Are you enjoying the first glorious days of spring searching for those golden hidden treasures we call Morel mushrooms? Julie Christian, Chief of Natural Resources at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore reminds that foraging for edible mushrooms is permitted in 2019 with following limitations:
  • Gathering must be by hand
  • No more than one gallon may be gathered
  • Must be for personal use or consumption  (non-commercial use only)
  • The edible portion is the vegetative (fruiting, fleshy) part of the plant, and collection of other parts of the plant can kill or negatively impact the plant.

A mushroom is specifically defined as “the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus.” The intent of allowing mushroom collection is that the collection of these fruiting bodies is akin to the collection of fruit from a tree or shrub.
 The collection of the vegetative body (mycelium) or dead sterile portions that form from a fruiting body of a mushroom is prohibited.   (source:  This link is the Park Superintendent’s Compendium which sets what and how much can be collected, which can change between years. It’s also a good resource for Park concerns and reasoning for rules regarding camping, gliding, boating, biking, hunting, drone use and permits, etc.)
Other things to keep in mind include:

  • Clean footwear and gear before and after excursion to reduce spread of invasive species. 
  • Learn how to identify target species and those that may be similar as look-a-likes may be poisonous. Do not consume unless certain of the identification. 
  • As ramps are also out at the same time as Morels, please note that collection of ramps or wild leeks is NOT permitted
Happy hunting!