Caring for Nature

The first two goals of Scout Island Nature Centre are to:
  • conserve the wildlife habitat, vegetation and other natural values of the Nature Centre
  • provide a natural setting for wildlife and plant viewing, facilitated by a system of walking trails

The Williams Lake Field Naturalists, working with other volunteers from the community, build trails, bridges, and boardwalks to reduce impact on the native vegetation and to preserve wildlife habitat. Thousands of trees and shrubs (many raised in our native plant nursery) have been planted to restore native vegetation. This usually involves protecting this vegetation from beaver and deer damage (fencing) and maintaining an irrigation system for newly planted trees and shrubs. Finally, we work at controlling all types of invasive plants by digging and using bio controls.

Take a photo tour through the Nature Centre

The trails, boardwalks, viewing platforms, dipping docks, interpretive signs and bridges at Scout Island have been designed to guide you through the diverse environments of the Nature Centre with minimum impact on habitat. Volunteers build and maintain the 10km of trails, so you can directly experience the fascination and restorative power of nature. Our Weed Warriors contribute countless hours each year to removing invasive alien plant species which might otherwise overwhelm the native vegetation the ecosystem balance requires.


Bulrush Trail

The Bulrush Trail commences behind the Nature House and skirts the marsh. This gentle walk affords excellent views of migrating and nesting waterfowl, and lush riparian vegetation.


The Bulrush Trail is wheelchair-accessible.



Riparian vegetation is close at hand. Eight varieties of native BC willows thrive in Scout Island’s diverse environments. Can you spot the differences?


Along the channel connecting Williams Lake with the River Valley is the best place to watch for otter and mink. Enclosures protect restoration plantings from hungry deer and beaver.


A mysterious thicket where birds are more often heard than seen. Heading back toward the Nature House, dense vegetation shelters many varieties of birds.

Butterfly Trail

The open, grassy Butterfly Trail shows traces of Scout Island’s history as a recreational vehicle camp. The huge task of re-vegetating this area with trees, shrubs and herbs native to this region will take many years to complete, but we can look forward to a healthy new forest when it’s finished. None of this would happen without our trusty volunteers and generous funders, like Evergreen Rebuilding Nature Grant.


Ray and John prepare an aspen’s new home.


Staff makes sure the growing trees, shrubs and herbs get everything they need.


Big sage, field chickweed, and fine-leaved daisy in the grassland display.

The Willow Trail

Where water meets land, the transitional zone known as riparian is home to a rich diversity of plants and animals that make their living in both worlds. Amphibians, turtles, waterfowl, fish, invertebrates and mammals like beaver and muskrat feed, breed, live and die in a complex dance of life. The Willow Trail is a favourite of children, who delight in sneakily peeking through the observation blind and watching for turtles in Turtle Bay. Notice how the vegetation changes with increasing elevation and distance from the lake edge.


Excellent hide-and-seek territory.


Volunteer labour constructed this solid, elevated boardwalk to entice you into the heart of the marsh. Thank-you to funders TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.


Shoreline vegetation is ingeniously adapted to changing water levels, and helps filter out silt and pollutants. Cattails are happy here.


The Willow Trail’s diversity of plant life is astounding. Summer produces blooms of many kinds.

Island Trail

Starting near the public beach and picnic area, the Island Trail lures you across the bridge to explore the higher, rockier land where juniper, Saskatoon and wild onions thrive.


Bridge over untroubled water. Starting near the public beach and picnic area, the Island Trail lures you across the bridge to explore the higher, rockier land where juniper, Saskatoon and wild onions thrive.


Restoration planting and trail-building are still ongoing, three decades into the project. Plants growing in these thin soils appreciate your keeping to the trails.


Wild blue clematis thrive in the protection of this dryland forest. Side trails yield many delightful discoveries, constantly changing with the seasons.


One branch of the Island Trail leads upward to the Nature Centre’s highest point. Well worth the climb.


The climber’s reward – you’ll also find a bench for contemplation and for breath-catching.