As part of wildfire recovery efforts following the 2018 Shovel Lake and Island Lake wildfires, the province is working with local First Nations to protect and restore burnt areas and support the First Nations, as they monitor the season’s mushroom harvest.
With an anticipated influx of individual mushroom harvesters and commercial buyers, steps are being taken by the province, Nadleh Whut’en, Stellat’en First Nation and Nakazdli Whut’en to ensure mushroom harvesting in the region is done responsibly and will not cause further damage.
“We are partnering with Nadleh Whuten, Stellaten First Nation and Nakazdli Whuten to make sure anyone interested in harvesting mushrooms is responsible and respectful,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a news release.
The Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat’en communities have developed a management plan for the areas near their communities and are encouraging safe and low-impact mushroom harvesting. Pickers and buyers are able to receive educational materials, safety tips and directions. Mushroom harvesting in the affected area is being monitored by First Nations.
“As stewards of the land, we have a sacred duty to ensure that all who use the natural bounty of our forests and waters do so in a responsible, sustainable and respectful manner,” said Larry Nooski, Chief of Nadleh Whut’en. “We are pleased to have our guardians work alongside the province’s conservation officers and natural resource officers in protecting sensitive cultural and ecological areas.”
“Where the concerns of all our governments so clearly align, we are pleased to find ways to protect our environment together, while allowing everyone to benefit from nature’s gifts,” said Archie Patrick, Chief of Stellat’en First Nation. “We are proud to be able to share our knowledge and understanding of how to harvest respectfully and sustainably with those who come to our territory with the same objectives and goals.”
As part of the environmental recovery process, the B.C. government has closed specific areas to mushroom harvesters. The closure was implemented on May 17, 2019, and will remain in effect until Aug. 31, 2019.