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Tribes Can Gather National Park Plants Under New Rule

Regan Buker / Flickr
 

Regan Buker / Flickr

(AP) - Tribes can begin entering into agreements with the National Park Service to allow their members to pick plants on protected land under a new federal rule.

The rule announced in June by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell went into effect Thursday.

Under the rule, tribes must have a culturally significant tie to the land that makes up a national park in order for its members to harvest foliage that grows there. And Native Americans or Alaskan Natives must use the plants for traditional reasons, such as using a root for medicinal purposes, or branches or bark to make a basket.

There are 58 national parks in the U.S., with some covering vast expanses within proximity to some of the nation's largest Indian reservations.

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