Instructions released for 2020 ginseng permit process

Published 1:30 pm Friday, July 10, 2020

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USDA Forest Service officials announce that the period for applying for 2020 ginseng collecting permits for the Cherokee National Forest will be August 3 through August 21. A random permit drawing will be held to determine who may purchase a ginseng collecting permit. Ginseng collecting is limited because of concerns for overall reductions in wild ginseng population numbers throughout its natural range.
For 2020, a maximum of 40 permits will be issued allowing 25 roots (approximately 1/4 pound) per permit to be collected. The 2020 Cherokee National Forest ginseng permitting and collecting process will be as follows:
• The 2020 ginseng collecting season will be from September 16 through September 30. This two-week period will be the only time that ginseng can be legally collected in the Cherokee National Forest by valid permit holders.
• The Forest Service will issue atotalof40permits, each with a limit of 25 roots.
• A drawing will be held to determine the 40 permittees. Twenty permits will be issued for the northern half of the Forest (Watauga & Unaka Ranger Districts) and 20 permits will be issued for the southern half of the Forest (Tellico & Ocoee Ranger Districts).
• Permit drawing applicants may only apply for either the north or the south Cherokee NF.
• Permits are $20 and limited to one permit per person per year. Permittees must be at least 18 years of age.
• Five ginseng collection zones have been designated for the north Cherokee NF (Watauga & Unaka Districts), and five collection zones for the south Cherokee NF (Tellico & Ocoee Districts). One zone on each half of the Forest will be open for collecting each year.
• Collection zones will be rotated each year to allow plants a five year recovery period necessary to help ensure populations remain sustainable.
For 2020 the following ginseng collection zones will be open:
North Cherokee NF –Zone: 2 (Cherokee NF land within Greene County)
South Cherokee NF–Zone:3 (Cherokee NF land from the Hiwassee River to Hwy. 68)
Persons interested in obtaining a permit to collect ginseng in either the north or the south Cherokee National Forest for the 2020 season must submit a letter of request to:
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
2800 Ocoee Street North
Cleveland, TN 37312
ATTN: Ginseng Permits
Letters of request can be sent to the office listed above between August 3 and August 21, 2020 and must be received no later than august 21to be included in the drawing. Letters of request must include:
– Applicant’s full name (person who will do collecting)
– Applicant’s mailing address
– Applicant’s phone number
– Which section of the national forest the permit is being requested for – north Cherokee NForsouth Cherokee NF (only one section can be applied for)
Successful permittees will be notified by letter beginning the week of September 1. Permits may only be obtained by mail. Instructions for receiving the permit by mail will be provided in the notification letter.

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