Along with the sights and sounds of a trail through the North Shuswap woods, those strolling through Tsútswecw Provincial Park will soon be treated to a story about the park’s natural landscape.
On Friday, June 7, the BC Parks Foundation and BC Parks will be opening a story trail in the park which is the first of its kind in the province. Visitors to the park will be able to scan signage using their phones and hear students from Chase Secondary School’s Secwépemctsin language class and their teacher share knowledge they learned from their elders. The voices of the local youth will tell the story of native plants and landscape features in the park.
“We started out on our Story Trails journey because the wild, incredible nature of our backyard is core to who we are as British Columbians,” says Andrew Day, BC Parks Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s so important for everyone to hear stories about this land and its history from local First Nations so we can all better understand how and why it needs protecting. If we pay close attention to nature, and practise respect with caring, we can come closer to understanding how its unique hidden secrets benefit us and our world.”
When work on the project began a representative from the BC Parks Foundation said their goal was to create signs that would not negatively effect the park’s natural beauty. The Adams Lake Division of Interfor donated locally-harvested cedar for creating the new trail signage.
Chase Secondary, School District #73, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Little Shuswap Lake, Adams Lake and Neskonlith Bands helped support the project.
“We are proud of this innovative partnership which demonstrates a commitment to including Aboriginal worldviews through hands-on learning experiences,” said Alison Sidow, SD73 Superintendent of Schools. “Secwépemctsin language teacher Ivy Chelsea has done remarkable work engaging with partners to bring relevant and meaningful learning to her students and the community.”
The story trail at Tsútswecw Provincial Park is the first installment of the BC Parks’ Foundation’s Discover Trails network, a series of interactive trails being established at B.C. parks.
The opening ceremony for the story trail will be held at the Adams River Salmon Society cabin on June 7, beginning at 11 a.m.