CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Spring is in the air, which has the Monongahela National Forest reminding visitors that you can collect ramps on its lands, you just have to follow a few rules.

For one, ramps can only be collected for personal use in the national forest, not for a profit. The United States Forestry Service defines personal use as two gallons per person in possession at any one time—about the amount that fits in a typical plastic grocery bag—or about 180 whole plants, including roots and leaves. People are not permitted to collect ramps on behalf of someone else.

The Forestry Service also shared the below guidelines for harvesting wild ramps:

  • Only collect ramps from patches with more than 100 plants.
  • If you find a patch that has already been harvested, move on to another area.
  • When collecting ramps from a large clump, take only one-fifth of the plants, so that the plants left behind can mature and go to seed, allowing the patch to recover faster.
  • Use a soil fork or a small hand trowel and a knife rather than a large shovel when digging bulbs so that you don’t destroy the root systems of nearby plants.
  • After digging a ramp, cover the bare soil with leaves to reduce the likelihood of invasive species taking root.

Ramp harvesters say you’ll know when you might find ramps based on when you start to see crocuses and wild redbud trees blooming.

Trail maps are available on the Monongahela National Forest’s website.