Collect Arboreal Lichens with Us!

Want to Collect Arboreal Lichens with Us? See upcoming collection and cleaning dates.

Our Goal is 175 lbs. by Mid-March, 2018

Currently, we’ve collected, dried, and cleaned:

107 lbs

Additional lichens collected, but not yet fully dry or clean:

~60 lbs

These amounts do not yet include lichens collected in other parts of Idaho or Washington that have not been picked up by the SCA yet.

Join the Selkirk Conservation Alliance as we collect arboreal lichens to support the endangered Selkirk Mountain Caribou recovery plan. Lichens collected will be dried and cleaned for use in a new maternal pen program which will start in March of 2018.  This pen will protect our last few pregnant cows and their newborn calves until they are strong enough to elude predators.

Winter collection events are scheduled using Facebook, so if weather precludes efficient collection we can alert attendees quickly about last minute date or location changes (see our Facebook Events Section;; or you can download a copy of the permits, carry them with you, and collect on your own abiding by all the permit stipulations. You must follow all the guidelines for the specific permit you choose to collect under (IDL – East Side of Priest Lake (expires ~ 2020) or USFS – West Side of Priest Lake – expires 12/31/2017, update expected soon).

What to Collect?  First off, understand what arboreal lichens are.  These are the stringy grayish green and brownish black strands that hang from many trees in the Selkirk Mountain forests.   The caribou eat both the dark brown Bryoria spp. and the light green Alectoria samentosa. Ground growing lichens are not palatable to mountain caribou and the permits we have obtained do not authorize collection of ground growing lichens.  Look up – or for dead branches on the ground.  Stringy arboreal lichens which have blown onto the ground retain the same nutritional characteristics as those still in the branches, and can also be collected.

Important!  Handling lichens directly should only be done with gloves on – and preferably gloves that you don’t pet your dogs or other animals with, or have any other strong smells.

After you have collected the lichens, it’s very important to put them in mesh bags or lay them out to dry where they are protected from rain or hungry deer until they are dry.  Don’t store them in plastic bags or put them away wet if has been raining or snowing recently.  Hang them in a well ventilated area, turning constantly.  Remove any twigs or branches, pine-needles,  and leafy lichens.  Contact us for drop off locations in Priest River or on the west side of Priest Lake.  If you have a large volume we may be able to arrange for a volunteer to pick them up  (give the office a call or email us at

Let People Know on Facebook: “I’m Going” to Collect Lichens with SCA

Planning on Collecting Lichens?
Here are Some Handy Tips & Guidelines:

Collecting Lichens on USFS Lands

>> Lichen Collection Permit USFS (PDF)

Collecting Lichens on Idaho State Lands

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