Photo credit: Lisa Goodwin
Mark your calendars for the August 14-16 Annual Foray in the White Mountains. This year we will not host the event at a central location nor have large meals or plenary sessions. Due to the covid pandemic, the annual foray is focusing on small group forays and the Arizona Mushroom Society is not hosting lodging options or meals/food service.
The Arizona Mushroom Society hopes to continue the tradition of the annual foray. This year, the annual event will be modified to minimize risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Large group events and meals will be avoided. We hope to focus this year on educational forays for local wild mushrooms in small group settings (10 people or less). Thanks to a number of extremely generous AMS volunteers, we have a number of small group forays we can provide all day every day from Aug 14-16.
If you plan to register for a foray, we ask that you find lodging and come prepared with adequate food and water during your visit to the White Mountains. As you may know, tribal nations such as the White Mountain Apache Tribe, have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. The Sunrise Resort Hotel, which has previously hosted the annual foray has been converted to a corona quarantine center.
We ask that participants in any of the planned forays show respect for the neighboring tribal communities by avoiding stopping in reservation lands/communities by preparing for the trip with adequate food, water, and other supplies.
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A GROUP FORAY
Each AMS member can sign-up for one foray. Group forays are organized so you can register for the specific time and date of the small group foray you plan to attend. You must register for a specific time and date to attend a foray a that time. Once you have registered, you will be placed in one of the several small foray groups heading out at that day and time. A meet-up location will be emailed to you. Since we are limiting groups to 10 people or less, it is very important that you only attend the foray you are emailed about (If you don't receive an email shortly after registering, please check your spam folder).
Once you register, you will be emailed additional information about the foray location and meet-up time. Both morning and afternoon forays will be offered. Morning forays generally begin at 9am in the morning and go to about noon. The afternoon forays start at 1pm and end at about 5pm.
Group foray leaders will help you identify the main edible species. Since we are not able to have large group "table talks" where we talk about identification for all of the discovered fungi, we are encouraging AMS members that need help with mushroom ID to post on the Facebook group "Arizona Mushroom Forum", or keep an eye out for AMS videos with ID of local mushrooms being found in the white mountains during the foray.
All forays include hiking on terrain that may be steep and unstable. Please come prepared to hike up to 3 miles on uneven terrain for any foray. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes, pants, and bring a rain jacket. Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally and prepare with adequate food and water.
All forays have the potential to be cancelled due to severe storm activity.
COVID SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
All foray participants are required to wear a mask during foray activities. Those not wearing a mask may be asked to leave. Should there be any conflict or compliance issues, the foray may be cancelled immediately.
The nearest lodging to the foray activities is located in the town of Greer, AZ - the heart of the White Mountains. You can find lodging options here. There are several small cabins for rent, but options are limited due to the small size of the town. Another several miles to the north and east are the larger communities of Springerville and Eager, which have a larger selection, yet less quaint lodging options.
Other nearby options to the west include Pinetop-Lakeside area, which has several blocks of small tourist-oriented restaurants and hotels. If nothing is available in Pinetop-Lakeside, a little farther out you can find more options in Show Low, AZ.
There is also ample camping opportunities! There are a number of developed campgrounds you can camp at throughout the area. Some of the developed campgrounds can be reserved at www.recreation.gov, others are first come, first serve. We will be foraying near developed campgrounds including Hoyer, Winn, Rainbow, Cutthroat, Grayling, Brookchar, and Apache Trout campgrounds. You can also possibly reserve Caldwell Cabin. To find out more about the nearby campgrounds and if they are available, go to www.recreation.gov.
Another option is dispersed camping on the national forest. The foray areas and much of the surrounding landscape is part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. You are allowed to camp without a permit on the national forest as long as it is not signed otherwise.
FOOD SERVICE OPTIONS
Food service will be very limited during the foray weekend. Please come prepared with lunches and snacks during forays because there is no location to buy food for several miles.
Local towns including Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, and Springerville-Eager have restaurants and grocery stores for purchasing supplies or meal service. Given recent grocery store shortages and restaurant closures, it may be difficult to find food service options at the height of summer tourist season in the White Mountains during a pandemic. Please plan ahead and ensure that you have other options for food if nearby small towns are limited due to current events.