Sandra Milligan with Greenways Land Trust points out some features of the Beaver Lodge Lands on Tuesday night at the start of an interractive walk called Beaver Lodge Lands 101. The walk was part of an ongoing series of educational events put on by Greenways to help the community get to know the natural world we live with in the area. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Exploring our natural surroundings…with help from experts

Greenways’ Beaver Lodge Lands 101: An introduction to one of the area’s most popular natural areas

Did you know the Beaver Lodge Lands burnt down in the 1930s?

How about that when they were replanting it before that fire, they brought in trees from the Lower Mainland and that’s causing an issue even to this day?

These were just two of the many fascinating tidbits of information received by those who attended the interpretive walk put on by Greenways Land Trust Tuesday night.

The walk was the latest in an ongoing series of educational events the organization is putting on to help the community learn more about the natural aspects of life here in Campbell River.

Sandra Milligan, president of Greenways Land Trust and biology instructor at North Island College, led Tuesday’s interactive walk, and says these kinds of events really help to bring people a little closer to the natural world.

“We’ve been doing this off and on for the last decade,” Milligan says. “We’ve found that there’s a huge appetite in the public to learn about different aspects of our natural spaces.”

The walks have included birding walks, exploring the intertidal areas of the Willow Point Reef, exploring the ecology of the Tyee Spit, among others.

“It’s important, from Greenways’ perspective, to make sure that people have information so that when they’re out in our natural spaces they can truly appreciate what they’re seeing and hearing,” Milligan says.

There’s also conservation messaging they desperately want to get out there, which these events help with, she says.

Like the whole, “keep your dogs out of the creeks” thing.

“At virtually every bridge in here, you can see a worn path beside the bridge leading down to the creek, and the research has been done that shows that downstream from every bridge there is increased sediment and increased inorganic matter in the creek,” Milligan says.

“Well, what’s the big deal?” she continues rhetorically. “Well, these are salmon spawning creeks, and when there’s sediment covering the spawning gravel, the fish don’t spawn. If the eggs are already in there, the sediment smothers them so they don’t hatch. And if the fish do hatch, the alevins get trapped and buried alive. It’s really important for people to recognize that it’s really, very bad for their dogs to go into the creeks, because it ruins salmon habitat. It kills fish.”

Greg Goldstone, chair of the Beaver Lodge Lands Trust and resource operations manager with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, helped out with the walk, as well, touching on subjects like the history of the area’s ownership, research that has been done – or that they hope will be done – within its borders and some ideas surrounding governance of the land.

There’s another Greenways interpretive walk planned for Sept. 10 out at Haig-Brown House from 2-4 p.m., where Chuck DeSorcy and Barry Peters will talk about salmon habitat enhancement and how we can all be a part of the conservation of our streams.

Follow Greenways on Facebook to stay abreast of their upcoming events and efforts within the community, or sign up for their newsletter on their website (greenwaystrust.ca) and get updates sent directly to your email inbox.

Check out some of the fun from Tuesday’s walk here:

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