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WILDS of Manitoba



2024 07 02

On WWW since
2024 03 26



Amanita virosa in moss
Amanita virosa
Destroying angel
in moss
note ring, volva






Donna Kurt
Donna Kurt
Specialty Leader



Ron Greening
Ron Greening



Bees on Goldenrod
Bees on Goldenrod



Portage Sign
Big Whiteshell L
to Ritchey L
Portage 2km



Canoe Sherpa Diane
Canoe Sherpa Diane



Two Lake Whale Rock
Whale Rock
Two Lake



Water sherpa Louise
Water sherpa Louise



Sauna Door Handles
Sauna door



Baby Redcap
Happy Joe
Last canoe carry!



Canoes at Sunset
Sunset Hill



Baby Redcap
Baby Redcap



Bracket Mushrooms
Bracket Mushrooms






Lycoperdon gemmatum
Lycoperdon gemmatum



Puffball Denise
Puffball Denise



Lobster Mushroom
Hypomyces lactiflourum
Lobster mushroom



Mushrooms Cap
Mushrooms cap






Mushroom ID
Mushroom ID



Sunset John
John at
Sunset Hill



Mantario Summer Specialty Week

2024 August 19 to 23, Monday to Friday

Specialty Leader Donna Kurt & Co-Leader Ron Greening

to be held at Nature Manitoba's

Mantario Wilderness Education Centre

in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba


We acknowledge that our journey to and within Whiteshell Provincial Park is in Treaty No. 1 and Treaty No. 3 Territories, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland. We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories.


This trip respects and is safe for
BIPOC and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons.


This trip is full, but get your name on the waiting list
or contact fungal at wilds.mb.ca for an alternate mushroom canoe trip.

Photos are courtesy of 2023 Mantario Mushrooms trip participants
Joe, Denise, John S, Marlaine, Louise, Ron and Donna.

  • Engage your physicality. Reacquaint your legs and arms with ancient movement to carry you into a landscape of grandfather rock, scraped clean by glaciers, worn smooth by countless seasons of flowing water, broken by as many seasons of ice. Let your senses fill. Allow your mind to rest in the moment: perhaps to note a Jackpine's root hunting for soil in a crevice, or the clear call of a Whitethroat sparrow: perhaps to feel the great heaviness of water. Free your imagination to join a circling hawk or to dwell in the immensity of a star filled night. Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Mantario wilderness.

  • This specialty week will expand your awareness of fungi, mushrooms, plants and ecology in the wonder of the Mantario wilderness.

  • Join Donna Kurt on mushroom and plant forays to learn how fungi and plants fit into Mantario's ecosystems and their ethnobotanical or ethnomycological uses. Co-leader Ron Greening will share his knowledge of the area's natural history.
    2023 Mantario Mushrooms Group at Mantario Cabin, MB
    Mantario Mushrooms Participants at Mantario Cabin 2023 August 18

  • Optional activities include exploring and enjoying the pristine old growth forests and surrounding lakes, viewing the sunset from Sunset Hill, foraging for various berries, Qigong practice, meditation and developing canoeing and portaging skills.
    Sunset Hill
    Sunset Hill

  • Donna Kurt practices "ethnomycobotany" while canoeing the wilds of North America, Australia and beyond. Since the mid 1980s she has studied how different cultures use plants and fungi and their ecological relationships. In retirement Donna has studied aquatic and forest ecology, botany, algae, fungi, licens and mosses, and Indigenous ethnobotany and food systems at the University of Winnipeg as well as studying ethnobotany and obtaining a certificate in International Permaculture Design at the University of Manitoba. Since 1989 Donna has lead about 40 canoe trips and participated in another 20 canoe trips to Mantario, has backpacked Mantario Trail four times, hiked trails adjoining Mantario Lake countless times and canoed adjacent lakes. She has been sharing her knowledge of mushrooms and plants and their various uses for 3 decades. As a Paddle Canada canoe instructor, Donna has enjoyed introducing hundreds of folks of all ages to canoeing skills, from novice to advanced, and to Mantario.

