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.



Drying Preserves

 Red Squirrels dry mushrooms on sun-soaked branched before storing them.
 Photo by Larry Halverson


This time of year red squirrels are busy collecting and storing food from early morning until dusk. One well-known trait is their love for Douglas fir cones, but they actually eat a wide variety of other foods, including bark, tree buds, berries and even mushrooms. Read more »

White-tailed Ptarmigan


 White-tailed Ptarmigan a truly alpine bird - Photo by Linnea Halverson

This master of disguise is all but invisible as its mottled plumage blends in with the surrounding rocks. The bird itself seems well aware of the efficacy of its camouflage for it is reluctant to flush when approached, as seen in this video of a ptarmigan taken on  Mount Kindersley in Kootenay National Park.  In fact people have nearly stepped on ptarmigan without seeing them.  Read more »

Tadpole Metamorphosis

         Columbia Spotted Frog Tadpole - Photo July 27, 2012 by Larry Halverson

For the last couple of weeks Columbia Spotted Frog tadpoles are changing (metamorphosis) into frogs. You can see the fully developed hind legs in this photo. The front legs develop inside the tadpole’s body and do not become visible until they pop out fully formed. This tadpole had also lost it’s gills and was seen swimming to the surface to suck in air. The tail is the last to disappear as it is reabsorbed into the body.  Read more »

Sheep in Town

This Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep seemed to be giving his better side for picture taking. 
Photo by Larry Halverson Read more »

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel


Born in June Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel pups grow quickly - Photo by Alan Dibb Read more »

Canoeing the Kootenay

Young British soldiers preparing to canoe the Kootenay River - Photo by Larry Halverson

While the Olympics were starting up in London about two dozen British soldiers were canoeing the Kootenay River. They started at the Kootenay River picnic site in the park and paddled for 3 days and 90 km to Canal Flats. Read more »

Before & After


Before - Photo by Alan Dibb Read more »

What's Up - Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch climbs by means of tendrils on it's leaves, often "scrambling" over other plants.
Photo by Larry Halverson Read more »

Stanley Glacier Trail

Trail all cleared - Photo by Alan Dibb 

  Read more »


Muskrat swim by paddling with the hind feet, using the tail as a rudder - Photo by Larry Halverson

Muskrat’s protruding front teeth allow it also to chew underwater with its’ mouth closed -
Photo by Larry Halverson

Although common in the Columbia Valley muskrats have never become established in Kootenay National Park. The first recored for muskrats in Kootenay was a sighting from Sinclair Creek by park warden, Meredith in 1944. Another park warden also observed muskrat tracks at Dog Lake and in a wetland along Dolly Varden Creek. Five more earlier records include: one observation near Kay’s cabin in the Sinclair Creek drainage in 1947, Kurt Seel collected a muskrat skull from Redstreak Campground in 1963. In 1982 and again in 1999 one was killed on the highway in Sinclair Canyon. In October 1997 five muskrats were seen at Dog Lake.  Read more »

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