Minnesota Madman

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Yo Minnesota.

Does anybody have experience with acquiring collecting permits in Minnesota? Does Minnesota offer permits? Cost, limits, species, off limits areas, national forests, state forests, county forfeit lands, times of year ~ really anything specific to Minnesota is going to help people be more willing to do this legally.
 

Atom#28

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For me, in the PNW, it was just a matter of calling ranger stations at National Forests.
 

Minnesota Madman

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I'm open also to hearing if anybody has contacted highway departments on a county or state level, or even railroad right of way collecting permissions.
 

TN_Jim

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I'm open also to hearing if anybody has contacted highway departments on a county or state level, or even railroad right of way collecting permissions.
I’m not in Minnesota, but right of way areas in any state (I suppose) are a different animal, possibly managed by several agencies due to these often having pockets of threatened or endangered species.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Land designated as "Forest" whether State forest or National Forest, this is land set aside with the intent of some part of it being harvested for timber. Just hit the local ranger station or office. Ask about non-commercial harvest of a small number of trees for landscape use. That is the type permit that bonsai would fall under. It is local administered on a parcel by parcel basis.

Lands designated as Park, Wildlife Sanctuary, Wilderness, Monument, and other designations the purpose is usually preservation, and most likely permits will be denied.

BML Land is rare east of the Dakotas and nortceh of Texas, but here permits are possible. Search out the nearest BLM office nearest the location you want to collect in.

Railroad Right of Ways - you have to contact the local owner of the tracks. Once you identified a RRRW you want to collect on, you go to the nearest crossing with lights and gates. There will be a sign that identifies which rail road company owns those particular tracks, and who to call if the lights, signal & gates malfunction. Using those clues, you can find the RR site manager for the right away. You can ask permission. Chances are fair that permission will be refused because of insurance liability. Can't have civilians digging around tracks where trains rumble through at high speed. But if you ask politely, it is Minnesota, you are liable to get a polite and helpful answer. Railroad right of ways are one of the areas where "guerrilla collecting" can be done with low probability of problems.

Highway right of ways - same issue concerning safety as the railroads have. Also more difficult to sort out jurisdiction. If you see a road crew mowing in the area you are interested in, ask them for their office number, talk to them.

Power line right of ways, similar to railroad right of ways. Guerrilla collecting has only moderate risk. Watch out, sometimes private property has power lines traveling over it, and use under the power lines continues, such as farm fields, etc.

Municipal right of ways, preserved on county plat maps, but otherwise not being exercised by the local municipalities - here these right of ways tend to be treated by the adjoining land owners as their own private property. One is likely to be arrested or worse, shot, if one trespasses on these lands. We have a wetlands easement on our farm, you have to cross our private property to get to it. You will be treated like a trespasser if spotted out in our swamp with a shovel and bag of recently dug up trees. Be careful and get permission for any of this type of private, or semi-private right of ways you want to collect on.

Fence rows of farms. If you see something you want to collect, call or visit the farm house and ask the farmer if they mind. Often they will not mind. I personally have had my local bonsai club members out to my family group owned farm to dig weed trees from the fallow fields, and from the blueberry rows. The rule has been, before you can dig one hornbeam from my woodlot, you need to remove 2 or more Siberian elms from the fallow field, or slippery elms from my blueberry rows. Many farmers, if you catch them outside their busiest seasons, don't mind getting a few weed trees out of their fence rows, or fallow fields, or where ever the trees are a nuisance. But don't stop the farmer if he is in the middle of harvest. Winter is a good time to cultivate friendships with local farmers.

So - there are few or no places were you can legally collect without asking permission somewhere first. But there are areas where it is easier to get permission than others.
 

TN_Jim

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I'm open also to hearing if anybody has contacted highway departments on a county or state level, or even railroad right of way collecting permissions.
I have been a student led on many roadside plant collection trips, then I became a student instructor who led many field botany students on roadside collection and identification trips some time ago. The loose rule was 8’ from the hwy, road, etc. There was no permission. Public domain, even on the farthest back road is usually discernible from private.

