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.
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.
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).
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