Bald eagle festival this weekend

The annual event sees eagle-watchers coming out in droves

The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is set to happen this weekend on Harrison River, and there is a full calender of activities to jot down.

More than 7,300 bald eagles were counted from a jet boat tour last year, and this season offers all of the popular attractions designed to help visitors see the majestic birds.

There will be interpreted walking tours, authentic aboriginal dancers and artisans, a traditional salmon BBQ and jet boat tours.

If you’re leaving from Mission, stop by the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce on your way out of town to pick up festival programs and other information.

There are number of scheduled events and activity centres in Harrison and surrounding areas.

The Exhibitor’s Fair and Laq’a:mel Hall in Deroche features 30 educational, environmental and nature displays, arts and crafts from locals, and activities for kids.

Tapadera Estates on Morris Valley Road in Harrison Mills has a viewing tent for eagles, and scheduled wildlife speakers, such as salmon biologist Matt Foy and eagle biologist David Hancock.

Eagle Point Community Park provides viewing opportunities in the Chehalis River Estuary of not just eagles, but also trumpeter swans and other waterfowl. An on-site park ranger will be there to answer questions.

If you’d prefer a comfortable visit, the Sandpiper Golf Resort provides the amenities of the resort and the River’s Edge Restaurant with the views of the eagles.

For more hands-on viewing, Mission’s Jo-Ann or Rob Chadwick are offering Fraser River Safari jetboat eco-river tours at 11:30 a.m., 1 or 2:30 p.m. Cost is $55 per adult, $50 for seniors/children and lasts one hour.

The other side of the food chain is also on display at the Inch Creek Hatchery in Dewdney, with tours available of the fishery that rebuilds the stock of chum, coho, chinook, steelhead and sockeye salmon upon which the eagles feast.

For a kid-friendly trip, you can visit the Kilby Historic Site, which features Harrison’s original General Store, as well as feature birds of prey from the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

There are cultural retreat options at the Sts’ailes Lhawathet Lalem, a Chehalis First Nations healing centre. Activities include artisan demonstrations, educational discussions, Sasquatch dancers, and making your own Dreamcatcher or cedar bark bracelet.

If you want to get your heart rate up, Surrey Trekkers Volkssport Club offers a 10 kilometre hike on Sunday from the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack beginning at 10 a.m.

Finally, there’s the Chehalis River Eagle Watching Tour hosted by Jason Northcott and Dan Buffet covering 500 hectares of conservation area. Bring binoculars and comfortable hiking shoes.

If any of the above activities sound fun, be sure to visit the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce to obtain a special program guide or visit www.fvbef.ca.