Thursday, August 16, 2012

Reminder: Permits Required to Harvest Ginseng in September

Yesterday the U.S. Forest Service reminded visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests that permits are required to collect ginseng during the designated harvest season, which runs September 1-30.

The Nantahala Ranger District will begin selling permits on Aug. 27. The office address is 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, N.C. 28734.

The following ranger districts will sell permits beginning Aug. 31:
* Appalachian Ranger District, 30 East Hwy., 19 Bypass, Burnsville, N.C. 28714
* Grandfather Ranger District, 109 Lawing Drive, Nebo, N.C. 28761
* Pisgah Ranger District, 1600 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, N.C. 28768
* Tusquitee Ranger District, 123 Woodland Drive, Murphy, N.C. 28906
* Cheoah Ranger District, 1070 Massey Branch Road, Robbinsville, N.C. 28771

Permits are sold from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; however, the Pisgah Ranger District is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during September. A valid photo ID is required to purchase a permit. Ginseng permits cost $40 per wet pound. An individual may purchase up to 3 wet pounds annually. Harvest is prohibited in Wilderness and Natural Areas.

Ginseng root has been favored as a tonic with exports to East Asia for the past two-and-a-half centuries. In North Carolina, the plant primarily occurs in the mountains and is sparse in the piedmont.

The Forest Service continues to monitor the harvest in the national forests in North Carolina to ensure the future viability of the plant. Conservationists, botanists and others are concerned over the decline of ginseng populations over the years. The species is considered to be vulnerable.

For more information on harvesting ginseng in the national forests in North Carolina, please click here.

Hiking Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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