Crippen Park

Another year, another Bowfest!


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First Published on August 31, 2016 Written by Sasha Buchanan

Myself and Bowfest would first of all like to thank Bowen Island for being such an amazing and unique place which provides the platform for our annual community festival; Bowen is the full reason why and how Bowfest has successfully run for the past forty one years, and hopefully will do for the next Forty one.

Bowfest committee is run by a small yet truly remarkable and diverse group of volunteers who work year round. I am lucky to call these people my college and friends, so thank you to Jessie Cotrell, Robyn Fenton, Linda, Henfry, Candace Hannah, and Rob Wynen for everything you have done, and the number of grey hairs you have all spared me with your insights, hard work, wisdom, and dedication.

But of course Bowfest is not run solely by six committee members so, thank you to John Stiver our stage manager and booking agent,  Mike, Andrea and The Children’s Centre for hosting this year’s Beer Garden, Maureen Sawasy for being our Potluck organizer a first of what is sure to be an annual tradition, PAC and the CSA for manning the doors in your continual effort to raise money for a all ages playground, Sarah Haxby and Bowen Agricultural Alliance at the Country Fair, Kate Brew for organizing the Lip Sync, Margaret Miller at the shooting range, Bowen Loggers, Anne and the Bowen Flaggers, Dave and Louse at the Boat Building, and Hillary Butler at the Rotary Run.

It was also a great year for sponsors! Thank you to Artisan Office Services  for all our printing costs, The Undercurrent for your continual support, Bowen Island Sea and land Taxi for our new and improved Slug Race Track, First Credit Union for sponsoring the Main Stage, Bowen Building Centre for sponsoring the Country Fair tent, Party Perfect for the donation of the Dunk Tank, Reforma Architecture for sponsoring the Lip Sync, BIM for waiving all Bowfest park fees, Friendly Cedar Fencing for the beautiful cedar beer garden fencing, USSC for the beautify  picnic tables, Doc Morgan’s for the lone of two very last minute kegs, and Heart Stone Brewery for donating 3 kegs.

Thank you you to all the food, community and craft vendors! Thank you to all the musical talent. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped set-up, tear down, and clean up, parade judges, and everyone who attended Bowfest 2016.

VERY special thank you to David and Shael Wrinch (NEED OTHER NAMES). Bowfest was very close to being a very dark event this year, you absolutely saved the day!

And of course Bowfest’s very own fair god mother: Adam Taylor.

Hope to see every on 26th August for Bowfest 2017!

Many thanks,

Sasha Buchanan

Bowfest 2016 Chairperson.

And very, very special thanks to David and Shael Wrinch and Jack Callister. Bowfest was very close to being a very dark event this year – you absolutely saved the day!

And of course Bowfest’s very own fair god mother: Adam Taylor.

Parade:

First: Kate’s Hill Chapel

Second: Doc Morgans & USSC

Third: Bowen Building Centre

Honourable mention: BIHORA

Lip Sync:

Thriller Marie and Roxy Pedley, Malia and Savary Van Strein, Jade and Kate Atkinson, and Shelby Jennings

Country Fair

Tallest flower grown on Bowen winner: Julia Tweten’s 12’2” sunflower

Biggest Zucchini by weight

adult David and Aubin van Berckel’s 14.5lb monster zucchini, and youth Kaija and Ryder Flory’s 6.6lb zucchini.

Strangest Looking Vegetable: youth Alissa and Michaela Schaly’s crazy carrots came in first place and Levi Seaberly’s monster banana squash came in a very close second.

Favourite Animal or Farm Animal Award: Aoife Buckley

The Lego Contest: Jack Hammond

The Fiber Arts Finest award went to Susanne Koeplin and the felted necklace made with her friends and some local wool. The heartfelt story that went with the necklace made the contest judges tear up!

Slug Races: all eight lanes were filled with racing slugs for both races! The 12:45 race was won by the slug “Dread Pirate Roberts” and racing crew of the same name. Dread Pirate Roberts crossed the finish line! The 1:15 pm race was won by Henry’s “Scaredy Slug”at the Country Fair Tent!