This shaped how I first approached lisence toward collecting and still does. I am no longer doing this (student/teach); however, I’ve found that even without the ‘safety in numbers’ of a group, I’ve never had a problem with roadside collection in TN, and guess Minnesota is similar.

The typical infrequent inquiry from random stoppers-by seems based on sheer curiosity. Even if a suspect eye on any degree, by whoever may roll down a window and say hello, I’ve found that (usually with some botanical book and/or notepad in hand) that stating that I study plants is pretty disarming as a good reply. We all study plants, that’s a core of how BN exists.

Occasionally, good intel on what you are after, or the best way to potentially contact the person who owns the land just on the other side of the fence or apparent property line in front of you can also resort from said interactions. This includes law enforcement. That said, I’m talking about tn. If you’re worried about this, you could contact the professor within the biology department at the university closest to you who does dendrology or botany. These professors likely associate with folks across city, state, and federal agencies, if not they too just have a decent lay of the land and may help with the species you’re after.

It seems the tree I want on the side of the road, no one cares about, is usually a one in a million nuisance to the county or adjacent landowner anyway. I just attempt to leave a location better than I found it, even by picking up trash, and by trying to be aware of the potential of threatened or endangered species underfoot. In 8 years of collecting plants on the side of the road, I have never had any issues, moreover the response has been oddly welcoming.
 

rockm

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I can't be the only one who thinks half of the posts from @Leo in N E Illinois should be stickied or in a wiki somewhere. Lo
I can't be the only one who thinks half of the posts from @Leo in N E Illinois should be stickied or in a wiki somewhere. Lots of info and good tips here.
I would, but only halfheartedly.

That's because of the "guerilla collection" stuff. Guerilla collection is a very slippery slope that people slide down easily, typically rationalizing wildly on their way down.

this is particularly true for beginners.

It's a slippery slope and potentially dangerous. FWIW Railroad rights of way are HEAVY with dangers not only to the collector, but to infrastructure. ROW along rail line are prime avenues for OTHER infrastructure--most of it buried, possibly alongside that special tree you're using a pick axe and shovel to blast out of the gravel. Telecommunications companies and gas companies use rail ROW for their distribution lines. Hit one of those and you either cause a criminal event, or get killed, or both...Not asking permission is NOT AN OPTION. If you can't be bothered to do it DON'T collect.

Also, I wouldn't mistake bewildered-looking people driving by you on the highway for tactic "approval. Answering questions about WTF you're doing with basically a lie is an adequate response.
You're doing quite a lot more than "studying" plants--you're taking something that doesn't belong to you. Doing it in a group only multiplies that.

I know I'm lecturing, but for God's sake, have the balls to seek permission before helping yourself to anything that doesn't belong to you. If you don't, you can ruin things for the rest of us...
 

Minnesota Madman

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FWIW Railroad rights of way are HEAVY with dangers not only to the collector, but to infrastructure. ROW along rail line are prime avenues for OTHER infrastructure--most of it buried, possibly alongside that special tree you're using a pick axe and shovel to blast out of the gravel. Telecommunications companies and gas companies use rail ROW for their distribution lines. Hit one of those and you either cause a criminal event, or get killed, or both...

Good point. The thought of underground wires and such had never crossed my mind.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Underground infrastructure had not crossed my mind either. Of course, I also had not thought about using a pick ax to dig, as I usually dig younger material, being more interested in the species than the trunk. But It really is the trunk you are after, which can mean major digging.

So ignore my comments about guerrilla collecting.
 

