'Sang under siege: Picking by permit only protects wild ginseng

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Ginseng

GINSENG HUNTING — Harvesting ginseng from public lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests has been capped by a limited number of picking permits for several years now. It is illegal altogether in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway

To safeguard wild ginseng, only a limited number of ginseng harvesting permits will be issued in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.

Wild ginseng roots can fetch up to $800 a pound for Asian medicinal purposes. The lucrative picking of wild ginseng on national forest lands threatened the plant’s existence prior to a permit system being put in place several years ago.

A lottery is held to award the limited number of ginseng harvesting permits. The forest service only gives out 136 permits for harvesting ginseng from national forests land in WNC.

In addition to reducing the legal harvest of wild ginseng, the forest service has increased policing and penalties on poaching. Removing a wild ginseng plant or its parts from national forests without a permit or outside of the legal harvest season is considered theft of public property.

Penalties for plant poaching may include a fine up to $5,000 or 6-month sentence in federal prison, or both.

Those who get a permit are limited to a two-week window in September. Pickers are limited to 1-3 pounds, with a fee of $40 per pound paid to the forest service by the honor system.

Permits are specific to the six districts of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. Each district may limit harvesting to certain areas to allow the plants to regenerate or to protect natural areas.

The deadline to put your name in for the lottery is July 27. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the lottery, but the only way to put your name on the list is to call the forest service office. 828-634-1031 or 828-689-9694.

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The Haywood County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the Historic Courtroom of the Haywood County Historic Courthouse located at 215 N. Main Street, Waynesville, North Carolina 28786. The purpose of the hearing is to allow the public to discuss the sale of the Historic Haywood County Hospital located at 1230 N. Main Street, Waynesville, North Carolina to Landmark Asset Services, Inc. for $225,000.00. The County intends to sell the property for affordable housing for persons of low to moderate income per N.C.G.S. 153A-378. The sale of the Historic Haywood County Hospital is authorized and conducted pursuant to N.C.G.S. 160A-267. The County shall attach covenants or conditions to assure that the property will be put to public use for persons of low to moderate income. Persons wishing to be heard at the public hearing are asked to be present. The County Commissioners may adopt reasonable rules governing the conduct of the hearing including; (i) fixing the maximum time allotted to each speaker, (ii) providing for the designation of spokesmen for groups of persons supporting or opposing the same position, (iii) providing for the selection of delegates from groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions when the number of persons wishing to attend the hearing exceeds the capacity of the hall, and (iv) providing for the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of the hearing.

This 1st day of June, 2020.

Tracy L. Wells, Clerk to the Board

Haywood County Board of Commissioners

No. 35453