Written by: Reuben Middel (OWC Outreach Assistant)
Editor's Note: The first weekend for the OWC Outreach team is in the books and everyone (Rob, Nata, Francisco, and Reuben) returned in one piece. In a rare exception to the typical May Long weather it was a warm, sunny weekend, which left the team excited to spend more time in the backcountry.
On Saturday, we rose early expecting snow to have fallen but surprised when the sun was shining and the weather was warming. The time had come to actually survey the random campers and motorized recreationists in the area and collect some data. We weren’t nervous in the slightest….
Throwing on our new swanky vests and hats really boosted our confidence as we entered the first group’s campsite. What a twist to find that people actually enjoyed chatting with us and were more than willing to participate in our surveys and pledges. Being able to have informative conversations and pleasant exchanges helped to encourage us and gave us excitement for the coming summer. When we all finished the day's work and convened back at camp, we shared similar feelings of enjoyment and enthusiasm for the remainder of the summer.
One thing that was very evident was the amount of enforcement this May Long. Many of the people we spoke with also pointed out the strong presence of Conservation Officers, Fish and Wildlife, and RCMP. Many recreationists voiced concerns regarding a lack of enforcement in previous years, and the increase in law enforcement was well received. People want to continue enjoying their time in the backcountry; they hope to see all illegal activities weeded out and the backcountry kept clean. It was fascinating to hear about all the family history in these open areas and how much the land has changed even within the last 50 years.
As we returned home we were all in agreement that the weekend had exceeded our expectations with regards to weather, conversations, and withstanding each other. It’s encouraging to see people becoming more involved and educated about the watershed they are a part of, and how much it means to them. The entire OWC Outreach team is excited to continue to talk with people and help increase awareness and engagement around issues in our watershed.