Everyone loves the Elk River. They love to float on it during a hot summer day, fish the deep clear cold pools in the fall, or the thrill of paddling white water in the remote lower Phillips Canyon. People care deeply about the health of the Elk. This year more than a hundred are expected to show up to learn about the health of the Elk River watershed and help clean up its shoreline in Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie.
“A clean shoreline makes it safe for animals living in or near the river and beautiful for people”, says Lee-Anne Walker, Executive Director of the Elk River Alliance, an organizer for this years event. “The 4rd Annual Swim, Drink, Fish Festival September 27-28 is a weekend for everyone to learn more about the health of our watershed and give back to the rivers health”.
Saturday September 27 reveals new information about the ecology and stewardship plan for keeping Silver Springs swimmable at a guided walk - meet at the parking lot at the base of the trail up Silver Springs at 10 a.m. or at the ERA office to carpool at 9:15 a.m.. At 2 p.m. will be a ramble into the riparian area at the Ancient Morrissey Cottonwoods presenting a report card to residents on valley bottom health - meet at the head of the trail just east off Highway 3 in Morrissey. Join the opening of the Forests and Fish interpretive trail at Mount Fernie Provincial Park at 4 p.m. highlighting how healthy forests foster healthy fish, even though fish can’t climb trees. Meet at the day use parking lot. “These events are showcasing the work of the Elk River Watershed Alliance over the last year”, says Lee-Anne Walker, Executive Director. “There are so many people to thank for helping with these projects and community for their participation. These documents will also be posted on our website and are meant as a conversation starter encouraging community to participate in decision making for a sustainable water future in the Elk River watershed.
Sunday September 28, 2-4 p.m. meet in Fernie at the Annex Park, and at Sparwood and Elkford’s Leisure Centres, to participate in the Great Elk River Shoreline Cleanup, helping keep our water healthy for people and the wildlife in our watershed. “This event is part of one of the largest environmental events in Canada Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and the third largest in the World”, notes Walker. “Elk Valley residents are passionate about place and always willing to contribute a few hours to free our shorelines of litter as a way of giving back to this ribbon of life”.