By Julie Burrows, RMOW Fish and Wildlife Technician
I think we can all agree that one thing Whistler residents and the visitors that travel here from all ends the world have in common is a love for the great outdoors. It is what draws people here, is a livelihood for many and keeps us all healthy and happy.
September 19, 2010 will be an exciting day of fun-filled, family-friendly events as the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group (WFSG) is hosting Whistler's 14th annual B.C. Rivers Day celebrations in conjunction with Rotary's fourth Annual Family Fun Day at Meadow Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Let's get the community together to celebrate and appreciate healthy watersheds, and the families we share them with!
Whistler made its debut as a fishing community in the early 1900s when Myrtle and Alex Philip opened Rainbow Lodge on Alta Lake and has since developed into an outdoor playground with endless wilderness activities. Fishing, biking, skiing, hiking, paddling, along with art and music festivals are just some of the many things Whistlerites love to do in the great outdoors!
Healthy watersheds and clean water are integral parts of everyday life for all living things on earth. With everything and every cycle in nature being part of the delicately balanced web of life it is important for us to work together as a community to protect and respect the earth's precious resources.
B.C. River's Day was established in 1980 and has led to the declaration of World River's day in 2005. It has been celebrated by many communities across B.C. via the Outdoor Recreation Council and now attracts over 75,000 people to more than 100 events each year to increase awareness of the fundamental role healthy watersheds play in our survival and wellbeing. Whistler has many great reasons to celebrate being home to a myriad of vibrant life forms that all depend on a healthy Whistler watershed - which incorporates five freshwater lakes connected by over 14 rivers!
Annual monitoring is necessary in order to keep an eye on wildlife populations and overall ecosystem health. The WFSG is fortunate to have dedicated volunteers and ongoing support from the community. Here's a list of some of the community partnerships along with some projects completed this year:
• AWARE and the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Employee Environmental Fund for support and funding to increase awareness and protect and enhance Western Toad habitat at Lost Lake.
• The B.C. Lake Stewardship society and committed community volunteers for annual lake monitoring.
• The Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team (HIT) to restore riparian habitat at 19 Mile Creek and enhance the River of Golden Dreams portage trail.
• The Whistler Biodiversity Project annual Beaver monitoring and lodge surveys
• Local canoe operators for ongoing cleaning of the River of Golden Dreams
• The Tourism Whistler Green Team to clean up 12 bags of garbage and two bags of recycling from the riparian shoreline at Millar Creek in Function Junction.
If you are a lover of the great outdoors and the wonderful community we live in, or want to meet people who are, please come out to celebrate on Sunday Sept. 19th from 11 to 3 at Meadow Park. This is anticipated to be a zero waste event, please do your part and bring a re-usable water bottle. See you there!