The Star Tribune in Minnesota is reporting that the Department of Natural Resources is considering placing a first-ever bag limit on foraged edible mushrooms and berries inside State parks. Read here
The impetus to do so comes from concerns that an increased interest in foraging and wild food could lead to over-harvesting, thereby harming the resource. The DNR likens the proposal to the possession limits they already have on wild fish and game and would be policed in a similar manner.
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Foragers like Alan Bergo of Forager Chef fame and Peter Martignacco, president of the Minnesota Mycological Society, are decrying what they call an arbitrary decision by the DNR, and are worried that it may even lead to a total State ban on mushroom harvesting. Mushrooms and berries are often fleeting, and most foragers collect an excess to preserve in different ways at home. Possession limits would reduce that amount that foragers could bring home, potentially cutting off a healthy and wild food source.
Martignacco says that he sought a meeting with the DNR about the new proposals but was told that the agency wasn’t interested in dialogue before the rules are published for public comment.
The DNR may be better off encouraging this interest in wild food and properly educating new foragers on how to collect without harming the resource, rather than setting problematic precedents.
Considering that foraging tends to be a low impact activity compared to many other outdoor activities and that collecting mushrooms and berries doesn’t affect re-growth, does there need to be a limit placed on harvesting?
Let us know what you think!