The Skwelwil’em Squamish Estuary Wildlife Management Area ("WMA") is a 673 hectare area located at the head of Howe Sound in Squamish, BC which was designated as a Wildlife Management Area on February 28, 2007. It is a highly productive and valuable ecosystem, that provides wintering, migration, feeding and breeding habitats for waterfowl and shore birds, as well as for raptors, and other species. Endangered species found here include Peregrine Falcon, Marbled Murrelet, and Keen’s Long-eared Myotis.
A detailed management plan lays out how the area is managed and what activities are permitted in which areas. The plan includes a section specific to Canoeing and Kayaking which we believe should be followed for SUP (at the time the plan was written SUP did not have a large following in Squamish):
Support canoe and kayak use with the following restrictions:
- Use in Central Channel and Crescent Slough will be discouraged from October to May;
- Access to East Marsh is prohibited to prevent substrate disturbance;
- Put-in and take-out locations will be restricted to the east side of Crescent Slough and at the Windsurfers Spit.
- Restrict access to land in Central Channel from February 1 to July 1 (bird nesting season);
If paddlers negatively impact the wildlife in the area there is a possibility that paddling activities can be banned as this area is setup first and foremost for wildlife management, not recreational activities (the plan is clear on this "Providing recreation is not a focus of the WMA but it is recognized that recreation opportunities are important to the community of Squamish. Compatible outdoor recreation and tourism activities are discussed and guidelines are outlined to minimize impacts to fish and wildlife.")
Let's help the conservation effort of countless volunteers, minimize our impact and make sure we stay on the compatible outdoor recreation list, so we can continue using this amazing paddling location for years to come.