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Kimberley Nature Park Society conducts research to monitor use, impacts

Kimberley Nature Park Society uses technology to document human impact.
An image of a bear captured by one of the Kimberley Nature Park Society's wildlife cameras.

As use of the Kimberley Nature Park (KNP) increases over the years, the Kimberley Nature Park Society (KNPS) has implemented a number of projects in order to document and quantify the use of the park and the impacts. 

"The Kimberley Nature Park (KNP) is a jewel in the City of Kimberley, providing habitat for wildlife, opportunities to learn about the natural world, to participate in recreational activities and to reduce stress in people," said KNPS vice president Laura Duncan. "All of these are important values of the KNP but the first mandate of the Kimberley Nature Park Society (KNPS) is to Conserve the habitat and ecosystems found there."

Duncan said that activities like walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and biking have all increased in the park throughout all seasons of the year. 

"While it is wonderful to see more people enjoying the natural world and finding value in spending time in an undeveloped area, the fear is that the very values of the KNP are being threatened by the amount of use," Duncan explained.

To monitor the human impact in the park the KNPS and a team of volunteers have undertaken several projects.

One of the projects was the installation of four wildlife cameras in 2020, that have since captured images of over 470 individual animals and 15 species. Some of the animals this project has photographed include: moose, elk, mule and whitetail deer, plenty of black bears, coyote, red fox and pine marten. 

You can learn more about that project by visiting the blog section of or see a recent video clip on the KNS Facebook page. 

The KNPS has also installed a number of trail counters to help give them a better idea of the total amount of use the trails get, as well as tell them how many people are on bikes versus on foot. They are also documenting damage to trails through photographs, in order to assess trail damage and then take remedial action. 

Through their Landscape Photo Documentation Project, volunteers visit several locations specifically chosen in the park four times per year on solstices or equinoxes in order to observe how the areas have changed.

Each year the park hosts their Annual Calypso Count in late May and early June, where volunteers count the number of calypso orchids visible from the trails. As this is done every year, comparisons can be made over time. 

Finally, the KNPS participate in the global iNaturalist project, which utilizes "citizen science," to gather information about biodiversity around the world. People are able to add their sightings from within the park to the KNP project, which will help to provide further information about what is found there. 

"The knowledge gained by these projects will help the KNPS be better stewards of the land and conserve the ecosystems and habitat in the KNP," Duncan said. "A healthy Park will support the flora and fauna and also provide the opportunities for education and recreation that are also important values of the Kimberley Nature Park."

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About the Author: Paul Rodgers

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