BSCN – Pacific Rim Mushrooms, Stewart Crossing, YK
This summer, I got the opportunity to work with a lot foragers to pick mushrooms in Yukon and BC. The working locations are in some big burns near Dawson City and Ethel Lake. Observing the burn allowed me to see the regeneration process of forest. Also, witnessing how fire affect soil, vegetation and the whole ecosystem is an interesting part, too. Picking morels is challenging but also very rewarding, especially when I find a good spot. I also get the chance to work closely with local indigenous people. Next to Ethel Lake, the road divide indigenous land and crown land. We have been very careful to follow all regulation and show locals our respect.
In BC, I picked various kinds of mushrooms in old growth forest near kitwanga. I learned to distinguish mushroom species, and where they are growing. When I pick one mushroom, I always made sure not to disturb the mycelia, and cover the soil and moss back up. Navigating in cliffs, valleys, creeks, slopes and other forest landscapes provided me a better understanding of boreal forest ecology. According to experienced mushroom pickers, the old growth forest here has been damaged by clear cutting logging years ago. The non-sustainable method damaged the fragile system. Shortly after the logging, mushrooms grown better because of the sunlight. However, logging changed vegetation composition and soil, and thus destroyed mycelia underneath. Local communities and mushroom pickers were facing difficulties harvesting for years, and they noticed decrease of birds and mammals, too. Learning history like this made me understand the importance to consider all stakeholders before forest operation.
In general, this experience is valuable for me to gain outdoor experience and knowledge about forest species. Mushroom hunting can be all year long and in all around BC. I hope to explore more about it in the future.