As written earlier today, Park Rangers on the Blue Ridge Parkway charged individuals in two separate cases with the theft of plants from a National Park area. It has come to my attention that in just one of these cases the thieves had 442 plant roots that weighed 7 lbs. and 2.4 oz. That is before drying roots which reduces the weight significantly, but dried is how it is sold. The thieves attempt to sell the dried ginseng roots with current prices running $500 to $600. Some buyers in the past have been known to even pay higher prices if the plants are from National Parks because markets consider these to be more pure.
In one day these individuals were able to steal 442 plants from you the American public. It makes one wonder how many plants are being stolen nationwide on an annual basis from our parks.
Park Rangers were able to make this case based on their years of experience and skills in tracking not only to find suspects, but to retrace their steps to discover where they have been. In many such crimes the perpetrators will stash or hide their take in the woods near a road and then return later, sometimes in a different vehicle, to claim their take.
Above are some photos of the ginseng that was confiscated from the thieves. In most cases the ginseng roots are photographed and documented as evidence. The roots are then replanted by Park Rangers. In this case the roots were so dry and damaged from the digging that they would not re sprout resulting in each plant being lost.