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TOPIC: Probable new Tennessee digging law

Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19752

Hugh,

Note: See the third paragraph of this post for my comment on your first sentence.

Something definitely needs to be done about the situation before the State and Federal entities step in and close down Ginseng Season for 5 to 10 year periods or for all time! They have been using the dyes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for at least a few years (I believe) and do know that they arrested someone in Newport, TN last year for having illegal GSMNP dug Ginseng. However, dyeing the roots of Ginseng in the National Forests is not the solution! This would make the roots illegal no matter when you dig them since it could take years for the dye to completely wash out of the roots still growing naturally and non-removeable in roots already dug.

The solution is increased Law Enforcement patrols in vehicles and on foot, the monitoring of access roads into the National Forests for increased activity (which might indicate that these poachers are on the prowl), random check-points and inspections at entrances/exits to the National Forests, surveillance cameras (whether they be Game or Trail-Cameras or other) in remote areas with growing populations of Ginseng plants and severe penalties for anyone caught with freshly dug Ginseng out of season. I have seen how some of these folks operate in the National Forests and they will either have someone drop them off or they will park a fair distance away from where they are digging the Ginseng...hide the booty before walking back to their' vehicle and retrieve the dug roots later.

I understand your trepidation (fear) in ticking-off the NF folks but as taxpayers, we do pay much of their' wages whether they want to admit it or not! Currently, I still believe that the best that we can hope for, is to at the least get the Congressmen and Senators involved and see what happens! At least some pressure on the National Forestry Division and their' parent Agency, the Department of Agriculture is better than nothing being done. Besides, the National Forestry Division's Ginseng Program is a sham and from reading some of the permits and accompaning reading material, is being run by folks that appear in everyway as to be the \"blind leading the blind\"! These folks have no clue to what is a legal and diggable plant with root nor do they really know the growing cycle of Ginseng.


Frank

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19769

I have not been participating in this thread because I don't live in that area, however, I think there is a different perspective which might be valuable for you all to consider.

The administrators at the F&WS are just that...administrators. Maybe they know something about ginseng, and maybe they don't. I'd lean toward the later. However, that does not make them incompetent in their jobs. They are likely very accomplished and professional administrators.

Here is my point. If we consider them idiots, our attitude becomes one that is not conducive to productive means or methods. The same thing is true in reverse. Why would they listen to a bunch of hicks? We need to present ourselves well, and show some understanding of their issues so that we can work toward a reasonable compromise which helps both our positions.

We must first try to understand their issues so we can apply our knowledge of ginseng and ginseng hunting to those issues. There may be a simple answer which will solve one or more of the F&WS’s issues which we will see and intuitively understand, but which they are just completely unaware.

We start by understanding that the administrators at the F&WS are charged with the protection of wild ginseng as a species. They are not worried about you making back your $30 for hunting on federal land. I suspect, they would see that permit process as a compromise in your favor.
It all comes down to perspectives folks. We need to understand where they are first, before we can intelligently and competently (and with supported documentation) provide them with the benefit of our actual experience and knowledge on the subject.

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19770

BCastle,

I am sorry, I guess that I came off wrong in my' posting and could have used less condemning words for some of the NF folks! However, as a retired Federal Government Employee with nearly 33 years direct Federal Service (not including my' military service), I know all too well how things work in Federal Government Agencies and Offices! An order comes down from the Director of the Agency to institute a Wild Ginseng Conservation Program (from Head Office to Regional or District Office) by a certain date (usually which is not far off). The managers at these regional or district offices, then direct someone under them to get this going. From experience, I know that very little guidance is sent down from the top on what to do and most of these folks at the bottom have no idea where or how to start or know much of anything about Ginseng, Ginseng harvesting and selling. I don't mean that these people are incompetent because they would not be where they are if they were! I just mean that they have no idea on how to implement a policy for something that they know nothing about! This is reflective in the information on the Permits as well as the accompanying paperwork, literature, guides or rules (whatever you want to call them)! I read them last year and they were wrought with numerous mistakes and mis-information about legally harvesting and selling Ginseng! Although I have not seen the permits or accompanying paperwork for this year, I doubt that much if anything has been changed, although I emailed the Department of Agriculture and National Forestry Division's Head Office and pointed out the mistakes and mis-information.

As far as the regional/district offices that issue the Ginseng Permits are concerned (I won't devulge the individual offices), they don't want to hear it! As far as they are concerned, they are the Resident Experts and you are the Local Idiots when it comes to any of their' policies and/or programs. I talked to them until I was blue in the face and they did not want to hear it nor could they accept that their' information was wrong and I did not get confrontational with them as that is not my way!

