Foray Host Guidelines

CMS thanks you for volunteering to lead a mushroom foray. The following CMS guidelines will make our field trips safe and enjoyable! Have a great trip!

CMS thanks you for considering to lead a CMS mushroom foray. Presented below is information to inform you about our registration processes and guidelines for leading a CMS foray.

Foray Leader Requirements

You do not need to be a Mycologist or an expert at identifying all types of mushrooms in order to lead a foray.  Anyone who has been out mushroom hunting on their own for a few years is probably well qualified.  If you know about the most common edible mushrooms in the area and are able to identify from of the common genera (e.g. Cantherellus,  Boletus, Russula, Suilus) you will do just fine.  We will be glad to pair you as a co-leader with a veteran CMS foray leader for a few forays to help you learn the ropes and become comfortable with the process.  We will also help you in selecting a place to lead your foray.

Pre-trip Publicity and Registration

CMS will provide the pre-trip publicity and registration.  We will need the following information from the foray leader:

  • A bio of your mushroom identification/foray experience and a picture of the foray leader.
  • Date of the foray
  • Meeting time and location of the foray (South Eugene HS and LCC are popular).
  • # of adults (16 and up) allowed to register for the foray. We recommend a maximum of 15 people for a single foray leader. If you have a co-leader, up to 25 is OK.
  • Are you willing to have supervised children along? Note, this will be in addition to the adult limit.
  • Are you willing to allow pets (ie. dogs)?
  • General location of foray (e.g. Cascades, Coast, Valley, Hendricks Park).
  • Will there be any steep or strenuous terrain?
  • Is it a full-day foray, or half day?
  • Do you have a preferred title/name for your foray?
  • Your email and phone number.

CMS does online registration and will verify that each person is a current CMS member.  As each person registers and is verified we will send them an email with details about when and where to meet, a link to our CMS foray page where they can read about what to expect on the foray, and your contact information.  They will be directed to send an email to the foray leader (you), if they have specific questions about the foray. They will be instructed to send an email to if they need to cancel their registration.

If you would like to be cc’d on the email confirmations to registrants as they occur we can do that.  Or, you can choose to have a single list provided to you at the end of the registration process. Or, both. For each registered person you will be provided: Name (first, last), # of children (if applicable), email, cell phone number, and type of vehicle/license #.

We recommend that you email all final registrants as a reminder on the day or night before the foray.  We can provide you with an email template of the type of information to include.

How to Prepare

Site Familiarity: Be familiar with your site, particularly if there is steep or rough terrain. Be sure to include that information in the publicity for the trip and announce it at the rendezvous site.

Access Permission: Arrange all necessary access permission to public or private lands in advance of the trip. Arrange for group permits, if possible. CMS does have a group permit for several State Parks on the coast. Don’t take people to your favorite secret spot. Even if you ask them not to return or tell anyone, they will.

Alternate Sites: If possible, plan alternate sites in case weather conditions (snow, freezing temperatures, drought, etc.) make the planned trip unsafe or unproductive for mushrooming.

Map: Make a map with directions to help people find the site and have several copies for drivers to hand out at the meeting location.  This is very important. Let us know if you need assistance with this.

What to Bring:

A first aid kit. At least one vehicle should have a basic first aid kit.

A whistle or air horn. This is handy for calling stragglers back from the woods.

A cell phone. Cell phones may not work in the mountains or remote areas, but they definitely can be useful in many places where there are no regular telephones. They may be needed in case of emergency, even if you have to drive to where there is coverage.

Any required permits. Individuals are responsible for their own permits.

The foray roster that will be provided to you in PDF format.

At the Meet-up Site

Introductions: Have everyone say their name for the group (brief self-introduction). If there is a registration list, check off who is in attendance, then re-check it at the end of the trip before leaving the foray site to return home. If there was no preregistration (very unusual), have everyone put their name on a roster so you know how many people you have. Also include emergency contact and their license plates. In case of emergency, you will need names for Search & Rescue.

Agenda/Purpose: Go over the agenda and the purpose for the day.  If the purpose is primarily finding edibles, encourage people to look at/examine other types of mushrooms just to expand their knowledge.  If they see something they are curious about ask them to collect it and bring it back for identification.

The Time: Make sure everyone has a watch or some kind of time piece. Encourage people to buddy up.

Leaving Early: Ask participants to let you know if they have to leave early. If they have riders make sure that they either leave together or make sure the riders get another ride back to town.

