How would you like to make some cash for cones?

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is serious when they say they will pay your for collecting bushels of pine cones. According to a press release, residents can pick fresh red pine cones September 1 through September 30, 2021, and drop them off by appointment at six DNR locations. Three locations are in the UP and three in the Lower Peninsula. The drop off will earn your $75.

So why these cones? Well it seems this process helps foresters replant the forest and replenishes the supply of red pine seed, which is in high demand. So keep in mind the DNR ONLY wants the red pine cones and will not accept any others.Red pines have craggy, reddish bark and 4- to 6-inch needles that grow in pairs. Scotch and Austrian pine cones will not be accepted

How to Find the Cash Cones

According to the DNR, cones should be picked off the tree; fallen cones on the ground are likely to be too old or wet. No twigs, needles or debris. Cone scales should be closed, with a little bit of green or purple tint - all brown and open, and they're too far gone.

"Fresh cones can be found in felled treetops from recent timber sales, on state forestlands and in recently gathered squirrel caches (yes, you can steal from a squirrel). If picking from a recent timber sale, logger permission is necessary, and pickers must wear hardhats for safety. The simplest way, however, is to pick from living red pine trees where branches extend close to the ground".

Photo: Courtesy of the Michigan DNR
Photo: Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

The pine cones  you collect should be stored in a cool, dry place in mesh bags. The DNR will be handing out onion bags at the drop-off locations.Drop off cones by appointment at select DNR Customer Service Centers and Wyman Nursery. You will also need to register as vendor first and do so here. 

Get a list of drop off locations and more details on how to cash in on those cones here. 

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