Friends of Kootenay National Park is a volunteer, charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, appreciation, education and understanding of Kootenay National Park’s cultural and natural history as well as the neighboring ecosystem of the Columbia River valley.
One of the most spectacular of all Canada’s mountain parks, Kootenay National Park is a natural venue for scientific research, providing information about how species and natural systems function, cope, thrive, fail, and adapt. With this knowledge of our natural systems, we can begin to understand all the ways in which we interact with, affect and are affected by the natural world. The data gained from research is an integral part in managing Parks Canada lands, infrastructure and visitor experiences.
With this in mind, the Friends of Kootenay National Park have created the Science Research Database for Kootenay National Park. The labor-intensive project has resulted in a catalog of over 600 references pertaining to science, research and monitoring in the park — entering them into an online database. Visitors to the database can find published and unpublished documents on wildlife, fisheries, vegetation, fire, history, recreation, physiography, hydrology, social science, planning and management spanning the years from 1923 to 2012. The database can be viewed and searched at http://www.friendsofkootenay.ca/research-database
Over the years, the Friends of Kootenay has sponsored and supported various events such as the Wild Voices Speaker Series, Wings Over the Rockies (which celebrates the amazing backyard in which we live), the annual Knapweek Pull, the Head Banger Trail Challenge fundraiser, Headbanger tours, heritage teas and more.
Various programs are undertaken during the year by the Friends of Kootenay as well.
The Junior Naturalist Summer Camp at the Redstreak Campground, just outside of Radium Hot Springs, gets youngsters excited about the cultural and natural history of Kootenay National Park and the great outdoors. Kids take explorative hikes, play interactive games, examine hands-on models and artifacts and meet Parks Canada staff, while having a great time in a safe environment.
Parks Canada interpretive programs involve theatre, self-guided activities along interpretive trails with signs and exhibits, hikes with local guides, and special events. For more information about Parks Canada interpretation programs, go to http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/kootenay/edu/index_e.asp
Close to the heart of the Friends of Kootenay National Park is the Adopt a Bighorn project, begun in 2008, when the Friends, along with the community of Radium Hot Springs and the local Chamber of Commerce bought large bighorn sheep warning signs for the Mile Hill and the highway north of the town to help address the yearly mortality of up to 10% of the bighorn population that feeds along the slopes on either side of the highway. Already the traffic has been observed to be slowing down and drivers are paying closer attention to the sheep.
An ongoing project of the organization is the ‘Nature’s Gifts & Bookstore’ at the Radium Visitor Information Centre. The store is open year-round and offers an excellent and ever-expanding selection of unique gifts, books and maps. Profits from the store are re-invested into all the Friends’ programs and projects.
- Donations by individuals or organizations help fund research into movement patterns, habitat selection, ecosystem restoration, disease monitoring, and continuing education. Make a donation at http://www.friendsofkootenay.ca/donation
- Become a member of Friends of Kootenay National Park by visiting http://www.friendsofkootenay.ca/join
- For more information or to pre-register for the junior naturalist camps, visit http://www.friendsofkootenay.ca/programs
Friends of Kootenay National Park
Box 512, Radium Hot Springs, BC V0A 1M0