The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Celebrates the Largest Eagle Gathering in the World

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Celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of the Harrison Region of Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, by honouring the majestic bald eagle and the cycle of the salmon.

Bald Eagle - Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. Photo by JoAnne Chadwick, Fraser River Safari

The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, November 24 and 25, 2012, celebrates the beauty and biodiversity of the Harrison region by honouring the majestic bald eagle and the cycle of the salmon.

Deep in the heart of ‘Sasquatch Country’, visitors will witness the world’s largest gathering of bald eagles. The raptors are drawn to the area by the millions of spawning salmon that travel up the Fraser River to tributaries, such as the Harrison River. The estuary is also home to incredible wildlife, such as trumpeter swans, ducks, seals, bears, coyotes, deer and the great white sturgeon.

For thousands of years, local First Nations communities have lived harmoniously with the land and water. Today, they work in collaboration with the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival where they welcome visitors and share the knowledge they have gained over the generations.

Although the festival began in 1995 and was one of the largest eagle gatherings at the time, the number of eagles concentrated in the area has grown further since early 2010.

“The Harrison region, of Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, is part of the winter homeland for over 10,000 bald eagles -- the world’s largest concentration of eagles ever witnessed as they forage, fight and feast on the record salmon runs in the Harrison River,” says David Hancock, Hancock Wildlife Foundation Bald Eagle Biologist.

On November 13, the official ‘eagle release’ will be held in Harrison Mills at Pretty Estates Resort - home to Rowena’s Inn on the River, Sandpiper Golf Course and River’s Edge Restaurant. As of November 17, the public is invited to visit different venues in Harrison Mills and surrounding areas. Prime eagle watching sites have been set up and various activities have been organized including jet boat eco-river tours, walking tours, interpretative tours, environmental presentations, displays by local artists and ancient Aboriginal sites.

To continue the festivities, Tourism Harrison will host the Harrison Bald Eagle Weekend, November 24 and 25. Highlights of the weekend include a photography workshop by expert photographer Graham Osborne, and a talk by well-known bald eagle expert David Hancock. Boat tours down the Harrison River will be available to book, thanks to Harrison Eco Tours and Shoreline Tours.

The Harrison Hot Springs "Nature Exposed" Photo Contest gives you a chance to win a two-night stay at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa or one of two digital cameras. Photos must be of the Harrison Hot Springs region including Harrison Lake and River and can include landscapes, natural highlights and wildlife. Prizes will be awarded for best nature shot, best bald eagle shot and best overall. For more information and to enter, visit Tourism Harrison’s Facebook page.

Additional activities events are scheduled in the region throughout December. For more information and the festival schedule, visit

For interview opportunities, contact David Hancock at david(at)hancockwildlife(dot)org or 604.538.1114.

About Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, one of six tourism regions of Super, Natural British Columbia, includes four destination areas: Metro Vancouver, Sea to Sky Country, Mighty Fraser Country, and the Sunshine Coast. This non-profit society is governed by a private sector board of directors who represent business and community tourism interests from throughout the region. VCMBC works with Tourism British Columbia to utilize their combined resources and provide greater benefits to the provincial tourism industry through an integrated web presence. For more information about Vancouver, Coast & Mountains visit our website or call 604-739-9011.

About the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival: In 1998, due to increased community involvement and new partnerships, a small yet enthusiastic committee formed. The committee worked to broaden the scope of the Festival and changed the name to form its new identity – Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (FVBEF). The FVBEF is now a registered society and works diligently each year to create a celebration that showcases the beauty & biodiversity of the Fraser River Valley by honouring the majestic Bald Eagle and the Cycle of the Salmon.

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Andrea Visscher
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