Harvesting Wild Leeks in the Forest

Guidelines for Responsibly Collecting Wild Leeks in Allegheny National Forest

On most Forest Service lands within the Allegheny National Forest the USDA Forest Service allows the harvesting of wild leeks (Allium sp.) for personal consumption. Personal consumption means harvesting only what you will use for yourself and your family.  The recommended harvest limit for personal consumption is up to two gallons of leeks per person, or about the amount that fits in a plastic grocery bag.  Collection for business or commercial purposes is not allowed and collectors may not sell or exchange any portion of the wild leeks for profit.

Everyone who harvests wild leeks, also known as ramps, is expected to exercise reasonable care by protecting the harvest area from excessive damage.  Always leave some plants to mature and produce next year’s leeks. When digging bulbs, use a soil fork or small hand trowel and a knife, rather than a large shovel. To dig leeks, loosen the soil with the fork or trowel and use the knife to cut the roots beneath the bulb. After you dig up a leek, fill the hole in with any rocks or soil you disturbed and cover the bare soil with leaf litter to reduce the likelihood of invasive species taking root.

Please abide by the following to ensure that our children and grandchildren will enjoy wild leeks for generations to come:

  • Collectors shall harvest no more than one-fifth of the plants within a site (a site is defined as the immediate area where the leaks are being collected).
  • Collectors should harvest from sites with more than 100 plants and harvest the plants from the site in large clumps. To minimize soil disturbance or removal of adjacent non-target plants, collectors shall use the smallest implement necessary for the removal of the underground bulbs.
  • Wild leek collectors shall place all soil, rocks, or wood disturbed through harvesting back into its’ original position.

Collection of wild leeks is prohibited in some management areas to conserve the resource values for which the areas were designated under the Allegheny National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. You are not allowed to collect wild leeks, even for personal consumption, in these areas (see map):

  • The Hickory Creek and Allegheny Islands Wilderness (Management Area 5.1)
  • Wilderness study areas (Management Area 5.2)
  • The Hearts Content and Tionesta Scenic Areas (Management Area 8.3)
  • The Buckaloons Heritage Area (Management Area 8.4)
  • The Tionesta Research Natural Area (Management Area 8.5)

You can help take the pressure off the wild population of leeks by growing them on your own property. Learn how to grow leeks here:  USDA Grow Your Own Ramps.