With support from NSG, the Kootenay Native Plant Society(KNPS) and the Native Bee Society of BC(NBSBC), I was able to coordinate an interpretive hike in the special provincially red-listed grassland ecosystem on Record Ridge. The hike started at the south trailhead of the Seven Summits Trail just outside Rossland after a meet-up and carpool from the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. There were 45 people who joined us with interpreters Iraleigh Anderson a Professional Botanist, Lincoln Best, a Native Bee and botanical specialist, and Audrey Ehman an Ecologist and Professional Agrologist. Valerie Huff of NBSBC/KNPS shared her ethnobotanical understanding of place as a bonus interpreter.
With NSG grant support, I was able to print event posters, plant lists, and photo waivers and provide snacks for all who attended. I also was able to reimburse some mileage costs for one hike planning site visit and the hike day travel for myself and Iraleigh, who also received an honorarium. Donations from attendants were given to Lincoln Best for his contributions.
I arranged for Lincoln Best’s bee collection to be displayed in the lobby of the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre lobby over two days. This was an alternative for possible weather cancellation of the hike but also ended up being a bonus interpretive opportunity for the broader community and those attending.
Highlights on the hike were the recording of three sites in INaturalist of the federally red-listed Mountain Holly Fern by Iraleigh, saying hello to the first Bitterroot flowers to open this season. Audrey shared her deep understanding of the rarity and importance of grasslands in BC and the lack of protection for them. Valerie shared her knowledge of the Sinixt relationship with the spitlm/ Bitterroot and other culturally significant plants found in the grassland. Lincoln shared fascinating plant and bee relationship understanding and features of bees to help with identification.
The next hike KNPS is organizing will have limited registration, as this large group was challenging to keep communication with on the single-track trail. We will also have more designated wilderness first aid attendants in case of incidents and handheld radios to enable communication between the slower and faster groups.
I was so impressed with the caring for the place and each other, which was demonstrated during this hike, and I had many thank you’s for the day from attendants and interpreters.