Field Trips

BC Nature 2020
Annual General Meeting and Conference
Field Trips

Photo by M. Masiel

We are very disappointed to announce that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 BC Nature AGM & Conference will not be held this year. BUT we are delighted to announce that the AGM & Conference will take place in Princeton next year in 2021;Thursday, May 27, 2021 thru Sunday, May 30, 2021.
As a registrant to this event you have 2 options: You can stay registered for 2021 or you can ask for a refund. Please indicate your intention by May 1, 2020, especially if you want a refund. For those requesting a refund, a small processing fee of $2.00 will be charge to offset our cost. If you have further questions don’t hesitate to contact me (Mary) at 250-295-7154 or email
BC Nature will be providing further information in the weeks to come re: this situation. Also if you made motel reservations it will be best to cancel.
Your interest in our AGM & Conference is greatly appreciated, and we hope to see you next year.
Take care and stay healthy.

Photo by C. Lahaie
Photo by S. Elwell
Photo by W. Murdock

All field trips meet at the Riverside Centre to organize carpools and then travel to the start of the trip.

148 Old Hedley Road, Princeton, British Columbia, Canada


Trip Details:

Field trip leaders are members of VFFN and invited guests.

Level of difficulty: easy

Trip Description:

Five lakes will be visited—Swan Lake, Separation Lake, August Lake, Ferguson’s Pond, and Wayne Lake. Every effort will be made to assign registrants to a different lake each morning.


Friday, May 29th—All day tours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (Times may vary.)—All participants meet at Riverside Centre, unless otherwise specified. Recommended that you bring your own lunch.

Note: There are all day tours and 1/2 day tours; level of difficulty is indicated as easy, moderate, or strenuous. Good walking shoes or hiking boots are strongly recommended. No toilet facilities are available on these tours.

1. Geology / Geography of Princeton Basin—all daymoderate

This outing is now FULL.

Geologist Dr. Dawes (Wenatchee Valley College) and Geographer Dr. Lillquist (Central Washington University) lead this trip and will use their expertise to explain the geology and geography of the Princeton Basin. The focus is on the remnants of volcanic and glacial activity in the Princeton Area which includes—a visit to lava beds—amazing rock formations—awesome land slips—all examples of past upheavals.

2. Invasive plants—all dayeasysome travelling involved

Biologist Lisa Scott from OASISS (Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society) conducts this tour on how to identify invasive plants in the field and better understand their impacts on wildlife and native plant communities. Learn about biological control, natural insect enemies, and the anticipated impacts of climate change as you visit several sites around the Princeton Area.

3. Heritage Cultural Tour—all dayeasysome travelling involved

Archaeologist Brenda Gould with the assistance of Upper Similkameen Indian Band will lead this tour. Various aspects of First Nation’s Culture will be shared with participants.

4. Grasslands —1/2 day / followed by an afternoon presentationeasy

Ecologist and author Don Gayton takes you on a tour of the grasslands of the Princeton area. You will gain an appreciation of our complex and fascinating grassland ecosystem, and learn to identify some of the key species. The morning trip is followed by a presentation by Don on Grasslands and Fire Ecology at 1 pm to 2 pm at Riverside Centre. If you are looking for more to do after Don’s presentation, there is a presentation by Krista Kaptein at 2:15 pm on Connecting People with Birds: BC Nature IBA Program.

5. Kettle Valley Railroad (KVR) Bike Tour—all daymoderate20+ Km

John Henry, bike enthusiast, leads this tour. You will bike one of the most scenic parts of the KVR, an area full of interest—geologically, historically, as well as viewing plenty of flora and birds. Mountain Bikes Only, you provide your own bike. Bikes will be transported to White Sands Beach (for an additional cost of $15.00), and you ride all the way back to Princeton, stopping at areas of interest and for lunch.

6. All Day Birding—all daymoderate

Ed and Cathy Lahaie, VFFN’s most knowledgeable and enthusiastic birders will lead this tour. The tour begins at the KVR in the morning with good prospects of seeing different bird species, as well as flowers. The old railway line follows the Tulameen River and the tour goes as far as the Hoodoos. Then, regroup at Riverside Centre and have lunch and continue on to Swan Lake, a kettle lake, for the afternoon. These sites are well known for birding and flora.

7. Fossils—all dayeasy

Dr. Bruce Archibald, paleo-entomologist from Simon Fraser University, and Kathy Simpkins, local fossil enthusiast, are the tour guides. Princeton is one of the best sites for fossils of the Eocene Epoch, dating from 40 to 50 million years ago. Tour begins at the Princeton Museum, then followed by sites where you might find your own fossils!

The following items have been suggested by Dr. Archibald to bring on his tour. These items will make your experience more meaningful, helpful and enjoyable!

