What began as a routine visit to Simpson Park (where I had hopes of capturing the latest edibles on film) quickly became an eye-opening reminder. Expectations were suddenly crushed and the reality of a trend in the unusually dry seasonal conditions made an impression.
Research indicates that our region (Specifically in the Pacific Northwest) has been on a decades long trend of increasingly higher average temperatures as well as constant record-breaking highs. Ironically our drought is not due to a lack of rain as we have received plenty of precipitation this winter. However due to a warmer than usual winter, precipitation is not accumulating in the form snow fall, reducing our watersheds that depend on snowpack. Combine that with longer than normal streaks of heat waves and we see the effects of this rain forest drying up. Prized edibles of my liking are also not immune. Plants such as Blackberries, Nipplewort and Dock, have wilted and in some cases completely withered. Green is turning to yellow, yellow to brown, and at a rate one month sooner than normal.
All is not bad news though. In the Willamette Valley, water reservoirs are mainly dependent on rain fall and are expected to supply the local demands without strain. And as weather models predict a yearly flux in the weather patterns of El Niño and La Niña, trends in cooler winters (thus greater snowpack) can be anticipated. Even so, walking into a world of brown which has long been imprinted as green and humid is a sobering reminder. Our significance on the global scale can be extremely influential and yet so very limited.
Till next time, thanks for reading and of course Happy Foraging!