Fungi fecund at Telluride |

Fungi fecund at Telluride

Allen Best

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Mushroom lovers were all smiles at the 23rd annual Telluride Mushroom Festival.

“It was another of those banner years for boletes, with a bumper crop so thick you were lucky not to stumble over them no sooner than you exited your car Fresh bolete sliced, diced, and sauteed to perfection in red wine and olive oil, with a sprinkle of tamari and chopped garlic. Ah divine!” wrote festival coordinator Art Goodtimes in The Telluride Watch. Goodtimes is also a county commissioner, affiliated with the Green Party.

A regular at the festival is Paul Stemets, an advocate of all things fungi. He argues that the medical community has ignored the medicinal properties of mushrooms despite the broad evidence, including Alexander Fleming’s discovery of the mold fungus penicillium.

While the medical community has yet to pay appropriate attention to the antiviral and antibiotic properties of mushrooms, he says, the cognoscenti of the pharmaceutical world are now actively, and some secretly, looking at mushrooms for novel medicines.

Canada to review fire policy

BOW RIVER VALLEY, Alberta – Parks Canada, which administers Banff National Park, will review whether it should set fires in autumn. Currently, it sets them in spring, but prescribed fires set this past June created problems when expected rains failed to arrive.

A key goal of that program was to prevent a catastrophic wildfire ripping through the Bow River Valley, hitting the towns of Banff, Harvie Heights and Canmore. The valley has been untouched by fire for almost 100 years.

Reece Halter, a forest biologist based in Banff, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook (Sept. 4) prescribed fires are worth the risk.

“At the end of the day, the biggest problem happening both in Alberta and British Columbia is we’ve got massive fuel loadings on the forest floor,” he said.

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