Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are blessed with an assortment of streams and rivers, the most prominent of which is the mighty Fraser.
To celebrate this bounty of nature, the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) is hosting a Rivers Day bash this Sunday, Sept. 30.
The 19th annual Ridge Meadows Rivers Day is free to attend and will be held at Allco Hatchery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hosted by Allco Fish Hatchery, the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS), and the Maple Ridge Museum, the day includes lots of environmental exhibitors, entertainment, children's activities, a nature walk, trout fishing pond, raffle, silent auction, bouncy castles and a barbecue.
Free parking is available on-site and at Allco Park, and disabled and elderly parking access is available.
ARMS president Geoff Clayton said a popular feature will likely be the fishing pond, with adult trout being provided by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (www.gofishbc.com)
Volunteers from the BC Federation of Drift Fishers will help children catch fish from the pond. Once out of the water, the fish will be cleaned out and given back to the youngsters who caught them.
"For some of these kids, this will be the first fish they've ever caught," Clayton said.
Tours of the hatchery as well as the Rivers Heritage Centre will be offered during the day and ARMS and the Alouette Field Naturalists will have a display booths on site.
Corrections BC management will be serving up hamburgers, hotdogs, and drinks to visitors.
"Both the men's and women's prisons are a very treasured partner with ARMS," Clayton said.
In 2011 close to 700 visitors attended the ARMS' event, and Clayton hopes to see a similar number this Sunday.
ARMS hosted the very first Rivers Day in 1993. Back then, it was the only event of its kind in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Clayton credits the vision of Rivers Day founder Mark Angelo, who together with the BC Outdoor Council, brought the province's rivers to the forefront in 1980 through B.C. Rivers Day.
Rivers Day has been pro-claimed by communities across B.C. and attracts more than 75,000 people to more than 100 events each year. Its success led to the establishment of a National Rivers Day and as part of the UN Water for Life Decade starting in 2005. A new World Rivers Day is celebrated each September.
"It was such a great idea going forward, that now it's worldwide," Clayton said.
Clayton calls the Fraser River, the largest river in the province, "the heart and blood of B.C."
"It really touches recreation, beauty, and industry, and one of the largest salmon runs in the world is sourced by the Fraser," Clayton said. "We are amazingly gifted with a huge net of rivers through-out B.C. It's what makes us special."
This Sunday's event is sponsored by District of Maple Ridge Parks & Leisure Services, BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., and ARMS.
The Allco Fish Hatchery is located at 24959 Alouette Rd.
KEEPS' Rivers Day
Rivers Day will also be celebrated at Kanaka Creek Regional Park this Sunday.
KEEPS (Kanaka Education and Environmental Partners Society), Metro Vancouver Parks, and the Bell-Irving Hatchery are hosting a river celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the regional park's riverfront area, located east of Lougheed Highway and Haney Bypass.