Unveiling Vancouver Temperate Rainforests

Kind of embarrassing –after moving to Vancouver over 18 years ago, we finally visited 2 local municipal parks with temperate rainforests, for our first time a few months ago.

Centuries old moss-draped forests. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

For many years, I biked right by Pacific Spirit Regional Park near the University of British Columbia. Park edge was sometimes within a metre from the road, depending which bike route I took. Just clueless.

By perimeter of Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Also from cycling through Stanley Park, we already know of soaring old growth giant trees there. However only recently, we’ve wandered deeper into this park by Beaver Lake, on well-trodden shady wood trails with tree bark moist with green moss, fallen majestic reddish tree trunks and damp, living soil of fallen leaf clumps, nature’s debris.

Living trunk tree with moss dripping from several days of rain. Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Pacific Spirit Regional Park — Local Favourite Haunt
For our afternoon easy hike, we didn’t cycle to Pacific Spirit Regional park. After getting off a transit bus, we entered into the park after 5 min. of walking.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Pacific Spirit Regional Park is very much a fabulous local park. There are joggers splashing through rain-soaked, mud-slick trails, teenager cliques and local dog-walkers (which annoys joggers and cyclists). However, for northern temperate rainforest newbies, there are some unique micro-ecosystems.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Camosun Bog- 14 Different Types of Moss
On the map, Camosun Bog sounds like yawning bore. We went there, in hopes of seeing some birds. We didn’t know what to expect. We saw some black-capped chickadees twittering about and a tiny yellow-rumped warbler hopping discreetly among thick bog moss. Camosun Bog has centuries-long sacred spot for local Musqueam First Nations group who harvested wild blueberries, cranberries, cloudberries and Labrador tea.

Boardwalk overlooking Camosun Bog. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Since 1995, the bog has been restored and preserved as a rare temperate forest mini ecosystem. Below the wooden boardwalk, the bog includes thick round humps and clumps of sphagum moss varieties growing over rocks and wet soil.

Signage in Camosun Bog.

The bog glows brilliant, lusciously green. The different types of moss there is thick, luxuriant and comfy for insects, tiny birds, Pacific tree frog and other creatures to hide. There are 14 varieties of sphagnum moss in this bog and park.

Different varieties of sphagnum moss –some luxuriant like a pincushion. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

Protective Qualities of Sphagnum Moss
The Musqueam First Nations and other native Indian groups have used sphagnum moss for treating wounds, personal hygiene (for periods) and baby care since the moss acts as sponge to soak up pus, blood and water.  Depending on the moss type, sphagnum moss has been used to fill canoe holes, pillows, mattresses and as moisture for cooking.  It can act as a natural preservative to slow down natural decay.

Sphagnum moss varieties under late morning fog in distance. Camosun Bog. Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

The construction of the Golden Ears Bridge and highway approaches, where I worked in suburbs of Vancouver, our work site did include part of traditional native land. During construction, an archaeological team had to be brought in the uncover some well-preserved hunting and fishing implements over 2,000 years old since they are left covered by the moist mossy bog soil in the area.

Boardwalk encircling bog. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Among living decay and green growth. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

While raving over brilliant green, centuries old moss gardens in some Kyoto gardens in Japan, little was I even aware of local mosses, even more wildly abundant back in Canada.

Ferns and moss. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

We strolled back on the perimeter of the park which bordered a wealthy neighbourhood. Lucky them to be close to this centuries old sanctum.  We plan to return to bask in different seasons, light and dew.

Raindrops on coniferous branches after over 30 mm of rain day before. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong
Late afternoon. Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Vancouver BC 2021. Photo by J.Chong

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Pit says:

    Everything looks quite mysterious, doesn’t it. I really like the raindrops on the conifers and then the sun shining through the trees. 🙂 Yo do get a lot of rain up there, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Yes, a healthy amount of rain especially in winter. One does goes through certain days of 6-8 consecutive hrs. daily of steady rain. Fortunately the grey days don’t result in SAAD for me. The vegetation in Vancouver can become large or thick.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pit says:

        I wish we had at least SOME rain.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane Fritz says:

    You live in such a beautiful part of the world, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      It is. Have you been to Vancouver, Jane?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Fritz says:

        Yes, and several times on Vancouver Island and other parts of the mainland. It is just SOooo different from the east coast. Both beautiful, but the west coast is more dramatic and majestic.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean says:

          Glad it’s all in Canada at this time!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Your photos are exquisite Jean. I could almost smell the lush forest wood. I wanted to reach out and touch the soft, spongy moss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Yes, seeing moss….is almost wanting to lie down in it.Except it had rained for a few days before! You would enjoy the forest, Sue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TinLizzie72 says:

    What an amazing spot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Yes, non-locals just get the shiny marketing photos of VAncouver’s oceanside, vibrant urban life (which I love), mountains around the city but not these parks. Hope you are well and probably still sewing up a storm during covid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TinLizzie72 says:

        Too busy sewing to blog! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  5. imafishgirl says:

    Beautiful, I just love the way the sphagnum moss looks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Have you been to Vancouver BC yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. imafishgirl says:

        Not yet, but it is certainly on the list. So close too!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lani says:

    Such a magical post ~ love the bog photos as well as the ones with the sunlight streaming through the trees, basically all of them, right? I remember Stanley Park! Vancouver is a beautiful city. I hope to see it again, along with more of Canada. Green’s my favorite color so I really enjoyed all the splashes of green. Cheers ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Always feel free to PM me for things to see/do in Vancouver/ Vancouver Island/west coast.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lani says:

        😀 Thanks!

        Like

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