  • Ron Greening has had a strong interest in ecology and field biology since childhood, has studied fisheries and wildlife management, and has worked in conservation education. Ron has hiked, skied and paddled into Mantario since the 1970s, and spent two summers in the 1980s as a guide for the Mantario summer program. Ron loves both introducing new paddlers to canoeing, and sharing the Mantario Wilderness experience.

  • Both Donna and Ron are certified in Wilderness First Aid/CPR. A First Aid kit is carried at all times, as well as a satellite emergency communicator, flares, bear bangers and bear spray. Both are very knowledgeable of the trip to Mantario and the surrounding area and managing adverse environmental conditions or emergencies.
  • Participants should consider purchasing private travel health care insurance coverage and may wish to review the Nature Manitoba Mantario Cabin Emergency Plan.
    Hiking up south ridge.
    Hiking up to the ridge to the south of Mantario cabin.

  • We will search for mushrooms, plants, lichens and mosses and discuss edible, toxic or poisonous species, as well as their ecological relationships.

  • We will be living within a dynamic forest and aquatic ecological system, with many opportunities to observe how processes such as succession, eutrophication, nutrient cycling, and changing biodiversity interact on the land.
  • The varied habitat in the Mantario area provides opportunities to find many interesting species. A trip species list is kept not only of the fungi and plants but also other beings such as animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects. A partial list of mushrooms found at Mantario is provided below.

  • Participants are requested to review the Discovering Mushrooms workshop presentation prior to the trip if they have not attended one of the workshops given by Donna. Many of the photos of mushrooms presented in this workshop were taken by Donna in the Mantario area.

  • The trip to Mantario cabin starts by paddling across Big Whiteshell Lake followed by Ritchey Lake, One Lake, Two Lake, Three Lake and then Mantario Lake with a portage between each of these lakes. The canoes and personal and shared gear must be carried over these portages.
  • From the put-in at Big Whiteshell Lake to Mantario cabin there is about 16 km paddling and about 4 km portaging over Pre-Cambrian shield terrain which is rugged and sometimes boggy, muddy, tricky footing or steep. Therefore the trip requires a reasonable level of fitness and is a challenge, even for seasoned canoe trippers.
  • Thankfully there is a sauna available at the cabin which helps you restore your muscles and body from the typically 6 to 7 hour trip.
  • The trip from the cabin back to Big Whiteshell Lake is easier, as the portages are generally more downhill and familiar and the packs are lighter because the fresh food carried to the cabin has been heartily eaten.
    End of last portage to Mantario Lake.
    End of last portage to Mantario Lake

  • Having lead over 25 gourmet Mantario Thanksgiving canoe trips and countless gourmet wilderness canoe trips, Donna ensures the menu plan meets everyone's expectations, preferences, allergies and food restrictions. Folks don't go hungry.
  • All meals are provided. You are responsible to bring your first breakfast (eaten prior to launch on Monday) and first lunch to eat on the journey to the cabin, as well as any special snacks you may want to have while at Mantario.
  • With respect to bringing alcohol, cannabis or tobacco to the cabin, please review the Nature Manitoba Alcohol, Cannabis and Tobacco Policies for Mantario Cabin.
    Chicken stirfry
    Mantario Lake Chicken Stir Fry

  • The Mantario cabin is equipped with 2 outdoor composting toilets and 2 outhouses.
  • Katadyn 0.2 micron water filters are used to treat drinking water carried up from the lake to the cabin.
  • There is no electric power but the cabin does have solar powered lights, propane range/stove, wood stoves. There is solar charging for mobile phones and cameras, so you don't have to carry a battery pack to recharge. Note that cellular service is not available on the island, but is available when we hike up on to surrounding ridges.
  • There are 4 rooms with 4 bunk beds in each room. Everyone shares in food preparation, dish washing tasks and tidying up the cabin.
    Dishwashing at Mantario Cabin
    Dishwashing station at Mantario cabin

