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Mammoth Cave NP requires visitors to use a mesh sack when collecting mushrooms in the park. The sacks, similar those used to package potatoes or fruit in a grocery store, are available at the visitor center, the campground kiosk, and from any patrolling ranger.
“We initiated this requirement last year, and the public was very compliant,” said Superintendent Patrick Reed. “I believe they are just as concerned about the sustainability of the morel population as we are. By using the mesh sacks to transport the collected mushrooms, spores can drop to the forest floor and continue to propagate the species. Collectors may be planting morels as they walk back to their vehicles.”
The following is an excerpt from the Superintendent’s Compendium regarding the collection of firewood, berries, nuts, and mushrooms with the park:
“Down and dead wood may be used for fuel at any designated campsite.
“The following fruits, nuts, berries, and fruiting bodies of mushrooms may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions. Commercial use is prohibited.
· Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and paw-paws – 1 gallon per person per day;
· Walnuts, hickory nuts, and buckeyes – 2 gallon per person per day;
· Morel mushrooms – 2 gallon per person per day;
· Non-native fruits – no limit.
“Any person gathering morel mushrooms will collect said mushrooms in a mesh sack, allowing for the distribution of spores throughout the forest as the person gathers more.”
“We want to remind folks that we limit morels to two gallons, per person, per day,” added Reed. “That’s still a lot of mushrooms.”
- NPS -