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Mr. Smarty Plants - Regulations on picking native plants and flowers on Government or National Park lands

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Friday - November 18, 2005

From: Hagerman, ID
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Laws
Title: Regulations on picking native plants and flowers on Government or National Park lands
Answered by: Nan Hampton, Anne Ruggles and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I was wondering what the laws and regulations on picking native plants and flowers on BLM land and NPS land are, and where I can find this information.

ANSWER:

On Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land it is permissible to pick a few flowers, berries, nuts, seeds, cones or other flower parts in small amounts as long as they are not for commercial use. There are exceptions, such as not removing or harming protected plants. You can read the specific rule pertaining to plants in BLM wilderness areas in Section 6302.15 43 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Wilderness Management. You cannot remove any sizable amount of natural resources or artifacts from BLM lands without a permit. [The same applies for National Forest Service (NFS) land]. You need to apply to the local BLM office for permission for extensive collection. You can find contact information for your nearest Idaho BLM office on the Idaho Bureau of Land Management web page.

National Park Service (NPS) (which includes National Monuments) allows almost no collecting of any kind on its lands. The exceptions are fishing with a valid NPS permit from the specific park (e.g., Yellowstone). The other exception is new NPS lands in Alaska where hunting and trapping are legal with state and federally issued permits. If you want to collect on NPS land, you first must have a good reason to collect and then you need to contact the office that manages the particular federal land you are interested in. If you are applying for a scientific collection permit, you will need a copy of your proposal and supporting documents. If you are applying for a permit as a Native American to collect native plants for art or ceremony, you will need a membership enrollment card in a federally recognized tribe. You can read about applying for permits with the NPS on the National Park Service web page.

 

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