Again, I only see going the route of speaking with or writing your Congressman and/or Senator that serves your District for help!


Frank

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19773

Brad,
I hope that you can see from what this fellow has written how frustrating it is to try to deal with this situation. I don't think that I even know Frank or have ever met him, but he apparently lives a few miles down the highway from me. You've heard in detail from him and it mirrors what I described about trying to get in touch with the indivual in charge of ginseng a couple of months ago. If you keep soft peddling the issue, as you have suggested, how do we ever get anywhere? This is a problem that should have been dealt with years ago and playing the nice guy has gotten nowhere. What we have is 75-100 miles of National Forest that is almost devoid of ginseng because of bad administration from the top. There are a few places where the locals have learned to use stewardship measures and they still have decent crops every year, but for the most part that doesn't exits. Stopping the harvest will never improve the situation, but getting some plants back into the forest and good management will help.
Hugh

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19779

Hugh Hartsell wrote:

Brad,
I hope that you can see from what this fellow has written how frustrating it is to try to deal with this situation. I don't think that I even know Frank or have ever met him, but he apparently lives a few miles down the highway from me. You've heard in detail from him and it mirrors what I described about trying to get in touch with the indivual in charge of ginseng a couple of months ago. If you keep soft peddling the issue, as you have suggested, how do we ever get anywhere? This is a problem that should have been dealt with years ago and playing the nice guy has gotten nowhere. What we have is 75-100 miles of National Forest that is almost devoid of ginseng because of bad administration from the top. There are a few places where the locals have learned to use stewardship measures and they still have decent crops every year, but for the most part that doesn't exits. Stopping the harvest will never improve the situation, but getting some plants back into the forest and good management will help.
Hugh


Hugh,

Thanks for being supportive of what I am trying to say and backing me up! I don't think you really know me but I believe that we have met on one or more occasions as your name sounds familiar to me other than just from forums. From 1996 to 1998, I used to sell to the Ginseng Buyer that came out of Clinton or Oak Ridge and bought in Newport on Saturday mornings, so we might have met there. My dad passed in December of 1998 and from then through 2009, I only dug Ginseng occasionally for my own consuption. I now sell to Rudy Abate in Talbott, TN as he seems to be the most fair Dealer close by and you may have run into me there. However, we could have met elsewhere because I frequent a lot of places and especially Sporting Goods Shops and Pawn Shops in Jefferson City, Morristown, Knoxville and Clinton and occasionally in Sevierville and Greeneville.

If you ever want to talk, call me at (865) 221-9443.....


Frank

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19804

huntsman53 wrote:

BCastle,

I am sorry, I guess that I came off wrong in my' posting and could have used less condemning words for some of the NF folks! However, as a retired Federal Government Employee with nearly 33 years direct Federal Service (not including my' military service), I know all too well how things work in Federal Government Agencies and Offices! An order comes down from the Director of the Agency to institute a Wild Ginseng Conservation Program (from Head Office to Regional or District Office) by a certain date (usually which is not far off). The managers at these regional or district offices, then direct someone under them to get this going. From experience, I know that very little guidance is sent down from the top on what to do and most of these folks at the bottom have no idea where or how to start or know much of anything about Ginseng, Ginseng harvesting and selling. I don't mean that these people are incompetent because they would not be where they are if they were! I just mean that they have no idea on how to implement a policy for something that they know nothing about! This is reflective in the information on the Permits as well as the accompanying paperwork, literature, guides or rules (whatever you want to call them)! I read them last year and they were wrought with numerous mistakes and mis-information about legally harvesting and selling Ginseng! Although I have not seen the permits or accompanying paperwork for this year, I doubt that much if anything has been changed, although I emailed the Department of Agriculture and National Forestry Division's Head Office and pointed out the mistakes and mis-information.

As far as the regional/district offices that issue the Ginseng Permits are concerned (I won't devulge the individual offices), they don't want to hear it! As far as they are concerned, they are the Resident Experts and you are the Local Idiots when it comes to any of their' policies and/or programs. I talked to them until I was blue in the face and they did not want to hear it nor could they accept that their' information was wrong and I did not get confrontational with them as that is not my way!

Again, I only see going the route of speaking with or writing your Congressman and/or Senator that serves your District for help!


Frank



Frank,

I too am a government employee and understand what you were saying. However, when I post publically, I try to remember there are many more who read but don't post than we might realize. I am sorry if it sounded like I was trying to take you to task, that certainly was not my intention at all.

