A group of wildlife and outdoor organizations and artists are joining forces in a week-long information blitz at Waneta Plaza to raise awareness and recruit new members.
The Trail Wildlife Association is organizing its second-annual awareness week and will be doling out information, recruiting new members and selling raffle tickets to enhance wildlife habitat.
“We’re just trying to bring awareness to the community that the Trail wildlife club is here, and there are other clubs around that are into wildlife and other pursuits,” said association president Terry Hanik.
He also looks to explain TWA’s role and clear up any misconceptions around hunting.
The wildlife association is not just about hunting but encompasses conservation, bear aware, protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat, and just enjoying the outdoors, he said.
With recent controversy over a cougar hunt, Hanik believes the information the association and other groups provide will help residents understand the many problems faced by conservationists.
“It’s our fault as hunters that there are too many coyotes or black bears because at one time when we use to hunt them, the numbers would be down, and now that we’ve stopped, it’s amazing the amount of predators that we have – something has to be done, either by us or the Ministry of Environment.”
TWA routinely helps feed populations of bighorn sheep, goat, deer and elk during harsh winters and has participated in wildlife conservation and transplanting programs.
On behalf of the TWA, Hanik is also warden for the Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area and will resume monitoring next month. His duties are to inform users as well as observe and report violations.
“I try to educate people on what they can and can’t do so that we can keep this special area open to everyone.”
The Land Conservancy of B.C. will also have a presence on the weekend. The group, which has owned the 2,200-acre Fort Shepherd Conservancy area since 2006 when Teck donated the property, is in the initial stages of planning more projects and workshops for the spring and summer.
The conservancy wants to promote the Fort Shepherd lands but has also threatened to shut it down if residents don’t follow the rules.
“We still have issues with people going off the main road, that’s one of the priorities, so steps to try and deter people is having Terry down there having a presence and talking to people about the rules and where they are allowed to go,” said spokesperson Emily Nilsen.
Hanik will be joined on Thursday by groups such as the conservancy, First Nations, Kootenay Weeds, Bear Aware, ATV clubs, wildlife painters and antler artists, Valley Firearms, the West Kootenay Marksmen and Cowboys, a conservation officer and more.