I've been asked to pass this along from my cohorts at Daniel Boon National Forest - USDA Forest Service. I'll post a pdf of the flyer later on today/this week, and post a _link_ as soon as I have it up.
This is for public harvest specific to the Daniel Boone National Forest; additionally, it is my understanding that the ginseng harvested under this permit is supposed to be for personal use only, not sold or put into commerce.
Daniel Boone National Forest American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
2013 Harvest Guidelines Beginning September 2013, the Daniel Boone National Forest implemented new guidelines for ginseng harvest to help promote the plant’s population and protect it from further decline. Overharvesting, poaching, and unsustainable collection methods are threatening the long-term viability of wild ginseng across southern Appalachia.
September 15 through September 30 is the new harvest season for ginseng in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
A permit is required. Only one $20 permit is issued per person per year to harvest ginseng on national forest land. A permit allows harvest of ginseng only on the district issuing the permit. Permits will not be issued for multiple districts or for forest-wide collection of ginseng.
The number of permits to be sold is limited for each district.
Each district ranger may limit ginseng harvest to certain areas of the forest. Harvest area de_script_ions and/or maps will be provided to permit holders.
• Permit holders may collect up to one pound of non-dried ginseng root.
• Only wild ginseng plants with three or more leaves and at least five years old may be harvested. The best way to determine age is by counting leaf scars at the top of the root before removing it from the ground.
• To provide for future crops, ginseng collectors are required by state law to plant the seeds from harvested plants within 50 feet of the harvest location.
Removing any wild ginseng plant or its parts from national forest land without a permit or outside of the legal harvest season is considered theft. Penalties for plant poaching may include a fine up to $5,000 or 6-month sentence in federal prison, or both. Every plant on the national forest is public property and is sustainably managed by the Forest Service to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Sounds like the forest service has essentially closed the season to digging on the forest. That is a real shame, ginseng has always been a big part of supplemental income for folks in that part of the state. Reminds me of the saying "When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns". Seems to me that by taking the honest guys out of the woods, who take care of the resource and report poachers they have made it a free for all for poachers. There is no way they can catch even 1/10th of the poachers without the honest people's help.
Also, KY is so worried about loosing the genetically native ginseng, but won't allow people to harvest and propagate the seed for dispersal. If we have a wildlife species in decline we start breeding programs to bolster the population. Seems it would be SUPER easy to start a native ginseng propagation program. Just my thoughts...
So true!! For some reason the thoughts of that is taboo because of a human hand planting it and it not being considered truly wild. If we had park rangers and game wardens in the woods planting this native raised seed, that would help tremendously. I have one better than that........... only issue digging permits to those that volunteer their time on designated days to help plant those seed. This isn't that hard of a situation to figure out imo
In Canada and western states, they have crews that plant pine trees after wildfires, and clear cuts and such. Why couldn't we use the same idea with ginseng? Where are the funds from the sale of harvest permits going if not back into the resource it's self?
How I learned to dig ginseng was to get on a well worn deer trail and just walk. The deer eat the seeds and happily deposit them along the sides of the trails. Maybe we just need to start force feeding deer ginseng berries. Then the plants would be "wild" and the slick heads would actually be serving a purpose! LOL (Just kidding, that would be inhumane).
I think the initial problem is that the forest was never to be a commerce source (ie ginseng harvested and sold), only enough for ones use. (So is one's use, in that they need to sell it to get buy?)
Good suggestions Hillhopper and Mills. I could possibly be at the table and part of the discussion, which I will try to give input, so please keep suggesting on.
The problem is, none of the problems or solutions are linear. It's a multifaceted problem, and staffing is always going to be at lower levels than the need in light of budget cuts and funding and the push for smaller government.
I had an interesting conversation today about a planting method being used for native grasses on large areas in the west (wildfire areas). They have been dropping the seed out of a helicopter!!! From the way I understand it, there is a super low seed to soil contact rate and as a result, low germination. However, if a source of "Native" seed could be established in sufficient quantities this may be a viable method for the forest service to repopulate remote areas. They use helicopters when burning their native grasses, why not!?