Goodsir Nature Park marking 30th anniversary on summer solstice

The days are getting longer and as they do, the time grows shorter to the anniversary of Goodsir Nature Park.

The botanical treasure at Salmon Valley is nearing its 30th anniversary. It strikes that mark on the occasion of the summer solstice, June 21. A celebration will be held that day, but sole proprietor and grassroots botanist Jim Good invites one and all to come see his handmade feature forest anytime.

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"It's open and really greening up," said Good. "I've got a new signpost display, completely replacing the old one. I have new signs for the trails so they look like street signs; they look beautiful."

All this extra work and park readiness is despite some grave health concerns that slowed Good down but did not nip his plant affections in the bud. He has been welcoming guests since the break of spring and is focused on his pearl anniversary.

"I deliberately chose the summer solstice to open, and kick off the dream of my park in my own special way," he said, thinking back to that momentus day. "It was 7:30 p.m. and I had a little ceremony with some close family and friends. I felt so stupid, unexpectedly, to be honest, like what was I doing? But it all turned out. I couldn't have imagined."

That date, June 21, gets a circle around it on this year's calendar so the public can come out and renew those park vows with cake and refreshments. The mic will be open for people to express their feelings and memories of the walks on the Goodsir Nature Park trails, campfires by the beaver pond, catching sight of strange trees and shrubs transplanted there from all across Canada, and the people you've perhaps shared those times with.

"It has always been my special place, but it has been a special place for many other people, now, too, and I would love to hear about that," he said. "We will gather there, 30 years later, same spot, almost to the second."

This is a year of growth for the hand-hewn natural feature where so many plants are growing in one place that do not grow together anywhere else in Canada. It is a full provincial and territorial microcosm of nature on 160 easygoing acres.

There is also a densely interesting interpretive centre full of carefully curated photos and plant-life displays, plus an on-site record museum that gives a whole other kind of musical entertainment option for the public. Goodsir Nature Park even has its own closed-circuit radio station, CGNP, playing stories and songs inspired by this unique greenspace.

For the first time in its 29 years and 11 months, it has a website. Thanks to a contribution by Brink Group of Companies, Goodsir Nature Park has a professional poster, pamphlet and online information campaign (the visuals were led by noted Prince George artist Denise Godeau). Proprietor John Brink was inspired by the place when he took a personal tour, and he wanted to contribute to its longevity. It was, said Good, the first corporate donation the park had ever received.

Volunteers and sponsors are welcome, especially to spruce up the park for the anniversary celebrations, and to help out with things like serving free refreshments during the long weekends of the summer.

The park is located at 22825 Old Summit Lake Road North. The turnoff is 32 kms north of Prince George (7 kms north of the Salmon River Bridge) marked by a prominent highway sign. It is then 2.4 kms down the turnoff road.

Call Good at 250-971-2337 for any information or to book a guided tour of the park (self-guided walks are welcome, no appointment necessary). Information is also available on the Tourism Prince George website.

Admission to the park is by donation, and overnight camping/RV options are available.

It is open year-round.

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