Ecology anniversary

Five decades ago a very special flower blossomed above Lynn Canyon. Next month the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of education and outreach for local kids, families, and visitors to our community.  Join the festivities starting October 2. 


Early vision


As British Columbia looked to mark its centennial in 1971, the government offered grants for community projects and celebrations. The District of North Vancouver was feeling ambitious and proposed one of the largest projects in BC: an Ecology Centre at Lynn Canyon, said Isobel Rennie, graphics and display technician for the centre. 

“The Ecology Centre was the first nature centre in an urban environment. It was built in the shape of a dogwood flower – BC’s provincial flower – to mark the centennial,” she said. “People were just getting into understanding how humans affect the earth. Going through old displays in the back cupboards there was a good vision of what is important and most show issues we still talk about today.” 

It is one of the lasting legacies left by former District of North Vancouver Parks Manager, from 1959-1993, Dirk Oostindie (1928-2019). His forward thinking was transformational for the district, bringing us Maplewood Farms, the Baden Powell Trail, improving (disability) access to parks, creating Canada’s first public skate bowl at Seylynn and leaving generations of families with the Ecology Centre. 

Dirk Oostindie

Dirk Oostindie

“He grew up in Amsterdam during the war years,” said Nellie Oostindie, Dirk’s widow. “He didn’t have much in the way of school for many years. We didn’t have books, we didn’t have paper. But there were other ways and he would go to nature houses and learn there. It left an impression on him. He thought we could use one in Lynn Valley.” 

With many Centennial project options, it was good timing some trees needed to be cleared for a rain runoff culvert in Lynn Canyon Park. The new piece of infrastructure left the perfect empty spot for Dirk’s vision, said Oostindie. 

The opening exhibits – housed in each of the five dogwood petals,  discussed land use, she said, displaying a polluted, devastated forest, a pristine forest, a forest – like Lynn Valley was at the time – impacted by humans, an exhibit on garbage and a theatre. The grand opening, and a subsequent Cub Scout visit, left a lasting impression on Nellie and Dirk’s son, seven years old at the time – especially the resident live raccoon.

I am surprised that he remembers that after 50 years,” said Oostindie, adding that last week as they reminisced together he could recall the film he watched and describe the raccoon den in detail. Decades later the Ecology Centre continues to educate and delight visitors.

“There are always families who don’t dare go across the bridge and this was something they could do,” she said. “And on rainy days people would go inside. People who plan to go have a background in knowing about ecology but on rainy days, you catch the people who don’t plan to and learn something.” 

The Ecology Centre was just one project of countless others, Dirk spearheaded to make the DNV more livable for its growing community. Oostindie reflects Dirk was quite pragmatic about the changes he brought to the North Shore. 

“He said ‘That’s my job, I am paid for it – and I love my job. He felt it was his duty to do it.”


More than a building


Most locals have explored the petals of the Ecology Centre at some point. It remains one of the most accessible attractions in Metro Vancouver.  The staff adapted and innovated early in the pandemic creating online programs attracting participants from around the world. 

“It is a place where kids on the North Shore come as they grow up or as part of school and sparks interest in the environment and teaches them they have a role in caring for the environment,” said Rennie. “I think it’s a really accessible place, if teachers want to bring their classes it is subsidized, entrance is by donation for our visitors and our weekend programs are very affordable.”

In a typical year, 88,000 people visit the centre each year. Many of the guests are international or from other parts of Canada.  Over the years that is more than 3.3 million visitors from 70+ countries. 

“For people who are coming to Lynn Canyon Park and didn’t grow up here it is a place to learn who to explore, how to be safe and respectful of the animals and forests,” she said.

Centre staff encounter guests who are unfamiliar with forests and hesitate – often with concerns about bears.  

“Most come here not knowing the forest has been logged before, viewing the trees as large, ancient and old,” said Rennie. “When they get a chance to learn about the canyon’s past through the displays and learn its a very different place than it was 100 years ago, it gives a better understanding of the environment today.”

The centre’s pandemic pivot brought Lynn Valley ecology education into homes here and abroad. The centre now gets frequent participants from the US, UK and regularly teaches a class to students in Japan, said Rennie. It has also led to innovation that will enhance local programming. 

