As the days draw closer to summer, it’s still uncertain whether or not COVID-19 will stay a social barrier. The allowed social gathering numbers have increased to 10 people, but what about those concerned about health and safety? Or maybe you just want to plan a fun, family-friendly outing in the Fraser Valley. There are many fun outdoorsy adventures waiting to be had, and today we’ll take a look at 5.
Hiking at the Community Forest (Chilliwack)
If you live in Chilliwack or don’t mind the drive, the Community Forest is a great spot for a COVID-friendly family adventure. Located off the Annis Road exit of Highway 1, this hike is fun for the whole family. Dogs love it if you have one, and bonus: with a couple of different routes to choose from, you might not even run into anybody else. If you love hiking, or maybe you’re on the prowl for some new spots, the Community Forest won’t disappoint.
Fishing in the Mountain Slough (Agassiz)
Mountain Slough, located beside Highway 7 coming from Agassiz, is a neat little area. I’m not sure if or when it gets busy, but each time I’ve gone I was the only person there. Featuring a nice little fishing spot, as well as a bit of a trail, both the fishermen and hikers and joggers of the family are sure to have a good time. The scenery is incredible as well, both on the trip too, and at the destination.
Fire Creek (Mission)
As the days are getting a little warmer, swimming season is almost upon us. And what could be better than natural rock pools? Fire Creek is personally my favorite place to go in the Fraser Valley. It’s up Stave Lake road, which means you get to do a bit of 4x4ing, plus there’s still a little bit of a hike to get to it. But once you’re there, endless hours of fun for the whole family. If swimming, cliff jumping (please be careful), or even just wading in pools is your thing, I’d recommend checking this one out.
Geocaching is a classic activity. Maybe you know what it is, maybe you don’t (I’m assuming you might), but one of the fun things about geocaching is that it’s not limited to one location. Another adventure for a fun family day, I’d suggest checking this out if you like hiking.
Fishtrap Creek (Abbotsford)
And last but not least, here’s a location for families with younger kids, or even if you just enjoy walking. A good spot for biking too, Fishtrap Creek is a mix of fun. Enjoy the scenery, birds, and more, with the whole family.
So there you have it. The pandemic may be lurking, but there’s still a lot of adventures to be had.
Have you been to any of these places? Have your own suggestion for a COVID-friendly time? Let us know in the comments below!
If you live in the Fraser Valley you may think that you will have to travel for hours to Nahatlatch Canyon, Thompson, Coquihalla, or Green Canyon (Whistler / Pemberton) to go river rafting, but excellent rafting is closer than you think.
River rafting is available just an hour away from Vancouver on the Chilliwack River. You can have a variety of adventures on the river from heart-pumping rapids to a bit more of a scenery family-oriented ride.
River rafting is available year-round. We happened to see the good folks from Chilliwack River Rafting several weeks ago when we went fishing and snapped a few pics and this video.
We are noticing a lot of discussion on Social Media about ordering dinner in for Christmas. Is this something you are considering? The comments we are seeing include how difficult it is going to be to get together this holiday, but we can still support local business.
If you are considering a catered meal for Christmas, here are some Fraser Valley catering companies to consider:*
Jan’s on the Beach Restaurant and Catering
At Jan’s you can call in at 604 531-5444 or order takeout. Jan’s takeout menu can be found here: Takeout Menu
From Jan’s website: At Jan’s “We’re ‘Seafood and more’ with a great selection of dishes, all made in house from scratch. Many of our dishes are Gluten Free, including our Calamari, Fish and Chips, and others as well!”
For catering see: https://jansonthebeach.ca/catering/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org Jan’s on the Beach offers a full catering service.
Laura’s is one of Mike’s favorite coffee shops and they cater. Plus, they have a great website!