The concept I am mostly referring to is indicated above in the quote. I disagree that someone who doesn't understand something (ginseng in this case) is incapable of implementing policy regarding it. I think implementing a policy as given/ordered has nothing to do with understanding why the policy is good or bad. Instead, I'm suggesting that the folks at the top must be considered when we form our opinions on their policy which eventually gets passed down and implemented. If the only understanding they have about us is what goes back up the chain of command to them from those folks who implement the policy and are the subjects of our scorn, they will be less likely to listen to our positions and issues I think.

Remember, at the base level we both want the same thing...we want to see wild ginseng abundand enough to support a sustained harvest without negatively affecting the wild populations. Unfortunately, their way of getting to that goal and ours is a little different. They tend to look toward preservation (non-use) while we look for conservation (wise use) to reach our respective goals.

I'm just suggesting there is a spot where the two can meet, but only if BOTH sides of the issue try to understand the other. Unfortunately, sometimes we are faced with an opposing position which we intuitively know is in error or otherwise is not the best course of action, yet, we still need to respect the opposing position and try to work toward a solution which helps them as much as us.

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19806

Hugh Hartsell wrote:

Brad,
I hope that you can see from what this fellow has written how frustrating it is to try to deal with this situation. I don't think that I even know Frank or have ever met him, but he apparently lives a few miles down the highway from me. You've heard in detail from him and it mirrors what I described about trying to get in touch with the indivual in charge of ginseng a couple of months ago. If you keep soft peddling the issue, as you have suggested, how do we ever get anywhere? This is a problem that should have been dealt with years ago and playing the nice guy has gotten nowhere. What we have is 75-100 miles of National Forest that is almost devoid of ginseng because of bad administration from the top. There are a few places where the locals have learned to use stewardship measures and they still have decent crops every year, but for the most part that doesn't exits. Stopping the harvest will never improve the situation, but getting some plants back into the forest and good management will help.
Hugh


Hey Hugh,

I understand what you are both saying (at least I think I do). I think what you are saying here is the same thing I was referring to in my post. Those who are in the administrative positions are no more likely to want to hear what we say if they think we are less than knowledgeable or understanding of their positions as we are in reverse under the same circumstances. The key is that they are making the rules and we must follow them. Therefore, they start with a huge advantage in position to us as they do not have to listen to anything we have to say. We on the other hand need to somehow convince them they want to hear what we have to say. Brute force frontal charges seldom bring positive results from this position.

In your post, you suggest the area is devoid of ginseng because of faulty policy and bad administration. I would suggest that those you refer to think the area is devoid of ginseng because ginseng diggers are hicks and can't follow the law to leave the plants in the ground until September when the berries are ripe.

You must agree, when they catch a poacher on NF land, that doesn't help our position. Likewise, when a state comes up with a significant descrepency in the amount of ginseng reported harvested, and the amount actually certified, they start to wonder who is breaking the law to cause that to happen. We all know intuitively, that ginsng changes weight with atmospheric conditions. But, that doesn't fit well on a spreadsheet. This is why I think the next move we see will be the banning of the sale of fresh root. Some of the state administrators understand...folks like Kyjabber and our own admin here in Ohio. But, they are in a position that forces them to comply with the policy which comes down from the feds.

We know that we may only recover from the losses by planting more ginseng seeds. They are apparently focused only on protecting what wild ginseng is left.

In order to get them to see that our goals are really the same as theirs, and our method is viable and consistent with that of their own, we first and foremost need them to listen to us and try to understand what we know intuitively. This isn't as easy as it sounds.

One of the best ways I can think of is to form a special interest group who can represent the diggers and present positions, perspectives and solutions in a non-threatening and professional manner.

We really need to consider a systems theory approach here to ensure we don't go off half cocked and fail to recognize something we need to understand first.

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19809

BCastle wrote:

Hugh Hartsell wrote:

Brad,
I hope that you can see from what this fellow has written how frustrating it is to try to deal with this situation. I don't think that I even know Frank or have ever met him, but he apparently lives a few miles down the highway from me. You've heard in detail from him and it mirrors what I described about trying to get in touch with the indivual in charge of ginseng a couple of months ago. If you keep soft peddling the issue, as you have suggested, how do we ever get anywhere? This is a problem that should have been dealt with years ago and playing the nice guy has gotten nowhere. What we have is 75-100 miles of National Forest that is almost devoid of ginseng because of bad administration from the top. There are a few places where the locals have learned to use stewardship measures and they still have decent crops every year, but for the most part that doesn't exits. Stopping the harvest will never improve the situation, but getting some plants back into the forest and good management will help.
Hugh


Hey Hugh,

I understand what you are both saying (at least I think I do). I think what you are saying here is the same thing I was referring to in my post. Those who are in the administrative positions are no more likely to want to hear what we say if they think we are less than knowledgeable or understanding of their positions as we are in reverse under the same circumstances. The key is that they are making the rules and we must follow them. Therefore, they start with a huge advantage in position to us as they do not have to listen to anything we have to say. We on the other hand need to somehow convince them they want to hear what we have to say. Brute force frontal charges seldom bring positive results from this position.