Wild Food Spotlight 3: Plantain


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First Published on August 17, 2016 Written by Emily van Lidth de Jeude

This past May, my daughter had a big fall, goring her knee on a rotten branch. She endured not only a week of emergency room IV for the ensuing infection, but then three months of the wound slowly expelling all the remaining bits of rotten wood. Plantain to the rescue! Yes – seriously! What the salt water soaks didn’t pull out, we got out with plantain poultices. Grab a leaf, chew it up, and place it on the (closed) wound. You can even use one of the flat leaves as a bandage to hold it in place (tied with string).

Not to be confused with plantain bananas, the small green inconspicuous plants of the Plantago family are exceedingly common. Find them along the edges of roads, meadows, lawns, paths, and playgrounds. Most common around here are P. major (broad-leaved plantain) and P. lanceolata (narrow-leaved plantain or ribwort). Maybe when you were a child you learned to pluck a broad-leaved plantain and find the veins sticking out where you tore it off. Maybe you discovered that if you pulled those veins you could make the leaf curl up. Apparently some people have used these tough fibres as thread! When I was a little girl, my mother and I sometimes made the long gruelling climb from our home in Bowen Bay up towards Adams Rd. And along the way we saw ribwort, although we didn’t know it at the time. We called them the Crowned Princes and Princesses of Denmark, because of their flowers’ beautiful crown-like flower-heads. Oh the adventures those crowned princes and princesses have had over the two generations this game has persisted! Plantain is a wonderful entertainment system for kids on otherwise boring walks.

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But it’s also a food and a valuable medicine. Modern science is slowly beginning to study and confirm what folk medicine has taught for centuries. In her review, Anne Berit Samuelsen states that “P. major contains biologically active compounds such as polysaccharides, lipids, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, iridoid glycosides and terpenoids. Alkaloids and some organic acids have also been detected. A range of biological activities has been found from plant extracts including wound healing activity, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, weak antibiotic, immuno modulating and antiulcerogenic activity.” (1) In my own life, I often use broad-leaved plantain as a wound or sting poultice. It’s handily available in the wilderness, where stings, nettle burns, and other small injuries often happen, and makes a huge difference to such inflammations when chewed up and applied directly. Ribwort is also valuable, both for the gut-cleaning (bulking) properties of its seeds (psyllium), as well as for its leaves’ value in treating coughs and uterine complaints. As an anticatarrhal and expectorant, ribwort tea is an excellent cough remedy. (2)

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Food is maybe the least exciting thing about plantain, since it’s basically a plain-tasting leaf that gets tough very early in its life. But if you get stoked about the prospect of eating food out of your lawn or healing and nourishing your body naturally, plantain is definitely for you. As with so many wild greens, the young leaves are great in salads, or braised as they grow tougher. They’re also delicious in green smoothies – especially with the knowledge of all those nutrients you’re consuming! And if you are eating a grain-free diet, you may already buy the mucilaginous psyllium as a binder for coconut flour confections, or perhaps you use it simply as a dietary fibre. Either way, find it growing atop a humble plantain. Commercial psyllium seed actually comes from P. afra, ovata, or indica, but seeds of ribwort also have mucilaginous properties. Find some ribwort blossoms that have fully gone to seed, rub the seeds out into a small bowl, blow off most of the separated husks (some remaining is fine) and add a bit of water. After a while you’ll see the mucilage forming around the seeds. The mucilage is, of course, the same colour as the water, so it is only apparent in that the seeds sit increasingly distant from each other in the water, held separated by their growing coating of mucilage. When there’s enough of it you can feel its gooeyness.

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But let’s get down to business. Everybody needs some inspiration to try plantain, so I recommend starting with this lovely green plantain smoothie: Pick a bunch of youngish plantain leaves (either broad-leaved or ribwort will do), wash them, check for unwanted bits, and stuff them in your blender. Cover them with ice cold water (and a few ice cubes if your blender can handle it!), and add some fresh lemon juice. Blend until the leaves are fully macerated and suspended in the water. If you want it sweet (like lemonade!) then blend in a little honey, to taste. If you want it creamy, blend in an avocado or some nut-milk. Enjoy!

