The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society is reminding park-users that damaging plants or removing mushrooms or anything else from the park is against Saanich bylaws. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

The Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society is reminding park-users that damaging plants or removing mushrooms or anything else from the park is against Saanich bylaws. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

Mushroom pickers disregard bylaws for Mount Douglas Park

Park-users cannot damage plants, remove things from greenspace, advocate says

Mushroom thieves have targeted the fungi in Mount Douglas Park despite municipal bylaws that ban activities that damage trees or taking things out of the parks.

Volunteers with the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society are once again spotting people harvesting mushrooms from trees and stumps in the damper parts of the park and Darrell Wick, president of the advocate group, has a number of concerns.

Despite the warnings that park-users are “not allowed to take anything out of the park” or damage the plants, it happens all the time, he said.

READ ALSO: Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

Wick noted he has caught more than one person with entire bags of harvested mushrooms. Some try to justify their actions by pointing out that picking mushrooms spreads the spores and more will grow back, or say that they didn’t know about the bylaw, but no matter the reason, it’s against Saanich bylaws, he said.

Wick added that removing the mushrooms also deprives everyone else from seeing the wild fungi, which is disappointing because “they’re beautiful.”

The District of Saanich website outlines the rules of proper park etiquette. Mount Douglas Park visitors are asked to be respectful of the fragile ecosystem, “take nothing but photographs, [and] leave nothing but footprints.”

Megan Catalano, communications manager for Saanich, emphasized that the district doesn’t encourage picking mushrooms in any of the municipal parks.

READ ALSO: Island Health issues warning after death cap mushrooms found in Greater Victoria

Picking mushrooms in the parks violates Saanich’s Parks Management and Control Bylaw which states that no person without authorized permission should “cut, break, injure, remove or in any way destroy or damage” plants, soil or playground equipment in parks or on beaches, Catalano explained.

The bylaw also states that no unauthorized person can remove or dig up matter from Saanich parks.

“It is different than fruit picking because fruit picking doesn’t injure the tree or plant whereas picking a lot of mushrooms can affect the long-term health and growth of the plant,” she said.

Wick also pointed out that an individual may feel that taking one or two mushrooms for themselves won’t make a difference, but if everyone shared that mentality and took something from the park, there’d be nothing left.

READ ALSO: Victoria toddler dies after ingesting poisonous mushroom

Not only is mushroom picking a bylaw violation, but it can also pose health risks. Island Health and the BC CDC issue annual warnings about the dangers of death cap mushrooms which “are troublesome because they look like other safe edible mushrooms,” but can be deadly, Catalano explained.

In 2016, a three-year-old Victoria toddler died after ingesting a death cap mushroom in downtown Victoria.

“We strongly encourage residents to not eat mushrooms that they can’t identify.”

For more information on death cap mushrooms, visit bccdc.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of Saanichparks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This tree stump in Mount Douglas Park was damaged after mushroom harvesters picked it clean. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

This tree stump in Mount Douglas Park was damaged after mushroom harvesters picked it clean. (Photo courtesy Darrell Wick)

Just Posted

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Monday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong wind whips Greater Victoria

Winds predicted to subside by Monday afternoon

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

The Fraser Institute’s annual report card on B.C. elementary schools ranks schools across the province based on standardized tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fraser Institute delivers Greater Victoria elementary schools a mixed report card

The annual report card compares test scores of schools across the province

BC Hydro is reporting several outages in Sooke Monday morning. (BC Hydro/Facebook)
Parking fees at Thetis Lake Park will be going up at some point, but not without further discussion. Capital Regional District directors asked CRD staff to come back with alternatives, after hearing a proposal that would increase the $2.25 per day rate to $7 for 2021. (Google Maps)
Greater Victoria politicians ditch plan for $7 daily parking at Thetis Lake

Capital Regional District directors fear backlash from parks users

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Most Read