Comment on Forest Service Collecting policy

Steve Pencall spencal at NEXTLAB.CALSTATELA.EDU
Thu Feb 9 15:36:24 EST 1995

SUBJECT:  Forest Service Comment Period to close February 15!

The COMMENT PERIOD on the U.S. Forest Service's Draft Strategy For  
Special Forest Product Resources closes on February 15. The Draft  
Strategic Plan on Special Forest Product Resources is expected to  
become a guideline for local Forest policies on the collection of  
mushrooms and a host of other non-timber forest products.
 Therefore, it is vitally important for all mushroom collectors who  
collect in National Forests, which is most of us, to have their say  
as to how mushroom picking will be regulated.  If we don't speak up  
on our own behalf, we risk having the policy being determined by a  
few anti-picking extremists.
Unfortunately, throughout the entire development of this Plan, the  
Forest Service has made little or no effort to involve the public in  
formulation of the Plan, including the tens of thousands nationwide  
who gather and use "Special Forest Products".  I am unaware of any of  
the approximately 75 mycological societies having been contacted  
about the Plan, nor any individual members of those societies, nor  
any of the publications which address this audience.  Nor am I aware  
of any other affected groups that have been contacted either.  The  
Plan has not even been published in The Federal Register!
The draft Special Forest Products Plan was finally published on  
October 27 with an allotted comment period of only 27 days!--far too  
little time for most of the affected groups to inform most of their  
members of the opportunity to comment on the policy.  It is difficult  
to escape the conclusion that the reason for the actions that I have  
related is to suppress public input to the Plan.  These actions are  
in direct contradiction of the avowed goals of Forest Service  
It seems unlikely that anyone in the mycological community would be  
aware of the Plan even today, were it not for a chance remark made to  
a member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco by a staffer in  
the Regional Office of the Forest Service in San Francisco.  I wonder  
if the Forest Service will attempt to discover and punish the person  
who "leaked" word of this Plan?
At the time the Plan was first published in October, the public  
comment period was a mere 27 days!  Now due to protests by this  
writer and others, the comment deadline has been extended an  
additional 12 weeks, to February 15, 1995.
You are urged to write or fax the Forest Service and tell them that  
the Special Forest Products Plan needs additional changes to fairly  
address the concerns of amateur mushroom collectors.  For a list of  
specific points to include in your letter, please contact this  

Mr. Mike Higgs
USDA Forest Service, CF
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, DC 20090
Phone: (202) 273-4754
Fax: (202) 205-0975
Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Time
Please state that you are commenting on the Draft Strategic Plan for  
Managing Special Forest Product Resources.  You should also request a  
copy of the Plan.

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