The Rod and Gun Club is working towards preserving elk habitat close to Yoho National Park. (Jill Hayward - Contributor)

The Rod and Gun Club is working towards preserving elk habitat close to Yoho National Park. (Jill Hayward - Contributor)

Golden Rod and Gun Club working on conservation

Two projects are ongoing - elk conservation near Yoho and restoration of the Blaeberry riverbanks

The Golden Rod and Gun Club has been hard at work over the summer on several conservation and reclamation projects in the Golden area.

One of the main projects the club has been working on is a reclamation project at the confluence of the Blaeberry river, in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Together, the two organizations are working to stabilize riverbanks and constructing a back-channel wetland, which would restore natural habitats and a previously disturbed gravel pit area.

The project is nearing completion, according to Brian Gustafson, executive director of the Golden Rod and Gun Club, with most of the groundwork laid and ready for planting in the spring.

“I’m pretty excited about that project and the way the habitats that we’ve been able to restore and build habitats for the future,” said Gustafson.

He said that the high waters this summer jumped the riverbanks and moved around some things, but there is a notable difference in the area that’s going to benefit a wide variety of species.

The club is also working on an elk habitat project near the Yoho Park boundary.

According to Gustafson, the area is full of new trees, so there’s not a lot of vegetation growing underneath the trees that are crucial for elk.

As well, the trees are fairly close together, which makes it difficult for the elk to navigate the trees, as well as detects predators.

The Rod and Gun Club will be opening up the trees to help maintain the habitat.

Gustafson says that the Rod and Gun Club is dedicated to conservation as members truly care about animals and the landscape.

“I like seeing the animals, I like knowing that the animals are going to be out on the landscape not just for myself, but for future generations,” he said.

“If we don’t do the work, nobody else will, so we have to step up and do it.”

The project is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust Ecosystem Enhancement Program, as well as applying for funding through the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, as well as a couple other avenues.

One of the biggest ways that locals can help support the Rod and Gun Club conservation efforts is through joining the club and paying membership fees.

“We’ve had our challenges through COVID-19, but we’re trying to build more opportunities to volunteer and participate,” said Gustafson.