In your post, you suggest the area is devoid of ginseng because of faulty policy and bad administration. I would suggest that those you refer to think the area is devoid of ginseng because ginseng diggers are hicks and can't follow the law to leave the plants in the ground until September when the berries are ripe.

You must agree, when they catch a poacher on NF land, that doesn't help our position. Likewise, when a state comes up with a significant descrepency in the amount of ginseng reported harvested, and the amount actually certified, they start to wonder who is breaking the law to cause that to happen. We all know intuitively, that ginsng changes weight with atmospheric conditions. But, that doesn't fit well on a spreadsheet. This is why I think the next move we see will be the banning of the sale of fresh root. Some of the state administrators understand...folks like Kyjabber and our own admin here in Ohio. But, they are in a position that forces them to comply with the policy which comes down from the feds.

We know that we may only recover from the losses by planting more ginseng seeds. They are apparently focused only on protecting what wild ginseng is left.

In order to get them to see that our goals are really the same as theirs, and our method is viable and consistent with that of their own, we first and foremost need them to listen to us and try to understand what we know intuitively. This isn't as easy as it sounds.

One of the best ways I can think of is to form a special interest group who can represent the diggers and present positions, perspectives and solutions in a non-threatening and professional manner.

We really need to consider a systems theory approach here to ensure we don't go off half cocked and fail to recognize something we need to understand first.


Hugh,

I am sorry to respond to a response left for you but I felt that I needed to address a couple of issues that Brad brings up. I believe that I have addressed each paragraph individually and separately!

Brad,

While others may not be, I am very understanding of folks and their' positions who work in Administrative or other job classifications within a Government Agency! Working for nearly 33 years in a Federal Government Agency that was constantly evolving to meet the needs of the Public, Industry and Commerce, myself and my co-workers were constantly bombarded with implementing programs and policies with very little upper level guidance. Doing so, you take a certain amount of pride in what you have accomplished and are not readily open to criticism! While the Agency and the people I worked for and with, openly requested feedback and input about our' programs and policies, other Agencies and people working within them are not so readily open to criticism. Yes they make the rules and we have to follow them. However, as taxpayers and as Ginseng Harvesters who boosts the Economy by selling Ginseng to Dealers who exports to overseas and other locations, we do have a say in programs and policies that are flawed. Maybe enough good diplomacy has yet to be used to get them to understand or even consider our views! However, will it be enough good diplomacy when Wild Ginseng is all but completely wiped out and Wild Ginseng is placed on the Endangered Species list? We must make a decision of when it is enough or not enough but with Wild Ginseng being devoid in many areas, we need to act now before our passion and some folks livelihoods are completely gone!

No, certain areas and/or regions of the National Forests and the State are pretty much devoid of Ginseng due to the following: Faulty policy and an administration unwilling to listen or evolve and because some Ginseng diggers can't follow the law by leaving the plants in the ground until September when the berries are ripe.

No comment since I am not a Ginseng Dealer and do not have to report Certified weights!

True!

True and refers back to the 1st paragraph!

This has been tried in quite a few regions and States with very little success due to lack of interest on the part of some Ginseng diggers! If it is going to cost them money which a viable special interest group and it's programs will need to succeed, then they are not for it.

No comment!


Frank

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19814

BCastle wrote:

huntsman53 wrote:

BCastle,

I am sorry, I guess that I came off wrong in my' posting and could have used less condemning words for some of the NF folks! However, as a retired Federal Government Employee with nearly 33 years direct Federal Service (not including my' military service), I know all too well how things work in Federal Government Agencies and Offices! An order comes down from the Director of the Agency to institute a Wild Ginseng Conservation Program (from Head Office to Regional or District Office) by a certain date (usually which is not far off). The managers at these regional or district offices, then direct someone under them to get this going. From experience, I know that very little guidance is sent down from the top on what to do and most of these folks at the bottom have no idea where or how to start or know much of anything about Ginseng, Ginseng harvesting and selling. I don't mean that these people are incompetent because they would not be where they are if they were! I just mean that they have no idea on how to implement a policy for something that they know nothing about! This is reflective in the information on the Permits as well as the accompanying paperwork, literature, guides or rules (whatever you want to call them)! I read them last year and they were wrought with numerous mistakes and mis-information about legally harvesting and selling Ginseng! Although I have not seen the permits or accompanying paperwork for this year, I doubt that much if anything has been changed, although I emailed the Department of Agriculture and National Forestry Division's Head Office and pointed out the mistakes and mis-information.

