Horsefly salmon trail damaged by dirt bike activity

People riding motorcycle dirt bikes have been abusing the Horsefly River’s salmon trail walkway over the winter. Damage was done to the new accessible boardwalk built last summer, rendering it inaccessible.

People riding motorcycle dirt bikes have been abusing the Horsefly River’s salmon trail walkway over the winter. Damage was done to the new accessible boardwalk built last summer, rendering it inaccessible.

Report of the damage was received at the Horsefly River Roundtable meeting, held May 19 in the Horsefly Library. It was the first meeting after a two-month hiatus due to weather and work commitments by members.

As soon as high water is over, we will assess the damage and try to have it repaired before tourists and people in wheelchairs start coming, if we can find the funding.  

There is some funding available to build a portable accessible walkway to the river. However, not nearly enough for completion, so we will continue to work on this project as the funding allows.  

Funding has been obtained for salmon signage for our annual festival, as well as some funding towards watershed planning, education and field work, and a small amount for the Salmon Festival itself.

The technical committee has received some funding towards prioritizing and preparing field work from the Fraser Salmon and Watershed Program, plus there is some money available to book some extra helicopter time to do vulnerability mapping of agricultural areas in order to plan future field work.  

The technical committee will do a presentation at the annual meeting on June 16.

Goldfields mining exploration representatives have requested an opportunity to do a presentation to the Roundtable.  

At this time there is a very good chance this will take place at our annual general meeting June 16, and the meeting will be at the Horsefly Community Hall instead of the library. 

We are also going to have a presentation of the Shuswap Integrated Planning by Bob Harding in support of the Fisheries Habitat Index Mapping Project on Quesnel and Horsefly lakes and rivers.  

There will also be a fisheries watershed sensitivity presentation some time this year. This report is completed, and there will be public consultation.

The annual Salmon Festival will take place Sept. 3 and 4. There was discussion regarding whether the sockeye would be present for the festival. 

We cannot guarantee the spawning channel will be open, and if it isn’t, there may be difficulty finding any sockeye at all. 

The roundtable will write the Department of Fisheries requesting the channel be opened for educational purposes.

Even if the fish aren’t present, the festival is still a great way to educate the public as to the fragile state of our existing stocks, and the need for due diligence by everyone to ensure continued oversight on the issue.  

There was discussion regarding the next dominant run, which would normally be 2013. However, due to the large run last year, some people believe the cycle may change and occur in 2014 rather than the normal cycle.

The roundtable will plan for 2014 as the best chance for a large run of sockeye, although nobody really knows for sure.

It is truly amazing with all the billions of dollars spent over the years, how little we actually know for sure. 

Normal practice during the dominant run year is to obtain funding to bus students to our channel from the surrounding areas including Quesnel, Williams Lake and other communities. 

This is simply too much for us, so we need for the schools to consider other avenues of achieving transportation to see the spawning sockeye.

The roundtable is applying for funds to erect a Cairn at the Horsefly Lake Provincial Park to honour the men and women of the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission who participated in the building and operation of the Quesnel Station Hatchery (site of the provincial campground) from 1949 to 1961.  

This dedication would take place on B.C. Parks 100th anniversary celebrations on July 16 at the campground.

The next meeting is the AGM June 16 at the Horsefly Community Hall starting at 7 p.m. 


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