Smithers – A Northern BC Gem
June 26 – 28
The 2020 BCFO Annual Conference, the first ever held in Smithers, promises to deliver a birding adventure, and for most attendees, a chance to bird a relatively unknown part of the province. In addition, the pre-conference extension will explore the Terrace and Kitimat area, another relatively lightly birded part of the Province.
Join us at the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge and Conference Centre in Smithers from June 26 to 28. Smithers field trips will include wetlands and trails and higher elevations at Hudson Bay Mountain and Babine Mountain Park. The pre-conference extension out of Terrace runs from June 23 to 25.
Smithers is located in the Bulkley Valley half way between Prince Rupert and Prince George. The Bulkley River valley is located between the Hudson Bay Mountain range to the west and the Babine Mountain range to the east and is relatively warmer and drier than mountainous areas to the west; July average temperature is 14 C/59 F; January is -10 C/14 F; average annual precipitation 325 mm/13 inches. The town itself has a population of 6,000 with another 20,000 in the surrounding area.
As the regional service centre it has a wide variety of amenities and services. Perhaps because of the relatively benign climate and wide range of outdoor activities available it has become a “lifestyle” destination for some and so has an excellent selection of restaurants, coffee houses and cultural activities. Because of its alpine environment, the town has adopted an ‘alpine theme’. Main Street was reconstructed with red brick sidewalks and alpine style roof lines on buildings and shops.
You can get an idea of the spirit of the town on the city website: https://tourismsmithers.com/
The surrounding mountains and valleys are dominated by coniferous forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and sub-arctic balsam fir. Deciduous trees include aspen, birch and cottonwood.
This website outlines the great hiking, biking, paddling activities that are at your doorstep in Smithers. And of course the wide valley offers wonderful opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird-watching. We will coordinate closely with the Bulkley Valley Naturalists: http://www.bvnaturalists.ca/resources/flora-fauna/birds/.
Smithers is located on the Yellowhead Highway – so from Vancouver drive north to Prince George on Route 97 and then take Route 16 West to Smithers.
For those who wish to fly the airport at Smithers is served by Air Canada and Central Mountain Air. For those with “points” the point requirement at this time is quite modest.