Territory launches workshops to avoid morel dilemma

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The territorial government will hold workshops to prepare Great Slave Lake residents for a big morel mushroom season.

The mushrooms, one of the territory’s more delicious natural resources, grow especially well in areas of burnt ground left over from forest fires.

In 2014, that meant mushrooms worth a total of $750,000 in the Deh Cho region. This summer, areas around Great Slave Lake are expected to benefit.

“If this year’s harvest meets expectations, it could be worth as much as 10 times that amount for residents and communities around Great Slave Lake,” industry minister David Ramsay told MLAs on Tuesday.

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A handbook, a field guide and “orientation workshops” for budding mushroom-pickers are planned. Similar workshops were staged in Fort Simpson last summer, though Ramsay says this summer is forecast to be a “significant harvest” by comparison.

Read: Northern Journal on last year’s Fort Simpson mushroom workshops

“Our role as government is to establish an environment in which such opportunities can be identified, pursued and realized,” he said.

“We hope to be able to advise southern buyers that they will not need to bring large crews of pickers to the NWT, highlighting instead that we have a trained, knowledgeable resident workforce in our communities to support the morel harvest.”

The government’s environment and natural resources department is pursuing amendments to the Forest Management Act, according to Ramsay, to allow for regulation of this mushrooming industry.

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