FORAGING LAWS

It is your - the forager’s - responsibility to know the law regarding collection of wild plants and fungi on public and private land. For your convenience, we present this list of guidelines for foraging on public access land, which are accurate to the best of our knowledge but should not be taken as legal advice.

National Parks

The Electrontic Code of Federal Regulations

Title 36 → Chapter I → Part 2 → §2.1

(1) Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state:

  • (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the following is prohibited:

  • (i) Living or dead wildlife or fish, or the parts or products thereof, such as antlers or nests.

  • (ii) Plants or the parts or products thereof.

(c)(1) The superintendent may designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption upon a written determination that the gathering or consumption will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

(2) The superintendent may:

  • (i) Limit the size and quantity of the natural products that may be gathered or possessed for this purpose; or

  • (ii) Limit the location where natural products may be gathered; or

  • (iii) Restrict the possession and consumption of natural products to the park area.

(3) The following are prohibited:

  • (i) Gathering or possessing undesignated natural products.

  • (ii) Gathering or possessing natural products in violation of the size or quantity limits designated by the superintendent.

  • (iii) Unauthorized removal of natural products from the park area.

  • (iv) Gathering natural products outside of designated areas.

  • (v) Sale or commercial use of natural products.

(d) This section shall not be construed as authorizing the taking, use, or possession of fish, wildlife, or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except for the gathering and removal of plants or plant parts by enrolled members of an Indian tribe in accordance with §2.6, or where specifically authorized by federal statutory law, treaty, or in accordance with §2.2 or §2.3.

Foraging Laws vary by park in national parks. You can find more information about laws in a park near you using the National Park Service’s Website. To access the superintendent’s compendium for a specific park, visit nps.gov, select a location, and click on “learn about the park.” From there, you can access the compendium by clicking “management,” then “laws and policies.” 

Be sure to follow additional regulations, including trail allowances and container allowances. Some parks do not allow glass containers of any kind, for example. 

 

The following local national parks allow the collection of specific species in specific quantities for personal use or consumption. 

Pennsylvania

State Parks and State Forests

PA State Park Rules and Regulations, section 11.211

PA State Forest Rules and Regulations, section 21.115

PA State Parks and Forests prohibit the cutting, picking, digging, damaging or removing, in whole or in part, a living or dead tree, shrub, plant, or fungus except when gathering edible fruits, nuts, berries and fungi, in reasonable amounts, for one's own personal or family consumption. This permission does not apply to wild plants listed in Chapter 45 (relating to conservation of Pennsylvania native wild plants) as threatened, endangered, rare or vulnerable.

 

County Parks

Rules and regulations will vary by county, but in general, foraging in any form (to cut, remove, pick, gather, uproot, or destroy plants) is not allowed in PA county parks. 

York County Parks Rules and Regulations, section 75-8

Lancaster County Parks Rules and Regulations, section 14

Maryland

State Parks and Forests

In Maryland State Parks and Forests, foraging is not allowed: an individual may not remove, disturb, damage, or destroy a plant, rock, mineral, or animal without a permit. 

County Parks

County Park regulations vary by county, but most prohibit all collection of plants.