You don’t need to be a golfer to enjoy the nature at Bear Mountain’s valley golf course. The resort offers self-guided Green Tours until March 1. For $35 a cart full of patrons can travel the course by cart using a GPS device to learn more about plants and animals along the way.
“You can see a red-legged frog if you’re lucky,” said Darren Burns, golf course superintendent.
The protected species is commonly seen at the pond on the second hole. Other species often spotted include bald eagles, belted king fishers, owls and hawks.
“Golf and the environment work well together,” Burns said. “We hope to achieve bringing awareness to the environment we have here.”
Due to the landscape and positioning, the valley course is usually closed each winter, this is the first year the eco tours have been available.
“It seems like a shame for it to be closed to the public for four months,” said Cheryl Bushby, Bear Mountain marketing manager. “Getting to drive the carts is novelty in itself.”
Throughout the course there are glacial erratic stone mounds left over from the ice age.
“This glacial erratic has been here for about 500,000 to 700,000 years,” Burns said, standing on the rock on the 13th hole. On the eighth hole the glacial erratic has been preserved alongside a 250 year-old yew tree.
“We built the golf course around it,” Burns said.
There are various ponds and one of the largest on the trail is Osbourne Pond that has been stocked with 5,000 coho salmon who will travel along a fish ladder later in the year.
About 30 eco-tours have already toured the valley course at Bear Mountain Golf Resort.
“It would take a few hours to walk this trail and we don’t want people to get lost,” Burns said. “With carts it makes it faster and we can keep track of people on the GPS.”
A portion of proceeds will go to the Goldstream Volunteer Salmon Enhancement Association.
For more information or to book a Green Tour call Bear Mountain Resort at 1-888-533-2327.