Crater Lake National Park rangers seized more than 234 pounds of illegally harvested morel mushrooms during the Fourth of July weekend. The estimated market value of the confiscated mushrooms is $7,944, but it’s likely worth much more.

National Park Service rangers worked in close collaboration with law enforcement professionals from the Oregon State Police, U.S. Forest Service, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and made contact with dozens of individuals suspected of harvesting mushrooms. Harvesting from national parks is prohibited and can result in fines up to $5,000 and/or a maximum of 6 months in jail.

Chief Ranger Kean Mihata said, “We are thankful for the assistance of neighboring law enforcement agencies and want to remind the public that mushroom harvesting is not permitted anywhere in Crater Lake National Park. Help us keep this place intact so that ecological processes can play out naturally here. These processes are part of what makes the park special.”

During the summer of 2015 the National Creek Complex—the largest fire in the park’s recorded history—burned 20,960 acres in Crater Lake National Park and in the adjacent Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The area affected by the wildfire has been favorable for morel mushrooms.

Mushrooms, the fruiting bodies of fungi, are critical components of forest ecosystems. Fungi are an important food source for wildlife and part of the forest nutrient cycle, helping to harness, store, and recycle nutrients necessary for plant growth. Fungi also form partnerships with forest plant species that aid in the recovery of disturbed habitats, including areas burned by wildfires.

Image Courtesy NPS

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10 thoughts on “Morel Mushroom Poachers Busted with 243 Pounds at Crater Lake

  1. Give me a break, government has to much power today , and to many morons working for it .I hope your all proud of yourselves today.oh in your article you forgot to mention that walking through the woods in the late spring also disturbs the forrest floor . THIS ARTICLE MAKES ME WANT TO GO PICK MUSHROOMS ON GOVERNMENT GROUND TODAY

  2. So the rangers brought them home with 20 lbs of butter and some confiscated elk steaks and had a BBQ with buttered morels. The End.

  3. It’s just plain silly to pretend that we can see a world that didn’t include man. The animals are “ravaging” the Mother’s gift too! If done right there would be zero effect on the utopian wilderness area. Tap out the spores in the same area you find them and you wil perpetuate the process of mushroom reproduction. License the activity…… Like the BWCA in Minnesota, you limit the access points by number and then no one would ever notice. It would also restrict the groups that would pick for a “black market”. Also silly because their isn’t any money in it, according to the article. Not that would be worth the risk anyway.

  4. From the response to the article , it seems The people are fed up with the land, the water ,and the air being claimed by the government as well as everything that exists there . How long until the government claims to own the people and they are only allowed to exist to serve the government ? That is how it is in North Korea , and we DON’T WANT IT HERE .

  5. If I want to pick a damed mushroom, I ain’t going to waste my breath asking the governments permission.

  6. I called crater lake national park and complained about this, and everyone in Oregon should do this also, and organize a protest. The number is easy to get if you Google it. Im tired of this political correctness isn’t everyone else? Your idaho neighbor

  7. I think I’ve heard it all with this one. I am disgusted with such bullshit as this, let um rot, we don’t give a crap if you want some to feed your family, to bad says the bureaucrats.

  8. I am definitely way to the left and I support environmental protection more than most on this site, but picking fire morels does not upset the balance of the forest mycology and biology as is suggested by this article….I am an avid (occasionally commercial) funghiphile and can’t resist the occasional Park pick for personal use…but picking burns is far less damaging than berry picking….234 lbs. divided by “dozens” of individuals does not sound like serious commercial picking

  9. A complete waste of one of the most delicious fungi on earth. It’s legal to harvest them in many (most?) state parks. Wonder how much was spent prosecuting otherwise innocent people, and I wonder how many knew they were even breaking the law! I guess people are not part of the ecosystem? The animals certainly won’t starve without morels! Another example of why we need to shrink the size of government in all its nasty forms. Go Trump!

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