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Environment

Better late than never: It’s mushroom hunting season in the Pacific Northwest

Morel mushrooms gathered this past weekend near Leavenworth, Wash. by Emily Conklin.
Morel mushrooms gathered this past weekend near Leavenworth, Wash. by Emily Conklin.

Mike Pruss might be a wildlife program manager for the U.S. Forest Service, but he’s been a hobbyist mushroom collector for 40 years.

“They’ve just been a little slower at maturing or popping up in the spring. But right now people are finding them. – It’s going to get warmer this weekend. And with the moistures we’ve had, it’s going to be a really good year for mushrooms,” says Pruss.

If you miss out this spring, Helen Lau, a botanist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, says you can also look for mushrooms through the seasons.

“In the springtime, people will go after morels. And then in the summertime, people will begin looking for boletes. And then in the fall, people will move into things like chanterelles, as well as matsutakes,” Lau says.

The Forest Service suggests because mushrooms have a delicate life cycle, only pick two-thirds of what you find. This allows spores to seed for future mushrooms and leaves food for wildlife.

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