Oregon: 'One of the best places in the world to find mushrooms'

EUGENE, Ore. - Whether on the dark side of a stump or down in the dank duff beneath the pines, mushrooms are on the grow in Oregon.

"It's one of the best places in the world to find large amounts of mushrooms that are edible," said mushroom hunter Sean Prive.

Some people hunt mushrooms for fun.

"Other people do it for money," Prive said. "It can be an alternative to the logging industry."

The state is home to a billion-dollar commercial matsutake mushroom business. Hunters can make up to $800 per pound.

"You can't get the information out of them - where they found, what they found," Prive said. "These people want to know they have a spot no one knows about, where these mushrooms grow."

But dedication comes with a price: Mushroom hunters can spend hours in the forest, and it's easy to get lost.

That's why Lane County Search and Rescue crews have some precautions they want the public to take before heading out into the woods.

"Bring your gear; tell someone where you are going," said John Miller with the Lane County Sheriff's Office. "Take a signal device, like a whistle."

On Saturday, a mushroom hunter went missing in Coburg Hills but was later found.

"In years past, we have had folks who have perished out there because they were picking mushrooms and they've gotten lost," Miller said.

Learn More About Mushrooms
Mushroom Festival at Mount Pisgah Arboretum in Eugene is October 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.