Wildlife, flora, history and affordable family summer fun at this hidden gem park in East Vancouver

Beautiful outdoor settings teeming with wildlife have been a natural draw for Lower Mainland residents during the worst of the pandemic. Because so many indoor recreational pursuits were rejected.

However, the scourge of COVID-19 has dragged on, and despite the lifting of mask and vaccine mandates, which have greatly expanded the range of potential leisure activities, many people have been exposed to wild flora and fauna. You seem to want a connection.

In fact, BC Parks maintains a one-day pass pilot program at three of Metro Vancouver’s most popular destinations: Golden Ears Park, Joffre Lakes Park, and Garibaldi Park. Roving park “ambassadors” check path compliance to limit congestion, vegetation and trail damage, and wildlife migration.

For those who don’t own a car or have a lot of disposable income, such a distant goal will likely be out of reach this summer. Public transportation, however, will get you to the picturesque parks and park-like settings in and around Vancouver. Unexpected summer wildlife encounters can still occur there.

Pond above Hastings Park Reserve with mature trees
city ​​of vancouver

See marine mammals, bobcats, otters, bald eagles, beavers, great blue herons, coyotes, and other migratory and native birds for the price of a bus ticket and lunch bag.

There’s the well-known Stanley Park and the spectacular Seawall Walk that stretches for dozens of kilometers around False Creek, through Kitsilano, to Spanish Banks and Wreck Beach.

New Brighton Park beach
Vancouver Parks and Recreation Commission

Over the past few years, as previously “dead” marine habitats such as Howe Sound and False Creek have begun to revive, there have been more and more sightings of killer whales, gray whales, humpback whales and even dolphins from these vantage points. has been recorded. For example, the help of dedicated volunteers to help restore historic food sources such as herring.

But the largely overlooked green spaces in and around Metro Vancouver, and those near the water bodies, contain a small amount of flora and fauna that even the most casual visitor can see, so long as they know what to look for. A group is hidden.

Hastings Park Sanctuary Boardwalk
city ​​of vancouver

Below are two parks in the Vancouver East End that are very close together. straight has been covered before (but in a different context). Well frequented by locals when the weather is nice, they are still a ‘hidden’ gem. Even cloudy days should not deter you from picnics and educational walks. At least half the number of visitors.

( straight We’ll be offering a few more such discoveries in the lead up to Labor Day, so stay tuned.)

Therefore, this time, we will introduce the charm of the “ordinary” town where you can encounter extraordinary nature this summer. All you need to know is where to go.

Hastings Park Sanctuary/New Brighton Park

These adjacent East End parks (one relatively new, the other recently restored, both to be connected in the near future) are surprisingly diverse for their size and urban/industrial location. Hosts wildlife.

Hastings Park’s 66 hectares are mostly taken up by the PNE, the Pacific Coliseum and Hastings Racecourse (where thoroughbred horses can be seen for free on summer race days), but 4 hectares are aptly named Hastings Dedicated to Park Sanctuary.

Open areas are rare in this shady hideaway with its southern boundary just meters from the traffic at the intersection of West Hastings and Renfrew Streets. Holy pond. Located 12 meters below Hastings Street, it is filled with groundwater and runoff from rain and storms and is aerated for rainbow trout released at least twice a year by the British Columbia Freshwater Fisheries Association (one location in the park). Fishing is permitted at the north end of the pond.)

Hastings Park Sanctuary Boardwalk South End Marshland

Fish attract great blue herons, cormorants, kingfishers and a variety of diving ducks. Also, doubling ducks like Canada geese and mallards are almost always present (with their cute offspring for several weeks each year).

In fact, since its official opening in 1999, the park has recorded more than 140 species of birds, with a seasonally changing cast during the spring and fall migrations. At Nature Vancouver, there he occasionally makes his walk along a 2-kilometer circular trail. (Hastings Park Conservancy also offers monthly nature walks.)

Birds of prey such as owls, hawks and eagles are regularly seen due to their rotating migratory menus, and the occasional bobcat has even been observed visiting. The vegetation makes the Vancouver park experience noticeably different, replacing flowerbeds and ornamental trees common in many Vancouver parks with skunk cabbage and alder.

This winter view of Sanctuary Park’s Upper Pond shows the PNE agricultural buildings to the north.

The bog in the southeast corner of the Sanctuary is a natural biofiltration plant for channel runoff and groundwater, and within a year or two a sunlit stream will become the revived Hastings Creek (also known as Renfrew Creek). (as it is sometimes called) connects these little gems together. A greenway corridor through the PNE and Racecourse to the north more open New Brighton Park on the banks of Burrard Inlet.

Part of this walkway, called Creekway Park, was completed in 2013 between McGill Street and the tracks north of the racecourse as the first phase of a park connection plan. Bike trails and walking paths, and more native vegetation-lined waterways currently hold runoff only.

When complete, it will be the only publicly available streamside amenity in the East End, with the exception of Still Creek in the Grandview Boundary Industrial Area, which has only a small portion of it accessible to visitors.

Another view of New Brighton Park shows a restored salt marsh between the pool and the historic Alberta Wheatpool Grain Elevator.
vancouver port

New Brighton rebuilt part of its historic saltmarsh along with a coastal lagoon a few years ago as part of a major coastal habitat restoration project (a $3.5 million cost largely funded by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority). paid). Amenities include gravel paths, beachside trails, lookouts, and picnic tables and benches.

The addition of a winding shallow saltmarsh channel in 2017-18 brings the park’s original 150 meters of cobbled and sandy shoreline to 440 meters. Much of this is planted in native saltmarsh vegetation that already attracts shelter-seeking juvenile fish and Chinook salmon. , food and rest on the perilous journey through Canada’s largest port to the ocean.

Removal of polluted landfills that were dumped into the original wetlands in the 1960s and 1970s allowed groundwater, runoff and sunlit Hastings Creek contributions from the sanctuary in that part of the park to contribute in a natural cleansing process. It means passing through swamps.

Owls are one of more than 140 species of birds recorded as visitors or residents of Hastings Park Nature Reserve.
Wikimedia Commons/MDF

Overall, the wetland planting planted 25,000 salt marsh grass plugs, 4,000 shrubs, including salmonberry, and 200 native trees.. In extensive consultation with Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and the Squamish First Nations, saltmarsh restoration attracts a range of avian life, including feeding and nesting shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl..

Since the culverted streams were originally salmon habitat, there is hope that some districts during the late summer and fall spawning season will provide a seasonal and spectacular connection to the past. The general lack of supporting features for riparian salmon in connected parks that are currently in use means that future restoration efforts must first be undertaken.)

Thrift stores, libraries, flea markets, used bookstores, and the Internet are good places to get relatively inexpensive bird, animal, and plant identification guides. There is a lot of information just by looking it up, and it is surprisingly easy to establish. For example, especially if you’re building a game that maximizes bird sightings.

Happy hunting!


Wildlife, flora, history and affordable family summer fun at this hidden gem park in East Vancouver

Source link Wildlife, flora, history and affordable family summer fun at this hidden gem park in East Vancouver

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