Huckleberry Picking

FILE PHOTOS — Collected and ready-for-sale huckleberries fill plastic containers at a roadside camp on U.S. Highway 12.

As August starts up, berries in the national forest begin to get ripe. Many Northwest residents may be looking forward to collecting and eating huckleberries and other wild berries from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Forest staff reminded the public in a press release that a permit is required to remove any amount of berries from the forest.

A free-use permit for personal consumption allows individuals to remove up to one gallon of berries per day and up to three total gallons per year. Berries obtained under a free-use permit may not be sold, and there is no cost for a free-use permit. To apply for a free-use berry permit, visit apps.fs.usda.gov/gp. This is the only means to obtain this free-use permit.

Some important areas on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest closed to all berry removal include the legislated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, all legislated wildernesses, and the “Handshake Agreement” area of Sawtooth Berry Fields.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 10, commercial charge berry permits will be available for purchase.

All people removing more than one gallon per day, more than three gallons per year or selling any quantity of berries must obtain a commercial charge permit.

Commercial charge permits will be sold in-person at the Ranger District offices and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters on Monday, Aug. 10. After Aug. 10, charge permits may be obtained from the offices over the phone or by mail. Availability of walk-in services may vary and are subject to change due to COVID-19.

The following regulations apply to charge berry permits:

• Permits cost $60 for 14 consecutive days, or $105 for the season.

• Rakes or mechanical devices to remove berries are not permitted

• A map is issued with each permit indicating areas open or closed to charge permit

collection. This map can also be viewed online for free by uploading the Avenza app, and

searching for and uploading “Gifford Pinchot NF – Special Forest Products Map.”

• Permittees may camp for up to 14 days, but not within any area closed to charge berry

collection.

• All garbage and human waste are to be contained and removed from the Forest. Remember

to pack out what you pack in to keep places healthy and accessible for other users.

Under Washington state law, berry buyers and sellers must document their sales transactions. For more details, visit the Forest’s permits page: fs.usda.gov/main/giffordpinchot/passespermits/forestproducts

— The Reflector

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