Thursday, May 14, 2015

Browne Creek Wetlands Opening - It's For The Birds

It's for the birds. Actually it for the birds, fishes, trees and a variety of other sensitive life forms dependent upon wetlands. Opening day for Browne Creek Wetland Trails was today and I decided to attend along with bus loads of elementary school children, local dignitaries and the partners without whose assistance a project like this would not be possible.

I find a small parking lot at the end of Browne Road having travelled westward from Sardis along the Vedder Mountain Road towards Yarrow.  This a gated lot with hours that change seasonally.

A long path through the trees gave me a chance to shrug off the cares of the world and start appreciating a more natural experience. Pictures cannot capture the chorus of bird trills found here. I look for red winged blackbirds amongst the bullrushes. Not so lucky today, maybe too many visitors.

Finding some tents I have the good fortune to meet and talk to two Rotarians, project artist Jonathan Mills and, fellow Royal LePage agent and good buddy, Ian Meissner.
Jonathan and Ian

Rotary has been very involved with the "Rotary Trail" on the north side of the Vedder River and they have future plans for trail loop that will eventually connect the two sides together. What a legacy that would be for Chilliwack. 

Taking a trail,  I stroll by a number of student classes taking in the sights. The sounds, of "stay on the trail" reverberating through the woods. After all, this is a place for the birds, fishes and... humans should tread carefully.

Major partners included: City of Chilliwack, Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition, Salmonid Enhancement Program, Rotary Club of Chilliwack and the Government of Canada.

Map details can be accessed at the City of Chilliwack site.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Update - Chilliwack and First Contact 1808 - 1839

Sometimes after I have written an article I receive fresh information. Noted local historian Daphne Sleigh, author of "The People of the Harrison", sent me some further insights on my post "Chilliwack and First Contact 1808 - 1839"

Fort Langley - Warehouse 1840

She writes,

Did you know that there was a Hudson’s Bay saltery built in 1847 on the Harrison River where Rowena’s is now?   It was established after the Chilliwack one proved disappointing. All this is likewise more or less forgotten by the historical societies.

I asked her to confirm my thoughts on what a "saltery" was. Her response,

Yes, a saltery was for preserving and shipping salmon.  The beaver had been over-hunted by then and the HBC was trying to find some other profitable export, so they experimented with this. 
This saltery was established on the Harrison River just below the good fishing grounds near the mouth of the Chehalis.  It is referred to in HBC documents, but unfortunately is not noted on any map in the HBC Archives.  However, this is the most likely spot, and Charles Pretty believed from oral tradition that it had been on his property.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Daphne and her husband Francis at a fund raiser a few years ago and you can imagine I was more than a little pleased with that arrangement. I have been a fan ever since. Thank you Daphne once again. 

To find her books, visit the local museums or purchase them online at her publisher or