BC Park’s student rangers have wrapped up a number of summer projects after the province opened up the program for applicants to work in Terrace for the first time.
The program offers youth between the ages of 18-30 to work with crews and gain experience in projects related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and Indigenous relations over the course of four months. The Terrace crew is one of 12 groups comprised of four members each that are stationed across the province, with three groups based in Northern B.C.
“We have done many amazing projects this summer,” writes David Brown, BC Parks regional director in an email to the Terrace Standard. “To be able to experience BC Parks in a new way, interact with the public, and be outside acting as stewards for the environment has been incredible.”
It was a busy summer for the student rangers. They did a beach cleanup at Campania Conservancy southwest of Hartley Bay, and watched as humpback whales, porpoises, seals and birds explored the channels and beaches of the North Coast.
“Looking at the final haul of trash we had collected on the boat really makes you think twice about what products we are using and consuming every day,” says Theoret.
Improvements were made to the park at Sleeping Beauty Mountain, where student rangers completed a large section of trail and road maintenance, opening up the road to the trailhead for park users to access it easier. New tent pads were also installed on top of the mountain around a small alpine lake to reduce the impact of camping.
Student rangers also ventured up into the Seven Sisters Provincial Park just east of Terrace, where each day they made progress on work projects and personal goals. They described their experience working with BC Parks as ‘life-changing’ and ‘a huge gift.’
“The trip up to the base of the Seven Sisters peak Tlooki was amazing,” says crew member Sarah Peden. “I got to work on my construction skills helping set up the tent pads and making a new trailhead to a hidden boardwalk for everyone to enjoy. It was a life-changing experience getting to explore the mountains that I have only seen from a distance up close.”
Peden, from Kitsumkalum, is studying wildlife and fisheries with a minor in physical geography at University of Northern British Columbia’s Prince George campus. Other crew members include Telkwa’s Alex Faion, who is studying fisheries and wildlife management also at UNBC in Prince George, Nicholas Theoret, a student from Sarnia, Ont. studying forestry conservation at Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie Ont and Hayden Nielsen, a student from Ottawa, Ont. studying ecosystem management technology at Fleming College in Lindsay, Ont.
Nielsen described hiking up the Hells Bells trail into Oliver Creek, coming around the corner and seeing a trappers cabin. It was his first time camping above the tree line in the snow, and his first time seeing a grizzly bear.
“The weirdest thing you’ll experience here is the illusion of distance up in the peaks. Standing on a ridge you gaze over the horizon seeing every outcrop and peak they look just like a short walk away, yet you know that you could walk for hours and never reach them,” he says. “The fact that I was part of this and was able to work with other rangers to improve this park for other adventures to experience these great moments was nothing short of a great pleasure.”
For more information about BC Park’s student ranger program, visit their website.