  • Safety Glasses
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Hand Chisel or Old Butter Knife
  • A Small Hammer or Geological Hammer (if you have one)
  • Items 3 and 4 will allow you to split rocks
  • A small bag to put your finds in

Any unusual find of value will be donated to the Princeton Museum; this is a must because some interesting items have been found and it adds to the study of fossils in this area.
If it is something never found before, it will probably be named after you!

No great expenditure of money should be made on these things. You probably have these items at home already.

8. Vortex Station to Agate Mountain—all daymoderate

Johanna Nott leads this hike. For those that just want a hike this is bound to please. From Vortex Station you are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of identifiable peaks to the west. This is followed by a 4 km hike to Agate Mountain Forestry Lookout. This site provides an awesome view of Princeton and its surrounding area. A pair of peregrine falcons have been sighted here. There are plenty of wildflowers along the way. From the lookout you retrace your steps back to Vortex Station.

9. China Creek Road —1/2 day tourmoderate

Stella Holliday leads this tour. This is an opportunity to appreciate the numerous species of wildflowers that abound in the Princeton area. The tour goes high above China Creek with the accompaniment of many bird calls. Then you cross over to other side and continue hiking along a ridge with plenty of views of Princeton, and of course, plenty of flora. Participants return to Riverside Centre to have their own lunch and at 1:00 p.m enjoy an interesting talk on Grasslands and Fire Ecology followed at 2:15 by a talk on Connecting People with Birds: BC Nature IBA Program.

10. Currie Meadows—1/2 day tourmoderate

Sue Delatour leads this tour. Princeton is fortunate with many sites for viewing flora.This tour visits Currie Meadows. There are plentiful birds and flowers, grassland, and outstanding vistas for photographers. Participants return to Riverside Centre to enjoy their own lunch, and to enjoy two lectures, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Grasslands and Fire Ecology; 2:15 pm to 3:15 pm, Connecting People with Birds: BC Nature’s IBA Program.

11. Radio Tower—all daydifficult / moderate

Anna Ockenden guides this tour. The hike begins with a steep climb with a short challenging rock scramble near the top. Level ground is attained after an hour of good exertion. The participant is rewarded with outstanding views of the Tulameen River on the way up and later the Similkameen River Valley. There is a mix bag of terrains—some up, some downs and some levels. The radio tower is the highest point of the hike. Along the way there is plenty of opportunity to admire flowers and to identify birds. Eventually the trail (4×4 road) meets with West China Creek Road where the hike finishes.

12. Exploring China Ridge Loops—all daymoderate

Rod Dixon leads this tour. This hike consist of 2 loops, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.These loops provide an opportunity to admire the many early flowers in this area, as well as good views of distant mountain peaks. The start and finish is at Rueben Jones Shelter. Finishing the morning loop, lunch is at Rueben Jones Shelter. After lunch the hike continues with the second loop. Along the way, you will visit a viewpoint with a spectacular view of distant mountains. On your return trip, the loop brings you to another shelter then onward for a quick visit to the club’s cabin and more views. Completing the loop, brings the hikers back to Rueben Jones.

If tours finish early, participants can return to Riverside Centre where 2 presentations will be happening.

One is on Grasslands and Fire Ecology at 1:00; the other on Connecting People with Birds: BC Nature IBA Program @ 2:15.


Departures from Riverside Centre—All tours start at 9:00 and finish by 12:00 or 1:00 pm. A snack is recommended.

These tours are led by VFFN members.

1. Historic look at Princeton—easy

Tour Guide: Mary Masiel
For those who did not get the chance to take the historic tour of Princeton this will be the opportunity to do so. The tour leaves from Riverside Centre and starts at the Bridge of Dreams continuing on, stopping at interesting, historical places.

2. Bike ride at China Ridge—easy but some steep hills

Tour Guide: John Henry
Meet at Riverside Centre and drive to China Ridge parking lot. Riders will do an 18 km loop, an interesting ride that finishes back at the parking lot.

3. Hike at China Ridge—moderate

Tour Guide: TBA
This hike follows a snowshoe trail starting from the China Ridge parking lot. This walk is particularly noted for its views, one of the Tulameen Valley in the west and the other of the Similkameen Valley to the east. Tour finishes at the parking lot.

4. Walk to the Hoodoos—moderate

This outing is now FULL.

Tour Guide: Donna Hills
If you did not do the KVR Birding tour or the KVR bike ride, you may want to do this one. You will follow the KVR along the Tulameen River and enjoy the flowers and birds, finally arriving at the Hoodoos; then retracing your steps.

5. Timber Hill—moderate

Tour Guide: Martin Hough
This small mountain is visible from Princeton towards the south of town. There are plentiful flowers and birds in this area as well as a lovely view of Princeton.

6. Baldy—moderate

Tour Guide: Johanna Nott
This area is visible from town in a easterly direction. It is conspicuous because it is grasslands, free of trees. Goats are found in this area, and there are plenty of flowers and some birds species that will delight you.