It was a much more low-key event than past years, which was just fine for Nichole Marples and her host team from Langley Environmental Partners Society.
With Township of Langley backing away as co-hosts of the annual fall Rivers Day festivities, and coming off a two-year hiatus due to COVID, it was time for LEPS to return to a smaller scale event, said Marples, executive director of the environmental stewardship organization.
That was the case on Sunday, Sept. 25, with the introduction of a rebranded environmental event called Langley World River’s Day.
“It’s a little bit of a return to our roots, which we’re pretty excited about,” Marples said, calling it a “slow but steady day” with about 200 guests visiting 15 interactive exhibits set up by local stewardship groups and LEPS partners.
In past, Rivers Day festivities were held at Williams Park. But it was growing too big and becoming too busy for the pristine riverside forest, Marples explained.
So the decision was made in 2015 to move the festivities to the new and much larger and more central Derek Doubleday Arbouretum.
Pre-pandemic, she said attendance at the arbouretum was getting up around 1,600, and there was a lot of coordination required with more booths, a stage with non-stop live entertainment, and even a shuttle service engaged to get people in and out the park.
While Marples’ predicted that about 200 to 250 people would come out this year, she knows future Rivers Day events in Langley – which she expects will continue at Williams Park – will start to grow back.
“Let’s call this a gentle return, with people taking the time to explore and appreciate the natural environment here in Langley and enjoy the Salmon River.”
With activities dispersed throughout the park, guests were encouraged to follow a trail that looped through the forested area, along the river’s edge, and past the outdoor school set up year round in Williams Park.
“Everyone really likes Williams Park. It’s great,” Marples said, watching several families exiting with smiles on their faces.
“It’s got the Salmon River, and it’s one of the prime salmon spawning streams in Langley,” which is a perfect backdrop – she said – for future World’s Rivers Day celebrations.
“Overall, I’ve been really happy,” she said. “It’s been a nice, chill day at the park.”
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