Blog

Once a horse stable

This fall PSPS planted over 2000 trees in a large restoration site along South West Marine Drive, in a site that was once covered in Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberries.

Why was this area so impacted by the spread of invasive plants?

The other week a park visitor came by to chat and mentioned that years ago the site held the horse stables for the milk delivery carts.  After the horse stables were no longer used, the site did not have any protection against the spread of invasive plants. If you have time, here is little video showing milk delivery with a horse drawn wagon in Vancouver many years ago.  Do you recognize any of the streets? My, how things have changed!

Looking Back

Tom Nichols and the origins of Pacific Spirit Regional Park

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The opening of Pacific Spirit Regional Park in 1989.  Tom Nichols is in the back row under the word “for” in the grey sweater. Photo: MV Archives

Current role in the Park: Ivy League Leader

Preserving the Park since: 1973, before it was a park!

Favourite trail in the Park for Cycling – Council Walking

Favourite trail in the Park for walking – Sword Fern between Marine Drive and Imperial.

Tom was a steward of Pacific Spirit Regional Park well before it became a park and remembers the days when the “trails” were old logging roads. In the 1950’s and 60’s the endowment lands were slated for residential development, which motivated concerned neighbours to advocate for the protection of the beautiful forest and its unique ecological, cultural and historical values. Tom joined the Endowment Lands Regional Park Committee in 1973 and worked with them for 16 years until formation of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park (PSRP) was finally announced on December 10th, 1989.

Tom’s work in the Park did not stop there. He volunteered with other members of the Endowment Land Regional Park Committee to be a presence in the Park until 1991 when Metro Vancouver (then GVRD) established their Park Association partnership in the Park.  Seeing the spread of invasive plants throughout the Park, Tom started tackling the English Ivy, which  grows along slopes and up trees, reducing the stability of the slopes and trees and threatening native plant biodiversity.

Even though Tom has been preserving the Park for over 40 years, he maintains a strong vision for the future. Tom is working with  Pacific Spirit Park Society and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks to develop an invasive plant management monitoring system which meaningfully measures the impact various invasive species have on the park in order to prioritize invasive plant removal. Further, Tom is looking at possible compensation restoration sites with the development of a new Metro Vancouver Pacific Spirit Regional Park works yard.

If you are interested in joining Tom at the monthly Ivy League event, email Krista Voth at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org or find us on Meet Up.

* Participants 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Kid’s Books Gift Card Contest Winner!

Congratulations to the Appleby Family in Abbotsford on winning the Kid’s Book Gift Card!

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Contest Question: What is your favourite thing to do in Pacific Spirit Regional Park?

Their Answer: “Exploring and trying to find Star Wars land.” They are pretty sure there is a secret portal somewhere in BC!

Please let us know if you ever find that secret portal to Star Wars Land!

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Small changes can make a BIG impact!

Never under estimate the power of small changes! screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-1-51-25-pm

Earlier this month I heard a wonderful story of how a little fence at the Pacific Spirit Regional Park Beaver Wetland has allowed for ecological restoration to naturally occur.  In response to a concerned park user, Metro Vancouver staff installed a little fence this summer to block off-leash dogs from exploring in the Beaver Wetland.  Over the past few months there has been a remarkable return of native plant vegetation, such as sedges and rushes, which create ideal breeding habitat for Northwestern Salamanders and Pacific Tree Frogs.  While dogs love to check out the wetlands and streams in the Park, it is important to remember that these ecosystems provide important habitat and protection for lots of wildlife.

Curious about what other native wildlife has been seen in the Beaver Wetland this year?

MAMMALS:

  • Beaver
  • Mink
  • Coyote (including young)
  • Mice
  • Vole

REPTILES:

  • Northwestern Salamander
  • Pacific Tree Frog

BIRDS:

  • Mallard Duck (including ducklings)
  • Tree Swallow (nesting in hollow trees)
  • Willow Fly-Catcher
  • Golden Crown Kinglet
  • Ruby Crown Kinglet
  • Orange Crown Warbler
  • Towhee
  • Chickadee
  • Finch
  • Bush Tit
  • Pacific Wren
  • Cooper Hawk (nesting)
  • Red Tail Hawk
  • Downy Woodpecker (nesting in pines)
  • Pileated Woodpecker (nesting in pines)
  • Raven
  • Bald Eagle (observed teaching their young how to fly and hunt)
  • Kingfisher (hunting)
  • Great Blue Heron (hunting)
  • Barred Owl

I wonder what you will discover the next time you are at the Beaver Wetland.  The best place to view the wildlife is on Spanish Trail, between Pioneer and Salish (see red circle on map below).

You can let us know what you find at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org.

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Ecological Restoration – Planting Time

HAPPY FALL PLANTING!

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Fall is a busy time around the Park, as Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and the Pacific Spirit Park Society plant trees in recently cleared areas.  Most of the year the PSPS Eco Team works on removing invasive species from ecologically sensitive or heavily impacted sites.  However, it is especially important to replant native species in large areas that have been cleared of invasive plants, in order to:

  • increase native plant biodiversity,
  • re-introduce native plant seed sources,
  • out-compete or shade returning invasive plants,
  • decrease erosion and
  • improve wildlife habitat

Last weekend we had over 150 volunteers help plant nearly 1,000 trees along Salish Trail, near SW Marine Drive.  Over the next few weeks we will continue planting another 3,500 native trees and shrubs on the site.  If you are interested in joining in the fun, please email Krista at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org or find one of events on MeetUp.