Minnesota Madman

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Earth belongs to no person, or no government. Ever. Let's not kid ourselves about the legitimacy of "guerrilla collecting." Do you think Earth or any localized ecosystem is more disturbed by me plucking 1 or 2 trees per year for bonsai, or the tel-com and gas companies burying a million miles of pipe and wire and governmental agencies laying a billion miles of road all over the planet? If this thread is for me in any way, it's to see what percentage of Minnesotans actually give a shit about forestry laws, and if so, to spread the knowledge on how to collect guilt free. This thread is for Minnesotans who ask people to dig trees. I make my peace with the nature I'm surrounded by before I dig, and nobody, not even rockm could ever change my life or my actions. I do respect guns and violent people, so I avoid lands with mailboxes during the daylight hours.
 

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Also, I wouldn't mistake bewildered-looking people driving by you on the highway for tactic "approval. Answering questions about WTF you're doing with basically a lie is an adequate response.
You're doing quite a lot more than "studying" plants--you're taking something that doesn't belong to you. Doing it in a group only multiplies that.

I know I'm lecturing, but for God's sake, have the balls to seek permission before helping yourself to anything that doesn't belong to you. If you don't, you can ruin things for the rest of us...

All due respect to you, rockm; however, I think you are mistaken regarding some assertions while also bringing up some interesting points that made me think. I am thankful for any lecturing or thoughts you ever have.

My post above applied briefly to my experiences in my state regarding roadside collection. Perhaps, BN could be of benefit from a single thread regarding any/all country, region, providence, state, county, city, town, settlement, community, etc. collection law and protocol in general.

That said, I took the time to try to search for laws from many different angles on Minnesota. This led to finding the absence of any documentation of a prohibitive law prohibitive regarding roadside collection of plants. I certainly could (likely) have missed something. I did find things on collecting wild things in MN including along roads, these seemed to have a best practices slant, not renegade. MN seems a wild place where people appreciate their natural resources. While I have not spent much time in Minnesota, I have dear friends who have, whom knowledgeably speak very highly of natural areas and biota there within. We could have moved there more than once in very recent years. Additionally, adjacent to MN is where Aldo wrote A Sand County Almanac -a book I'd rather read than the bible, and upper N.W. MI is somewhere I have spent some time looking at plants.

The same result I find when searching for any such roadside law in my own state -search inquiries included terms (such as: laws, statutes, fines, illegal, codes, plants, plant poaching, trees, flora, road, DOT, highway, harvest, collect, collecting, dig, etc.) in array of assemblage, I have searched several times. This is in part why I said what I said above -"..and guess Minnesota is similar."

@Minnesota Madman, forgive me for getting off topic here.

I have been looking at plants on the side of the road for well over a decade. I am on roadsides looking at plants year round (not just trees), collecting pre-bonsai or not. Not once have I ever observed, "bewilderment." People in Tennessee are generally nice people, regardless of politics. This can be odd to people who come here from other places... I find people not accustomed to this region relating the quasi-concept of "southern hospitality" as -what do you want to take from me? In my experience, if a farmer or anyone looks at you (seldom occurrence in my experience) with one eyelid slightly lowered in suspicion, they want to decipher if you are someone trying to cook meth on the edge of a farm, plant mary jane maybe, or are up to something not welcomed...tell them what you are doing and their demeanor immediately changes. WAY outstandingly more often than not, if I have spoken to someone on a country road, people stop and are just nice people who tell ya there is a rare plant over there, or something about the area, or a place that may be good for such...police/sherriff same, and meanwhile a zillion or no cars may drive by.

Should I ever see bewilderment, because I have any association with plants on the side of the road, I may be inclined to think they are on meth or such. If someone inquires WTF I am doing on the side of the road looking at plants I will continue to tell them what I am doing and even what I do. Aside from consistently observing and researching botanically related things in my spare time, I have a BS in natural sciences, a MS in Botany, my vocation/career is botanic-based as well and requires me to study plants; so, not, "...basically a lie...".

