LSCR Bike Ride: Learning by Doing

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” – Benjamin Franklin

By: Linda Koch

On Saturday, August 16th, 2014, 4 members of the 180th Rover Crew made it down to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) bikeway, just north of the Capilano University in North Vancouver.  It is a gem that many people do not know about.  The 9 km paved bike path was built specifically for biking, walking and roller blading without the intrusion of motor vehicles.  Thus the pristine air and forest setting are preserved.

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Beyond the 9km junction, one can follow the shorter old paved road or the longer Coho gravel trail to the Fish Hatchery and Seymour Dam.  We selected the 3km narrow gravel trail along the Seymour River  to the Seymour Dam Pavilion for a  long, peaceful bike ride through the forest and crossing 12 little bridges over streams.  In the Fall, one would see salmon spawning in those streams.

Throughout the trip, John and Hazel Wong, our Integrated Outdoor Program (IOP) Advisors, educated us about the Reserve, formerly known as the Seymour Demonstration Forest.  In our group, we focus on passing down valuable knowledge to ensure that our youth have all the tools needed for their personal development and success.

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From left to right: Linda Koch, David Yuan, Hazel and John Wong at trailhead pavilion

When we arrived at the parking lot and trailhead, John assessed our bikes, and educated us on bike functionality and safety.  David Yuan had to figure out how to shift gears on his brand new road bike.  From there, we headed through the paved bike path which contained many rolling hills, and a few up hills. By far, my favourite part was descending downhill. In that first moment, as I released my brakes, I could feel my body shift gears. My breathing started to slow down and became shallow, whereas before, my heart began pounding and racing uncontrollably. When my anxiety passed, the adrenaline rush felt quite liberating, and I loved every second of it.

During the ride, Hazel told us about the wildlife that inhabited the area, which include black bears, deers, lynx, and cougars. However, she assured us that there was nothing to be afraid of, as the animals were more curious than threatened by our presence.  There have never been any attacks in the area.  During past outings, she saw bears which would lie on their bellies and watch people on their bikes zoom back and forth. They were literally mesmerized by the speed. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to see any bear spectators, but the thought of it makes me grin.

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The northern half of the LSCR showing the gravel trail and Seymour Dam

Especially on the Coho Trail, there were many signboards about the ecology, animals, fishes, and birds in the area.  We frequently stop to learn more about our surroundings and to take photos. Some of the stops involved assessing the local vegetation. The reserve had a lot of Old Man’s Beard, which is moss that can only flourish in very clean air. In some places, we were also surrounded by thimble berry and huckleberry bushes. After we feasted on the berries, we continued along the trail to learn more about the importance of the reserve.

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All smiles! Hazel, David and Linda at one of the spawning streams

One of our main stops was at the river where the salmon congregate to disperse their eggs. This annual event happens in September-October time frame. Before the salmon have the chance to release their eggs, they’re caught and brought into the hatchery, where the eggs are removed. This is done to ensure the population of salmon doesn’t diminish. The newborns are held at the hatchery, where they are raised and are provided with shelter from pray and nutrients to grow.  When they’re strong enough, they’re released into the free waters where they continue their journey to the ocean. The lifespan of salmon is 3-4 years long. During that time, they travel the world, yet, return to their birthplace to lay their eggs, and then they die and the life cycle starts again with the young fries.  This is the miracle of Nature.

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Lunch break at the beautiful Seymour Dam Pavilion

We had a good long rest at the Seymour Dam Pavilion overlooking the Seymour Lake where 1/3 of Metro Vancouver’s water comes from.  It is a beautiful spot for lunch where the mountains meet the lake.  On the way back, we stopped by the Rice Lake fishing dock and floating platform where many people were trying their skills in catching the good size trout fish.

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At fishing platform at Rice Lake

At the end of the day, I felt the purpose of the hatchery paralleled that of our rover crew. We have 35 advisors, who selflessly spend hours, days, weeks, even years giving back to the youth. With much experience, the impact the advisors leave on the youth is substantial and quite inspirational; they teach them, help them and encourage them to reach their potentials. They guide them along their personal journey, so one day, when there’s a fork along their path, they’ll have the knowledge and support to select the right path.

If interested, you can see all the photos in this link:

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=johnlwong09&target=ALBUM&id=6048427898499073393&authkey=Gv1sRgCJmgi9i8haHYJQ&feat=email

 

ElaineAu

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