The Peachland Sportsmen’s Association was established on February 5th, 1981 and has remained continuously active since that date. It is involved both in the wilderness and in populated communities and has a current membership of around 200. Many groups of people, including hunters and fishermen, the members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation and their associate clubs (including the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association) have a vested interest in the maintenance of all fish and wildlife – and in their scientific management. The Peachland Sportsmen’s Association raises funds through raffles as well as the Annual Game Banquet and with these funds is able to be involved in wildlife enhancement projects which sometimes necessitate the hiring of consultants, for example fish biologists if the project were to improve spawning beds.
The Peachland Sportsmen’s Association has been involved in a wide variety of projects over the years to help and protect a diversity of wildlife. Specific projects have included the following:
Work on both Powers Creek and Deep Creek was performed, constructing fish ladders and adding washed gravel for spawning platforms.
On the creek that enters Eneas Lake, the stream bed was raised to allow recently hatched fish to have passage back into the lake.
Work in collaboration with fish biologists on Deep Creek was carried out for several years in relation to the fact that Kokanee spawning runs were over-populated. This work involved egg and sperm collection carried out continuously for four days in relation to the fish hatchery program.
A three year program on Trepanier Creek was carried out to improve stream bank stability and to add shade cover by the planting of trees and shrubs. Clean-up work was also done further up the creek in collecting and removing garbage that had been dumped, as well as removing wires and other debris that may have been left there from an abandoned dam. Funds were made available for the hiring of a consultant Fisheries Biologist to see if the fish spawning habitat on Trepanier Creek could be improved.
In relation to the protection of big game, the Peachland Department of Highways contributed financially to the construction of the fence along Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland. This fence has substantially reduced deer-vehicle collisions and thus benefited the travelling public as well as the deer. Another activity has been brush cutting in the Antlers Saddle area and the McCall lakes vicinity to improve the habitat for wintering deer and moose. Funding has also been provided by the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association to enable aerial game counts.
Other projects involve teaching and the providing of opportunities. On-going projects include the teaching of fishing to children at Shannon Lake and the opportunity to individuals, especially handicapped children, to learn to fish on Okanagan Lake. Some members of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association have been active in the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s Wilderness Watch program for environmental protection and the prevention of poaching. A student bursary has also been provided for students wishing to train in such fields as becoming game wardens or in other environmental fields. Some members of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association possess the qualifications to teach the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education Course as well as the Firearms Safety Course. These courses are given at the Maple Springs Bible Camp buildings off Princeton Avenue.
All of these efforts by the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association are directed at protection of our hunter heritage and to maintain responsible stewardship in the management of our lands and water for wildlife conservation.
– BY Dan Jenkins