Last month, two men were convicted of poaching ginseng from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These men illegally harvested 11 pounds of roots, some of which were 30 to 40 years old. Although fined $2500 and $5500 and sentenced to jail time, the fine is lower than the roots would have yielded in a legal trade market, either domestic or international.
Come on, folks. Fines need to be higher than the market yield if they’re going to provide any serious deterrent to poachers, and we need to be good conservators of our rare native plants.