My MS degree required me to teach field botany and botany to undergraduate students. Students were also directed to collect plants on their own. All standard legal things applied (don't collect in parks, get permission on private lands, use (x) best practices, etc.) including roadside collection (TN) within 8' of road. This is generally public property that if not mowed consistently by DOT or public works, vegetation would easily encroach or grow across the road. I have also worked on other projects requiring collection of plants (including roadside) which included being overseen by two former chairs of the biology department at the university that I attended. I seriously believe these respected professors would not condone said roadside collection, or the recommendation of students to do so on their own, if these practices were illegal -or could put their careers, the department, or the university in jeopardy. In addition, I have discussed roadside collection of trees with our state botanist with no mention of legal issues or taking something that does not belong.. Aside from public roadsides, all other known locations I am aware of are either off limits or require permit/permission -which I have done in the past.

However, @rockm you have convinced me that perhaps I have missed something and should reach out to proper authorities on the matter for definitive clarification and will do so before collecting anything this coming late winter. Furthermore, I too advise anyone to do the same. For example, it is illegal to collect roadside plants in Florida, as well as Missouri (statute 171.6, RDS(E7). Additionally, those who do collect should do so with respect to best conservation practices or stay home. Another side note is that if you plan on selling anything you collect, this is a different ballgame -in TN this requires a $200 permit.
 

rockm

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Earth belongs to no person, or no government. Ever. Let's not kid ourselves about the legitimacy of "guerrilla collecting." Do you think Earth or any localized ecosystem is more disturbed by me plucking 1 or 2 trees per year for bonsai, or the tel-com and gas companies burying a million miles of pipe and wire and governmental agencies laying a billion miles of road all over the planet? If this thread is for me in any way, it's to see what percentage of Minnesotans actually give a shit about forestry laws, and if so, to spread the knowledge on how to collect guilt free. This thread is for Minnesotans who ask people to dig trees. I make my peace with the nature I'm surrounded by before I dig, and nobody, not even rockm could ever change my life or my actions. I do respect guns and violent people, so I avoid lands with mailboxes during the daylight hours.
Let's not kid ourselves. This is a bunch of rationalization.
 

rockm

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All due respect to you, rockm; however, I think you are mistaken regarding some assertions while also bringing up some interesting points that made me think. I am thankful for any lecturing or thoughts you ever have.

My post above applied briefly to my experiences in my state regarding roadside collection. Perhaps, BN could be of benefit from a single thread regarding any/all country, region, providence, state, county, city, town, settlement, community, etc. collection law and protocol in general.

That said, I took the time to try to search for laws from many different angles on Minnesota. This led to finding the absence of any documentation of a prohibitive law prohibitive regarding roadside collection of plants. I certainly could (likely) have missed something. I did find things on collecting wild things in MN including along roads, these seemed to have a best practices slant, not renegade. MN seems a wild place where people appreciate their natural resources. While I have not spent much time in Minnesota, I have dear friends who have, whom knowledgeably speak very highly of natural areas and biota there within. We could have moved there more than once in very recent years. Additionally, adjacent to MN is where Aldo wrote A Sand County Almanac -a book I'd rather read than the bible, and upper N.W. MI is somewhere I have spent some time looking at plants.

The same result I find when searching for any such roadside law in my own state -search inquiries included terms (such as: laws, statutes, fines, illegal, codes, plants, plant poaching, trees, flora, road, DOT, highway, harvest, collect, collecting, dig, etc.) in array of assemblage, I have searched several times. This is in part why I said what I said above -"..and guess Minnesota is similar."

@Minnesota Madman, forgive me for getting off topic here.

I have been looking at plants on the side of the road for well over a decade. I am on roadsides looking at plants year round (not just trees), collecting pre-bonsai or not. Not once have I ever observed, "bewilderment." People in Tennessee are generally nice people, regardless of politics. This can be odd to people who come here from other places... I find people not accustomed to this region relating the quasi-concept of "southern hospitality" as -what do you want to take from me? In my experience, if a farmer or anyone looks at you (seldom occurrence in my experience) with one eyelid slightly lowered in suspicion, they want to decipher if you are someone trying to cook meth on the edge of a farm, plant mary jane maybe, or are up to something not welcomed...tell them what you are doing and their demeanor immediately changes. WAY outstandingly more often than not, if I have spoken to someone on a country road, people stop and are just nice people who tell ya there is a rare plant over there, or something about the area, or a place that may be good for such...police/sherriff same, and meanwhile a zillion or no cars may drive by.

