Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Poaching Ginseng on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the things that will land you in jail is illegal poaching, throw into the mix that you are poaching on National Forestland  in Virginia and it is a big no no!  I was told by Fred First of Floyd who is an Appalachian Naturalist that the park service on the Blue Ridge Parkway are on a constant look out for poachers.
Image of Fred First and old growth poplar tree by Shellie L
Image by Fred First - Fragments from Floyd
Roanoke Times shares what happened to one Ginseng Poacher. Excerpt: 
"Highly valued in the Far East as an aphrodisiac, ginseng had a different effect today on Charles Kennedy: 15 days in jail for illegally harvesting the wild plant.

Kennedy received the term after pleading guilty in Roanoke’s federal court to digging up ginseng roots along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Ginseng poachers, who often sell the plant to black market dealers, have long been a problem along the parkway and on national forestland in Southwest Virginia.

The seven pounds of ginseng roots that Kennedy had dug up before his arrest Sept. 30 was one of the largest amounts seized along the parkway, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Rottenborn said in court today.

Kennedy, 56, of Damascus, was also ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution to the National Park Service. Magistrate Judge Robert Ballou banned him from the parkway for a year.

Kennedy first came to the attention of law enforcement when he emerged from the woods – with black dirt caked on his knees and covering his hands – in a part of Bedford County known for ginseng poaching, Read the rest of the story here.

          For the record digging up Ginseng is not illegal if you dig on your own land, just don't try poaching from Federal Land!

You can learn more about this national treasure, The Blue Ridge Parkway which is more than a road, here
If you want to see more photos by Fred First and read his funky blog Fragments from Floyd click here.

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