The tourism of wild mushrooms

Le tourisme des champignons sauvages

Three Rivers — We like to go to nature, to walk, to go rafting, kayaking or camping. Why not take advantage of it, at the same time, to go and harvest mushrooms under the supervision of experts? In several european countries, this type of activity is not only popular, but very structured to the point where we speak of groups of private forests, the sustainable management of the product, specialized services, limited quantities per person, permit for a day of gathering with family or for licences for commercial harvesting.

The forest mushrooms are in the process of access gradually to the rank of a tourist product, in Quebec, as is the case in many countries. This is why the sector mycological of the Mauricie region, held, Thursday, with its partners, the first Summit of the mycotourisme in Quebec.

The event, which was held at the University of Quebec at Three-Rivers, one of the partners of the project, has attracted over a hundred participants representing 68 organizations from 13 regions of Quebec. Conservators, forest owners, representatives of the ministry of natural Resources, the Ministry, municipal elected officials and development organizations, ecological or cultural have responded to the invitation, not only to hear the speakers, but also to take part in workshops that will help to structure this kind of tourism is emerging.

Everything is to be done, in Quebec, in this area.

As explained by the coordinator of the Sector mycological Mauricie, Patrick Lupien, the regions are invited to designate a holder of record, to create a table of consultation and to make an inventory of the resource mycological: expert mycologists, authors of books on mushrooms, forest owners interested to open their doors to the gathering, transformers, restorers, and researchers.

Patrick Lupien has invited people interested in developing the sector mycotouristique to define their regional identity, because indeed, there are species that are more abundant in certain areas of Quebec than in others.

The coordinator of the Sector indicates that the mycotourisme, at least for the moment, develops in a better combined offering, that is to say that people will not necessarily be in the forest just to take part in an activity of mushroom picking.

They go there to do horse riding in the forest trails, to water sports or walking, for example. Businesses that want to generate mycotourisme is therefore an advantage to mesh with these companies or organizations that arrange outdoor activities in order to integrate the collection of mushrooms in the tourist offer.

The economist François de Grandpré, a professor in the department of studies in leisure, culture and tourism at the UQTR, is very interested in this emerging form of tourism forest.

He noted that the mycotourisme can be blended with a host of other types of tourism, whether it is tourism, gourmet, adventure tourism, recreational tourism activities, eco-tourism or agro-tourism.

The organizers of the first summit took advantage of this day to collect information, in the form of workshops, which will allow for a better understanding of the issues on which we need to advance in order to structure the mycotourisme in Quebec.

The issue of qualification and certification of guides mycologists, regulatory, insurance, trademark of quality, safety in the context of outdoor and promotion are all elements that have been discussed between stakeholders throughout the day.

The organisations promoting the mycotourisme will, to develop, make an inventory of their customer base and build a brand image and a plan of communication, argues Mr. Lupien.

As argued by the agronomist Louis Lefebvre of the body Adapterre, the human is far away from the nature, since a few years, but he also feels a great need to make a return, even if some of the fears toward nature are deeply rooted.

Gold, mycology, he believes, can become a vehicle for breaking down barriers.

Louis Lefebvre also indicates that in countries where the mycotourisme is well established, it is seen to limit the conflicts of uses that may occur, for example, between the hunters and the gatherers or with the forest owners and hikers with which the pickers are going to share the forest. “It must manage the growth,” says Mr. Lefebvre.

The participants in this first symposium were invited by the professor Of Grandpré to fill out a questionnaire.

The latter wants to determine if the mycotourisme could become a product call primary, that is to say that tourists might decide to move in for the sole purpose of coming to participate in an activity mycological.

One thing is certain, ” insists the researcher, it is necessary to determine what are the expectations of the visitors who choose the mycotourisme to ensure that their experience gives them a good satisfaction.

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