Fungi foragers have tough season in Columbias

Dry summer and forest fires likely to blame

It was slim pickings for fungi this fall.

Fungi-expert Larry Evans, who’s been involved with Sicamous’ September Fungi Festival for about a decade, suggests that a lack of rain and a long fire season may be to blame.

“We had a pretty dry season and the smoke definitely affected mushroom production,” he said from his home in Missoula, Montana.

Evans was in Canada in September to help with the Fungi Festival.

He said he was surprised they were able to find tray-fulls of mushrooms during the festival.

“It was pretty darn dry out there,” he said.

Evans found the most fungi this season in rotting logs.

He said usually, there’s plenty of oyster mushrooms, but not this year.

“Some of the stuff we expected to see in September simply wasn’t there,” he said.

George Landry, who is active in the Sicamous- Chase area said he also found it was “slim picking” this year.

“Mushrooms normally appear year after year in the same spot, but this year the normally abundant venues were barren,” he said.

Landry said in past years he has picked Begbie, MacPherson and along the Illecillewaet, but this year didn’t venture east of Three Valley Gap.

In his experience, Landry said Russulas were rarely seen and the Lobster mushroom, which grows off its stem was also sparse.

“The coveted Chanterelle and ‘pine’ mushrooms were almost totally absent,” he said. “In fact, the forest floor was so dry that almost nothing was produced, hence the saprobes and parasitic fungus that grow on decomposing or live trees were the only reliable harvests.”

After some rain at the end of October, Landry said he started to see some of the usual suspects growing, but the early snow storm put an end to the season.

Closer to Revelstoke, Carmen Dolinsky said she also had some trouble picking mushrooms this year.

One of the reasons Dolinsky moved to Revelstoke was to forage for fungi.

“My hopes were to devour my fill of a variety of mushrooms, as the Columbia Mountains are infamous for being the most biodiverse in mushrooms within North American,” she said. “It’s in the combination of moisture that drops off the Monashees and bounces against the Selkirks and the presence of old growth forest that makes for a perfect fungi environment.”

Dolinsky tried a number of popular spots, but was only able to come away with a few mushrooms.

The one exception she said, was when she went near the flats and came away with two pounds of white Chanterelles.

“I hoped Revelstoke and its forests would deliver this season, but with the combination of a dry summer and onset of an early freeze, the mushrooms had a very short and weak window to druit from their mother mycelia,” she said.

But with all the fires this summer, Evans predicts next spring will be flush with morels, which like to grow in areas affected by burning.

Back home in Montana, Evans is still on the lookout for fungi.

“Like the squirrels,” he said, “I’m still looking for truffles.”


 

@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Online sales are beginning to alter the traditional sales practices for real estate developments. (Contributed)
Embracing digital sales tactics in Okanagan housing market

Real estate industry’s resistance to online sales can’t last

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

Vince Schnabl looks at the view this October from the Gorge, west of Revelstoke. (Photo by Jon Wichett)
There’s 3 times more snow near Revelstoke than usual

According to 54 years of data from Parks Canada for Glacier National Park

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Kelowna RV park resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Little Seedlings Daycare in Armstrong, located beside Highland Park Elementary School (pictured above). Interior Health confirmed the positive case was present at the daycare on Oct. 22 and 23, 2020. (Google image)
COVID-19 case reported at Armstrong daycare

IH letter says positive case was present at Little Seedlings Daycare Oct. 22 and 23

Most Read