 

(1) Anne Berit Samuelsen: The traditional uses, chemical constituents and biological activities of Plantago major L. A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 71, Issue 1, Pages 1-21

(2) Chloe Sobejko: Materia Medica. https://herbalmateriamedica.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/plantago-lanceolata/

 

 

Wild Food Spotlight: Maple Blossoms


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First published April 27, 2016 Wriiten by Emily van Lidth de Jeude

Last year for the Earth Day Bulletin issue I began a series called “Earth Day Every Day”, where I explored the island and talked about my discoveries. That year has come full circle, and it’s time for this series to evolve, too. I’d like to share some foraging delights with you! So, every couple of months for the next year, I’ll explore a seasonal wild food opportunity that we can easily find here on Bowen.

One of the most iconic and bountiful plants we have here is the bigleaf maple. As you walk through the springtime coniferous forest you can see a maple a long way off, as it’s brilliant leaves catch and hold the sunlight – chartreuse against the deeper greens of hemlock, cedar, fir and spruce. Even its bulky-looking trunk and often sprawling limbs seem to burst with vivid colour: In early- to mid-spring the moss that covers them is a vibrant rich green, punctuated only with the deep grey-brown and white of the bark, and sometimes with haphazard fields of licorice fern.

Look out to the ends of those sprawling branches, reaching umbrella-like over your head, and if you’re there at the right moment you’ll see it’s blossoms. Maples’ blooming times vary according to their geographic location, elevation, and situation in the forest. Although as I write this most of our local maples have finished blooming for the year, if you explore a bit you’re likely to find a few still going strong.

A maple blossom cluster is referred to as a raceme, due to the fact that many flowers hang off a central axis (or stem) at approximately equal lengths and distances. The flowers develop first at the point closest to the branch, and successively out to the end of the raceme. Therefore, if you pick a raceme at the height of its development and sample it at various points along the stem, you’ll notice that it has various different flavours. (Note: Maples are as delicious to insects as they are to humans! Before you eat it, check the blossom for flies, aphids, ants, etc. and knock them off.) Now start tasting. Any closed or barely-open flowers near the end will have a bitter, astringent taste, due to the oxalic acid which they and many other fresh wild greens contain. Further along, both the stem and the blossoms lose this sharp flavour, and have a much more pleasant, mild taste. The flowers that are in their prime even have a slight sweetness, and this is absolutely delicious in salads! Further up, and nearer the branch, the stem becomes progressively tougher, and the flowers less flavourful. Eventually, where the two pistils in the flowers have turned brown, the flowers will taste very bland, and by the time the whole flower begins shrinking, it’s more like dried leaves – not worth eating!

So now that you’ve familiarized yourself with all the different flavours of the maple blossom… what to do with it? Some people stir-fry them. I’ve heard of people battering and deep-frying them, too, but I prefer to taste them in all their glory: quiche, rice-wraps or salad!

For a quiche, simply prepare a good savoury butter crust, steam some maple blossoms until they’re wilted, and fill the crust with a mixture of the blossoms and some other sweet or mild vegetable such as fennel, mild celery, or spinach. Mix up some eggs, milk, and a bit of sea salt, and pour it over. Cheese is always an option, but I find it overpowers the maple blossoms in this case and prefer to leave it out. Bake and enjoy!

Wraps are as diverse as they are easy. Whether you use pitas, tortillas, nori or rice paper, fill it with some sweet rice, maple blossoms, and a dressing you love. It can be quick and dirty or absolutely elegant, depending on your desire and presentation.

My favourite for last: Salad! Take out the most delicious section of the racemes, and fill your salad bowl half-full of these – flowers, stem, and all. I break the stem into sections approximately one inch long. Now make up the rest of the salad with whatever mild greens you like. Butter lettuce works well, but so do many other seasonal wild plants such as salmonberry or dandelion petals, bitter-cress, or miner’s lettuce. If you grow kale year-round in your garden, it may blossom at the same time as local maples, and kale flowers are also a delicious and beautiful addition. I like to make a dressing of grape seed oil, maple syrup, and lemon juice, as well as sometimes a little salt or wholegrain mustard, depending on the ingredients in my salad. Experiment to year heart’s delight, and enjoy! I hope you love maple blossoms as much as I do.

