Chickakoo Lake Wakes Up for Spring

Nine people came out to hike Chickakoo Lake and were treated to the first signs of spring.

The trails were mostly dry except for a few sections on the hills.

With the snow gone, the rich thick moss and evergreen ground covers were revealed, hinting at the lush greenery to come. Bufflehead ducks seem to outnumber the mallards. We even saw a robin.

The weather was typical of early spring on the Prairies—overcast skies, windy in the open areas, chilly in the morning, and warming throughout the day. Towards the end of the hike came drizzle mixed with snowflakes, like winter’s last hurrah. But the good conversation and high spirits kept us warm to the end.

Thanks go out to Anita for leading this hike. You can see more pictures on Flickr.

2019 Annual General Meeting

Last night we held our AGM at Central Lions Recreation Centre in Edmonton. We reported on the activities of the previous year, and elected the board of directors for the new year. You can read the reports here

The board members are JoAnne Burek (President), Sandra Jenzen (Treasurer), Johanna Fischer (Secretary), Cindy Van Volkenburg (Membership Secretary), Ellen Homola (Trail Maintenance Coordinator), Anita Piebiak (Beyond Events), Lee Stickles (Webmaster and Hike Coordinator), and Directors at Large Jerry Shaw, Terry Elrod, Sherry Kunkel, and Carissa Wasyliw.

Oscar Zawalsky talked about the Skyline Trail hikes that take place in the summer and Anita announced plans for the Beyond Event in the Nordegg Area this September. Order of the Laces, the award for most hikes attended, was won by David Mutch and Lee Stickles at 31 hikes each.

Coyote Project

If you see one of these cameras in the Edmonton area, wave hi! to the students who collect these images.

The guest speakers were Deanna Steckler and Cassie Stevenson, Masters students of Colleen St. Clair, speaking on “Adaptation, coexistence and conflict in urban coyotes”. It was a jaw-dropping presentation that dispelled some myths and gave us new insights into the health and behaviours of the coyotes that live in the city and surrounding populated areas.

Some of the take-aways:

  1. Appreciate the coyotes who are here—we need to coexist. Besides, they are a great help in keeping the rodent population down.
  2. If coyotes are coming into your yard, check that your fencing is adequate, and that you’re not attracting them with food such as exposed compost and fruit fallen on the ground. Check that the space under your deck isn’t an attractive shelter.
  3. There is strong evidence that healthy coyotes stay in the natural areas and survive on mice and voles. The coyotes that wander the neighborhoods and eat compost and fallen fruit are highly likely to be sick with mange (caused by a parasite) and tapeworms.
  4. If a coyote does come into your area, try to scare it away by waving and yelling. Don’t let it become used to people.
  5. If you spot a coyote, the Edmonton Urban Coyote Project would like to know about it. Visit to report your sighting. An undergrad student gathers these notices and adds them to the research.

Thanks to Deanna and Cassie for sharing the latest research findings and their ongoing activities in such an engaging way. We’d also like to thank Colleen St. Clair, PhD, for introducing us to these two enthusiastic speakers.

Devonian Trail to Prospector’s Point

Ten people came out to hike the Devonian Trail on a warm, but overcast day. We started at the access point on the first township road south of the Devonian Gardens and headed east along the edge of the woods. Some spots on the trail are still icy and we needed to walk on the road.
Devonian Trail

When we reached the neighborhood of acreages, we spotted a young moose wandering on the pavement between some of the fine properties. Perhaps the moose has discovered that the grass really is greener on the manicured lawns and well-tended shrubs.

Then we were back in the woods through the Imrie Property, donated by Mary Louise Imrie, one of Canada’s first women architects. At the edge of the right bank of the North Saskatchewan River are the magnificent views of the river valley and the Highway 60 bridge below. David pointed out that there is a photograph of this bridge in an 8th grade text book, presented as an example of a cantilever bridge. Architects and engineers…where would we be without them?

A majority continued down the switchbacks to the bottom to Prospector’s Point for lunch. It’s a grassy park with picnic tables and easy access to the river’s edge. Overall it was a great day for fresh air and conversation with fellow hikers.

Thanks to Lee for leading the hike. You can find more pictures on Flickr.

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