CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Like morel mushroom hunters – or maybe even more so – ginseng diggers are quiet about their hobby. If you’ve got a secret spot where you find the red-berried plant with roots worth more than $700 per pound dried, you don’t want someone else getting there first. There’s also a sense among many ginseng diggers that the pleasurable pastime handed down through generations is at risk from people who don’t mind breaking the law to make a quick buck. “In Iowa it’s not quite as crazy as ‘Appalachian Outlaws,’ but people are very protective of their woods,” Marv Kraus, 58, of rural Elkader, told The Gazette . Kraus, one of three licensed ginseng dealers in Iowa, is talking about the History Channel TV show that featured the extreme – and often illegal – pursuits of a group of ginseng hunters in the Appalachian forests. The pseudo-reality show ran for only two seasons, but some law-abiding ginseng hunters fear it encouraged poaching. In June, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported a Chicago couple pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting ginseng in July 2018 at Geode State Park. Ki Pil Park and Jaemyung Yoo were charged after… Read full this story
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