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Mushroom Harvesting on Haida Gwaii

  Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

Picking mushrooms is a seasonal industry on the islands providing work for local and visiting harvesters. It is also a popular pastime for locals who are interested in gathering their own food.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

Photo Credit: Flavien Mabit

The primary species harvested commercially on Haida Gwaii is the Chanterelle, (Pacific Golden Chanterelle, Cantharellus formosus) which is found primarily in second growth Hemlock and Spruce forested areas.

Photo Credit: Ian Gould

Photo Credit: Flavien Mabit

There are several other common edible species such as Boletes, Oyster mushrooms, Shaggy Manes, Hedgehogs, Blue and Black Chanterelles and the occasional Pine mushroom. The harvesting season ranges from late August until late October.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

The best known area for harvesting is Skidegate Lake on Moresby Island (about 45 minutes by logging road from Sandspit). Harvesters from off-island frequently set up temporary camps along the shore of the lake.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

The Chanterelles are bought by agents for off-island companies and shipped directly to Vancouver and then on to the European and Asian markets. There are local efforts made to purchase the Chanterelles for locally made products.

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

In September and October, visit the mushroom camp at Skidegate Lake to meet pickers and buyers. The logging road from Sandspit to Skidegate Lake can be driven in a car, but some rental companies may not allow rental cars on the dirt roads.

Important note: Try picking mushrooms only with someone who is experienced at identified the species.

Further information:
You can find more on the biology of the chanterelle at http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cantharellus_formosus.html

Photo Credit: Haida Gwaii Culinary Coop

Contact the Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre at or (250) 559-8316 to get current road information for the logging roads.

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