Crippen Park and Development of Lot 3

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Originally published November 22, 2015 written by Denis Lynn

On 4th November 2015, Edna Thomson (Vol. 17, Num. 21) expressed concern that development of Lot 3 “would really mean the eventual loss of possibly the entire Crippen Park” as a consequence of  “weakening (the trees) via the loss of their root systems and complimentary structural support systems”. We are beginning to understand that the trees in our forests are indeed intimately connected, not by roots but by a complex network of fungal mycelia, which provide nutrients and water and transmit chemical signals between trees. Damage to these mycelia could indeed impact the health of the trees. Nevertheless, we should remember that much of the present forests on Bowen has regrown following significant logging in the early 20th Century. This regrowth is possible because ecological systems have evolved over millions of years to respond to changes, often catastrophic. An ecologically significant catastrophe in recent times in the Pacific Northwest was the eruption of Mount St. Helens on 18th May 1980. Its steamy blast blew down and scorched forest over more than 500 km2, leaving a seemingly lifeless landscape. And yet, these ecosystems are recovering. What is it about the behaviour of ecosystems that enables this recovery?

In 1973 Prof. C. S. Holling, University of British Columbia, proposed two kinds of ecosystem behaviour. One he called stability – “the ability of a system to return to an equilibrium state after a temporary disturbance”; ecosystems that rapidly return to the equilibrium state are more stable. The other he called resilience – “a measure of the persistence of systems and their ability to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations”.  Prof. Holling discusses the spruce budworm community in eastern North America, which is a highly resilient, but unstable, community, characterized by periodic outbreaks and a sequence of recovery steps that leads to the next outbreak.  Another example he mentions is the response of Wisconsin forest communities to fires – over time since the fire they “reconstruct” themselves until the next fire starts the process all over. To these, we might add the response of forest communities in the Northwest to fire and volcanoes.

The long-term study of the forest and other ecosystems after the Mount St. Helens volcano has lead to some important and unexpected findings. The timing of the eruption was significant – an early spring morning meant that nocturnal animals, like mice, were in their burrows while spots covered by spring snow and ice were protected from extreme heat, permitting seeds to survive and colonize the more impacted habitats. The number of ponds and lakes increased as lava flows and mudslides blocked rivers and streams, creating new aquatic habitats. Surprisingly, amphibians and other organisms rapidly colonized these, so that lakes and streams are again showing communities typical of this forested region. Terrestrial habitats have been slower to recover, although there is greenery covering most of the blast area. This vegetation has provided habitat, even in the significantly disturbed areas, to support the colonization by almost all small mammal species of undisturbed forests. On the other hand, the return of bird species has lagged correlated with the slower recovery in structural complexity of forest habitat.

As Bowenians, we can appreciate this slow recovery as the forests that we value today have taken years to recover from earlier deforestations. Mount St. Helens has provided another lesson here, for the quantity of living and dead trees remaining in areas has significantly influenced the rate of recovery of the forested areas. These “biological legacies” now provide a management tool for some foresters who, rather than clear-cutting for logging, will leave a certain portion of standing trees – a biological legacy – to enhance the recovery. The biological legacies left by Mount St. Helens and by typical forest logging practices are probably much less than 20% of the original forest. This impact of biological legacies has been modeled and shown to increase the resilience of forest ecosystems to the impact of fire, even when about 20% of the forest is left in remnant patches.

Lot 3 runs along the east side of Miller Road and behind the RCMP Detachment, north and east from the Trunk Road, for about 300 m. If all trees were logged from this lot, it would represent, I believe, about 20% of the area of Crippen Park between Miller Road and Cardena Road, leaving 80% of the forested area untouched. While this would be a significant “empty space”, it hardly approaches the 20% or less of the forest left standing by logging operations or volcanic eruptions. I would guess that Edna Thomson is correct that the trees and shrubs bordering Lot 3 would be impacted. However, as a biologist, I am confident that the 80% of forest remaining would be very resilient to this disturbance, and that the future of Crippen Park is not in danger.

Further Reading: Dale, Crisafulli, Swanson. 2005. Science 308:961; Holling. 1973. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 4:1; Seidl, Rammer, Spies. 2014. Ecol. Appl. 24:2063.

