A group of concerned residents spearheaded by Rachel Dortman and Elk Valley Homesteading worked together to form a fruit tree management initiative. They updated the fruit tree map from the 2009 Bear Hazard Assessment, delivered fruit tree management tips and information about assistance harvesting and disposing of fruit to just over 300 properties known to have fruit trees in Fernie.
14 property owners’ registered for assistance with fruit picking on 3 select days in September. A total of 20 volunteers picked 23 fruit trees, including 18 apple trees. Four truckloads of fruit were harvested, 2.5 loads donated to a pig farmer, 1 load to the transfer station in Fernie and the rest was taken by volunteers. This initiative was a great success. Many dialogues were formed between volunteers, neighbours and other community members and the project was well promoted in our local paper and on social media. The end result was a huge step in the right direction and a noticeable positive difference in the overall management of apple trees in Fernie. Thank you to Rachel Dortman and the crew of volunteers.
Wildsights apple capture program also has a tree and tool sharing program with fruit picking, tree pruning equipment and apple presses available to lend. A number of residents have brought forward concerns regarding the ornamental crab apple trees on 2nd avenue. This will be brought up at the next Council meeting later this month. This is another ideal opportunity for the City of Fernie to be seen leading by example and replacing the crab apple trees with non-fruit bearing trees.