Wild mushrooms found in the Whitehorse area in 2010 that are safe to eat include the Aspen Bolete, Orange Delicious and Meadow Mushroom. Morrel mushroom pickers in the territory are being advised they can now get permits to harvest the mushrooms commercially provided they meet six steps outlined by the territory to stay safe. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Mushroom pickers in Snag area asked to register with First Nation

“We want to ensure that our land, water, and people are respected during this season”

Morrel mushroom pickers in the territory are being advised they can now get permits to harvest the mushrooms commercially provided they meet six steps outlined by the territory to stay safe.

The Yukon government provided information on its COVID-19 daily update May 26 highlighting the six steps as physical distancing, regular hand washing, staying home when sick, not gathering in groups of more than 10, limiting travel to communities and self-isolating when required.

Along with the territorial permits mushroom pickers must get, the White River First Nation is also asking those harvesting in the Snag area to register with its lands and resources department.

“We have seen firsthand in Yukon the impact that morrel mushroom pickers can have on the environment. We want to ensure that our land, water, and people are respected during this season. The area where the fires happened last year are important cultural use areas for our First Nation, and we want to ensure our members will not be deterred by an influx of people potentially leaving waste and harming the environment,” Ray Guinness, Manger of the First Nation’s Lands and Resources Department, said in a May 22 statement.

The statement went on to note that in 2014 mushroom pickers left a large mess and trespassed on Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation territory.

The White River First Nation wants to avoid that kind of situation by informing mushroom pickers of the expectations on their land prior to harvesting.

At the same time the First Nation is also reminding Yukoners to stay up to date on travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

“Our communities’ safety is of the utmost importance. People should be following the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations regarding travel to rural communities. Pickers need to be self sufficient, meaning they will not need to come to our community for supplies.” Chief Angela Demit said.

The guidelines and form to register is available on the First Nation’s website at https://whiteriverfirstnation.com/

Mushroom pickers can also call 867-668-4121 or email naturalresources@wrfn.ca for more information.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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