The Campbell River Fish and Wildlife Club is gearing up for their annual banquet and fundraiser, to be held this year at Thunderbird hall Feb. 18.
The event is the club’s main source of funding, helping them create and keep up various initiatives within the region supporting wildlife sustainability, ecosystem restoration, scientific research and leisure amenities.
“The funds we generate from the banquet carry us for the year doing different community projects,” says club treasurer Ron May.
Those projects include things like the recreation site at Beavertail Lake they completed last spring. That site consists of concrete foundations for picnic tables, the tables themselves, a number of fire pit rings, an 80-foot dock and an outhouse. They completed a similar site at Echo Lake just a few months ago.
But those sites need maintenance, too.
“We go up there every two weeks or so and clean the sites, replace the toilet paper, that kind of thing,” May says. While the time is donated by volunteers, equipment and supplies have to be purchased to perform the maintenance and do any repairs that are needed.
The group also has to deal with vandalism on occasion.
As the Mirror reported last spring, shortly after the Beavertail site’s installation, after the volunteers had gone home for the day, someone showed up and left shoe prints and vulgar drawings in the still-setting concrete pads for the picnic tables.
The group called their discovery “disheartening,” but went back up with more concrete and repaired the damage.
“We had members stay there while it set, kind of babysitting it to make sure it was good and ready before they left,” May says.
Since then there has been some damage done to the site, but nothing to the extent of the initial vandalism.
But he says the majority of users – of which there are many – are considerate and enjoy their time at the sites.
“We expected the pit toilets to last a couple of years before needing to be cleaned out, but they’ve needed to be cleaned out already,” May continues with a chuckle. “So I guess the site is getting pretty good use.”
But they don’t just use the funds raised at the annual banquet to put in and maintain recreation sites. Wade Major, club president, says the group is also heavily invested in various conservation and sustainability initiatives in the region, such as lake fertilization programs at Martha and Reginald Lake, the Pink Egg program at Mohun Creek, the region-wide Wilderness Watch Program and annual deer counts and stream restoration work.
May says those purchasing tickets to the upcoming banquet to help support them in their efforts can expect a great night.
All the meat for the banquet is donated by local hunters, and May says each year they have varying offerings of everything from the more common wild-game standards like deer and elk, right through to cougar, lynx and bear.
“It’s a wild game dinner,” May says. “That’s actually how I got involved in the first place with the club. I wanted to have the opportunity to try some different meat.”
But aside from the food, there will also be dancing to the musical stylings of The Impallas to keep people dancing from 9 p.m. to midnight and both live and silent auction items up for grabs at the banquet, the proceeds of which will go towards the club’s local community initiatives.
Anyone interested in getting tickets for the banquet – tickets are $40 each, but many people buy tables of 10, May says – or donating items to the live or silent auctions can contact May at 250-203-2599 or club president Wade Mator at 250-203-3515. Tickets are also available at Tyee Marine and River Sportsman.