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How to Mindfully and Responsibly Enjoy Nature at Silver Star
Silver Star is a nature-lovers’ haven with forests, waterfalls, and lakes providing the perfect environment for animals and wildflowers to thrive. Spotting the native flora and fauna is likely to be a memorable part of your Silver Star holiday and we encourage guests to enjoy the variety of amazing wildlife, while respecting their natural habitat.
Silver Star Wildlife
Black Bears are the most common type of bear in Canada, and sightings are frequent at Silver Star between April and October. Black Bears play a major role in the mountain ecosystem as seed dispersers and nutrient providers, while their foraging habits help to keep the forests clean. To demonstrate the importance of Black Bears to Silver Star’s natural mountain environment, a new trail is being built to educate guests about their presence here. This interactive trail, coming in the Spring of 2024, will provide fun educational opportunities about the resident bears.
If you do see a bear, remember to remain calm and keep your distance. Hike in groups of two or more, and avoid surprising a bear by talking loudly. It’s important to remember that bears are wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect. Most importantly, never feed bears. Black Bears are omnivores with a fine sense of smell (they can detect food over 1 kilometre away). It is essential to keep your garbage locked inside during the spring and summer, or else you may end up with an unwanted visitor on your doorstep. If you’re camping do not leave food inside your tent, store it in a vehicle or bear safe container.
For more bear safety tips visit the WildSafe BC website, or reach out to the Silver Star Bear Stewardship Group, which is run by a passionate group of bear enthusiasts. You can help their stewardship efforts by reporting any bear sightings using this online survey, which will be used to track local bear activity.
Highly adaptable to all environments, deer are widespread throughout British Columbia. At Silver Star, the most common species is the Mule Deer. These are herbivorous animals that enjoy snacking on most types of vegetation, so sightings are frequent around the mountain. Deer can be nervous and prefer to be admired from a distance; a great place to spot them grazing is from up high when on the gondola or chairlift! Be extra vigilant around deer in the spring and early summer, when female does may become protective of their fawns. Though dogs are welcome here, they can be intimidating to deer and other wildlife, so it’s important to keep them on a leash and under control.
Another Silver Star resident is the Yellow-Bellied Marmot, a type of groundhog found across southwestern Canada. Hibernating from September to March, these whimsical creatures come out of their burrows in the spring and can be found foraging across the mountain. Remember to keep food out of reach to keep marmots healthy. Instead, sit back and watch them sunbathe!
From mid-July, Silver Star lights up with a colourful display of wildflowers. This is a fantastic time of year to take a hike around one of the 16km (10 miles) of forest and mountain trails. Wandering through fields of lupines, wild strawberries, and paintbrushes is a truly magical Silver Star experience. Pack a picnic and head out to one of the viewpoints for jaw-dropping views of the Monashee Mountains. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and remember to stay on the trail to preserve the natural beauty of the wildflower blossoms.
Watch out for orange hawkweed, an invasive species that will eventually outcompete local flowers if not managed. You can help prevent the spread by keeping your distance from hawkweed wherever possible.
Take a Tour
This summer, Silver Star Mountain Museum is hosting tours and presentations every weekend. Join experts and Silver Star locals to deepen your understanding of the mountain. Each tour covers a different topic, including an Insect Safari, Flowers and Plants of Silver Star and Brewers Pond Eco Tour. Find out more on the Silver Star Museum page.
Learn from the experts at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, an interpretive centre in Vernon featuring a variety of nature-associated learning opportunities. Make a stop to learn more about the beautiful and diverse ecosystems of the Okanagan. They are offering two guided walks at Silver Star this summer (July 22nd and August 18), where you can join an expert to explore the subalpine’s biodiversity. More information about the walks can be found here.
Visit the K’nmalka? Senqalten (Kalamalka Indigenous Garden) to experience firsthand the importance of plants in the Syilx culture. Take a tour with a traditional knowledge keeper to discover the relationship with the land that has existed for thousands of years, including how to identify and use Indigenous plants for food and medicine.
Most importantly, remember to enjoy your time in nature. Take a deep breath of fresh air and look out over to the Monashees, notice the abundance of life around you, and realise that Silver Star is a very special place to be.
Words: Hannah Brinkhurst
Photo Credits: Sebastien Brule, @__andreade, Ryan Van Veen, Lianne Viau