Gathering Decorative Forest Items May Require Permit

Alexandria, LA, December 12, 2017 – Want to deck the halls with boughs of holly?  If you are collecting material from the Kisatchie National Forest, you may need a permit.

The weather is turning cold, and Christmas is coming.  Thoughts of bringing seasonal forest products into our homes leads to great ideas like Christmas trees, greenery, berries, pine cones, and firewood.  Are you allowed to take these things from National Forest land?  In most cases, the answer is yes.

The Kisatchie National Forest has an abundance of flora that people like to collect for their personal use at home or when camping.  Small amounts of readily available products, such as pine cones, pine needles, or firewood for a campfire, may be collected without a Permit.

If more than small amounts of products with no commercial value, or products only gathered for personal use is to be collected, a Free-Use Permit may be required.  Examples of free use are pine cones, pine needles, lighter pine, or grapevines.  The Permit may be obtained at any of the Ranger District offices, and will contain the location and amount of products to be gathered.

Large amounts of non-commercial products or any commercially valuable products require a Charge Permit.  Examples of commercial products are firewood, Christmas trees, mushrooms, cedar posts, or pinestraw. Charge Permits may be required for removal of more than incidental amounts of non-commercial products, as well. For example, products collected for producing items for sale require a Charge Permit.  The cost of a Permit begins at $20 and may increase based on the value of the products to be gathered.

A sustainability evaluation must be done to determine if collecting large amounts of a product will affect its long-term viability, so it is important to check with the local Ranger District before taking home sacks of berries, greenery, seedlings, etc.  Failure to obtain a Permit before gathering flora from the National Forest may result in a fine.

So, please enjoy the great opportunities the National Forest has to offer for collecting seasonal products, but be responsible and check with the local Ranger District to find out if you will need a Permit.  District offices contact information as follows:

-Kistachie National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 2500 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville, LA, 71360-2009, 318-473-7160
-Calcasieu Ranger District, 9912 Highway 28 West, Boyce, LA, 71409, 318-793-9427
-Caney Ranger District, 3288 Highway 79, Homer, LA, 71040-3951, 318-927-2061
-Catahoula Ranger District, 5325 LA Highway 8, Bentley, LA, 71407-9726, 318-765-3554
-Kistachie Ranger District, 229 Dogwood Park Road, Provencal, LA, 71468, 318-472-1840
-Winn Ranger District, 12319 U.S. Highway 84 West, Winnfield, LA, 71483, 318-628-4664

For more information about the United States Forest Service, please contact Stacy Blomquist, Public Affairs Specialist, at 318-473-7242, or by email at sblomquist@fs.fed.us.

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