Trail walkers on Ferry Island now have a series of weather-proof aluminum information plaques, which are affixed to wooden posts and secured in the ground by fence posts, to give them a better idea of the trees and plant life surrounding them.
There are 15 such identifying markers, a project of the Rotary Club of Terrace – Skeena Valley, says club member and project organizer Paul Bjorn.
“There’s a wide variety of vegetation on the island so the proposal was to give people a better idea of what’s there,” he said.
Each plaque has a photo of a tree or plant found on Ferry Island along with a general description, its formal name and if it’s used by First Nations for a purpose, what that purpose is, he said.
Bjorn, a McElhanney employee, said the project relied on the expertise of a fellow McElhanney employee, biologist Kate Dillon, and others to provide the information that’s on the plaques and where to locate them next to the right tree or plant.
“They put ribbons with numbers as to exactly where the posts should go so it was easier for us to identify those locations,” he said of the finished product.
Dillon said the identifying markers took their inspiration from ones located on a walking trail at Butze Rapids near Prince Rupert.
She said the information about First Nations use should be particularly interesting for people.
“For Western Red Cedar there were so many uses – houses, canoes, paddles. The bark was used for weaving – nets, for instance,” said Dillon. One plant that has a plaque, devil’s club, was used for medicinal purposes, she added.
The plaques are 30 inches above the ground, making it easier for people in wheelchairs and young children to read, Bjorn said.
The posts were placed in the ground during a one-day work bee involving the Terrace – Skeena Valley Rotary and the Terrace Rotary Club.
“When we have a project they help us and when they have a project we help them,” Bjorn said.
The two clubs have a long history of involvement with Ferry Island projects. Both raised money for the playground equipment near the campground portion of the park and for some years the Skeena Valley club organized the hugely popular pirate treasure hunt as a Riverboat Days activity.
Owned by the City of Terrace which has a campground located on it, Ferry Island also has several kilometres of trails used by walkers, joggers and cyclists. The island takes its name from the time before bridge construction when the island was a midpoint for ferries taking passengers and goods across the Skeena River.