The Yellowhead Highway
BC Wildlife Watch migratory bird, mammal, amphibian,
and plant life viewing sites, complete with trails and observation
towers, are located in Valemount's Starratt Wildlife Sanctuary
and Hicks Regional Park.
At Jackman Flats,
south of Tete Jaune Cache, visitors will find unique botanical
interpretive trails. And August and September is the time to
witness the always-amazing spectacle of the Fraser River salmon
run in Rearguard Falls Provincial Park.
For a special wildlife-viewing experience, take a day to visit
Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, south of Penticton on Hwy 97. Here,
the Vaseux Lake Nature Trust operates the Vaseux Wildlife Centre
in a multiagency cooperative project. In addition, there is a Canadian
Wildlife Service wildlife sanctuary adjacent to the park and two
Wildlife Management Units ensuring protection of critical bighorn
sheep winter range. The cliffs surrounding the park include
spring and winter range of California bighorn sheep, and the area
is famous for bird-watching. Grasses, reeds, willows, and shrubs
along the shore afford a home to many varieties of birdlife. Waterfowl,
including trumpeter swans, widgeons, Canada geese, wood ducks,
and blue-winged teal, are common. In spring, the beautiful
lazuli bunting has been seen. Other bird species present
include chukar partridge, wrens, swifts, sage thrashers, woodpeckers,
curlews, and dippers. Mammal species found here include beavers,
bats, cottontail rabbits, muskrats, deer, and mice. Rattlesnakes,
toads, and turtles also live in this area. Considerable
populations of largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and carp make their
home in the water, and in winter, the frozen lake offers excellent
conditions for ice fishing as well as other ice-related activities.
If you're in
the town of Kelowna itself, you can watch kokanee salmon spawning
mid-September to mid-October in Lion's Park from a BC Wildlife viewing
area off Springfield Rd or during a guided tour; and you can take
advantage of another BC Wildlife migratory bird-viewing site
at Bertram Creek Regional Park.
The Trans-Canada Highway
The 2,440-acre (988 hectares) Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial
Park encompasses the entire length of the Adams River, the site
of the largest sockeye salmon run on the West Coast. There's
an excellent interpretive area that explains the whole phenomenal
trek. A 'dominant' run happens every four years, followed by years
of much smaller runs. The sockeye are joined by chinook, coho, and pink
salmon. The exact dates of the late summer-early fall salmon
run depend on temperature, rainfall, and water levels. Many
wild critters live in this park, among them bears, beavers,
and river otters.
In the town
of Salmon Arm, the mouth of the Salmon River is alive with breeding
and nesting birds, especially Clark's and western
grebes, from April to June. Downtown, the Rotary Peace Park
and Public wharf has a BC Wildlife Watch viewing area and picnic
site, and offers good access to the river and its birds.
Highway: South Okanagan Valley
If you're travelling Hwy 3 during the early morning, watch for
a mountain goat colony that inhabits the exposed, rocky north side
of the highway between Hedley and Keremeos.
Park provides excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. Small mammals,
including marmots, beavers, and chipmunks, share the
wilderness areas with black bears, mule deer, and coyotes.
Beavers, elk, and moose reside in the park
but are seldom seen. Birdlife is abundant, especially in
summer, with 206 species to watch for. Early morning is the best
time for observing birds and mammals. As always in wilderness areas,
hikers and campers should be alert for wild animals, especially
bears, and take the necessary safety precautions.