According to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources more than 1,700 species of mushrooms grow in fields and wooded areas of the state. Six varieties of morels have been documented growing in deciduous forests throughout the state during a brief period between mid-April and mid-May. If you are planning to hunt morels, do you homework or hunt with a knowledgeable person to avoid collecting the poisonous conifer false morel.
Located in the northeastern portion of West Virginia, the Canaan Valley is a forested areas known to have morels. Since these mushrooms grow wild and tend to grow where annual conditions are optimal, there is no one area designated as morel country. Morels have been found by locals in many areas of the valley and some finds are concentrated around higher forest elevations near 3,000 feet after the snow pack has disappeared.
The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia consists of the areas around Martinsburg. Morels have been found in rural forested areas north and east of town by local recreational morel hunters. Morels are also located in the forested regions that border the Maryland state line.
Monongahela National Forest
The Monongahela National Forest covers a 919,000-acre area in the central part of West Virginia. The Forest takes up parts of 10 West Virginia counties. The higher western elevations of the forest leading up to the highest point at 4,863-foot Spruce Knob, have been known to produce morels in the wet early spring months of mid-April through mid-May. Look for morels near trees that attract the fungi, such as elm and ash, two of the 75 types of trees found in the national forest. elm trees may be a safer bet since some of West Virginia's ash population has been killed and removed due to ash borer beetles.
Monongahela National Forest 200 Sycamore St. Elkins, WV 26241 304-636-1800 fs.usda.gov
- The mushroom morel image by Ludmila Galchenkova from Fotolia.com