TWA meeting seeks new voices for executive

Trail Wildlife Association is looking for people with "fresh ideas."

The Trail Wildlife Association (TWA) intends to take a stand on existing hunting regulations that have taken a toll on local wildlife populations but the club plans to beef up its executive first.

TWA members are invited to attend an annual general meeting Monday at the Local 480 Hall at 7 p.m. Local conservation officer Ben Beetlestone is the guest speaker set to address the crowd at the event, which also includes an election to firm up positions for the club’s 20-person executive board.

“The club is in good shape, it’s just that it’s always the same people doing stuff, and we want somebody else in there with fresh ideas,” said TWA president Terry Hanik.

“One of the biggest problems that we had was when they opened up the limited entry elk in the Pend D’Oreille,” he added. “It went to six-point or better and when it’s open for six-point elk, they shoot the other animals — deer, bear, moose, whatever — and that’s why we have a problem now with the shortage of wildlife, so we’d like to see that changed.”

TWA’s mandate is to cooperate actively in the protection of B.C. forests, soils, waters and natural habitat of fish and wildlife.

The 90-year organization has had its hand in many projects over the years including transplanting elk locally and in Christina Lake, feeding sheep on the Salmo Creston, working on the spawning channels in the Murphy Creek area and goat transplants in Trail and Syringa.

Hanik maintains the club is stable, but it’s always a struggle to get its members engaged. The focus this year is getting more people involved and taking on some leadership. Last year, the group realized its needs to tighten communication with its vast member group and has since collected email addresses to ensure individuals receive notice of important meetings via email. TWA is also concentrating on its website, with plans of making its agendas and minutes available online to the public.

“We end up with around 50 people attending, and when you got a group of 480, we’d like to see more people come out and participate and share some interest in the club,” he adds.

“It’s always the same people who come out, we don’t have anyone wanting to voice their opinion, mind you, they voiced their opinion when we did the AMA.”

TWA found itself smack in the middle of a contentious land dispute at the end of last year when the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource pitched a proposal that limited motorized entry in the Pend D’Oreille valley, and it appeared that TWA endorsed it. The group has since clarified that it doesn’t support the plan per se but does believe AMAs (access management areas) are useful in sensitive areas that need some regulation.

The club sits tight to hear whether the final draft proposal that’s part of an update to the spring 2016 edition of the B.C. Hunting and Trapping Synopsis receives approval.

Hanik wonders whether limited entry will actually deter hunters from outside the area.

“Once they find out they can’t go off the main road, you have to park on the side and walk, maybe they might not or maybe they won’t come at all because there aren’t any animals around,” he speculated.

What is certain, he pressed, is the executive board is aging and desperately needs new members.

“As far as we’re concerned, we have to have more people involved because everybody is getting on in age and we need some new blood coming in to learn what’s going on because eventually we’re not going to be there,” he said.

The AGM provides just that opportunity.

TWA is rallying local hunters, fishers, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, and interested parties to attend the meeting Monday, where refreshments and pizza will be served. For more information on the club, visit www.trailwildlife.com.