Foragers may enjoy picking mushrooms or berries at the refuge. Raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries, cherries and other wild fruits help satisfy your sweet tooth. Morels, chanterelle, boletes and other edible mushrooms, in contrast to fruits, offer savory flavors. Some mushrooms and berries are poisonous - if you are unsure don't eat!
The harvest of wild edibles, pine boughs, and deer antlers are traditional outdoor activities that foster a connection to the refuge and nature. In addition, over time the harvest of pine boughs may help with the refuge’s fire management goals. Refuge roads are used as fire breaks. By focusing on the low branches, we reduce ladder fuels. These are branches near the ground that may ignite allowing fire to climb into the treetops. This makes fires harder to manage.
We encourage local people to harvest small quantities of seeds to plant within their yards. Seeds from Seney will do best near the refuge and expand habitat for local wildlife, particularly our native insects.
Please see the gathering regulations for more information on rules, regulations and harvest limits pertaining to gathering.
Gathering Opportunities and Special Rules
- Visitors may gather wild edibles, pine boughs and seeds with the following stipulations.
- Plant products and shed antlers are for personal use only and cannot be sold or traded.
- Harvesting of threatened, endangered or is prohibited.
- Digging up plants is prohibited.
- Damaging other vegetation while harvesting is prohibited.
- Planting or cultivating plants for harvest is prohibited.
- Use of trained animals, other than leashed dogs, to assist in shed or mushroom hunting is not permitted.
- Evergreen boughs must be harvested within 50 feet of a road. Trees must be 15 feet tall and harvested within 6 feet of the ground. Hand saws or loppers permitted. Powered cutting tools are prohibited. Cut boughs at trunk.
- The collection of evergreen boughs and antler sheds on the Whitefish Point Unit are prohibited.
- Other than pine boughs, cutting live plants for decorative purposes is prohibited.
- Seeds and leaves - 1 cup (8oz) combined total per day per person.
- Pine cones - 1 gallon per day per person.
- Mushrooms and wild berries - 5 pounds per day per person. Only 50% of an individual chaga, that can be reached from the ground, can be harvested.
- Evergreen boughs - 2 – 50 gallon bags (the boughs may stick out of the bag) per person per day from September to April.