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Richmond Nature Park, Richmond, BC — September 2007

By Dan Paquette

One of the great guessing games in crossing the border into British Columbia these days is how to time it so that car lines are short. And while you may succeed in having a short wait, you also may find yourself with some extra time if you are attending a conference or meeting someone at the Vancouver Airport. Here is a side trip close to the airport where you can easily spend a couple of hours, stretching your legs and noting some new plants and also some invasives not normally thought of as being a problem.

Richmond Nature Park is a bog onto which domestic blueberry excapees have invaded. The blueberry plants (a cultivar of Vaccinium corymbosum) rise to six feet or higher and if unchecked, tend to shade out the native bog species.

The site’s “Nature House” is open 9 to 5 everyday except November 11th, December 25 and 26th and January 1st. Be sure to stop in, donate a buck and then go and look at the Native Plant book and note the different Rubuses and Vacciniums that can be found. Some of the species are hard to find and the staff can be helpful in knowing where you may find such species as Rubus chaemaemorus (Cloudberry) which is not found in our central Puget Sound area and Vaccinium oxycoccus or sometime called Oxycoccus oxycoccus (Bog Cranberry). It’s tiny stems and leaves seem incompatible with the large berries produced on these minute plants.

The paths in this park are soft and springy making for a walk easy on the knees. In many areas Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch) and Ledum groenlandicum (Labrador Tea) are quite common. Ask about the area being developed as a showcase of species diversity in the bog. I saw as many as four species of sphagnum moss in this area which is close by the junctions with the maintenance trail but heading off on the other side of the main trail.

Directions: From the Peace Arch, take Canada 99 north. A couple of miles beyond the George Massey Tunnel, get in the right lane which will exit onto the Westminster Highway. Go left onto the highway but stay in the right lane. After passing the junction with Number 5 Road, you will see a right turn lane to the entrance of Richmond Nature Park. The Park itself is open from 7 :00 am until sunset. For a plant list, see http://www.geog.ubc.ca/richmond/city/RNPplantlist.html.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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