The JRR Wildlife Report

Have you seen any interesting wildlife in and around the Retreat lately? Send us your photos and a few details about when and where you spotted your bird or critter and we’ll post it here for everyone to enjoy.

Wild Horses at top of our entry road on Mar 29 2018. Thanks Gary and Sarah for the Photo!


May's pups now teenagers? Crittercam, October 2016

May’s pups now teenagers? Crittercam, October 2016


Coyote hunting, October 2016

Coyote hunting, October 2016


Coyote pups near fish pond, June 2016

Coyote pups near fish pond, June 2016


Black bear in the retreat, May 2016

Black bear in the retreat, May 2016


Muscrat in the fish pond, May 2016

Muskrat in the fish pond, May 2016


Sandhill Cranes courting, May 2016

Sandhill Cranes courting, Twp Rd 344 NE of JRR, May 2016


Moose resting on Lot 12, Apr 2016

Moose resting on Lot 12, Apr 2016


Wolf caught on crittercam, Feb 2016

Wolf caught on crittercam, Jan 2016



Mink under bridge, Oct 2015

Mink under bridge, Oct 2015


Moose caught on crittercam, Oct 2015

Moose caught on crittercam, Oct 2015


What IS that, anyway? Pine Marten caught on crittercam, south edge of JRR, Oct 2015

What IS that, anyway? Pine Marten caught on crittercam, Oct 2015


Great grey owl, James River Road, Oct 2015

Great grey owl, James River Road, Oct 2015

Bear and Cougar Awareness Presentation

This just in from the folks at Mountain View BearSmart Society:

“We haven’t received any bear sightings as yet but bears will soon be leaving their dens. Now is the perfect time for an information session on garbage and other attractants that bring bears and cougars into conflict with people. Come and learn how to make your community and your home bear smart and cougar smart.”

Mountain View BearSmart Society and Alberta Environment and Parks

are pleased to present

an afternoon of bear and cougar awareness and safety presentations, discussions and displays

Water Valley Community Hall

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1 PM  to  3 PM

Coffee and snacks will be provided

Directions to Water Valley: From Cochrane, go north on Highway #22 for 35 km (or from the junction of Highway 27 & 22, go south 32 km), turn and go west on Highway #579 for 8 km. You will come to a 4-way stop in Water Valley, keep going west through the 4-way stop and the community hall will be on your left (across the street from the hardware store).

New Year’s Dark Sky Alerts

Welcome 2017! We usher in the new year with two dark sky alerts for those willing to bundle up and head outside early on a cold January morning.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks during the first week of January but you’re going to have to get up  well before the sun for a glimpse. Forecasters predict that those who look up at the right moment during the wee hours of January 3 could see as many as 100 meteors per hour radiating from a point very near the North Star.

While you’re up, look to the east just before dawn during the first two weeks of January and you may be rewarded with a view of Comet U1 NEOWISE. Discovered just as 2016 was drawing to a close, the comet is expected to reach maximum brightness mid-January and even then, it will likely be best viewed with a pair of binoculars.


Happy trails


At our most recent AGM, there was mention that all JRR folks are welcome to meander along the riverside of our retreat as this is all common property.

This land is considered public and in an effort to make us feel more comfortable walking along the riverside, and to make this land more accessible, it was agreed to at the AGM that we could make a few pathways.

After the AGM, some of the Pond Committee folks (Brenda-Lee, Marcel, Bob, Ken and Judy) took a walk along the forested area on the North side of the river, West of the bridge, to see how viable creating a path might be.

It seemed like it could be done!

To our delight, Bob and Gary have cleared a pathway for us all to enjoy.

The path can be accessed from the West side of the bridge, just a few meters from the bridge, or on the East side of the bridge right where the bridge rail begins. There are a few orange markers that indicate the route on the path to the west of the bridge. This is a circle route with some wonderful access points to the river including one particularly charming little spot where you can stop a moment and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river.

So, when you’re at JRR, please take a stroll and enjoy. The more we use our path, the more it will become a well-worn and quaint little walk through the woods.

Thanks to Bob and Gary for their hard work on this project. Very cool!


Volunteers come out of the woodwork to plant trees


With the wonderful assistance and recommendations from Bearberry Gardens, our James River pond landscape has some great additions.

We are the proud new owners of:
2 green ash
2 showy mountain ash
2 tamarack
3 buffalo berry

A big thank you goes out to everyone who helped with planting these 9 fabulous little trees. It will be fun to watch them grow.


Is Your Cabin FireSmart?

When the hot, dry weather of summer comes to James River and wildfires elsewhere in the province make the news, we can all take a moment to consider ways to make our individual James River retreats less vulnerable to wildfire. With first responders a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes away in the event of the unthinkable, anything we can do to protect our properties from fire is worth some care and attention.

To that end, here’s a great resource shared with us by the Forestry Division people out of Rocky Mountain House. The FireSmart Homeowner’s Assessment Guide is a handy checklist you can use to review your cabin and yard. Your final score will give you an indication of potential fire hazard levels and point you to the changes that will have the biggest impact in reducing your cabin’s risk from a wildfire.

Are you smart about the average bear?

Update: The black bear pictured here was spotted ambling through Lots 12 and 18 at James River Retreat, early morning May  28, 2016.

DSC02652   DSC02666   DSC02695

We’re fortunate at James River to share the Retreat and the surrounding area with an abundance of wildlife. And the first long weekend of “summer” at JRR also marks the beginning of Bear Awareness Week, a good time to remind ourselves that bears – now well out of hibernation and possibly protecting young cubs – are occasional visitors that command a healthy dose of respect. Both Black bears and Grizzly bears have been known to frequent the area in and around James River Retreat. While we haven’t heard of any bears within the retreat in the last couple of years, there are recent reports of a black bear sighting near Crammond in May and evidence of grizzly bear predation of livestock near Burnstick Lake/Caroline in April.

To stay up to date on weekly Bear Activity in our neck of the woods, we recommend a subscription to Mountain View Bear Smart’s weekly Bear Activity Report. This local not-for-profit organization also provides a great summary of bear facts and information on staying Bear Smart. If you see bears in or around the retreat, please email our Board and Mountain View Bear Smart. Be sure to include details such as date, place, time, species and any observations about the bear’s activities at the time i.e. eating, moving through the area, checking out garbage bins, etc.