Fungus Fest triples previous turnout

Lobster mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) are a choice edible found in old growth Pacific Northwest forests. Photo courtesy of Erica Clark

The Friday, Sept. 4-Monday, Sept. 7 Gird-dova Virtual Fungus Fest, the first collaboration of its kind between Cordova Fungus Festival and Girdwood Fungus Fair, put an emphasis on digitally mediated activities and socially distanced foraging excursions. Despite unusual circumstances, the festival had a strong turnout and logged a high number of fungus observations on the iNaturalist app, said Kate Mohatt, Prince William Sound Zone ecologist for the Forest Service.

Amber Wasson displays a freshly harvested king bolete, a choice edible mushroom. Photo courtesy of Rachel Hoover

Over 1,000 participants from all around Alaska, as well as across the Lower 48, registered for the event, said Cordova Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cathy Renfeldt. This was up from roughly 300 registered participants in previous years, she said.