Huckleberry season is here, and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest wants to remind the public that while personal berry picking is welcomed, the commercial picking of huckleberries with the intent to sell, is strictly prohibited.

“We want all individuals to experience unique activities on their public lands,” said Mel Bolling, Caribou-Targhee Forest Supervisor. “By limiting huckleberry picking to recreational use only, we are able to give more people those opportunities.” There is no fee or permit needed for personal use, which is defined as picking four gallons per family or individual a year. Commercial or paid permits are not authorized or available. This is to provide as many families and individuals the opportunity to gather and harvest huckleberries for their personal use.

Methods for huckleberry gathering vary, but pickers are strongly encouraged to hand pick their berries. This prevents bushes from being damaged and ensures only ripe berries are harvested. We want our huckleberry bushes to remain healthy and productive for many years to come! Using mechanical methods, such as raking and cutting, can damage or destroy the huckleberry bushes. Raking can inhibit the quantity and quality of berries the following year and wastes berries. The rakes often remove all the leaves and when the plant doesn’t have leaves to produce and store energy, it decreases the productivity of the plant the following year. Any methods that damage or destroy the bushes are illegal and may result in a fine for damaging natural resources.

The Idaho Legislature designated the huckleberry as the official state fruit in 2000. Huckleberries freeze well and can provide a healthy addition to your diet.

When locating your huckleberry patch, please follow the Caribou-Targhee Travel plan map and signs. Please contact your local ranger district for more information about huckleberry picking on the Caribou-Targhee National Forests.