  • As with all the canoe trips Donna leads to Mantario, prior to the trip, she ensures participants have skills that are ready for paddling and portaging; if necessary, she provides instruction to ensure everyone is able to get to the cabin safely.
  • Donna will assess personal packs participants will use to carry their gear to the cabin in; these must be waterproof and comfortable to wear on portages and about 40 litres capacity; all your stuff should fit into your one pack and there should be some space available to carry some of the common food. We try to avoid having loose items in the canoe and reduce the number of items to be carried on portages.
  • Mantario will provide a PFD, paddle and canoe unless participants wish to use their own (Donna will assess their suitability for the trip).
  • Only trained support dogs are allowed on Mantario Specialty week trips. Please review the Nature Manitoba Dog Policy. If a participant indicates they need to bring their trained service dog on a trip, other participants will be consulted to ensure their are no potential adverse reactions to having a dog on the trip. When Donna assesses the participant's paddling and portaging skills, the dog will also be assessed in a canoe and on land to verify it is obedient and "does not rock the boat".
  • Review the Mantario packing list to learn what clothing, footwear, toiletries, etc to bring to the cabin so you have appropriate gear. You don't need to bring a tent, sleeping pad or cooking gear.

  • During the trip there are opportunities for further skill development and Paddle Canada certification if requested of Donna (free of charge).
    Louise portaging canoe on Big Whiteshell Lake portage.
    Louise portaging Ron's Evergreen canoe on the portage to Big Whiteshell Lake.

  • Trip cost: Member $390. Non-Member $425. Students age 18 and older (with a valid student ID) $390.
  • Early-Bird Discount: Save $40 if you register prior to June 1st. Registration opens 2024 May 1.
  • Pay fees only after registering for the trip to ensure there is space for you on the trip.
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 registration fee after you have registered on 2024 May 1.
  • Full payment is required 14 days prior to the trip and is partially refundable if cancelled prior to the trip.
  • The trip cost includes meals, accommodation, canoes, PFDs, paddles, leadership and Mantario T-shirt. You have to arrange transportation to the launch site on Big Whiteshell Lake, however the trip leader can help arrange this.
  • Participants must sign the Nature Manitoba Informed Consent and Waiver form as well as a Foraging Informed Consent and Waiver form prior to the start of the trip.
  • The trip is described briefly on Nature Manitoba's website here Mushrooms & Plants specialty week.
  • To register for the trip or for more information about trip cancellation fees visit Mantario Summer Program.

  • If you require more information about the 2024 Mushrooms and Plants Mantario Specialty trip or to arrange for personalized canoe instruction prior to your Mantario trip please email fungal at wilds.mb.ca.
    South ridge group photo.
    Group photo on ridge south of Mantario cabin after blueberry harvest;
    cabin island and sauna are visible in background.

  • Visit Mycelium Canoeing - Mushrooms and Plants to review trip reports about Mantario Mycelium Canoeing 2015 August 24 to 28 and Mantario Mushrooms 2023 August 14.

  • 2023 trip participants wrote in the cabin log book:
  • "An Awwww moment whenever we found 'Smurf' mushrooms. Wonderful friends, foraging, canoeing, portage, swim, sauna, stories, star gazing, card games, laughing, cooking, eating."
  • "We all ate and picked an abundance of blueberries today! Beautiful day - great company - perfect weather - excellent last day. Lost sunglasses - left as a gift to the neighborhood bear - hoping he likes the gift!!!"
  • "Grateful for the wonderful nature, people and adventure. Feeling rejuvenated!"
  • "Another amazing trip! Mantario has so much more to teach me, including not combining entering a canoe with taking a swim! Beautiful time, beautiful people. Lots of memories to sustain me through the winter. See you next year."
  • "Having a great week so far! Good teamwork, mutual respect and fun. Found some mushrooms - good observation skills growing. Had fun swimming in Spyder Lake - serene - perfect swim. Carried a canoe First time - exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! Eating well, sleeping decently. Smoke is clearing, forest fire somewhere. Going to ridge for hike - will phone check-in.".
  • "Viewing mushrooms with microscope - so interesting. Thank you Donna!!"