– Denis Lynn

To Mayor and Councilors,

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Originally published November 4, 2015 written by Edna Thomson

Our recent past council focused their attention on Lot 2 of the community lands.  They succeeded, just immediately before a new election in November 2014, in gaining bylaw approval for Land Use rezoning to change from  “village/residential/institutional” to “village/commercial/institutional” for the area.
Their purpose for doing this was to accommodate sale of Lot 2 for subsequent development for an extremely extensive and density-ambitious proposal.
Lot 2 provides many important ecological functions:  it is a wooded area that the wildlife, the birds, and the children benefit from.   Lot 2 is land that lies next to the school campus, and as well, it has a very steep slope at its eastern border.  The many trees provide a root system that acts to absorb water, and hold the bank, while their branches provide the carbon sink that keeps the air fresh. That steep slope is also directly behind about 12 properties that benefit from the sound buffer provided by the trees.  Similar, and some, ecological benefits apply to Lot 3.
Recently, November 2014, islanders elected a new council with the expectation of full and transparent planning and inclusion of public input in accordance with democratic principles of government for and by the people.
Our current council took immediate steps in addressing many previously expressed concerns of the good citizens of Bowen; and good things began to happen.  As for example, Council declaring, “The right of local residents to a healthy environment.”  Part of that decision states, “…the rights of every resident to participate in decision making that affects the environment.”
That sense of security, resulting from those commendable steps taken, seemingly announcing  ‘participatory democracy’ in action on Bowen, has been disappointingly damaged though, by the summer ‘charge ahead’ approach.  Unexpectedly, this was evident in the proposal for, first, a new fire hall complex, AND then, ALSO a parking lot; all on Lot 3.  Disturbing evidence of that approach has been the immediate “site suitability testing” for the Fire Hall complex, (mid July).
Equally astonishing, and while discussion was still taking place regarding a parking proposal on Cardena Dr., work was seemingly started at the proposed entrance site for the proposed parking lot in Lot 3.  Entrance and exit in-roads that are in the design, (as posted recently by council) to go on either side of the mailboxes off Miller Rd. would require moving the mailboxes.  This actually WAS DONE on September 17th. . No signage was provided at Lot 3, as was done at Cardena.  Why?
A “BIM Plan Park Update,” recently introduced, when eventually effective, would of course, be too late to have Lot 3 of Crippen Park given the consideration it deserves, if it isn’t left standing!
Here is my belief: First, it is that the principles of democratic governance must take precedence over any development proposals, and thus council needs to provide adequately for fair and complete opportunities for public input.   Second, it is for acknowledgement of the concerns already expressed in two letters put to council regarding development on Lot 3. And, 3rd, it is for signs that show the plan!
In those letters, the concerns expressed are regarding the two proposals under consideration. Should either or both be adopted, it would really mean the eventual loss of possibly the entire Crippen Park park.  The number of trees that would have to go down for construction, promises that, by extension, others would follow simply through a weakening via the loss of their root systems and complimentary structural support systems, and through probable damage to the root systems of trees left standing during the construction period. And, there would be subsequent predictable loss through the advent of windstorms, and heavy snow falls on those left-standing, weakened trees.  All of those forces, and simply ‘over use’ of a damaging potential, would complete the rest of the destructive process that will have been set in motion.
I request the application of fundamental equality in the observance of citizen’s rights. And, it is for serious, open discussions as to how the benefits versus impediments to Bowen’s future would be affected by the developments proposed for Lot 3.
I ask that Council please open up to the community of Bowen, adequate discussion opportunities as to the the worth of Lot 3, as a carbon sink and an important service-providing intact natural environment of enormous eco-value, a wildlife sanctuary, and a thing of beauty and enjoyment at the entrance to what many describe as a living, breathing island paradise.
What we need now is less pandering to outdated concepts of how to ‘develop’ in the Cove. Now it is important to get educated and more able and ready to meet the new challenges of a changing climate. Equally important is embracing input from the larger community into ALL development planning that would so dramatically affect the island entrance area.  In the interests of a healthy environment that supports the rights of citizens to that environment I’m asking that, now, more than ever, the concept of the Islands Trust mandate to protect and preserve be our banner.

