Lifestyle

Panther Valley Day set for Parksville

Panthers, otherwise known as mountain lions or cougars, are an enduring feature of mid-Island wildlife, like this one that lives at the museum. - Submitted photo
Panthers, otherwise known as mountain lions or cougars, are an enduring feature of mid-Island wildlife, like this one that lives at the museum.
— image credit: Submitted photo

The Parksville Museum and Archives is hosting Panther Valley Day in honour of the area’s cougars.

The big cats — better known as panthers in the early days and as pumas and mountain lions in the U.S. — are still common on Vancouver Island, though not as common as 100 years ago.

Conservation officer Steve Ackles said last year, the best estimates are 400 to 600 on the Island making it one of the highest densities, similar to places like Oregon and northern California.

Co-organizer of the museum event Emma Fotino explained that early European settler James Craig was nicknamed “Cougar Craig” for killing more than 150 of the big cats up to the 1940s, including the stuffed one in the museum’s Craig Cabin.

Working with fellow returning summer student Dave Friesen, Fotino said the day will be full of old-time fun with everything from pony rides (by Tiger Lily Farm), old-fashioned butter churning and laundry washing, panning for gold, live blacksmith and spinning demonstrations and a scavenger hunt with prizes.

Local blacksmith and metal artist Dave Friesen of Crossed Heart Forge, who was a hit during May’s museum opening event, will be back doing the live demonstrations.

Along with the family fun and history, they will be selling hot dogs and drinks and Coombs Old Time Fiddlers will provide live entertainment.

A Panther Valley Festival was held from 2006 to 2008 and the organizers hope to bring it back as an annual event.

It runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 22 at the Craig Heritage Park and museum beside the visitor’s centre on Highway 19A. Children 12 and under are free, adults are $5 and teens and seniors are $4.

To volunteer for this event or to get more information e-mail reception@parksvillemuseum.ca, call 250-248-6966 or visit www.parksvillemuseum.ca.

 

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