According to Mike, they have a “friendly owner and staff. It’s a great community hub,” and he says, they have “really good food and amazing baked goods. Find out more here: Laura’s Coffee Corner
Coast and Country Caterers have been in business since 1997. They have an exclusive Christmas menu too. One of their menus includes roast turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, honey glazed ham, vegetarian lasagna, honey glazed carrots and beans, mashed potatoes, salads, buns, assorted desserts, and coffee and tea. There are five different menus to choose from. See Coast and Country Caterers
Sheila’s Craft Kitchen
At Sheila’s Craft Kitchen you can order a Holiday dinner to-go, or as they put it a “Chrismas Feast” and gift baskets and gift cards. See the photo to the right to see what’s available on the dinner menu. Visit their website here Sheila’s Craft Kitchen
Caterings Visions says, “We are in a festive mood.” To see what Catering Visions has to offer for a catered Christmas dinner, see the photo and click here: Catering Visions
Hillcrest Bakery and Deli
At the time of writing this article, Hillcrest Bakery and Deli is sold out of Christmas Dinners! Oh well, we’ll have to make a note for next year and get our order in early. To see what you missed click here: Hillcrest Bakery and Deli
*Orders need to be placed by a certain date at some of the locations listed above, so don’t wait. Order today!
Thanks to Deborah Janz and Shannon Perkins Dyck for the Fraser Valley catering company suggestions.
Main Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash
This conversation with Rod Clapton, President of the British Columbia Federation of Drift Fishers (BCFDF) and Mike Wilson – BCFDF member and Publisher of Fraser Valley Lifestyle was recorded podcast style by Fuelradio.com. In this episode, we discuss the future of fishing on the Fraser River, particularly for families and drift fishers. You can listen here:
Conversation (paraphrased) with Rod Clapton and Mike Wilson:
Rod Clapton started fishing as a child with his dad. Throughout his teen years, he continued fishing on the Fraser River near the Pattullo Bridge that connects Surrey, BC with New Westminster, BC. Fishing has always been and remains a passion for Rod.
The BCFDF started 25 years ago. At that time there really wasn’t a unified voice for river anglers or an association for drift fishers. Drift fishing is a method of angling separate from stationary bar fishing or fly fishing. It is practiced in rivers where anglers prowl the river searching, as opposed to waiting, for fish to come to them. It is much more active than stationary river fishing. The idea is to let the current carry your bait or lure through the river using a float or small weights for bouncing on the bottom. It is a highly skilled fishery technique requiring years of experience to master.
Rod has been president of the BCFDF for 25 years. He says, “we’ve attempted to represent an aspect of the fishery, but our membership certainly includes anglers from all other methods. Our mandate is “Protection of Fish Stocks & Preservation of Angler opportunity now & for future generations.
The BCFDF formed because the other fishing organizations at the time mostly served a narrow, more exclusive group of fishermen and were not inclusive of other types of fishers. There needed to be a more inclusive group.
It is clear that fish stocks continue to decline, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. As part of the drive for resolution, Rod and other federation partners have tried to form “alliance groups” to further forward stewardship options on our rivers. This is an ongoing challenge.
There is a bit of a pecking order in the minds of “decision-makers” and some groups are being excluded from fishing the Fraser River. While the sport fishery contributes $1.1 billion per year to the BC economy and employs over 9000 people it is one of the groups on the lower end of the pecking order and is being excluded from fishing on the Fraser.
Rod is a supporter of the heritage value and the social value of family fishing. “It’s priceless! It’s a wonderful experience to teach your kids and grandkids in nature.”
Rod acknowledges that First Nations people have constitutional priority. The ongoing concern is that the heritage of family fisheries are not being considered and not being granted. This is the biggest challenge for the group that he represents.
Over the last two years, family fishing has been denied on the Fraser River. Rod feels like this is a dereliction of responsibility by our fisheries managers. He believes that fishermen are capable of responsibly fishing selectively and targeting stocks that are healthy, leaving the stocks alone that are of concern.
Rod says the best bonding time he has had with his son is spending the day fishing. It’s a simple and inexpensive pastime.
Mike Wilson of Fraser Valley Lifestyle, also on our call, agrees. He adds that pretty much every time he goes fishing with his son they have a great conversation and have good quality time together. It’s not just about catching a fish. (Many days they don’t catch any!) It’s also about existing and spending time in the beautiful environment and the excitement of fishing. Mike says he’s been blessed to be a part of that. “We have to have access to the rivers to enjoy these great moments with our families and friends.”
Rod says it’s imperative that we work with our first nations brothers on these initiatives. He has consulted with First Nation bands, particularly on the Fraser River, recognizing that our goal of preserving the fishery for our children and grandchildren is mirrored by their goals. With the political and public sensitivity to the rights of First Nations peoples, it’s a delicate challenge to raise awareness and allowances for all of the different fishing sectors who would like to fish throughout the province.
“We’ve tried negotiating with the government and we have made headway with local First Nations people,” Rod explains, “Our biggest issue is with the government. The reality is we’re not getting very far with them.” He thinks the government has failed to manage fish species for all Canadians. The BCFDF has retained legal counsel and says someday the issue of protecting the Public Fishery may make it to the Supreme Court. It may be one of the few avenues left to him and those who share his passion to ensure that their children can take their children fishing.
Today there are many great organizations in addition to the BCFDF throughout the province that are involved in conserving the fishery. If we work together, we can support the great Canadian heritage of family fishing.
Put these notes after the sign-off and you could include Mike’s gratitude for Rod leading the charge at BCFDF for 25 years.
Link to website. There is lots of information about all of the details and all of their efforts. They are affiliated with a Fraser River Sports Fishing Alliance. BCFDF was influential in getting that organization up and running. See https://fraseralliance.com/contact/
It costs just $20 a year to join the BCFDF and gives you a voice. Rod says, “Individually we are ignored collectively we are heard.” See https://www.bcfdf.com/
Throughout this past summer Shelley Coburn, a Trustee at the Langley Board of Education partnered with local business owner Brenda-Lee Hunter from The Village Work and Play Space and organized The Village Market in Langley City. I had a visit with Shelley to get her perspective on how the market started and what it might look like in the future.
Shelley grew up in Langley City and describes the community as “a very caring community” and as I spoke with Shelley I got the sense that The Village Market is her way of caring for the community that she grew up in and now serves as a politician.
According to Shelley, The Village Market started in response to COVID-19. She saw it as a way of giving local vendors and farmers the opportunity to sell their products because so many events and markets that they would normally attend were canceled due to the pandemic. COVID-19 has made business difficult for local vendors and farmers. Shelley is moved by the appreciation participants in The Village Market have expressed.
You might have noticed that The Village Market includes crafters who sometimes don’t get to participate in local farmer’s markets because the rules and regulations typically exclude them. For that reason, Shelley says she is going out of her way to include them and give them an opportunity to sell their products.
Some of the leftover fruits and vegetables from The Village Market go to Brogan‘s Diner who then provides meals to people who are homeless. Shelley is creative and looks for local nonprofits to distribute leftover food too like the Douglas Park Community School neighbourhood food bank.
Shelley says that the market has a definite family feel. Her family and many of the vendor’s families participate in the market. Once in awhile local politicians show up like Peter Fassbender with his wife and grandson, Councilor Teri James, and Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek. Shelley says she appreciates the support but her favourite part is when her friends from the community show up to support the vendors and the market. She would also like to extend her thanks to folks at Discover Langley and the Downtown Langley Business Association who helped her get the market started and have been there ever since.
Shelley has a Facebook page for The Village Market in Langley City, but likes to promote the market in an old-school fashion. Nicole Longacre-O’Brien from the Langley UPS Store helps provide advertising and Shelley drops off flyers in the community a few days ahead of each event.
As Shelley looks ahead she says she may formalize the market a little bit more. In the meantime, she hasn’t set a definitive date for the next market but promises there will be another one this Fall, so stay tuned. If you’re interested in getting a table, prices start at a reasonable $30. You can contact Shelly at email@example.com for more information.
Houston Trail in Langely, BC will forever have a special place in my heart. While we lived in Walnut Grove, Langley for 20 years Houston Trail was my go-to trail for walking the dog, exercise, and meditation. It’s a park that has a little of everything; beautiful foliage, interesting views, ponds, and creeks.
At 4.18 km, 2.6 miles the trail is just long enough to get a decent workout in the way of a walk or jog. You can visit the park year-round and as a frequent visitor, I loved to see the park change with the seasons. Our now deceased American Cocker Spaniel named Dobson used to love this park too!
Speaking of dogs, they are allowed to use the trail but must be on a leash. Over the years I got nipped or jumped on by the odd off-leash dog which I always consider to be the owner’s fault and not the dog’s. In addition to dogs, the park is kid-friendly and open to horseback riding so watch out for road apples.
If you go counterclockwise on the trail, there is a good hill that is about 100 meters long that will get your lungs and heart pumping. Or, you can go clockwise and cruise downhill instead.