  • Links to other Mantario trip reports and videos are at the bottom of this page.


Mantario Mushroom Species

Mushroom Spore Prints
Mushrooms Arranged to Collect Spore Prints 2023 August 16

Following is a partial list of Kingdom Fungi species Donna and company have found, photographed and/or identified in the Mantario area:

  • Amanita muscaria, Fly agaric
  • Amanita pantherina, The panther
  • Amanita virosa, Destroying angel
  • Armillaria mellea, Honey mushroom, Pidpenky or Piedpenky (Ukranian, Polish)
  • Auricularia auricula, Wood ear
  • Boletus spp, Leccinum spp, Boletus species various
  • Cantharellus cibarius, Chanterelle, Girole, Sisu shamu (Himalayan)
  • Chlorociboria aeruginascens, Green stain
  • Clavariadelphus truncatus, Flat-topped coral
  • Clavulina amethystina, Violet-branched coral
  • Clitocybe gibba, Funnel clitocybe
  • Collybia tuberosa, Tuberous collybia
  • Coprinopsis atramentarius, Inky cap
  • Coprinus comatus, Shaggy Mane, Lawyer's wig
  • Cordyceps sp, Cordyceps (C. variabilis?)
  • Cortinarius caperata, Gypsy
  • Craterellus tubaeformis, Funnel chanterelle
  • Crepidotus mollis, Jelly crep
  • Fomes fomentarius, Horse's hoof
  • Fomitopsis betulina, Birch conk, birch polypore
  • Fomitopsis pinicola, Red banded polypore
  • Ganoderma apllanatum, Artist's conk
  • Geastrum fimbriatum, Fringed earthstar, sessile earthstar
  • Geoglossum difforme, Common earth tongue
  • Gyromitra esculenta, Brain mushroom
  • Gyromitra infula, Saddle-shaped false morel
  • Helvella elastica, Smooth-stalked helvella
  • Heterobasidion annosum, Annosus root
  • Hydnellum caeruleum, Blue spine
  • Hydnellum aurantiacum, Orange spine
  • Hydnellum repandum, Hedgehog
  • Hypomyces lactifluorum, Lobster
  • Inonotus obliquus, Birch fungus, Chaga
  • Ischnoderma resinosum, Resinous polypore
  • Lecinnum spp, Red cap, Khorzi (Ukranian)
  • Lycoperdon gemmatum or L. perlatum, Gemstudded puffball
  • Lycoperdon pyriforme, Wood puffball
  • Lycoperdon imbrinatum, Ochre puffball
  • Lycoperdon marginatum, Peeling puffball
  • Meripilus giganteus, Black-staining polypore
  • Macrotyphula juncea, Fairy hair
  • Morchella punctipes, Half-free morel, (morels are Smorzhi in Ukranian)
  • Omphalotus illudens or O. olearius, Jack-O-lantern
  • Phellinus tremulae, Willow bracket
  • Pholiota aurivella, Golden pholiota
  • Pholiota squarrosoides, Scaly pholiota
  • Pleurotus ostreatus, Oyster mushroom
  • Rhizopogon roseolus, False truffle
  • Royoporus badius, Black footed polypore
  • Russula emetica, The sickener
  • Schizophyllum commune, Split-gill
  • Trametes versicolor, Turkey tail
  • Trichaptum biforme, Violet toothed polypores
  • Trichglossum hirsutism, Hairy earth tongue
  • Xylaria hypoxylon, Carbon antlers

Following is a list of links to trip reports and videos about some of the Mantario trips Donna Kurt has lead:

Following are two Youtube videos that are converted from a video produced by Christine Mazur about the Mantario Wilderness Zone, these videos include footage from the Mantario 2008 Thanksgiving Canoe Trip lead by Donna: