The Goat River watershed is one of the largest remaining, pristine watersheds feeding the Fraser River. The watershed's old growth forest is home to mountain caribou, Chinook salmon, bull trout and other at-risk species. The aim of this project is to help establish the watershed as a park or a protected area in order to preserve it for future generations.
To accomplish my goal, myself and Simran Lehal (another SLLP 2016 graduate) are partnering with the Fraser Headwaters Alliance (FHA), a local conservation group, which has been working to protect the Goat watershed since the 1990s.
I am pursuing two main strategies to achieve my goal: 1) Advocating directly to government to establish a park or protected area in the Goat watershed; and 2) Upgrading and promoting the historic Goat River Trail in order to build public awareness of the area and support for its conservation.
I am currently setting up meetings between the President of the Board of the Fraser Headwaters Alliance and Andrew Weaver, Leader of the Green Party, and George Heyman, Minister of Environment to discuss options for protecting the Goat.
2) GOAT RIVER TRAIL UPGRADES AND PROMOTION
Accomplishments to date:
• Simran and I obtained a $5,000 grant from the Co-operators’ Impact! fund to perform work on the trail in summer 2018. This funding allowed us and the FHA to clear an overgrown, 1.5km section of the trail, making it passable to hikers for the first time in years.
• Simran and I set up information booths at two community festivals in August 2018 (ArtsWells Festival and Robson Valley Music Festival). We handed out trail brochures, answered questions and held a public brainstorming session to solicit ideas on how to reach our goal.
• Published an article in about the watershed in a regional gazette. http://www.thegreengazette.ca/goat-river-watershed-can-a-gold-rush-trail-save-the-salmon/
• Obtained a Rivershed Society grant to allow us to:
- Hold at least one community presentation about the Goat River Trail. (COMPLETED - presented a slide show from my trip through the watershed at Prince George's Caledonia Ramblers hiking club AGM in Nov. 2017).
- Create a promotional video for the Goat River Trail (ONGOING - footage for video obtained).
- Create and maintain a Goat River Trail Facebook group. (ONGOING - group created, with 43 followers as of Jan. 5, 2018: https://www.facebook.com/goatrivertrail/ ).
I will continue to focus on setting up meetings with government officials and on following up on the results of those meetings.
Together with the FHA, I will work to create a Goat River Trail website to establish a more robust online presence for the trail.
I will raise awareness of the trail by creating an annual hike from the ArtsWells Festival near Wells to the Robson Valley Music Festival in Dunster. The two festivals happen one week apart, which should allow for hikers to traverse the approx. 50km wilderness trail that separates them. I hope to launch the inaugural hike in summer 2018.