Park off Allard Crescent. 10748 Allard Crescent, Langley City, BC V1M 3V7. Here’s a Google Map from the Starbucks that starts near the 200th Street and Trans Canada 1 Interchange – https://bit.ly/2CoRp7n
Connect to Other Trails
Another thing to love about Houston Trail is the other trails you can connect to. If you want to extend your walk or jog, or just explore a different trail you can be connected to Derby Reach Regional Park. Derby Reach Regional Park Trail is a 9.17 km 5.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that runs along the Fraser River and historic sites and farmland.* The park also offers a camping area located along the Fraser River and a dog off-leash area. This trail is good for all skill levels and is popular year-round.
You can also connect to the Fort to Fort Trail that is a 7.89 km 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Langley, British Columbia, Canada that features the Fraser River, the Fort Langley Golf Course, and some interesting farms and homes. This trail is good for all skill levels and is popular year-round.**
When we have the time we like to park in the Allard Crescent Parking lot, walk to historic Fort Langley, have coffee and something to eat in one of the many fine coffee shops, and then walk back.
Bonus – Houston Trail Virtual Walk If you ever wonder about the foliage in one of these parks listed above, take a virtual walk Dr. David Clements a plant ecologist at Trinity Western University.
Cultus Lake, British Columbia is a popular summer recreational destination for people who live in the Metro Vancouver area. It is located 11 km southwest of Chilliwack, BC, and is roughly a one hour and forty-five-minute drive from downtown Vancouver when the traffic is good.
Trash and Treasure
All of the summer visitors to the area take a toll on the environment in and around Cultus Lake. Recently, recognizing that the lake needed a bit of a clean up and also wondering what kind of treasure they might find, Clayton Helkenberg (right) and Steve Clegg (left) volunteered their time to do a little cleanup free diving in the lake.
“I [Clayton] live in Chilliwack B.C and I love to swim and free-dive in my local lakes and rivers to find what has been lost and clean up what I can. I have been able to return things to the owners who had never thought they would see their item again which is an awesome feeling! Instagram @ Aquatic__Monkey.
We contacted Clayton who has given a nickname to his trash and treasure hobby on social media, “Aquatic Monkey.” Clayton said “It’s just a hobby. [Aquatic Monkey] was kind of a joke nickname started by my friend and I kind of went with it. I have done this kind of stuff since I was a kid but got inspired [by] some of the bigger Youtube guys to start filming. Steve is definitely all about the environment [and] I’m a little more interested in finding ‘treasures’ but I pick up garbage when I see it.’
Pictures of Trash
Pictures of trash probably aren’t exactly what you want to see on a blog but they give you some idea of the amount of litter and trash and lost items like, sunglasses and cell phones, that end up in the lake. As you can see from the photos Clayton and Steve collected quite a haul. Judging by the response on their Facebook page their actions were greatly appreciated by numerous people who were also a little appalled at some people’s lack of respect for the environment.
“I [Clayton] live in Chilliwack B.C and I love to swim and free-dive in my local lakes and rivers to find what has been lost and clean up what I can. I have been able to return things to the owners who had never thought they would see their item again which is an awesome feeling! Follow me on Instagram @ aquatic__monkey.
Video: Top Finds
Trash is a sign of neglect and disregard for nature. It can have an impact on aquatic plants, The reproductive behavior of fish, and other animals. It depletes the water of oxygen as waste decomposes. Also, toxic materials can leak or leach out of certain kinds of trash.
Thank you, Clayton, and Steve for helping to clean-up Cultus Lake.
The 2020 BC Day Long weekend is going to be a little different because of the coronavirus. Gatherings of 50+ still aren’t allowed. In the Spring of 2020, a lot of events were canceled in the Fraser Valley due to the coronavirus including the Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival and others.
On Canada Day back on July 1 there were several events that took place online instead like The Virtual Surrey Canada Day festival that included music and cultural entertainment, and performances by a number of different artists including 54-40, Bif Naked, Colin James and many others. Similar to Canada Day some Vancouver BC Day festivals are planning to do online activities including the Pride Festival and the Powell Street Festival
Since it’s in the Fraser Valley and it normally opens on August 1 until September 15 we want to give a special mention to the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival. We heard it may be opening mid-August, and on their website, it says “Dates TBA.” See the link above for more details.
