House picks Mosbrucker’s huckleberry preservation bill for unanimous passage

A bill that would require huckleberry buyers to retain purchase records for at least one year passed the House of Representatives unanimously today (Tuesday).

“This bill was brought to me by Klickitat County Range Deputy Harold Cole, who expressed concerns about groups of people coming onto public property where huckleberry plants are growing, raking the berries from the plants, and in some cases, taking the entire bush and destroying the landscape,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “Huckleberry bushes are wild and don't grow back easily. This kind of harvesting is illegal.”

Existing law requires persons who harvest and sell raw or unprocessed huckleberries to obtain a specialized forest product permit from the county sheriff's office, or from the U.S. Forest Service if harvest is on Forest Service land. Buyers of wild huckleberries are required to collect and record certain information, including the seller's name, the product amount, the delivery date, and whether the product came with an invoice.

“These huckleberries are being sold, in some cases, up to $80 a gallon, And when law enforcement comes in and asks for permits, these sellers scatter, leaving large messes behind in the forest with garbage and debris,” said Mosbrucker.

The 14th District lawmaker says huckleberries are an important natural resource for families involved in recreational activities and the tribes. She says tribal members from the Yakama Nation have encountered destroyed plants when they have come to harvest the berries.

Under House Bill 2092, huckleberry buyers would be required to retain that information for at least one year from the date of purchase and make those records available to law enforcement officers upon request.

“Hopefully, this bill would provide an additional tool for law enforcement to find those responsible for the damages to our public lands, stop this destruction and preserve these plants,” said Mosbrucker.

The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications