Cherokee National Forest not issuing ginseng permits in 2021

Ginseng herb harvesting is currently on hold in the Cherokee National Forest.
Cherokee National Forest
Cherokee National Forest(WVLT)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 4:32 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Cherokee National Forest in 2021 will not be issuing ginseng permits due to the concern for overall reductions in wild ginseng population numbers, U.S. Forest Service officials announced on Tuesday.

“In light of major declines in populations of ginseng, we feel it is necessary to put a hold on issuing any permits this year,” Forest Supervisor JaSal Morris said. “It is our responsibility to ensure any harvesting of ginseng is sustainable.”

Most state lands are closed to harvesting ginseng, including all state parks, natural areas, state forests and nearly all wildlife management areas. Collecting ginseng on state lands that are closed to harvesting is illegal and carries penalties and fines. It is also illegal to harvest ginseng on all National Park Service land, according to a release from forest officials.

Ginseng is an herb that grows in cool, moist mountain forests, like those in Tennessee. The herb is sought after for its roots which are believed to have medicinal properties, officials said.

Those interested can learn more about the Cherokee National Forest and ginseng harvesting on the state website.

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