The Leavenworth County geographic information systems department's latest “Map of the Month” is causing a stir with some local hunters.
Jeff Culbertson, director of GIS for the county, said Monday that his department maintains a lot of layers for the online GIS maps of the county ― adding new fire hydrants, homes, cemeteries and addresses for 911 maps and other features as they emerge. But his department also from time to time produces some less-than-official map layers. The department actually won an award from the state's organization for GIS technicians about a year ago ― a “zombie armageddon 2012” map.
The latest “map of the month” plots a popular springtime delicacy in the Midwest ― morel mushrooms. And it's proved popular with morel hunters throughout the county, Culbertson said.
“We can't print these fast enough,” he said.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it's a delicacy that is primarily found in the Midwest and Upper Great Lakes region, where conditions are typically perfect for their growth between mid-April and early May ― somewhat moist, cool soil and warmer surrounding air.
The county's “mushroom map” shows a concentration of morels in the wet areas near the banks of the Missouri River, as well as along places like Stranger and Nine-Mile creeks.
Though the mushrooms can fetch up to $15 a ounce, forestry officials also warn hunters to be sure about what they are picking, as a number of varieties of mushrooms are poisonous.
Culbertson said copies of the county's morel map are available from his office for $10 each. The map is also available at www.leavenworthcounty.org by clicking on the “GIS Department” tab on the left and then on “Maps” and then on “County GIS Maps.”