“We have a new underwater camera we hope to offer virtual underwater discovery soon.”


Celebrating a golden anniversary


Join the Ecology Centre Saturday, Oct. 2 – exactly 50 years from opening day: 

  • 12 – 4 pm
  • Nature groups will join the centre inside and out, such as North Shore Black Bear Society, the Wild Bird Trust (Maplewood Flats), the Invasive Species Council of BC, Furbearers, Streamkeepers,  DNV Trail and Habitat, DNV Rangers and others.
  • With covid procedures, visitors can walk through the centre and check out vintage film reels plus there will be crafts for kids, a colouring contest and an outdoor scavenger hunt to take-away.
  • Help create a memory wall where people can share their Ecology Centre memories.

Week-long events Oct. 2 – 8

  • Guided nature walks
  • Displays at the café mezzanine from Walter Draycott’s collection
  • Crafts, colouring contest and outdoor scavenger hunt. 

To stay up to date on events visit their website, follow on social media or sign up for the centre’s newsletter (at the bottom of the home page). 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Living in a looper landscape

Mid-July if you took a walk through the forest, you likely ran into hundreds of tiny hanging caterpillars. The larvae were lunching on hemlocks and other conifers, in the matter of weeks turning the hillsides from green to brown. Unfortunate timing also brought a heat dome to Lynn Valley and the result is a forest stressed and facing long-term deterioration. We spoke with UBC’s Dean of Forestry for his thoughts on looper moths, cedar die-off, and the future of local forests. 


Local impacts


The change was fast. The forests on Mt. Fromme and through Lynn Canyon were green – dry from lack of rain but still green. Then in just a couple of weeks, some ridges clearly seemed more brown and red than green. The quick change took even forest experts by surprise. 

“When someone told me about earlier this year I was quite surprised because I do spend a lot of time in the North Shore mountains,” said John Innes, a West Vancouver resident, professor, and dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. “The hemlock looper is actually quite localized, but where it is occurring it is significant. You may have noticed that the moths are now flying. We had exactly the same last year.”

Despite his many dog walks, it wasn’t until Innes flew over the area last month that he saw the full impact of the hemlock looper moths on Stanley Park, parts of Lighthouse Park, and the Lynn Valley area. Other portions of the North Shore remain largely untouched.  The native insect is in the middle of a three-year cycle, he said. They defoliate hemlocks, firs, and other trees. 


The loopers


“Normally the insect effects beginning in early July, so that is why you see very rapid effects,” said Innes. “The trees aren’t actually dead. The foliage is affected. The foliage has died but it is possible – it’s not a 100 percent certain but it is possible – these trees will recover in a year or two or a bit longer.”

As the North Shore forests are midway through a natural multi-year cycle that occurs every 11 to 15 years, some trees were also hit hard last year. 

“What we know is the ability to recover is strongly linked to the amount of defoliation and so we are seeing that if trees are completely defoliated there is a lower chance of recovery,” he said. “The other problem is that if the tree was affected last year, its reserve would be depleted. If this year it is again defoliated, that depletes its reserves again and it may not produce foliage next year and it may die.” 

There is some question of where we are in the looper moth cycle. The District of North Vancouver states we are in the last year of a three-year cycle, whereas Innes has a different opinion. 

“We had one last year, there is this year and we may get another one next year, and then it should die down again.”


The long-term impacts


Lynn Valley’s forests are not just dealing with a looper moth outbreak, they are also impacted by climate change and the sudden heat dome that occurred in late June/early July. 

“The heat plays a role in overall forest health – particularly cedars,” said Innes. “We are seeing over the years an increase in mortality for cedar across the North Shore mountains, particularly young cedars. 

“Within the forest, there is always some mortality. Like the human population, there is always one or two people who get an illness and ultimately die, unfortunately, and age-related mortality. Trees can reach a very old age but very few trees that grow in the forest actually reach that old-growth status. The majority die before then for all sorts of reasons, so what we are seeing is accelerated mortality. If it is bad, it can change the nature of the forest.”

Cedars are the cornerstone of North Shore forests. Without young trees slowly growing there will likely be a shift in the local ecosystem, he said. 

