Piñon harvest begins on public lands | RecordCourier.com

Piñon harvest begins on public lands

Staff Reports

Residents have been harvesting piñon nuts for millenia, going back to the days when the first Nevadans counted on them for their survival.

The 2017 piñon nut harvest season kicks off this month on lands managed by the Nevada Bureau of Land Management and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

The length of the pine nut harvest season varies depending on crop quality and seasonal weather conditions. It is generally September to late October when pine nuts are available for harvest.

The BLM and U.S. Forest Service have two types of pine nut harvesting: personal use and commercial use. Personal use is the harvesting of relatively small amounts of pine nuts not intended for sale. Commercial use is when harvesters intend to sell their nuts or if they are harvesting large quantities for personal use.

Individuals and families who visit lands managed by the Nevada BLM and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest may gather up to 25 pounds of nuts per season/per household without a personal use permit and at no charge.

"This limit provides a sustainable level of harvest and protection of natural resources across pine nut picking areas," officials said. "Anyone who would like to gather more than 25 pounds must contact their local BLM or Forest Service office."

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Even though the general public is allowed to harvest pine nuts under personal use without obtaining a permit at one of the BLM or U.S Forest Service offices, it is recommended that individuals stop by the local office to obtain specific pine nut harvesting information.

This information includes maps of good crop areas, closure information, fire restrictions, areas to avoid, etc.

The Pine Nut Mountains have several areas of Washoe Tribe trust lands interspersed with BLM territory. Pine nuts on Tribal lands are reserved for the Washoe who own them.

Personal use harvesting is allowed anywhere that piñons may be found on BLM managed lands. The Battle Mountain and Ely Districts have issued a total of 11 commercial permits for the collection of just over 205,750 pounds of pine nuts. The public and Tribal members are still allowed to collect within these units for personal use.

For more information on BLM commercial use, contact Lead Forester Coreen Francis at 775-885-6021 or c1franci@blm.gov.

On the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, personal use harvesting is also allowed anywhere that piñons may be found on the Austin-Tonopah, Bridgeport, Carson, Ely, and Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger Districts, as well as the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. For more information on Forest Service commercial use, contact Central Zone Fuels Specialist Carol Carlock at 775-289-3031or clcarlock@fs.fed.us.

Nevada BLM and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest law enforcement will actively pursue all applicable federal violations against any illegal pine nut harvesters. Violators could be punished by a $5,000 fine or six months in jail or both (per violation). There could be further charges and restitution if resources are damaged during the illegal activity.