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Mushrooms are ready

It's time for Fall food foraging expeditions

People heading out to do some wild edible foraging are being cautioned to keep safety at the forefront of their plans while mushroom hunting. With an eye toward reducing missing person reports, the Lane County Sheriff's Office is reminding people to develop a plan to avoid getting lost as well as returning home safely.

In the past, we've seen several mushroom pickers go missing around this time of year, including Shane Eldor Sprenger, who is still missing. The 47-year-old man was was last known to be near the Blue River Reservoir area possibly mushroom picking back in November of 2021.

"Folks should make sure they have a plan of where they're going. Make sure they have maps of the area, and that they're familiar with the area. But most importantly that people that they know, know where they're going to be," says Seargent Thomas Speldrich of Lane County Sheriff's Office.

People can contact Fungi For The People or the Cascade Mycological Society for mushrooming tips and information before heading out. Several Pacific Northwest fungi-focused books and Facebook groups carry information about identification basics, along with safety tips. The best advice for a beginner is to go with an experienced person who can share their knowledge.

Other things to keep in mind include staying off private property and areas under public land closures due to wildfires or landslides that could involve unstable and potentially hazardous terrain. On Bureau of Land Management properties, no permit is required for harvesting less than a gallon for personal consumption. A Recreational Use or Commercial Use permit is required before harvesting more than a gallon. The Willamette National Forest also has no requirement for a permit for personal use harvesting under a gallon, excluding Matsutake mushrooms. No harvesting of truffles is allowed.

Sergeant Speldrich says cell phones can give a good GPS of where you are going and how to get back But he also advises not to rely on the devices due to the lack of cell phone reception in some areas. Other tips include bringing along warm clothing, food, and water in case someone does get lost. If that happens people should stay put, so it's easier for first responders to locate them.

Closer to home, the Cascade Mycological Society has been involved in a study of urban landscapes focusing on wood chip or mulch-covered landscape areas within Lane County. Interested "citizen scientists" are invited to either join the Woodchip Fungi of Lane County project or add their observations on a fungus found on wood chips. for more information, along with access to a reporting form, go to: XXXXXX??


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