Foray Protocols

Message from the Foray Coordinator:

On average, at least pre-climate change, Olympia gets about 4" of rain from June through September, half of that just in September. This year, my rain gauge in Tumwater got no measurable precipitation from mid June to the end of September. And there are basically no mushrooms to be found, where we should be in the middle of chanterelle season. Pickings were extremely slim at our annual Wynoochee Foray in late September. Notably, there were absolutely no chanterelles, or even the woolly chanterelles that come up before the true chanterelles, or any dyer's polypores which are one of the first fall fungi to fruit. The most common terrestrial fungi found were the bitter boletes, which are a late summer species. Chicken of the Woods were plentiful, which makes sense since they, and all the other wood rotters, are not dependent on rain. Everything else? not coming up. And it's possible that the mushrooms will take the year off after going through such an extremely long dry summer. They don't have to fruit every year if they don't want to.

This has just not been a good year for mushrooms. Too dry for too long, then when it did rain, it fell as snow in many of our regular mushroom hunting areas. Even with the big storm at the beginning of November, the soil is still not that wet, and the sudden drop in temperature that brought lower elevation snow is chilling the soil below what most fungi will fruit at. Chinook and North Cascades passes closed for the winter already, and Capitol Peak had snow in early November, at only 2660 ft elevation. Our usual foray grounds is already snow-covered so no mushroom hunting there this year.

We've tried to have a few small forays but there have not been much in the way of edible mushrooms to find, and it doesn't look like that's going to change. The chanterelles may be taking the year off. On the other hand, we are finding oddball non-edibles that we don't normally see. This has been a good year for Earth Stars and Jumbo Jims!

The club is going to offer 2 kinds of forays this fall/winter. We’ll continue with the large-group, self-led forays implemented last fall to get people outside while honoring Covid-19 restrictions, and we will offer small-group forays with a Foray Leader who can help people with the basics of mushroom hunting. The key differences between the two types of forays are:

  • Self-led forays do not require pre-registration.

  • Small-group forays will require pre-registration. Foray leaders will set a limit on the number of participants they feel comfortable working with.

  • Self-led forays will not have any structure beyond Meet Here in the AM and Come Back At This Time PM. There will be an opportunity to buddy up, if desired. There will be people to look over your collections and make sure that what you think are chanterelles, really are. We can socialize. That’s pretty much it.

  • Small-group forays will be led by a knowledgeable individual who can show you where to look and how to identify the target edible species.

Both foray types will absolutely require that you are paid up on membership dues. For the small-group forays, you must be paid up before you will be put on the list of participants. Foray leaders will not take membership dues. If you’re new to mushrooming, or you want to hone your skills, you’ll get the most benefit from the small-group forays. But if you are already experienced and just want an excuse to wander the woods with like-minded people, then the self-led forays are fine. Children are welcome on all our forays, with parental supervision and Family membership status.

Mushrooms picked on club-sponsored forays are for personal use only and are NOT TO BE SOLD! Forays are not to be exploited as a way to learn good places to pick or for commercial use. Information on foray locations are to be kept within the club and used exclusively for active members with paid membership dues.

The South Sound Mushroom Club, as an organization or as individuals holding membership, does not accept responsibility or liability for anyone lost, suffering an accident, or health failure, or for any lost, stolen or damage to personal items during events, forays or club sponsored functions.

Going on forays or attending any functions of The South Sound Mushroom Club, constitutes acceptance of these guidelines and conditions.

You must sign a release form when participating on club sponsored forays. These forms will be made available at club sponsored meetings, or on the website for any upcoming events.

Self-guided forays, which do not require pre-registration, will not provide as much one-on-one instruction as the smaller forays. Beginners, or those who just want more guidance, should look to the smaller forays requiring pre-registration. On self-guided forays, you will be on your own!

Required equipment:

  • Whistle

  • Basket

  • Knife

  • Hunter orange vest or jacket or shirt; a hat is recommended too. Safety yellow may substitute.

  • Any required harvest permit/map and entry pass.

Recommended equipment:

Good boots, walking stick, rain gear, dry change of clothes, drinking water, lunch, snacks, first aid kit, local map/gps/compass/hiking app. Do not rely on cell phone maps. Bring a change of batteries for any gps device.

Registration procedures

Forays will be listed on the website and an email notice sent to current membership. Respond by email to foray@ . Do this at least 48 hours before the foray! You must be current on membership dues. Foray leaders will determine how many people they’re willing to take. Names and emails of people registering will be sent to the foray leader, who will then contact participants to arrange meeting time and place. Once you have successfully registered for one foray you will be waitlisted for any subsequent forays you sign up for, to give as many people as possible a chance to go on these limited foray opportunities. If you successfully register but then are a no-show, you will be waitlisted for any subsequent forays you sign up for, so notify the foray leader asap if your plans change.

Link to USFS permits: regulations may change at any time.

3 gallons per day and 10 days per year, with permit and harvest area map, available online.

1 gallon per day without permit, up to 5 gallons per day with permit, not available online.

No permit required for 1 gallon per day per species for up to 3 species.

Up to 5 gallons per day with permit, available online.

National Forests require a federal lands pass to park at developed trailheads and other recreation areas, but not for parking along the side of the road, which is primarily what we do on forays.

State Forests require a Discover Pass to park along the side of the road, as well as at any trailheads or other developed recreation areas.

State Parks require a Discover Pass for entry.

National Parks require a federal lands pass for entry. The Northwest Forest Pass will not be accepted by National Parks or any other non-Forest lands.

The Skokomish Valley Road to Brown Creek Campground is closed by flooding when the river reaches minor flood stage, which is shown on the graph.