Today is the Sunday I traditionally honour the creature I call the Superb Owl. This year's pursuit took a much different track, as I went to a place where owls actually live.
I took part in a hike that followed the aptly named Witness Trail. The trail, created by a troupe of volunteers, attempts to follow the route of a proposed freeway, part of a project referred to as Gateway. This roadway (really, I can't call it a freeway, as at least its bridge component will be tolled, and not 'free' at all) is one that many of us believe is ill-advised, especially for the sensitive habitat it will destroy.
The Witness Trail meanders along the Fraser River and an area known as Surrey Bend. This undiked floodplain is an area containing both wetland and forest, and is home to many species whose habitat is now threatened. The beavers have been doing their best, busily rebuilding their dams, but how will the birds rebuild the towering trees?
Despite recent activity that appears to be full-steam-ahead, the South Fraser Perimeter Road is being challenged in a lawsuit for violating endangered species and environmental assessment laws.
The snowdrops aren't yet open, but they are persisting. Like the snowdrops pushing up from under the cover of winter's soggy leaves, this issue must come out of the darkness of secrecy and into the eyes of the public. Because, as the Gateway Sucks website reminds us, "It's not a done deal. We can do better."
For more insight, take a listen to what Ben from The Wilderness Committee had to say while we were out in what remains of the forest today.