July 28, 2014
A couple of Strathcona Wilderness Institute volunteers recently accompanied the Conservation Specialist for BC Parks West Coast Region to assist with setting up plant survey plots for a Long-term Ecological Monitoring Project.
Plant Study Plot
The monitoring measures species changes along an elevational gradient. Permanent plots, placed at equal intervals along transects perpendicular to the slope, are measured every four years. Measurements involve estimating percent cover of every species within a 0.5m X 0.5m plot frame. Citizen scientists
are encouraged to get involved with the project
Among the sub-alpine plants found in the study area were oval-leaved blueberry, pink & white mountain-heathers, partridgefoot
and some beautiful bird’s-beak lousewort
Heather & Partridgefoot Meadow
The subalpine flowers are still blooming well farther along the Plateau, although many are finished in Paradise Meadows.
Black-tailed Deer Family
On the way out of the Park, a black-tailed deer
& two fawns
paused for a look before disappearing into the woods.
July 26, 2014
A couple of successful hikes today – a ‘dog-friendly’ hike around the Lake Helen Mackenzie Loop, and a moderate hike/nature walk with CV Nature up Wood Mountain in the southeastern part of Forbidden Plateau. The Helen Mackenzie hike attracted three dogs & twice as many people, on an enjoyable outing around the 8.5 km loop.
About a dozen naturalists hiked 2 km up Wood Mountain to about the 940 m elevation level. Several interesting flowers were blooming along the old road , and various berries are starting to emerge!
One of the first little flowers to catch the eye was the delicate Scouler’s harebell (Campanula scouleri).
Along the way were patches of pretty twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
, the favourite flower of Swedish botanist Linnaeus who is considered the ‘father of taxonomy’.
The rocky outcrops were examined for some of the more unusual plants.
The botanists on the hike were excited to find one of the grape ferns (Botrychium sp.)
which derive their common name from the grape-like cluster of sporangia
borne on a fertile frond separate from the sterile, vegetative leaf .
More showy plants included several flowering red columbine (Aquilegia formosa).
A tall cluster of tiger lily (Lilium columbianum)
was even more eye-catching.
Comox Lake from Wood Mountain
Views of the Comox Valley increase higher up Wood Mountain. It was low tide in Comox Bay with extensive mudflats inside Goose Spit.
Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana)
were tiny but abundant all the way up the hill.
Western tea-berry (Gaultheria ovalifolia)
is related to salal (Gaultheria shallon)
and the berries were quite tasty.
July 25, 2014
This coming weekend promises to be sunny and there are a couple of programs to take advantage of the good weather coming up at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre.
On Saturday July 26, a ‘Dog-friendly’ Hike is planned around the Lake Helen Mackenzie Loop. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Centre for this 3-4 hr, 8.5 km hike. Well-socialized dogs on leash are welcome! (dogs are required to be on leash in the entire Forbidden Plateau area) The Centre has a couple of leashes available to borrow, & these were recently needed for visitors that forgot theirs.
On Sunday July 27
, join a Plant ID Walk
around the boardwalk to view the summer flowers. Meet at 1 p.m.
at the Centre for this 2 hr, 2 km
outing. Many of the late summer flowers are already blooming, including some that have just bloomed in the past couple of days!
For all SWI activities, dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, bring lunch or snacks, water, bug spray and sun protection. All SWI activities are by donation, $5-10 suggested. For more information contact coordinator(at)strathconapark(dot)org