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looking for wildlife on the river of golden dreams

Wildlife on the River of Golden Dreams

It’s 10 am on a Friday morning in June, the sun is climbing high into the sky, warming the valley below. The warmth of the rays brings activity to the forest and grassland that surrounds you. The bright green of the alder trees lining the river banks reflects off the water in contrast to the reflection of your yellow Backroads Whistler Canoe. As you paddle down the river, melodies of birds chirping and the hum of cicadas catch your ears, contrasting with the babbling water below your canoe. The peace you find on your journey down the river is something to cherish. The excitement of what may be around the corner can only grow as you continue. There is plenty of wildlife to experience as you float down the river. 

Large Wildlife on the River of Golden Dreams

When floating down the river, you travel through many ecosystems and forested areas. There’s potential to come across some large animals. Specifically, black bears, and deer. These are exciting animals to see in person, especially bears. Keep in mind when you see these beautiful, strong animals, that they are wild animals. You should always keep your distance, don’t feed them, and be respectful to the animals. Photos and videos are acceptable from afar. But ensure there’s a suitable distance between the animals and yourself.

Small Animals on the River Side

On any day, you can observe many small animals while you float. The smaller animals are seen more frequently and have larger populations throughout the river ecosystems. You can expect to see many squirrels, chipmunks, minks, and maybe even a beaver. There are multiple beaver dams off the sides of the River of Golden Dreams where beavers have made their homes out of sticks, logs, and trees they have cut down. Spotting the beaver dams can be tricky, but with some luck and a keen eye, you may find one. The small animals can be an exciting part of your river trip!

Birds of the River of Golden Dreams

Throughout Whistler valley, there is a large and diverse bird population. The bird population is supplemented by the ecosystems and biodiversity that the Whistler valley offers. Specifically, the biosphere that the River of Golden Dreams creates. The wetlands that run from Alta Lake into Green Lake provide biodiversity that helps create food, shelter, and nesting grounds for many bird species. On a given day, you may see bald eagles, osprey, red-tailed hawks, owls, ravens, and blue and grey herons. In addition to these larger birds, you can expect to see robins, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, and grackles. The grackle is a bird with black bodies and blue heads, a common bird that frequents the parks around the River of Golden Dreams. When you see these pesky birds be wary as they regularly try to steal food and small objects, so it is best to keep an eye on your lunch and valuables when they are around.  

Critters

Every ecosystem must have critters and crawlers to keep it growing, biodegrading, and healthy. The critters that live in the River of Golden Dreams environment consist of thousands of insects, arachnids, and bacteria that rejuvenate the area. As much as people find these creepy crawlers gross, they are integral to the biosphere, feeding the food chain, decomposing waste, and bringing life to the area.

The Water Ways Wildlife

When you’re looking from the top of your canoe or kayak, you get a crystal clear view down into the water below. This allows you to spot many fish and amphibians that call the River of Golden Dreams home. You can regularly find rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and bull trout swimming between Alta Lake and Green Lake. In addition to the trout population, you can find sunfish, perch, and other minnows swimming around. For amphibian lovers, there is a large tadpole spawn that then becomes the yearly frog/toad migration. The migration creates a very healthy frog population to observe as you paddle down the River of Golden Dreams.

Experience the Wildlife on the River of Golden Dreams.

All the wildlife mentioned above is exciting to see but can be hard to find at times. One of the best ways to take in all the wildlife and the River of Golden Dreams is with Backroads Whistler. Backroads offer self-guided trips down the river. But, if you want the best bang for your buck to help find wildlife, Backroads Whistler’s guided tours are the way to go. Backroads guides have up-to-date knowledge on river conditions, water levels, where certain animals hide, and river highlights. The guides will ensure you have the best day on the river possible.

Wildlife at Twilight

If you are looking for an extra special experience with more potential for wildlife sightings, Backroads has a Wildlife at Twilight Tour. The Wildlife at Twilight tour can be pre-booked at the Backroads Whistler concession located at Lakeside Park or online. The tour begins in the evening, leaving Lakeside Park and paddling down Alta lake and the river before finishing at dusk. Your guides will have all the tips and tricks on paddling and canoe travel, in addition to all the animal’s hiding spots. You are guaranteed to see wildlife not present during the middle of the day. Beavers are nocturnal animals and come out of their lodges in the evening making these tours the perfect time to spot them on their busy journey. The twilight hours are when many other animals are most active, finding a resting place for the night or scavenging for food before bedtime. This creates an opportunity to view some of the hard-to-spot animals visiting the riverside. 

Protect the River System and the Animals in it

As always, remember you are entering the habitat of other animals. Keeping the river system clean and free of garbage, like cans, wrappers, or inflatable rafts from irresponsible users is crucial. The more we try to preserve the Alta Lake environment, the better we can enjoy the wildlife that calls it home.