Transportation: Announce that transportation to the field trip site is not part of the CMS-sponsored event, and that each person is responsible for making their own transportation arrangement. You may wish to suggest that:

  • They may want to consider carpooling with others (and give them time to organize).
  • Passengers make a contribution to carpool drivers for gas, and also for trail fees or parking passes if required.

Site Location: Go over site location and directions. Hand out maps to drivers. Ask drivers to get to know their passengers and to look for them periodically during the foray. Drivers need to be sure that all passengers are in the car when they leave the foray site for the return trip. Request that participants not return to the sites to mushroom on their own. Emphasize that it is a nice courtesy to leave these popular field trip sites for CMS groups to enjoy.

At The Foray Site

Identify “newbies”: Ask if there is anyone in the group that has never been on a mushroom foray. Encourage them to stay close to you, or assign a more experienced person to stay with them.

Buddy System: Ask that everyone mushroom in small groups while in the forest. At a minimum, require each person to have a buddy and they should stay close together. Make sure that each group has a method of tracking the time. When you regroup, make sure all participants are accounted for. Ask drivers to look for their occupants.

Foray Process: Orient the group to the foray process. Describe the site geography and major landmarks. Talk about the importance of looking lack behind you as you go in the woods so that landmarks will look familiar from both directions.

Meeting Time: Set the time to be back at the cars or meeting spot. Make sure everyone knows it. If appropriate for the foray location, inform the group that a car honking indicates that it is time for everyone to re-group at the vehicles.

Endurance Limits: Discuss endurance limits. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the difficulty of the terrain. Be sure not to push anyone beyond their desired limits. Sometimes, one car of people with less endurance will want to leave early, and others may want to go longer and farther.

At the end of the Foray

Allow some time at the end of the foray to gather everyone together to see what everyone found.  If you are at a park location, gather around a picnic table.  Otherwise, you may have to make do with just looking through baskets.  Ask if anyone needs anything identified or if they have questions about something they found. If you have inexperienced participants be sure to check everything in their basket for edibility. You may not know the genus and species of every mushroom brought back for identification. Do not be concerned. An ID to genus is often sufficient.  Or, you can bring ID books and go through a couple of ID keying process.

Hopefully everyone in the group will have found some choice edibles to take home.  Some foray leaders ask people who have found a lot to share with others.  Another option is to give any mushrooms you may have found during the foray to those who have not found any or many.  Some foray leaders collect edibles while scouting for locations in the days leading up to the foray.  They bring them on the foray to give out to those who have not found much.

Edibility Guidelines: In identification lectures, review “Edibility Guidelines.”

Species Lists: If the group is required to make a species list in exchange for permission to hold the trip, assign someone to record species. Give copies of the list to the Land Manager and Foray Coordinator. Even if a list isn’t required by the land manager, it is nice to forward a species list to the Newsletter Editor and/or Webmaster.

Count Participants: At end of the foray, before leaving, make sure all carpool drivers have all of their riders. Check your list to be sure everyone is accounted for.

If You Lose Someone

Don’t panic!! Wait about 15 minutes and start honking car horns, blowing whistles, or air horn and shouting.

  1. If you do have cell phone reception, call their cell phone.
  2. Think carefully about sending people out to look for them, you do not want to lose more people.
  3. Do not let a bunch of people leave! You will need their help. You’ll need people to wait, go to phone for help, or someone to lead Search and Rescue, etc.
  4. After waiting at the meeting spot (you have to decide how long you are comfortable waiting. I’d wait at least an hour) call 911. If you do not have cell phone reception, leave a reliable person (with a car) to wait where you lost the person. Work out with them how you will communicate with them in case the person turns up. You’ll probably need at least one car to stay at the meeting spot, one car to call and lead the police, and at least one car to run back and forth to pass messages.
  5. If you have a GPS, get the coordinates, the police will want them. You may need to lead the police to the spot. When talking with the police, give them the following:
    1. Road number and milepost where you lost them
    2. GPS coordinates (include NAD), if you have any.
    3. Name and description of the lost person.
    4. Where to meet the police.
  6. Find out how long it will take the police or Search & Rescue to get there.
  7. Follow the directions the police give you as to what to do.

After the Trip

Send a report to the Foray Coordinator that includes the number of people that attended, a species list if one was compiled, any great finds, and any problems.

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