Harvesting plants

Harvesting and foraging rules vary depending on the type of state land you are on. Minnesota's state parks, state recreation areas, state waysides, state forest recreation areas and state trails have restrictions on taking plants, mushrooms and berries. (What's a state forest recreation area?)

Under Minnesota rules, it is illegal to dig up or damage plants in any of these areas. 

This rule protects all plants - dead or alive - including (but not exclusive to) all wildflowers and seed heads, leeks or ramps, fern fiddleheads, wild ginseng, birch bark, chaga, wild asparagus, cattails, dandelions and conifer cones. 

Why are these restrictions important?

These places preserve Minnesota's natural environment and give visitors the chance to experience their natural heritage. The limits on foraging and harvesting are needed to protect plants, animals and other natural resources.

Harvesting can cause a number of impacts, which can negatively impact natural resources and other visitors' experiences, such as: 

  • disturbing soils and trampling other plants, which can lead to invasive species taking hold;
  • removing food sources otherwise available for wildlife;
  • reducing the natural reproduction of some species; and
  • preventing other people from having the same experience.

What is allowed?

In state parks, state recreation areas, state waysides and state forest recreation areas, you may harvest edible fruits and mushrooms for personal consumption. When picked with care, these plants can usually be harvested without damaging the plant or its surrounding area. Picking a handful of berries to go with breakfast is allowed, as is harvesting a few mushrooms for dinner.

You may collect edible fruit for personal use if you are on a state trail.

Things to remember if you are going to harvest edible fruits or mushrooms:

  1. Be careful. Don't damage the rest of the plant or other nearby plants, or the soil. 
  2. Leave some for others. Even if there is only a small number, don't take them all - animals and insects rely on these items as food.
  3. Leave some for the future so new ones can grow. Fruits and mushrooms are how these plants reproduce.

What is not allowed?

Foraging and harvesting large amounts or commercial harvesting is not allowed.

Picking wildflowers or any other plants - edible or not - even in small amounts for personal use is not allowed.

Harvesting or foraging of mushrooms or any plants other than edible fruits is not allowed along state trails.

Learn about other rules and regulations in state parks and recreation areas. 

Learn about the harvesting rules in state forests

*Forest recreation areas are areas on state forest lands that are posted as recreation sites. They include campgrounds, campsites, picnic areas, day use areas, beaches, parking lots, interpretive sites and trailheads.

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