The Creston Valley was full of surprises for us — surprises like discovering it has a wine industry, peach, plum and apple orchards, fruit stands and farms stretching from one side of the valley to the other. Shame on us for not doing more research: we thought we were heading into the mountains and instead found a place more reminiscent of the Okanagan Valley of 50 years ago. (Perhaps all the Kokanee Beer commercials threw us off…)
One of the best surprises was the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA). About 10 kilometres outside Creston, the CVWMA consists of wetlands covering nearly 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres). The area is recognized as a Ramsar site (an internationally important wetland) and as an Important Bird Area of Canada. It supports more than 300 bird species, 60 mammal species, 17 fish species, six reptile species and six amphibian species. Not to mention all the plants and invertebrates.
Whew! We found it a great place for a long, pleasant walk accompanied by the cries of ducks, geese, herons and other birds we couldn’t get close enough to identify. Ominously, every few hundred metres the grassy paths were festooned with enormous piles of bear scat. We never ran into the owners of said scat — which was fine with us.
Because it’s so quiet and so scenic we also found the CVWMA a great place to do some plein air painting, landscape photography and wildlife photography. I’ve included photos of a juvenile Hooded Merganser, the view toward the Selkirk Mountains, a duck and Diana painting beside one of the area’s viewing towers. It was hazy, as the wildfire smoke was just starting to dissipate, but still quite beautiful.
If you’re the kind who likes places that are quiet, free of motorized toys like boats, quads and motorcycles and close to nature, the CVWMA is for you. You can even follow the CVWMA’s Discovery Centre on Facebook and Instagram at @kcdiscoverycentre!
Have you been there? If so, what was your favourite part?