Warm welcome from OHV crowd at Dutch Creek

(Editor's Note: If you like the vest Adam is wearing, we will have the new OWC vests and tshirts in Ladies' and Men's sizes available at the upcoming Lunch & Learn on September 30th!)

Well, the OWC's Outreach Coordinators are home once again from another successful adventure out in Dutch Creek - it's Adam Janzen reporting this time :-)

Like last week, our task was to use surveys as a way to connect with and learn from the recreational community of the area. We found on our first trip to Dutch Creek that the surveys were very good conversation starters and it had been a great pleasure for Rowan, Cody, and I, as we shared stories of land, water, wildlife, camping, and quadding adventures with those who have found this little piece of paradise nestled within the headwaters of the Oldman watershed.

Our first journey to Dutch Creek, although brief, quickly made us all realize why so many people seem to make this area their home away from home throughout the summer. From the vibrantly green forested slopes of the surrounding mountains to the gently babbling creek of crystal clear mountain run-off which gives this place its name, the beauty of this region literally surrounds you. It is no wonder why these trips out to the headwaters have quickly become the highlight of my internship experience this summer with the Oldman Watershed Council.

It was with anticipation that Rowan and I loaded up the old Jeep on Friday afternoon, despite the rain - which we were thinking could put a damper on the weekend. But we decided that weather would not stop us and that we would not allow a little bit of rain to ruin the trip for us. Little did we know that good old Mother Nature had more in store for us than simply a light drizzle.

As we neared Pincher Creek, the rain did begin to let up - but this was only to allow room for the snowfall within which we now found ourselves! We couldn’t believe our eyes, a snow storm in August!

 Adam enjoying s snowstorm in August.

Adam enjoying s snowstorm in August.

Rowan, who has been studying in Germany for the past couple of years, quickly started sending out text messages to his friends across the ocean because he said they would never believe what we were seeing.

We stuck to our motto that weather wasn’t going to stop us and pressed on, driving up a snow covered forestry trunk road (which I have to admit I enjoyed much more than the choking dust we found on this same road the week before).

We awoke the next morning to a fog-shrouded winter wonderland. Yet, despite the chill in the air and the freshly fallen snow, we were encouraged to see that so many others had braved the elements and were still camping in the area.

Around noon, the sun was back in full force and the snow was quickly disappearing from valley. It was with the return of the sun that the valley seemed to come to life as everyone emerged from their campers, trailers, and tents to enjoy the melting snow and sunny day. From this point on, we were able to continue our surveying work and were able to truly enjoy our conversations getting to know the many people who come out to Dutch Creek to get away from their busy lives in the city and to enjoy the beauty found in the wilderness of the headwaters.

 Rowan Wolf Garleff (L) and an OHV enthusiast out in Dutch Creek, August 2015.

Rowan Wolf Garleff (L) and an OHV enthusiast out in Dutch Creek, August 2015.

We talked with campers about their concerns about clean fresh water and how water quality all begins in the headwaters. The water in Dutch Creek makes its way to the Oldman, which eventually flows into the South Saskatchewan River and from there through Manitoba all the way to Hudson’s Bay. The water we enjoy in Dutch Creek is just one small piece within a much larger picture of water conservation and quality across Canada.

We learned about 5 point safety systems and seat belts on quads as well as how machines are getting bigger and more powerful. We spoke with campers about their favorite spots on Dutch Creek and the camp sites that they return to year after year.

We learned a lot about the campers, quads, trails, and wildlife (not to mention the unpredictable weather) of Dutch Creek this past weekend and we are definitely looking forward to our next visit, although next time I may be packing my snowsuit just in case.