Wilderness Centre opens

Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre opens for the summer season July 1.

THE STRATHCONA PARK Wilderness Centre near Raven Lodge on Mount Washington opens for the summer season this Friday.

Krista Kaptein

Special to the Record

Canada Day will mark the beginning of summer in Paradise Meadows, as the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre opens for the summer season July 1.

The centre is located at the Paradise Meadows trailhead, adjacent to the Raven Lodge at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort and will be open on selected days from July 1 to Sept. 11.

The centre will be staffed for visitor information on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays (including July 4) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as on many weekdays, thanks to volunteers.

The centre is operated by the Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI), a non-profit society, which has organized a full schedule of summer programs.

Additional special events will be held on selected weekends, as Strathcona Park celebrates its centennial as the first and oldest provincial park in B.C.

Nature walks and talks will be about two hours, with a guest expert on a nature theme.

Level 1 Hikes are three to four hours with a guide, for all ages. Level 2 Hikes are five to seven hours with a guide, for intermediate hikers.

Level 3 Hikes are eight to 10 hours, for fit hikers only.

Centennial events are special programs for the park’s 100th year.

The first Parks 100 Centennial Event highlights the importance of ecological reserve wardens, who are volunteers that serve an invaluable role in the long-term protection of ecological reserves.

• On July 4 at 1 p.m., Comox Lake Bluffs ecological reserve warden Helen Robinson will give a presentation on the special features of the Comox Lake Bluffs ER. Please pre-register with the co-ordinator at coordinator@strathconapark.org or 250-650-4304.

• On July 10 at 1 p.m., explore the “Spring Flora & Fauna” of Paradise Meadows on a Nature Walk with expert naturalist Betty Brooks. SWI will have installed many plant signs around the meadows to aid in identifying the multitude of sub-alpine flowers.

Parks 100 Centennial Events are featured on the following weekend.

• For Canada Parks Day on July 16, Seeds & Salt Theatre presents lively historical theatre at 10:30 a.m. to entertain all ages. At noon, join SWI for a birthday cake and view the displays. At 3 p.m., Dave Nagorsen of Mammalia Biological Consulting will present “Mice, Marmots & Mammoths” — a look at Strathcona Park mammals.

Pre-register for this presentation at coordinator@strathconapark.org or 250-650-4304.

• On Sun., July 17 at 1 p.m., the next Parks 100 Centennial Event will feature Kathy Martin of the Centre for Applied Alpine Studies at U.B.C. presenting Alpine Ecology & the VI White-tailed Ptarmigan. Hikers to the alpine have no doubt encountered these appealing birds. Pre-register for this presentation at coordinator@strathconapark.org or 250-650-4304.

• On Sun., July 24, ethnobotanist Gwyn Sproule will guide a Nature Walk highlighting Interesting & Useful Plants of Paradise Meadows. Nature walks and hikes continue through the summer – for the full schedule, visit the SWI website at www.strathconapark.org.  For the most up-to-date information on activities & trail conditions, visit the blog at http://strathconapark.blogspot.com.

For all activities: dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, bring lunch or snacks, water, bug spray and sun protection. No pets on nature walks and hikes unless otherwise noted.

Programs are free, although a donation of $5 to $10 is appreciated to help with the Institute’s ongoing activities.

All activities start at the Wilderness Centre.

Krista Kaptein is the summer co-ordinator at Strathcona Provincial Park.

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