on appropriate harvesting methods and forest safety and precautions.
Permits will be available at any of the district offices in the Umpqua National Forest. Pickers will also receive a map with areas open to picking.
Closed areas include Crater Lake National Park, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, research natural areas, wilderness areas, campgrounds and other areas posted as closed.
A campground for commercial pickers has been established near Crescent Lake Junction (Little Odell Camp), and is the only allowed campground for commercial pickers. Camping permits can be purchased at the camp any time during the season. The cost of camping is $21 per week, $75 for 30 days, or $135 for the entire season. In addition, there is a $20 per camp cleaning deposit. A three-day visitor pass is available for $12. The camp is now open for use.
Public use fire restrictions are not in effect; however, the public is reminded to check with the local U.S. Forest Service office for current fire and public use restrictions.
For information, contact the Umpqua National Forest at 672-6601.