Ban on Special Forest Products?

Gene Wheeler greenenuf at
Tue Apr 4 00:33:10 EST 2000

Hi Dan:

Sorry for the delay in replying, as I have been trying to find out more
about the situation that I described in my original post on March 17.
It seems that you and I were talking about two DIFFERENT situations
here.  The lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) I
referred to in my earlier posting WAS settled on March 2, 2000 and
revealed to the public on March 7.  I have since read the settlement and
spoken with a variety of sources within the Forest Service who agree
that the lawsuit settlement says NOTHING about special forest products
(SFPs).  The Forest Service employee who said that it restricted
collection of fungi (or other SFPs) is just plain WRONG although he may
not know it--yet.  Furthermore, there is no NEW lawsuit as my earlier
post may have suggested.

What we have here in Southern California is either an ignorant Forest
Service employee who COMPLETELY misunderstands the provisions of the
lawsuit settlement, OR possibly a rogue employee who is trying to use
the settlement as a pretext to bring about a personal
ideological/theological agenda opposed to mushroom collecting.  While I
am open to the possibility of someone making an honest, if stupid,
mistake about the terms of the lawsuit settlement, someone who is on
some kind of a Jihad against mushroom collection is a dangerous zealot
and should be exposed for what he is.  If it appears that our district
ranger here in CA is of this ilk he will be "outted" here in this
newsgroup.  (FS lurkers take note!)

The legislation that you are referring to was posted to
alt.nature.mushrooms by Rex Schwarzendruber about a month and a half ago
and is quite separate from the lawsuit that was the focus of my query.
It is national legislation enacted by Congress, which pertains to ALL
National Forests.  It imposes stiff fees for the collection of SFPs on
National Forest land.  I believe the most probable effect of this policy
will be massive and probably unmanagable levels of noncompliance in many
National Forests.  Since many if not most SFP harvesters are at a
subsistence level already, new fees will be unwelcome and will be widely
evaded or simply ignored.  Many people collecting for personal use are
likely to do the same.  Congress has imposed a mandate on the FS that it
can’t, and in many cases won’t, be able to carry out.  Congress may
legislate to its heart’s content, but what really goes down on the
ground is often much different.

Understandably, you as a private producer of fungi would like to see
higher costs imposed on gatherers using the public lands, but I doubt
that the legislation is going to have much effect.

Gene Wheeler (no relation)

>I've heard of the ban and received a copy of the proposed legislation
>(which may have since been passed). I believe that Rex Schwarzendruber
>posted the regs to alt.forestry about 2 months ago. And to be honest, I
>think it is probably a good idea. It affects only those SFPs which have
>not been fully addressed to date. It does not affect such things as
>bough collection for wreaths nor berries for foodstuffs. It does
>any SFP which has not been studied (most), and allows these SFPs grown
>on private lands to be more competitive in the market.

>This gives tremendous impetous to anyone who has private forest land to
>cultivate fungus for commercial production. The propose regs I saw
>affect _only_ state, fed and BLM lands, and have no force of law over
>any private lands.

>Daniel B. Wheeler

>>In article <8au91n$59l$1 at>,
>>greenenuf at wrote:
>> Hi All:
>> I need some information if you know anything about a ban on the
>> collection of special forest products, such as mushrooms, firewood,
>> greens and such on National Forests in California.
>>I got a rather agitated phone call today from a longtime friend and
>>fellow mushroom hunter who has been trying for several weeks to get a
>> personal use, non-commercial permit to collect mushrooms on one of
>> National Forests here in Southern California. He spoke with a
>>ranger who claimed that he could not issue a permit because the
>>Forests in Calif (sounds like he means Region 5) are enjoined from
>> issuing permits for the collection of special forest products (SFPs)
>>because they are being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity
>>for not following NEPA guidelines in granting permits for SFPs. BTW,
>>I'd prefer not to name the National Forest or the official until I
>>a bit more on this.
>> I knew from my other contacts in the USFS that they recently settled
>> lawsuit with the CBD on very unfavorable terms, but I could not find
>> any reference to SFPs in any of the information about the lawsuit
>>settlement. I went to the CBD website <> to
>> if this was perhaps a different lawsuit, but could find no mention of
>> there. There was also NO mention of a ban on SFP collection on any of
>> the USFS Region 5 websites that I visited.
>> The whole thing seems very suspicious to me. I am concerned that the
>> ranger concocted the story about a lawsuit just to avoid granting the
>> permit. I am going to contact some other USFS folks to see if they
>> anything about this.
>> In the meantime, if anyone has any solid information about such a ban
>> the issuance of permits for SFPs, please let me know.
>> Thanks in advance,
>> Gene Wheeler

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