Nanaimo rivers celebrated during event at Bowen Park

Nanaimo rivers provide drinking water, a place to play in the heat of summer and important habitat for spawning salmon.

On Sept. 30, the City of Nanaimo invites residents to celebrate all the waterways offer during Rivers Day at the Bowen Park amphitheatre. It is the 32nd annual B.C. Rivers Day and the third consecutive year the city has hosted an event.

“[Rivers] are the sources of so much that is vital for us,” said Gail Adrienne, executive director of the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust. “The Nanaimo River, it’s our water source.”

Deborah Beck, city recreation coordinator, said Rivers Day is a chance for people to enjoy a day of fun family activities for all ages and the beauty of Bowen Park.

“We have beautiful parks in Nanaimo and it’s something we hold dear and value,” she said. “We’re just trying to show the community the streams and rivers and forests and how it really affects us as a community.”

The celebration is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is hosted by the city’s parks, recreation and culture department. It features a $7 salmon barbecue organized by NALT, information booths from various community organizations and an interpretive stream walk of the Millstone River and fry trapping.

There will be live entertainment throughout the day at the amphitheatre starting with Compassion Gorilla at 11:15 a.m., Buckman Coe at 12:30 p.m., Mt. Benson Ceili Band at 1:45 p.m. and finishing with West My Friend at 3 p.m.

Charles Thirkill, field coordinator for the Harbour City River Stewards, will lead the interpretive stream walk and fry trapping at 1 p.m.

Children will get a chance to haul in the traps and look at the fry that inhabit the Millstone River.

“The kids get a thrill looking at the fish and then releasing them,” said Thirkill.

He said because of its design, the Millstone provides people in Nanaimo with a unique opportunity to view spawning coho.

Usually the fish only spawn at night, but because of the cover available, coho can easily hide when they spot danger and spawn during the day.

The public can also learn about the work the river stewards are doing with other community organizations in the Millstone River, Departure Creek, Beck Creek and Chase River during the event.

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