Mushrooms Need a Forest

Walking through the forest in the fall is like walking through a mountain meadow in the spring — a kaleidoscope of colors & shapes. The first rains of autumn bring joy to my eyes as they herald mushroom season. My mountain bike rides become more of a foraging than a biking ride as I scan the woods for hints of that distinctly golden color of the chanterelle.

wooly inkcap mushroom on forest floor
A wooly inkcap mushroom on the forest floor.

Over the years, I have noticed more people partaking in the sport/art/avocation of mushrooming. Many times the parking area is filled with folks with baskets and bags of foraged delights. The Port Gamble Forest has gained a reputation!

Beneath the forest floor is a huge fungal network called the mycelium. The mycelium works with the tree root networks to form the mycorrhiza, which  serves as the transportation and communication lines for trees, so they can “talk” with each other. Yes, trees do communicate and they use fungi as their telephone lines.

Honey mushroom in the forest
Honey mushroom in the forest

In fact, the largest organism in the world is a fungus, a honey mushroom in Oregon which covers an area of 3.7 square miles. Fungi are amazing organisms with huge variety!

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of the mycelium. I liken it to the relationship of apples (mushrooms) to the tree (mycelium).

A basket of freshly gathered chantrelle mushrooms
A basket of freshly gathered chanterelle mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms love 30-50 year old fir forests. These are the very same forests pegged to be harvested over the next 22 years in Port Gamble Forest. We have already lost some prime mushroom grounds through the clear cuts of the past 3 years. It would be a tragedy to lose more of these forests.

Our Forest Fund is trying to save this critical resource for the community to enjoy. Please consider helping out by clicking on the red donation tab below.

— Mark Schorn


One Reply to “Mushrooms Need a Forest”

  1. Toni Hayward

    I have found this website very informative. I have long been a proponent of selective tree culling for forest management for many reasons – clean air, water management, erosion prevention, creature habitat, recreation opportunities, etc. I read elsewhere about a tribe who does this and has a healthier forest than when they started and are making fistfulls of money from the timber. Until this site I never knew about the fungus network and mother trees. The inter-connectedness of our world is astounding. The opportunity to work with timber company to save the trees and not have to start over is a blessing. Glad to read Rayonier is game to work with your group to avoid losing all those trees! Not having to start from scratch in the area would be so much healthier for everyone. I hope there are opportunities to do this elsewhere in my backyard, Mason County and the greater Olympic Peninsula. I just read about projects to clearcut in Tahuya along Northshre and in Dabob Bay. It would be a relief if those timber owners were willing to work interested groups to avoid losing those habitats like your owners.

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