Gathering pinyon pine nuts is a wonderful way to experience the fall bounty of Great Basin National Park. The singleaf pinyon, Pinus monophylla, is an abundant tree found in mixed stands with Utah juniper between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. It is the only species of pine on the continent with single needles.
The nuts produced by these pines are delicious and nutritious. They have been important to Native Americans and animals for millenia. The pine nuts commonly purchased in gourmet food stores are typically those of the Colorado pinyon, but the nuts of the singleleaf pinyon are equally tasty.
Gathering pine nuts within Great Basin National Park is allowed in the fall only, and subject to the following regulations. The goal is to ensure that impact to the park is minimized and that plenty of nuts remain for Clark's nutcrackers, pinyon jays, and ground squirrels.
- Pinyon pine nuts may be gathered and removed from the park only for personal non-commercial use.
- Limits are: 25 lbs per household per year or 3 gunnysacks of cones per household per year. When laid flat, each gunnysack must be no larger than two feet by three feet. Those found in possession of pine nuts or cones in excess of these amounts may be cited and the pine nuts and cones will be confiscated.
- Parking is allowed only in gravel or paved parking areas. Do not drive or park off-road. All-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles are strictly prohibited.
- Breaking branches, cutting, pulling, shaking, climbing, or otherwise injuring pines or other plants is illegal.
- Only free standing ladders may be used for picking.