By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— Mushroom hunters from all over the southern part of the state and even New Mexico gathered at the South Fork Visitor Center Friday, Aug. 10 and Saturday, Aug. 11 for the annual Mushroom Foray.
“We had so many people show up this year for the foray. Over the two days we had to turn some people away because we had reached out permit limits, but everyone had a really great time,” said visitor center director Mark Teders.
Teders stated that they had 64 participants over the two-day event, which maxed out their allotted numbers for the Forest Service permit they carry that allows them to host the foray. “We didn’t have much luck finding mushrooms this year, I think because of the dry weather and the late rains, but everyone had a great time getting out in the forest and walking around,” said Teders.
Both mornings began with a presentation by the “Marvelous Mushroom Man,” Roger Dawson, who talked with the attending crowd about what to look for while out hunting mushrooms in the Rio Grande National Forest and what to avoid when looking for the delicious fungi. Participants were also given a free mushroom collecting bag, a pen and water proof notebook to take with them on their adventures.
“We hope that we provided participants with some useful tips and tricks that they can use on their own without the help of experts like Roger and that they will continue to go out and hunt for mushrooms on their own. We didn’t have as much luck as we have had in the past few years, but I think everyone gained some insight and had a wonderful time,” said Teders.
Teders did state that some participants were able to come across small King Boletes and a few Chanterelles, though they were in short supply. The groups traveled up to Shaw Lake and above Tucker Ponds both days, looking for damp forests to find mushrooms. “We came across some that were dried up and could not be collected. It all comes down to the weather patterns that we have experienced in the last few weeks,” said Teders.
He stated that participants came from places like Chama, N.M., Pueblo, Colorado Springs and beyond just for the Mushroom Foray. “It is really great to see that we are getting the word out to people about South Fork and everything we have to offer here. I had several people compliment the fact that they do not have events like the foray in their towns and traveled to South Fork just for this. It’s really great to see this happen,” said Teders.
Next up for South Fork will be the annual Colorfest that brings people from all over to see the beautiful fall colors in South Fork. The fest takes place the first to second week of October, depending on when the Aspen trees begin to change. The visitor center provides maps to guests that will take them to areas that have some of the best colors in the area. More details, dates and locations will be reported soon.