With this year’s mild winter, there seems to be more decorative wood product harvesting in Minnesota forests. People harvesting decoratives and edibles from any private or public land must contact the owner of that land and get permission or a permit to forage those woodlands or forests.

People do not need a permit to collect small amounts of berries, mushrooms, or cones from a State Forest for personal use. Individuals also do not need a permit to collect dead fuelwood for fires while in a State Forest.

However, individuals must obtain a permit from a DNR Forestry office to:

• Cut or remove any trees or plants for any reason. (birch bark, birch sticks, alder, diamond willow)

• Remove wood from state land boundaries.

• Collect a large amount of berries, mushrooms, or dead fuelwood for personal use or sale.

• Tap trees for syrup for personal use or sale (birch, sugar maple silver maple, box elder, black walnut).

• Harvest Christmas trees, decorative tops, or boughs in State Forests. Make sure you call ahead and inquire about the process with the local DNR Forestry office.

The Minnesota DNR has websites and publications that review the laws and policies regarding harvesting decorative forest products. Publications on sustainably harvesting treetops, boughs, decorative poles, and state laws regarding harvesters and buyers are detailed on this website.

MN State Park rules

Harvesting edible fruits and mushrooms is allowed in Minnesota state parks, as long as they are for personal consumption. Commercial harvesting is not allowed. It is not allowed to pick wildflowers or other plants (edible or not), even for personal use.

Minnesota DNR Foresters are available in all regions of the state to assist and work with woodland owners with sustainable management plans of their natural resources found within their property.

Minnesota is home to 17.6 million acres of forest land. Sustainable forest management is vitally important, providing a healthy forest, economy, and environment to the people of Minnesota. The DNR Utilization and Marketing Program has resources reviewing wood products and decorative industries in Minnesota.

Those who are foraging for edibles or decoratives in woodlands, need to be aware of how they can spread invasive species unknowingly throughout the woodlands.

The Minnesota Harvester Handbook is an excellent wild gatherers resource. The University of Minnesota Extension and other contributors developed this resource. Copies can be purchased at the UM Bookstore.