August 26, 2006

Rambling Cypress Park's Yew Lake Trail

We rambled the Yew Lake trail in Cypress Provincial Park on the north shore this afternoon. It was our first time to hike in Cypress and it was an easy, yet beautiful trail. We'll have to try some more challenging routes in the area.


Posted by Paul at 06:48 PM

August 21, 2006

Camping Manning Park Day 2

On the second day of our trip we hiked the canyon nature trail and then drove up to the alpine meadows.

One end of the canyon trail. We spotted several small trout having breakfast.

Boulders in the Similkameen.

On the trails at the alpine meadows.

A mountain view.

A tiny, but very cool-looking spider.

A lavender moth or butterfly.

And an orange one.

Posted by Paul at 06:34 PM

August 20, 2006

Camping Manning Park

Hard to believe with summer almost over, but today Yumi and I headed out on our first camping trip of the year. It was just an overnighter to Manning Park to get out of town and shake out our equipment.

We assumed there would be plenty of spaces on a Sunday night, however to our chagrin we found the Lightning Lake campground was full. We backtracked to Coldspring campground, and found a spot tucked under the ridge away from the highway.

After setting up camp, we went down to the Similkameen River to explore. As passionate streamkeepers, we had to check out the river, with Yumi particularly excited about looking for aquatic bugs and other creatures.

The beautiful Similkameen.

Streamkeeper Yumi checks out the river.

Success, as she finds the husk of a stonefly larva.

This tadpole was hiding under a stone.

Posted by Paul at 06:24 PM

August 17, 2006

Paint Poured Down Storm Drain

I was shocked and disappointed to see someone in our townhouse complex in the Byrne Creek watershed has poured what appears to be paint down a storm drain.


While it didn't appear to be a large amount, any paint at all is no good. People still don't seem to know, or perhaps care, that all storm drains lead to local creeks. That means that anything except rain that goes down those drains could potentially kill fish and other creatures.

I've informed council and also suggested that the drains in our complex be marked with the yellow fish program. As a streamkeeping volunteer, I'd be happy to do so.

Posted by Paul at 04:06 PM

Hike Produces Blackberries, Spiders

Yumi and I did the ravine loop around Byrne Creek this sunny afternoon and took time out to chow down on huge, luscious Himalayan blackberries. This species of blackberry is invasive and often crowds out native plant species. Its only redeeming feature is its fruit!


There were plenty of cutthroat trout in the sediment pond, with several likely in the 25-30cm range. It's good to see them repopulating the creek since the February fish kill when someone poured a toxin into a storm drain in the upper watershed.

There were also several cool spiders hanging about. I like the way the sun hitting this one's front legs make them look like gleaming sabers.


Posted by Paul at 03:55 PM

August 15, 2006

Vancouver Skyline From Cypress

We were running a few errands on the north shore in West Vancouver so we decided to cruise up to Cypress Provincial Park, stopping at the viewpoint along the way to enjoy the view of the lower mainland.


This is one of our favorite spots to bring out-of-town visitors.

Posted by Paul at 09:13 PM

August 14, 2006

Finished First Year of Royal Roads MAPC!

Whew! Yesterday I finished my first year in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program at Royal Roads University.

It's been a heck of a ride so far, and I've been really enjoying it. The combination of a three-week on-campus residency at the beginning of each year followed by online distance learning has been working well. While the online system of team and classwide discussions, email and chats has been productive and stimulating, I'm really looking forward to my second residency in October.

Learners are told to expect 20 - 25 hours a week of reading, researching, discussion and paper writing while they are in the program, and I think that's a pretty fair assessment. Some weeks the load is lower and some weeks higher, but it likely balances out in that range. While I've greatly enjoyed the classes, I'm looking forward to a break!

Posted by Paul at 11:34 AM

August 09, 2006

National Post Melts Water

There was a puzzling headline on page A6 in the National Post today:

Arctic Waters Melting As Temperatures Pass Records


Posted by Paul at 12:07 PM

August 08, 2006

Don't Release Pets Into the Wild

I was walking along on one of my regular circumnavigations of the Byrne Creek ravine in southeast Burnaby when I passed a young boy and a man ambling along. As I went by, I overheard a snippet of conversation that made me cringe.

The boy pointed at Griffiths' Pond near the Edmonds Skytrain station and said "That's where I released my fish." The man responded, "That was nice to return it to nature."

I wanted to stop and let them know about the negative effects of releasing pets into the wild, but they were having such a pleasant chat that I bit my tongue. I know from my volunteer work as a streamkeeper on Byrne Creek that we do not release salmon in that area, nor do schools release their "salmon in the classroom" fry there, so the boy was not talking about a sanctioned fish release. I assumed he was refering to some other non-native species that he had gotten from a pet store.

While on the surface it appears to be a nice gesture to set a pet fish, or other animal, free, there are several dangerous drawbacks.

1) The pet will likely have difficulty surviving in the wild.

2) If it does survive, and it is not a native species, it could threaten the existence of local species, particulary if it manages to breed.

You are not doing your pet, or your local environment, any favors by "setting it free."

Posted by Paul at 01:01 PM