“There is going to be a problem in the future because there are no young cedars. There will be hemlocks and firs but we will lose the cedars are the oldest living trees in the forest and that will be quite significant in the future,” said Inness. “What we also can get is destabilization.”


The slope safety


Our mountainside community relies on the trees to keep the forest where it is – on the hillsides. The roots of healthy trees retain the soils that help bushes and younger plants grow – continuing the cycle. 

“Dead tree roots slowly decay. What we have seen is that it takes three to four years for the soils to be affected,” said Innes. “If you have a very strong rain or the soil is saturated, the soil’s ability to hold in place is at risk and you may see a landslide.”

The District of North Vancouver is aware of the shift in forest health. 

At this time, we do not know how many of those distressed trees will survive and we likely won’t know until next spring,” said Cassie Brondgeest, communications coordinator for the DNV. “There are many variables that will contribute to tree recovery including looper moth activity and future weather patterns. District staff are working closely with subject matter experts, our neighbouring municipalities, Metro Vancouver and the Province to monitor the situation and to determine next steps. This is a dynamic situation and much will depend on what happens next year.” 

Typically, if remediation is required it would involve replanting trees, said Innes. 

“We have a period of a few years where there is a high risk until the new roots gain enough strength,” he said. “It isn’t everywhere but it is a problem for certain slope conditions.” 


Immediate concerns


While slope destabilization is an issue to closely monitor, Innes feels there is an immediate concern residents should more fully educate themselves about: fire risk.

“Just because it is a rain forest does not mean that it’s not going to burn in the right conditions. And this year has given us the right conditions,” he said. “I don’t think we are quite ready. People in the interior are familiar and know about evacuation orders, but if that situation were to happen in the District of North Vancouver a lot of people would not know how to respond or what to do.”

Despite this week’s rain, the heat of summer and looper moths have created a situation that remains high risk. 

“Once trees drop their foliage, the red browns stuff is very dry and it does increase risk. If the trees are dead they will gradually break down and increase the risk,” said Innes. “In terms of the North Shore, the primary risks are the availability of fuel, dryness of the fuel, and the igniting effects. What you would be looking for, on the North Shore is the human risk.”

Big fires on the North Shore are not unheard of, he said. Exploring Cypress Bowl is one place where we can see the effects of local forest fires. He emphasizes we aren’t immune and need to learn more about fire prevention

“I was out walking and I was thinking that this is so, so dry and it would easily be set off by a cigarette.”


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Bears at risk in Lynn Valley

This past weekend, the plan was to kill Lynn Valley bears. Two traps were set up Friday night. It’s becoming an all too common problem. The last weekend in July a Lynn Valley bear spent its day as high as it could go in a tree, trying to evade the traps and guns of conservation officers. Neighbours of the ongoing incident were watching. One placed a quick call and soon Luci Cadman, executive director of the North Shore Black Bear Society (NSBBS), was also on scene, advocating the best she could for a bear with a death sentence and educating the homeowners with unsecure chicken coops (DNV bylaw require an electric fence) that created the situation.


It’s normal for bears to be around in the day time


The images and anecdotes are flooding social media – but bears aren’t new to Lynn Valley. These furry neighbours will – hopefully – always be a part of the community and we can all master more best practices to live alongside them. 

Bears have been a part of the community since well before settlers arrived in Lynn Valley. The headlines and viral images we see today aren’t really a matter of more bears, but of more reporting, said Cadman. 

“On social media, we are seeing more images as more people are out in the summer,” she said. “But the bears have been active since February.” 

Luci Cadman

We will always have bears in our community – always because they are here for safety whether there are unnatural food sources or not, it’s a natural place to be, said Cadman. 

“We are seeing a pattern of people being at home and Dr. Henry encouraging people outside. Especially in areas like Capilano Regional Park, Mosquito Creek, Braemar, Fromme Mountain, Lynn Canyon Park, there are reports of more daytime bear activity. I believe recreation is pushing bears out of the forest into the community where it is a little bit quieter. We see bears are just resting at the back of people’s yards away from the hikers, bikers, and dogs. They are seeking peace and quiet and going back into the forest at night.”

