Fall rains mean mushrooms — Some tips to gather safely and legally on state trust lands

Chanterelle mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms in the forest. Photo: Norman D. Davis.

Cooler and wetter weather is making its annual return to Washington state. Wild mushroom enthusiasts are already out in the woods and fields looking for chanterelles, matsutakes, and the many other varieties of edible mushroom that grow abundantly in Washington state.

How much you can gather

If you are a mushroom gatherer, or a person that likes to gather edibles from DNR-managed state trust lands for personal consumption, you are limited to three gallons of a single species per day, not to exceed nine gallons a year. Check with the DNR region office nearest your gathering site for other rules. Here’s more information the wild edibles that you can gather for your personal use from state trust lands. On federal lands, check first with the U.S. Forest Service district office closest to where you plan to gather.

Where you can gather

Please note that harvesting mushrooms or any other forest products from DNR-managed campgrounds and picnic sites, natural area preserves or natural resources conservation areas is prohibited, unless the harvest is specifically included in the site’s management plan. And reselling what you gather without a DNR commercial permit is a big no-no.

Gatherers need to purchase a Discover Pass for their vehicle before heading out onto state trust lands. A Discover Pass costs $10 per day or $30 for one year and allows users to explore 160-plus recreation sites and millions of acres of wildlands managed by DNR.

How to gather

It is okay to cut or pull mushrooms at the ground level. However, replace ground material and divots that have been moved. Also, don’t use a rake to gather mushrooms, since it causes too much disturbance to the soil and may harm the long-term survival of mushrooms in that area.

More information about mushrooms

Do not consume any mushrooms you can not identify with confidence. The Puget Sound Mycological Society has a bounty of information about wild mushrooms, including classes and other resources — they even host identification clinics in spring and fall so you can get an expert’s eyes on your bounty before cooking it up.