As far as the regional/district offices that issue the Ginseng Permits are concerned (I won't devulge the individual offices), they don't want to hear it! As far as they are concerned, they are the Resident Experts and you are the Local Idiots when it comes to any of their' policies and/or programs. I talked to them until I was blue in the face and they did not want to hear it nor could they accept that their' information was wrong and I did not get confrontational with them as that is not my way!

Again, I only see going the route of speaking with or writing your Congressman and/or Senator that serves your District for help!


Frank



Frank,

I too am a government employee and understand what you were saying. However, when I post publically, I try to remember there are many more who read but don't post than we might realize. I am sorry if it sounded like I was trying to take you to task, that certainly was not my intention at all.

The concept I am mostly referring to is indicated above in the quote. I disagree that someone who doesn't understand something (ginseng in this case) is incapable of implementing policy regarding it. I think implementing a policy as given/ordered has nothing to do with understanding why the policy is good or bad. Instead, I'm suggesting that the folks at the top must be considered when we form our opinions on their policy which eventually gets passed down and implemented. If the only understanding they have about us is what goes back up the chain of command to them from those folks who implement the policy and are the subjects of our scorn, they will be less likely to listen to our positions and issues I think.

Remember, at the base level we both want the same thing...we want to see wild ginseng abundand enough to support a sustained harvest without negatively affecting the wild populations. Unfortunately, their way of getting to that goal and ours is a little different. They tend to look toward preservation (non-use) while we look for conservation (wise use) to reach our respective goals.

I'm just suggesting there is a spot where the two can meet, but only if BOTH sides of the issue try to understand the other. Unfortunately, sometimes we are faced with an opposing position which we intuitively know is in error or otherwise is not the best course of action, yet, we still need to respect the opposing position and try to work toward a solution which helps them as much as us.


Brad,

Thanks for the understanding! Sometimes I come off too strong or gun ho in my postings concerning things I am passionate about which is much different than I am in person. Yes, I know that others may read the posts and not respond and is sometimes why I post in such a strong way! If an Administrator or Supervisor which is responsible or somewhat responsible for certain policies, happens to read the posts, review the policies and realize that there is some basis in what we write, then maybe they will do something about it. It is better to research and read such criticism, be somewhat open-minded about it and do something before the crap hits the fan per see from the top down!

Yeah, I should have stated \" I just mean that they start with little or no ideas on how to implement a policy for something that they know very little about or have little guidance about! \"

Wrong! We are supposed to want the same thing but some folks see things in 2-D while we see it in 3-D! The National Forestry Division has to think about both preservation and conservation but often tend to policy towards the 1st. However, they are a Federal Government Agency that is also tasked with insuring that commerce continues and grows and should lean towards conservation 1st as their main objective.

Only if they can ever be open-minded will this ever happen!


Frank

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Re:Probable new Tennessee digging law 5 years 2 months ago #19821

I don't think the issue was with your words at all Frank. I think its a basic concept issue that most people have trouble understanding. I just had this discussion with someone else over lunch a few hours ago, actually. The realm of administration is often misunderstood by people because their understanding of the concept is based on administrators who were either lacking or unskilled to some degree. Unfortunately, this is often coupled with a lack of understanding of the subject at hand, and is thus mis-diagnosed as administrators must understand the subject to be effective.

You are absolutely correct that the administrators must be open minded for a compromise to take place...but at the same time, so must those of us on the other side.

Look at it this way... The administrators of the Federal powers that be know little about ginseng. So they reasarch and come up with a position based on that research. The rub is, there are vast differences in what we know about ginseng now, that we didn't know a few years ago. I myself have reversed my recommendations based on more recent information and experimentation. We need to know what their goals are, and understand what they are doing to try to secure those goals. If their mission is to prevent the loss of numbers of ginseng plants in the national forest system, I would expect all digging there to be banned immediately. However, if their primary goal is to stop the loss of wild plants AND to increase the numbers of wild plants, then I would anticipate their being more receptive to the idea of allowing or otherwise supporting the planting of wild simulated patches in the forests.

Does that make sense?

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