Wanted: Pine Cone Pickers. Get Outside In The Northland And Earn Some Cash
If you love getting outdoors and hiking, why not make some money doing it?
It’s a rare opportunity to get out into nature and get paid for it. The district offices of the Superior National Forest are paying $50 to $70 for bushels of native jack pine cones collected in the next month across forest lands.
Kris Reichenbach, a public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service in Duluth, said seed banks are low at the tree nurseries usually used by the agency to reforest lands.
“We haven’t done this in a while,” she said of the call for public help. Contractors are usually used, or people come in and ask for the work.
Forest districts haven’t been collecting as many cones in past cycles, said Kathy McTighe, a forest silviculturalist at the Duluth office. Those native cones go to nurseries that produce seedlings for replanting in logged areas.
The Forest Service will take collections until July 1 and then re-evaluate where seed stores are, Reichenbach said. It could be recruiting again later in the summer.
Collectors must stop by a Superior National Forest District office to get specific instructions on what they are looking for and where to find the cones. Registration is required to get paid.
“You need to know what a jack pine cone looks like,” Reichenbach said.
Jody Buffman, a reforestation technician in the Tofte district station, said gatherers will get some visual depictions of jack pine cones to take with them into the woods.