Locals and visitors will gather at Silver Springs on September 28 as part of the Elk River Swim

Locals and visitors will gather at Silver Springs on September 28 as part of the Elk River Swim

Cleaning up and educating around the river bend

The Elk River Swim, Drink, Fish Festival will be returning to Fernie’s waters for the fourth time on September 27 and 28.

The Elk River Swim, Drink, Fish Festival will be returning to Fernie’s waters for the fourth time on September 27 and 28, in conjunction with B.C. River’s Day.

The festival, hosted by the Elk River Alliance, involves several events, aimed to connect people to the Elk River. Their goal is to ensure the Elk River’s water is “drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations,” according to a press release.

Participants can gather at Silver Springs for an educational hike to kick off the weekend’s events at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The hike will focus on the area’s geology, ecology and recreational values, and include information on the Silver Springs Stewardship Solutions plan — a survey that gauged citizen’s opinions on the maintenance, cleanliness and activities of Silver Springs.

Later in the day, attendees will hear about the valley bottom assessment study and what it means for the future health of the river in the Report to Residents on River Health presentation, held on the Morrissey Cottonwood Trail.

To round out Saturday’s list of activities, the unveiling of the Forests & Fish trail signs will commence at 4 p.m. in Mount Fernie Provincial Park. An educational talk about the dynamic relationship between forests and fish as well as an easy hike along Lizard Creek will prepare participants for refreshments and family-friendly activities.

The festival will finish on Sunday with the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up. Elk Valley locals will be armed with gloves and garbage bags to help clean up the Elk River. Participants can meet up starting at 2 p.m. at the Annex Pond in Fernie or at the respective Rec Centres in Sparwood and Elkford.