Mushrooming business is curbed

  The Forest Service has developed new rules to get a handle on the Northwest's booming mushroom industry. During the last three years agency officials in Oregon and Washington have seen violent conflicts break out among pickers, as well as damage to forest lands (HCN, 6/28/93). Mike Rassbach, special forest products coordinator for the region, says his office recently instituted incidental permits for pickers harvesting on a limited basis and free-use permits for harvesters who use mushrooms only for personal consumption. Commercial permits will cost $10 a day to pick all species, including matsutake, the Japanese delicacy which can sell for $95 a pound. Rassbach says the new regulations will allow forest supervisors to control harvests and discourage confrontations over mushroom "turf." Forests won't have any say in determining where money from the permits goes, however. All funds will continue to go to the federal Treasury.