– Edna Thomson

People, Canines, and Equines: Keeping the Outdoors Enjoyable & Safe

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Art by Jilly Watson

Originally published March 11, 2015 written by the BIHORA executive

With spring just around the corner, many of us will be looking forward to taking greater advantage of the beautiful trails that meander through the parks here on Bowen Island, including Crippen Regional Park, Quarry Park and Headwaters Park as well as some of the unfinished Trans-Island trails and other unofficial trails that criss-cross the island. For those who like a more strenuous hike, there are also the trails on Mount Gardner which can be accessed from a few different points at the base of the mountain.
During the summer months, thousands of tourists flock to Bowen Island reawakening it from winter’s slumber, and come to enjoy not only the island life, but also the many wonderful events that are held during the summer months.  Throughout the seasons, there are those who live and visit the island regularly who already enjoy the winding trails and wildlife that the forests have to offer, however with the influx of tourists and visitors to the island, trails become much busier than many people are used to.  The trails accommodate a broad spectrum of users and includes hikers, cyclists, runners, strolling families as well as dog walkers, horse riders and children with ponies.  Throughout Crippen Regional Park alone, there are 12.5km available for walkers and runners, 5km available for horse riders and cyclists.
So, with the wide variety of users on the trails and the surge of visitors to the island during the summer months, how do we keep our outdoor experiences, and those of others, enjoyable and safe?
Both Crippen Regional Park and Quarry Park have multi-use trail signs at the trail-heads.  Signs show that cyclists should yield to walkers and horses, and walkers yield to horses. Trailhead signs for Crippen Regional Park, Mount Gardner, Quarry Park and Headwaters Park also clearly indicate that all dogs should be leashed.
Unfortunately over the last couple of months there has been a significant rise in the number of unleashed and uncontrolled dogs chasing horses and, to a lesser extent, runners and cyclists.  So far, thankfully, no serious harm has come about because of these incidents. However, the chase drive in some dogs can be very strong and unless they are well trained and obedient to the recall command, chasing runners, cyclists and horses albeit fun for the dog, can have a potentially serious outcome.  In fact, herding breeds have a tendency to want to nip at the heels of things they chase including horses who in turn, kick out at whatever is chasing them which can result in a serious injury.
Horses are prey animals, with a natural survival instinct to flee from stressful situations. For the horse this could be a loud noise, a dog running toward them barking, or a cyclist unintentionally sneaking up from behind. Horses can be trained to deal with fearful situations and to depend on the rider for leadership, however, no amount of training can totally suppress a horse’s survival mechanism which may include striking out with its feet, or lashing out with its teeth when it feels under threat.  If a dog starts barking and running toward a horse, a horse will either try to run or defend itself by using the only things it has available, its feet or teeth, which can have potentially serious consequences for everyone involved. When a runner or a cyclist approaches a horse from behind, it is a good idea to say something to the rider, to make both horse and rider aware you are there. If taken by surprise, a horse can easily spook and may unseat its rider.
So, what can horse riders, children with ponies and dog walkers do to prevent a case of predator chasing prey?  First of all, dog walkers are asked to follow the trail signs, and keeping dogs on a leash where required. Dog walkers should also yield the right-of-way to equestrians, say hello so riders (and horses!) know you are there, and keep your dog close, quiet and under control as horses pass by.  To reduce what could be a frightening situation for a horse or pony, it is not advisable for people with dogs to hide behind trees or bushes, as this action is exactly what a predator would do when getting ready to attack a prey animal, and it is more likely to scare the equine than encourage it to pass quietly. Horse riders understand that not every dog has met a horse before, and are very happy to stop and wait for dog owners to get their dogs under control in order for the horse to pass safely.  We all want to enjoy our island’s beautiful forest trails, and we can all do this if we respect everyone around us and follow trail etiquette.
Over the summer there are many sporting events held on Bowen and on the mainland, and for those of us who like to participate in these, the on island trails bring out those who like to train for these, be it running, cycling or horse riding.  Bowen Island Horse Owners and Riders Association (BIHORA), in collaboration with any interested runners and cyclists, are hoping to hold a triathlon later in the year, with teams made up of a horse rider, runner and a cyclist.  We hope that those interested will take advantage of the wonderful trails on Bowen and the event will be as much fun as it will be competitive.

– BIHORA

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