Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Larry's blog

Heads Up


What a life, just had a good 8 month sleep! - photo by Larry Halverson

Kootenay National Park has been keeping track of when Columbia Ground Squirrels emerge from hibernation. Their appearance dates in April can vary from year to year. However their emergence pattern is the same - first the adult males surface, then Read more »

Willow Rose

These dry galls "willow roses" are easy to find during this time of year - photo by Larry Halverson

The strange-looking growths on willow twigs are called galls. They are caused when an insect or mite inserts an egg and at the same time injects chemicals into developing plant tissues. The chemicals stimulate the plant cells into a rapid unusual growth in the vicinity of the egg. When the egg hatches the larval continues to secrete fluids so the plant grows abnormally into a gall. Read more »

Signs of Spring - Pussy Willows

Fuzzy catkins on willows, emerge from a closed bud stimulated by an increase in temperature. Photo by Larry Halverson


Pussy willows emerge in early spring when it's still quite cold. But when the sun shines, the temperature of the center of the catkin can rise above air temperatures by trapping the heat from the sun with it's “fur coat” of soft, silvery, insulating hairs. This additional warming helps the development of the willow flowers. Read more »

What's That Smell?

There's no itch involved, bears rub trees for a scent mark to warn others to keep away. - Video by Parks Canada Read more »

More on Cougars


Cougar kills lead to trail warning - Photo by Larry Halverson


“Recent cougar activity in the Sinclair Canyon area of Kootenay National Park, near Radium Hot Springs, has prompted Parks Canada to issue a warning for three trails near the community.
The warning is for the Redstreak Campground Trail, Juniper Trail and Sinclair Canyon Trail, where people are advised to use special caution." Read more »

Nature Drama

Bighorn sheep scaling the cliffs of Sinclair Canyon - Photo by Ross MacDonald 

Trudi Wells from Edgewater, BC was driving through Sinclair Canyon when she witnessed a rare moment in nature. A cougar, clinching on a bighorn sheep, fall from a cliff and land beside her car. Read more »

Wild Turkey Flight

While flying, turkey’s feet are extended beneath the tail and the neck is fully stretched forward - photo by Larry Halverson


Yes, Turkeys can fly. In fact they have been clocked flying up to 88 km/hour. Mind you that is only for short distances because of the effort it takes to keep these big birds aloft. Read more »

Yippee, It Is Spring!

Wild Turkeys are relatively new to the Columbia Valley & Kootenay National Park. First recored in 1990.
Photo by Larry Halverson Read more »

Redwall Fault & Hot Water

The Redwall Fault by Larry Halverson


The iron-rich cliffs of this dramatic park entrance are known as the “Iron Gates”. They were formed by intense heat and pressure during the building of the Rockies. It is the best example of fault breccia (shattered and reconsolidated rock) in the Rocky Mountain parks. Read more »

Redstreak Mountain

  Redstreak Mountain, March 19, 2012 - by Larry Halverson


The evening light accentuating  the oxidized iron (hematite) that gives this mountain its name. Redstreak is 2,160 m (around 7,000ft.) in elevation. It is the northern peak of the Stanford Range which forms the western edge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Read more »

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