The Trans Canada Trail at Thacker Regional Park in Hope would be the perfect place to log some time for the Swim the River event this summer. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard file)

The Trans Canada Trail at Thacker Regional Park in Hope would be the perfect place to log some time for the Swim the River event this summer. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard file)

Hope residents invited to ‘Swim the River’ to help the Fraser

An event organized by the Rivershed Society of B.C. aims to protect and restore Fraser watersheds

Residents of Hope and area are invited to participate in the Rivershed Society of B.C.’s Race the River event.

From June 11 to July 3, they’ll join people from around the province raising awareness to protect and restore the Fraser Watershed.

The Fraser River is 1,375 kilometres long and it is hoped that Race the River participants will collectively walk, paddle, bike, swim or roll seven times that distance.

The target is 10,000 kilometres. Part of the inspiration for the event is the 1995 Swim for Life, when Fin Donnelly swam the entire length of the Fraser River in 21 days. Donnelly is the founder of the Rivershed Society, a former MP, and a current MLA and the parliamentary secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Race the River is about building community, connecting to our watershed and coming together to work toward Watershed CPR (Connect. Protect. Restore),” the event website explains. “Each kilometre traveled — whether five or 50 — helps to build a community more invested in the resiliency of the Fraser River.”

The Rivershed Society of B.C. is holding Race the River hoping to start a movement. According to the website, historically, 50 million spawning Sockeye salmon have returned annually to the Fraser River. But in 2020, only 288,000 came back.

The Rivershed Society of B.C. was formed in 1996, with the goal of protecting 30 per cent (seven million hectares) of the Fraser Watershed and restoring five per cent (1.1 million hectares).

Race the River is free to participate in, and open to all ages/abilities.

For more info on Race the River, or to register, visit rivershed.com/connect/race-the-river/

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eric.welsh@hopestandard.com

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