The White Rock Sea Festival usually takes place on the first weekend in August, but due to the coronavirus it has been canceled and is expected to return in 2021. You can always head to White Rock Beach this weekend and enjoy the sand, shops, restaurants, and the ocean on your own!
Long Weekend Activities in the Fraser Valley
Fort Langley Farmers Market, Saturday, opens at 9:00 for Seniors and 10:00 AM
Traces of Evidence is “An interesting pictorial showing White Rock, BC’s history, from the early beginnings as the Semiahmoo Homeland through early logging, to a thriving modern-day beach town.”
Did you know there was a boathouse on the famous White Rock Pier at one time? Speaking of the pier it looks like it has been a regular place to congregate for many decades. As you will read below, the video created a lot of questions for me which I will have to try and get answered somehow. If you know some of the answers, please feel free to comment.
The entire video is laid on a bed of nicely selected music and tasteful sound effects. If you’d like, look in YouTube notes for the music credits.
At 0:00 – 01:23 Traces of Evidence starts out paying pictorial homage to the Indigenous people who lived and still live in the area. Photos of Indigenous people are sprinkled throughout the video.
At 01:24 minutes the video starts to show the forestry that took place and shots of this are interspersed throughout the rest of the video too. There is one photo of a giant old-growth cedar which if you go for a walk in some of the local parks you will see remnants of today because the stumps still remain.
At 01:56 we begin to see photos of some of the people who moved here in the early 1900s. We see one of the first lumber mills and some of the first homes too.
03:10 – The railway eventually came to White Rock connecting the city to the U.S. and the rest of Metro Vancouver. It travels along White Rock beach where it still is today. There’s even a photo of a 1920’s food truck. I guess those have been around for a long time!
Then there are pictures of some of the first roads and a May Day celebration from 1937.
Around 6:00 minutes you will also see what appears to be the opening of The Peace Arch that is located at the Canada / U.S. border (I wonder how the lineups were back then?)
At 09:24 there are photos of school children and possibly one of the first school buildings. At 09:53 a school building is shown that Semiahmoo High Secondary would eventually be attached too for many years until it moved to 148th Street in Surrey.
At 10:59 there are photos of people in the military which makes me wonder, was there a military base in the area at one time?” and “did some of these soldiers go and fight in any of the World Wars?” Possibly World War II?
At 12:26 there are photos of Marine Drive, first called Washington Avenue, and a bus with the word “Vancouver” on it which must have taken people to and from Vancouver. What was the trip like back then?
15;15 – Apparently, there was quite a large fire at one point along Marine Drive.
Near the end of the video, we begin to White Rock resemble the way it looks today, minus the high rises. There are some photos of the Tour de White Rock, the well-known bike race that tests cyclists as they race up and down the city’s steep hill’s.
Following the Province of BC’s lead, the City of Surrey is taking a phased approach to recreation facilities, programs, and parks. Surrey’s approach is great for Public Health, but it can make it confusing to know what’s open and what’s not open? What activities are available and which ones aren’t. There’s also the challenge of what procedures have to be followed by recreation facility operators and people who want to participate in recreational activities. As many business owners and recreational facility staff are discovering, it’s an arduous process to fulfill all of the cleaning requirements and have people follow protocols. Thus the delay and reluctance to open facilities.
With all that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to investigate what’s open and what can you do as we move to phases in which facilities and activities are becoming available once again.
At the time of writing here are some of the things that you can and can’t do in the City of Surrey:
Want to read a book or watch a DVD? Even though Surrey’s major Civic facilities including Parks, Recreation, and Culture and Library facilities will remain closed until early September, However, Surrey’s libraries are open for take out service.
“The response from our community through the Resuming Library Services Survey was clear,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “People are eager to borrow physical materials like books and DVDs and return the items they’ve had at home since March. However, people also told us that they’re not ready to come back into the branches for programming or browsing just yet.”*
To access the service you can either call one of the six participating branches or fill out an online form at www.surreylibraries.ca/takeout. You will be able to pick up your holds and return items when you arrange a pickup time.
Fitness Classes A common theme during COVID-19 is people complaining that they seem to be more prone to make unhealthy choices while they are stuck at home. That said, you may want to check out a fitness class. On July 19th Surrey Recreation announced that they will be opening a number of small group, outdoor fitness classes in parks. There are a variety of classes being offered that are intended to help you get out of the house and become healthy and active again with little or no equipment.