Can the City of Dawson Creek work with the Peace River Regional District to assist the Timberline Trail and Nature Club with minimal regular funding for liability insurance?
It was a question asked of Dawson Creek city council by Brian Paterson with the nature club earlier this month.
“Citizen are facing loss of access, the site faces a lack of management, loss of original intent of the slough,” said Paterson.
Mayor Dale Bumstead noted many in Mile Zero are familiar with the slough.
“It’s a really iconic local nature amenity, and certainly all of us who are born and raised here have known about the slough for all our life," said Mayor Dale Bumstead.
With the nature club taking on responsibility of managing the slough, insurance would cost roughly $3,500 a year, he added.
The slough was designated as conservation land in 1987, under Ducks Unlimited. The nature club has been a strong advocate of the wetland for over 40 years, cleaning up the area, hosting bird and bat counts, inviting SD59 students out for field trips, and other volunteer maintenance.
Paterson relayed the importance of the slough in the community to council, as well as outlined the nature club’s future plans with the project.
“The slough is a bird lover’s paradise: with 175 species it is recognized a E-bird hotspot and significantly, it is 1 of 2 remaining “prairie pothole” lakes in the South Peace,” Paterson said to council.
He also outlined what the nature club does, and its relationship with McQueen Slough.
“The Timberline Trail and Nature Club hosts regular naturalist events such as the Christmas Bird Count, Annual Hawk Watch, BC Community Bat roost counts and more. (The club) has maintained and done minor fixes to keep McQueen usable including: garbage and shotgun shell cleanup, annual bluebird box cleanout and maintenance,” he said.
“Our goals for McQueen Slough include replace boardwalk and bridges, new outhouse, improvements to boardwalk including bump outs for tripods and resting benches, a photography blind, observation tower, benches, picnic table."
Bumstead noted he expects to meeting with PRRD Area D Director Leonard Hiebert on the matter.
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News