Trail use encouraged but please respect the wildlife

A great blue heron.

A great blue heron.

Spring is here and the outdoors beckons! Here in Castlegar we are blessed with numerous outdoor activities to choose from, and a spectacular setting in which to enjoy them.

One local recreational asset available to all at no cost is our local trail network. Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society maintains about 70 kilometres of local trails suitable primarily for hiking, but also with some off-road cycling opportunities.

Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails encourages you to lace up your hiking boots or hop on your bike and enjoy a local trail, and we also want to educate you about minimizing your environmental impact.

Hiking has an environmental impact?

Yes, in fact some studies conclude it has the second greatest negative recreational impact on threatened and endangered species (off-road vehicle use is first.)

Direct disturbance of wildlife by trail users is the most common phenomenon, and this may lead to wildlife being forced out of some areas. For animals that remain while we “visit” there may still be negative impacts (imagine an uninvited visitor walking in your front door, through your home and out your back door every couple of hours — it might be a little stressful.)

The transport of invasive species (non-native plants) into areas along trails is also an emerging concern. Our much loved Waldie Island Trail is an excellent example of a circumstance where disturbance of threatened great blue herons and introduction of multiple invasive plant species is a trail recreation issue of concern.

Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society is committed to environmentally sound trail management and is pleased to have Marlene Machmer, a local biologist with specific expertise on wildlife-recreation interactions speak at their AGM on March 29th, 7 p.m. at the Castlegar Complex.  Everyone is welcome.

 

Lawrence Redfern

Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society