Trekker John Davis completed his 8,000 km self-powered journey near Fernie as he arrived on mountain bike at the Morrissey Bridge beside the site of the ancient 400 year old black cottonwoods. Friends and supporters, including Wildsight’s Ryland Nelson, welcomed Davis on a banner day on Sunday, September 29.
Davis began his journey on January 27 as he left the North Jaguar Reserve in Senora, Mexico beginning his historic conservation trek from Mexico to Canada.
Davis has been hiking, biking and paddling for eight months along the spine of the continent asking people to sign a petition that says ’YES to protecting Wildlife Habitat Corridors’.
Davis shared his journey as he and Karsten Heuer, president of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) spoke during their visual presentation of the spectacular TrekWest journey at the Arts Station in Fernie. Hors d’oeurves and drinks started the evening leading into the presentation.
Davis completed the final stretch of his feat on mountain bike accompanied by Ed George, a cinematographer who has travelled with Davis for approximately half of the distance, Dave Hadden, director of Headwaters Montana, and Karsten Heuer, president Y2Y.
After staying the night at the Hawk’s Nest near Waterton with hosts Charlie and John Russell, the group hiked Snowshoe trail over Sage Pass in the fresh blowing snow until they reached their previously stashed hard tail mountain bikes in the Flathead.
“The Flathead is just as beautiful as Glacier National Park,” said Davis. “They call it the crown of the continent for a good reason. I think (the Flathead) should be protected. It would fill the gap (between the Glacier and Waterton National Park).”
TrekWest is building support for the creation of a state/provincial and federal mechanism throughout North America that can identify and protect large landscape-scale wildlife habitat corridors. TrekWest tries to view the landscape through the eyes of the animals that traverse it. To identify the problems faced by wildlife, the solutions needed and the conservation heroes working to protect wildlife corridors TrekWest is expanding a huge network of public and private supporters working to protect Western wildlife heritage.
“The animals are telling us in their movement patterns to think big,” said Heuer. A tagged bull trout has been recorded travelling 1,500 kms up to Slave Lake. A wolf collared in Canmore travelled to the Elk Valley, moved on to Kamloops, then returned back to settle in the Elk Valley in two years where she has started a new pack. “On my 188 day hike from Yellowstone to the Yukon 15 years ago, I saw fresh tracks and other signs of grizzlies 85 per cent of the time. A wildlife corridor is possible.”
John Davis’s trek convinced him that a wildlife corridor is possible too yet he did not see any signs of grizzlies until he was 6,400 km into his 8,000 km trek. Both men commented that the situation is hopeful as the geography suggested during their separate treks.
“We have an opportunity to conserve the animal corridor that exists in the Flathead rather than waiting for it to be an expensive and difficult restoration project like it is in many areas in the United States,” said Ryland Nelson, Wildsight program director.
Studies have shown that Highway 3 is a pinch point that could turn the animal corridor into an island thereby isolating animals, which greatly inhibits their survival.
Although the walk is complete, the journey to create a solid wildlife corridor from Mexico to the Yukon is not over.
“It’s not going to end until we can get people and governments to say yes to our campaign,” said Kim Vacariu of Wildlands Network. For more information, or to sign their petition visit www.y2y.net or www.trekwest.org.