Organizers of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival have decided to end the event after more than 20 years. (Bob Friesen File Photo)

Organizers of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival have decided to end the event after more than 20 years. (Bob Friesen File Photo)

Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is now self-guided tour

Photographers, birdwatchers quietly observe area eagles

While the iconic Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is officially over, its spirit continues.

The festival drew thousands of would-be birdwatchers to the Harrison Mills area east of Mission is now listed as a “self-guided adventure,” according to the Festival’s web page.

“The enormously popular Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival occurred for almost 25 years in November in what is perhaps the most biologically diverse and important areas in British Columbia,” the site reads. “Due to the negative impact of bringing so many well-intentioned people to the area over a single weekend, the festival will no longer be operating the same way. The “Festival” will now be a self-guided adventure.”

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival cancelled – for good

If local photography Facbeook groups are any indication, it seems at least a few shutterbugs are taking advantage of the self-guided tour. For example, the 783-member Agassiz Harrison in Pictures is peppered with dynamic shots of bald eagles soaring, diving, fighting and eating.

It all originally started out as a group of friends gathering to watch thousands of bald eagles fly in starting in late October or early November, aiming to feast on spawning salmon in the Harrison River and get away from the frozen lakes of their northern homes near the Arctic. Under the original name of the Harrison/Chehalis Bald Eagle Festival, the iconic event began in 1995 under the careful watch of April Mol, the Wild Bird Trust and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Three years later, as the festival grew as the community became more engaged, broadening its scope and creating the organization that organized the festivities we know today – The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Society (FVBEFS).

RELATED: PHOTOS: Fraser Valley Eagle Festival

It was announced last month that the festival officially came to an end in what would’ve been its 25th year.

In a Facebook post, Tourism Harrison recently highlighted the photography coming from birdwatchers on their self-guided tours through Harrison Mills and the surrounding areas. Great viewing points for the eagles include the beach at Kilby in Harrison Mills, Nicomen Slough in Deroche, at Sandpiper Resort and along the Eagle Walking Trail at Rowena’s Inn. Harrison Eco Tours and Shoreline Tours are booking eagle viewing river tours as well; both companies have openings available through the rest of November.

We are loving the amazing photography we’re seeing from people who are Bald Eagle watching in Harrison Mills. Some great…

Posted by Tourism Harrison on Saturday, November 14, 2020

For those who prefer to enjoy eagle watching but still want to avoid the potential crowds, the Hancock Wildlife Foundation offers live video feeds from various nesting sites throughout the Lower Mainland, including a nest above the 10th hole of Sandpiper Golf Course, which appears to be offline.


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