The crisp morning air and vivid fall colours signal the start of a brilliant phenomenon in the Harrison River Valley: The Season of the Wild! The Season of the Wild tells the story of the salmon, sturgeon, and bald eagles of the Harrison River Valley. As salmon return to our waterways from the ocean to spawn, and thus, end their lifecycle, bald eagles congregate by the thousands to feast on the plentiful bounty, leading to the world’s largest winter gathering of bald eagles. As the waterways splash with frenzied salmon activity, you’ll see a flourish of mighty wings and sharp outstretched talons eagerly capturing their next meal. In addition, this celebration will give you a chance to learn more about the otherworldly giant of the deep: the present-day dinosaur, the white sturgeon.
SEASON OF THE WILD — EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS
Join us for these fun and educational events happening in the Harrison River Valley:
Farmers Market at Farmhouse Cheeses Agassiz, featuring Salmon Burgers by Wild Forager Catering.
October 29, 11am-3pm. 5634 McCallum Road, Agassiz.
Agassiz Harrison Museum Exhibit: “Pacific Salmon: The Struggle Home”
Opening Reception: November 8, 2-4pm.
Exhibit: November 9 – 23. 7011 Pioneer Avenue, Agassiz.
Kilby Historic Site: The Salmon Have Arrived! Come to taste salted salmon, make a bird-friendly craft, and roast your own damper. Family fun for all!
Every Weekend in November. 215 Kilby Road, Harrison Mills.
Shoreline Tours Speaker Series: Indigenous Speaker Saquilty JJ Louis from Sts’ailes
November 6 & 12: Book your river cruise to take in the wildlife and learn the history of the Sts’ailes People on the Harrison River. To book, call 604-796-3100 or book online at shorelinetours.ca
Earthwise Society – Restore the Wild
November 12. 6031 Golf Road, Agassiz
November 2 – 4. Hosted by BC Sportfishing Group, 100 Esplanade Avenue, Harrison Hot Springs.
Winter Night Lights
December 1 – 31, Agassiz
Lights by the Lake
November 19 – January 8, Harrison Hot Springs
EXPERIENCE THE WILD — SELF-GUIDED TRAILS
There are a number of ideal locations to take a leisurely walk, camera or binoculars in hand, and catch the sight of swooping and soaring bald eagles, diving for their next meal:
• Sandpiper Golf Course Eagle Trail From the Sandpiper parking lot, follow the Eagle signs and walk across Elbow Creek to the Eagle Viewing Gazebo. View their Eagle Trail Map here!
• Kilby Provincial Park Loop Trail Start at Kilby Historic Site or at Kilby Park and walk along the beach, then make your way to the dyke. Follow to the Lougheed Highway, and return along School Road.
• Qwólts Park & Whippoorwill Point From Harrison Hot Springs Resort, head west towards the Hot Springs Source. From there continue onto the Sandy Cove & Whippoorwill Point Trail
Note: Eagle viewing is also great along Nicomen Slough on BC Route 7 highway from Dewdney to Deroche, but use caution when parking on roadside.
DISCOVER THE WILD — GUIDED EXCURSIONS
• BC Sportfishing Group 100 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs. 1-877-796-3345
• Harrison Eco Tours 100 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs. 604-316-4460
• Shoreline Tours 100 Esplanade Ave., Harrison Hot Springs. 604-796-3100
• Fraser River Lodge 7184 Macdonald Rd. Agassiz. 604-796-1210
• Kilby Lodge 76 Kilby Rd. Harrison Mills. 604-316-3988
• Kilby Historic Site 215 Kilby Rd. Harrison Mills. 604-796-9576
PROTECT THE WILD — CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION
When eagle viewing at Sandpiper Resort, you are looking out on the Chehalis Flats (Lhá:lt). They are the resting grounds for the spawning salmon and migrating eagles. This is a highly sensitive habitat; kayaking or walking through the flats disturb the eagles and endanger salmon eggs. For the health of the wild, please stay off the flats from October through February.
GUARDIANS OF THE WILD — RESPECT THE LAND
We share the land of the traditional territories of the Sts’ailes, Seabird Island, Sq’ewá:lxw, Cheam, Douglas, Leq’a:mel, Samahquam, Sq’ewlets, and Skatin First Nations. Living in harmony with the wild has always been a sacred belief for Indigenous Peoples. As caretakers and stewards of the land since time immemorial, they are the knowledge keepers and we have much to learn from them. Please respect the land and the wild while participating in wildlife viewing.
• The salmon spawn attracts a rich and diverse collection of wildlife, hoping to feast on the plentiful fish. Did you know that seals will swim up the Harrison River? You may also spot bears, coyotes, osprey, turkey vultures, river otters and more! Keep your eyes peeled, you never know who might pop up!
• Harrison River is the first designated Salmon Stronghold in Canada. This means that our river’s ecosystem supports a heathy wild salmon population – all 7 species of salmon live and spawn in our waterways. • Wait a minute – 7 species? Yes! Until a few years ago, it was thought there were 5 species of salmon, however, recent studies revealed that two related species, the Sea-Run Cuthroat and the Steelhead were both true salmonids. • Salmon are anadromous: meaning they can survive in both fresh water and salt water. Few other fish can survive such a drastic range of environments.
• Bald eagles have massive wingspans – typically, males are around 6.5 feet, while females are around 7 feet. • They can fly up to 30 miles per hour, but dive much faster: up to 100 miles per hour • Bald eagles can live around 30 years in the wild.
• The white sturgeon looks much the same as it did back in prehistoric days. • Sturgeon have no teeth and feed by sucking prey through a vacuum-like mouth that is on the bottom of their heads. • They can live up to 100 years old and grow to over 1000 lbs. • The largest ever caught and released was in the Fraser River; at 12’4” long and 1100 lbs.
Don’t forget your binoculars and your camera to capture the incredible sights of The Season of the Wild! And keep an eye on our Season of the Wild directory on our webpage for the latest information. We’d love to see your Season of the Wild captures. Please tag your photos with #BreatheInTheWild or #SeasonOfTheWild to share them with us! For more information, visit our Visitor Information Centre at 102, 160 Lillooet Avenue in Harrison Hot Springs. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to keep up to date with all the happenings in the Harrison River Valley.