CRATER LAKE, OR -- Crater Lake National Park rangers seized more than 230 pounds of morel mushrooms, over Fourth of July weekend. "They were collecting the mushrooms in the National Park which is a prohibited activity," says Chief Ranger Kean Mihata.
The 234 pounds of seized mushrooms have a market value of nearly $8,000. Mihata says, "A lot of these people do have Forest Service permits to collect on Forest Service land. But, it's pretty clear in the Forest Service's papers that they hand out that collecting in Crater Lake is prohibited."
Last summer, the National Creek complex of fires burned 21,000 acres in the park. "Because of that, all these mushrooms in this area are really popping, up this year," says Mihata. Fines can run as high as $5,000, with a maximum of six months in jail. Oregon State Police, the Forest Service and Douglas County Sheriff's Office worked to track down the mushroom hunters.