Should I ever see bewilderment, because I have any association with plants on the side of the road, I may be inclined to think they are on meth or such. If someone inquires WTF I am doing on the side of the road looking at plants I will continue to tell them what I am doing and even what I do. Aside from consistently observing and researching botanically related things in my spare time, I have a BS in natural sciences, a MS in Botany, my vocation/career is botanic-based as well and requires me to study plants; so, not, "...basically a lie...".

My MS degree required me to teach field botany and botany to undergraduate students. Students were also directed to collect plants on their own. All standard legal things applied (don't collect in parks, get permission on private lands, use (x) best practices, etc.) including roadside collection (TN) within 8' of road. This is generally public property that if not mowed consistently by DOT or public works, vegetation would easily encroach or grow across the road. I have also worked on other projects requiring collection of plants (including roadside) which included being overseen by two former chairs of the biology department at the university that I attended. I seriously believe these respected professors would not condone said roadside collection, or the recommendation of students to do so on their own, if these practices were illegal -or could put their careers, the department, or the university in jeopardy. In addition, I have discussed roadside collection of trees with our state botanist with no mention of legal issues or taking something that does not belong.. Aside from public roadsides, all other known locations I am aware of are either off limits or require permit/permission -which I have done in the past.

However, @rockm you have convinced me that perhaps I have missed something and should reach out to proper authorities on the matter for definitive clarification and will do so before collecting anything this coming late winter. Furthermore, I too advise anyone to do the same. For example, it is illegal to collect roadside plants in Florida, as well as Missouri (statute 171.6, RDS(E7). Additionally, those who do collect should do so with respect to best conservation practices or stay home. Another side note is that if you plan on selling anything you collect, this is a different ballgame -in TN this requires a $200 permit.

I posted what I posted to get people to think about what they're doing. Most times that thought doesn't get much beyond "I saw it. It's in a questionable area. I don't have time to get permission. Heck No one's going to miss it and hey, LOGGING COMPANIES take a lot more than I do"

That thinking is most like unintentionally lazy and dishonest, or intentionally lazy and dishonest in some cases.

Collectors have to think about stuff like that if not only for their benefit, but FOR THE REST OF US. Selfish behavior that destroys or removes stuff without consent from an owner (and like it or not, LAND IS OWNED), can give all collectors a bad name. That awesome looking little pine by the side of the road may seem like it won't be missed, but think about it--If YOU noticed and appreciated it, someone else probably has too.

Generally, county roads have easements controlled by county governments. Interstates are federal property--that extend 33 feet (depending on locality) on either side of the road. That is where to start. If it were me, and the tree I was looking at was on the side of a county road in the middle of nowhere, I'd start with the road maintenance office...
 

Boscology

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In Minnesota you have to contact the nearest forestry service office to where you are collecting and apply for a decorative forest products permit.

Decorative or "special" forest products means woody and herbaceous plants, plant parts, seeds, fungus, soil, gravel, and forest substrate for consumption, decoration, or medicine or for any other specialty use.

They can be used for a variety of purposes, including botanical and medicinal (e.g., ginseng), foods (e.g., mushrooms, berries), decorative (e.g., boughs, spruce tops, birch bark, ferns), seeding (restoration and nursery stock), woodwork (e.g., diamond willow sticks, burls), hay, and gravel.


You need to give them the locations of where you plan to go but you can access several different types of government owned areas. Its like 25 dollars for the decorative forest products permit (one per household), all the laws are on the site and to get the permit you will have to talk to someone so just tell them you are going to be looking for a nice bonsai or two.

 

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