WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05) introduced the Special Forest Products Program Reauthorization Act, legislation to allow for the sustainable harvest of special forest products on lands in the National Forest System (NFS).
“Part of being responsible stewards of the woods is making sure that everyone is able to take advantage of the resources that the woods provide,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “This bipartisan bill ensures access for folks looking to harvest special forest products and help us keep our symbiotic relationship with the woods.”
“Our national forests are full of resources that Oregonians, including tribal residents, benefit from and enjoy. The Special Forest Products Program Reauthorization Act would continue to allow these products to be harvested in a sustainable manner – benefiting communities across the region while also contributing to healthy forest management,” Chavez-DeRemer said.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Special Forest Products pilot program allows the public to harvest natural forest resources for personal or commercial use – including mushrooms, roots, seeds, Christmas trees, and firewood – after they’ve obtained a permit and paid a fee to USFS.
Despite this program’s success, this program reauthorized yearly during the House Appropriations process.
The Special Forest Products Program Reauthorization Act would:
- Direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the program permanent and standardize fees and permits required to participate – making the fees enough to recover a portion of fair market value of the harvest.
- Exempt individuals harvesting products for personal use from having to acquire a permit or pay a fee.
- Exempt Tribes gathering products for medicinal use or traditional purposes from having to acquire a permit or pay a fee.
“The South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative wholeheartedly supports the US Forest Service’s Special Forest Products bill being brought forth by Reps. Gluesenkamp Perez and Chavez-DeRemer. This important bill provides a framework for both protecting and making available forest botanical resources for the US public,” said Joshua D. Petit, Executive Director of the South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative
“The value of special forest products from our national forests for many of our rural communities and tribes is tremendous. Mt. Adam’s Resource Stewards strongly support the reauthorization of this program as included in this bill and appreciate the Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez’ leadership on the issue,” said Jay McLaughlin, Executive Director of the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards.