Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is inviting the community to step up and enjoy the natural beauty of their surroundings.
The sanctuary will again host a family holiday hike up Christmas Hill on Sunday, Dec. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. The free event gives participants a chance to enjoy the majestic views of the city from atop Christmas Hill.
“While this event is an opportunity for people to learn about critically imperilled plants and animals, its primary focus is simply to have fun,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director at Swan Lake.
“We are looking forward to enjoying a day out in nature, using the hike as an opportunity to burn off a few of those holiday cookies and second helpings of dressing. This will be a time to simply enjoy Christmas Hill at this very special time of year.”
She said the highland environment of Christmas Hill is in marked contrast to the lowlands of Swan Lake. The glacially moulded rock faces, the vernal (seasonal) pond and the majestic view from the hilltop are of special interest to visitors.
The Swan Lake and Christmas Hill sections are connected by a trail corridor. A 2.5-kilometre loop trail, that includes two wharves and a floating walkway, provide access to the lake area.
Program manager Renee Cenerini points out that less than one per cent of low elevation Garry oak habitat and approximately five per cent of upland habitat remain in Canada today.
“This is part of what make Christmas Hill so special, the Garry oak ecosystem you will find there is one of the most endangered in Canada,” said Cenerini. “This holiday hike offers participants the chance to appreciate first hand something beautiful, something protected for the community by the community.”
While the family hike is free, donations to the sanctuary are appreciated and pre-registration is required, with tickets available at the Beban Park box office.
Participants are reminded to dress appropriate for the weather, to wear hiking shoes and bring a water bottle. All children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information call 250-479-0211 or visit www.swanlake.bc.ca.