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Not over yet: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival returns

The once-cancelled event to draw thousands to Harrison Mills
Bald eagles descended on the Harrison River during the Bald Eagle Festival. (Observer File Photo)

A beloved November tradition has returned to Agassiz-Harrison.

After it was all but gone, the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is set to make its unexpected return on Nov. 25 and 26.

The eagle festival was cancelled by a number of factors for the past few years – COVID-19, the avian flu outbreak and the heat dome hindered festivities. However, this year, visitors can expect to gather and watch thousands of bald eagles to descend on the Harrison River.

Biologist David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation said this year is gearing up to be a “bumper” during a peak pink salmon run near Chehalis.

“The salmon are already here in huge numbers,” Hancock stated. “All the river banks are lined with welcoming fish.”

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival cancelled – for good

Last week, Hancock more than 1,000 eagles visible from the Sandpiper Golf Course gazebo – one of the best places to view the world’s largest gatherings of bald eagles. He said that the number could swell sevenfold, moving to about 7,500 bald eagles along a five-kilometre stretch.

Bald eagles fly down from Alaska in November, through the Yukon and the Boreal Forests and down to the Harrison River, which is the first non-freezing river they would encounter on their migration route. Here, they feast on the pink salmon from the most productive salmon river in the nation.

The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival was thought to be cancelled for good in 2020, after 25 years of the beloved event. The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Society stated that the event was cancelled to protect the area as the popularity of the eagle festival had potential of a detrimental effect on the environment with so many people gathered in one place.

In place of a two-day festival, the society turned its focus to sharing information on the Harrison River as an important ecosystem and offered a self-guided adventure in its stead.

Sandpiper Golf Course is located at 14282 Morris Valley Road in Harrison Mills.

Adam Louis

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