Have red pine cones? Michigan DNR will pay you $100 per bushel for them

Drop off locations open all of September

red pine cones (Michigan DNR)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will pay you $100 per bushel of red pine cones during the month of September.

The pine cones can be dropped off at several DNR locations across the state by appointment. According to the DNR, the pine cones have to specifically be red pine. Other cones or the wrong species won’t be accepted.

In order to receive payment for your pine cones, you need to be registered as a vendor in the DNR’s system. Click here to register.

The DNR requests that the red pine cones are stored in mesh bags. DNR locations will provide onion bags for pickers at the various drop-off locations.

Below are the locations and phone numbers of the drop-off locations

  • Newberry CSC – 906-291-0126.
  • Wyman Nursery (Manistique) –  906-341-2518.
  • Gaylord CSC – 989-619-5519.
  • Roscommon CSC – 989-390-0279.
  • Cadillac CSC – 231-878-0669.

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Below are a few tips from the DNR on how to prepare your red pine cones

  • Red pines have craggy, reddish bark and 4- to-6-inch needles that grow in bundles of two. Scotch and Austrian pine cones, which have some similarities, will not be accepted.
  • Cones should be picked off the tree; cones on the ground are likely too old or wet.
  • No twigs, needles or debris will be accepted in bushels of cones.
  • Cone scales – the individual plates of a cone – should be closed (scales should not move when squeezed), with a little green or purple tint. All brown and open, and they’re too far gone and will be refused.

A bushel is equivalent to two full five-gallon buckets.

The DNR state that red pine is one of the fastest growing tree species and is valuable for many forest products, including pulpwood, posts and lumber. The donated pine cones help the Michigan DNR replenish red pine seed supplies, which are in high demand.

Below is the DNR identification flyer.

Learn more at Michigan.gov/Forestry.