Saturday, January 15, 2011

Free Guided Ancient Tree Hike in Stanley Park - Sunday Jan 30th 2011

For a free on-line and up to date guide to the big trees of Stanley Park please see my new website Vancouver Big Trees guide for Stanley Park

Intro: This hike is organized by the UBC Ancient Forest Committee (AFC). The mandate of The AFC is to raise awareness for the depletion of British Columbia's Ancient Forests and urge politicians and foresters to create a sustainable forestry plan. With this purpose and also with the hope of building participants understanding and relationship to nature, the hike will be exploring Stanley Park's tallest and largest trees. The hike will be led by Ira Sutherland, a student at the faculty of forestry in UBC who is familiar with the trails of Stanley Park and knows the location of many exceptionally large trees. The hike is open to all members of the public provided that they are in adequate physical condition for a 6 km hike, have read this document and understand the dificulty level and what they are expected to bring.

Where and When: This hike is fully accessible by public transportation and easily approachable by bicycle! The "19 Stanley Park" goes directly there. Downtown Transit Map . Check for route planning details or bus schedules. We are meeting at the shelter in the center of the Stanley Park bus loop at 10Am on Sunday, January 30th 2011. The hike will be a total of 3 1/2 hours and will end at the same location. Parking is available adjacent to the bus loop ($5/all day). The bus loop is beside the Stanley Park Pavilion and the entrance gate for the children's train. If entering Stanley Park by car from Georgia Street continue straight through the traffic circle and the parking lot is 150m ahead on the right. Stanley Park MAP

What are we doing: Stanley Park provides an incredible opportunity to see very large trees of several different species. We will learn some basics for identifying many trees common to our coastal forest as well as a bit about the significance of these tree species to human culture (Ethnobotany!).

The Plan is This: From Stanley Park bus loop we will walk directly to the Tall tree grove to see the tallest trees in the park: 5 or 6 Douglas-firs 70m to 80m in height! Then we will continue past scenic Beaver Lake, and into a tranquil grove with some very large Western red cedars. Next we will pay a visit to B.C.'s largest recorded Big leaf Maple, which is possibly Canada's largest maple tree! It is covered in epiphytes and a has fascinating and beautiful form. After that we will visit the Hollow Tree, then walk past the impressive remains of the fallen "National Geographic Tree," to Third Beach for a visit to B.C.'s largest recorded red alder before circling back. On the way back to the bus loop we will visit some enormous western red cedars and walk past the site where Vancouver's beloved "Seven Sisters" were sadly logged 60 years ago.

Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate. approximately 6 km; mostly flat on smooth gravel trails. This is definitely the least difficult ancient forest hike offered by the AFC; although, bad weather can still make it pretty tough!

Suggested things to bring: snacks, water, rain gear (with hood or a good hat), extra sweater, hiking boots or at least comfortable walking shoes, appropriate outdoor clothing!---> DO NOT WEAR COTTON because cotton is highly absorptive and then a very poor insulator once wet. Examples of appropriate outdoor clothing: fleece, wool socks, anything synthetic, toques (light and warm!) non-cotton long underwear. Examples of bad outdoor clothing: cotton jeans, cotton socks, cotton T-shirts. When hiking in Vancouver winters, always come prepared for rain! Its always better to come a little over prepared rather than under prepared! Preparing for the elements is an important strategy for being comfortable in nature and maximizing the benefit of your experience.