The society also noticed in 2020 the impact of closing provincial parks led to unsanctioned bike trails on Mount Seymour pushing local bears into neighbourhoods. During education outreach at trailheads, Cadman also has had a number of reports from the public of misinformed individuals aggressively moving bears from their natural areas and food sources with airhorns or bear bangers because the public wants to recreate in the area. 

“The bears in Lynn Valley are the more vulnerable bears, the mom, and cubs, the teenagers, older bears, right now there is an injured bear. These bears live on the periphery of our environment and can’t go higher up in the mountains because that is where the dominant bears are.”

When it comes to the dangers of living with bears, there are few. It is far more dangerous for the bears to live near us, said Cadman. In 2019, 542 black bears and 162 grizzly bears were killed in BC. 

“We have the statistics,” she said. “They are in the community without incident, their intention isn’t to hurt people and we know this because we get hundreds of reports every year without incident. It is very rare for a black bear to make physical contact.”

Even those bears people think are dangerous are not – statistics show a mother bear is the least dangerous bear – her instinct is to retreat from humans. They live near neighbourhoods because it is less dangerous for her – away from dominant bears, said Cadman.

It’s up to us, as residents, to facilitate cohabitation.  


Bears can learn boundaries


The NSBBS believes education will lead to our best co-existence with bears and the role the public can play has evolved over the years, said Cadman.

Photo by Tony Joyce

“These animals are teachable. They are very intelligent. Back in the day it was bang pots and pans and used an air horn but many of our bears are adapting. Don’t expect a bear to run away,” she said. “If they did that every time they saw a person, they would get nothing done. They are comfortable with people – at a distance – never step into their space. 

“Just because a bear is walking down the street in the daytime does not mean they are bold or aggressive.” 

If a bear does enter your yard, Cadman offers this advice: “From a safe place like a deck or window, with eye contact and a firm tone, speak to the bear [in any language, as the key is tone, not words]. It will usually move on. They can be taught this is not a place to be. Be consistent and do it every time they are in your yard. 

“We have had a lot of success with bears changing their routes by people doing that.” 

If you meet a bear in the wild it’s a different procedure and likely not the one you learned as a kid. The typical thought to make yourself large as possible, to glare and threaten the bear in a loud voice is incorrect as Cadman because it may make the bear feel threatened. 

“If you suddenly, closely encounter a bear on a trail or in your yard speak in a calm tone and slowly back away,” said Cadman, adding this behaviour allows you to demonstrate you are giving the bears their space to carry on.


Challenges leading to bear deaths


There are numerous challenges facing local bears, says Cadman. Some are institutional, like the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) and local governments, others are more about individual resident actions.  

“People believe that conservation officers relocate bears,” she said. “In June of this year, in BC, 75 bears were killed. Only one was relocated.”

The false assumption by residents that bears will be relocated leads to behaviours that put bears at risk.

“We always try to educate and I have heard it before, ‘It’s not a big deal [the bear is trapped], it will be relocated like last time,’” said Cadman. “No, the bear will be killed, just like last time.”

She also struggles to get accurate reports on bears from the BCCOS so she can direct the NSBBS’s finite education resources to where it’s most needed. 

“If people don’t report the bears to us, we don’t know what questions to ask the BCCOS,” she said. “We can’t hold them accountable.”

The District of North Vancouver is making progress to be more supportive of bears cohabiting in the community but there is still more work to do, she said. 

“In January the district passed a bylaw regarding bear attractants and they are using it as a next step when our education isn’t working. First, we want people to talk to their neighbours, but if that isn’t working they can let us know or the DNV and we can provide education. We send a welcome package to all new residents to help them understand bears in our community. We are still working with the district to improve the waste bins. The locking waste bins are not bear-proof and continue to be a problem.”

Revisiting last month’s bear visiting chicken coops, Cadman is pleased to have the bylaw in place, as education didn’t seem to be working. 

Bear Season in long

Bears are in our neighbourhoods from late February to November. They need year-round support. The NSBBS is slowly expanding its small team of volunteers.  Donations are a quick way to make a difference. Self-education can be found on their website (new site coming soon). 

There are actions residents can take now to support our bear neighbours:

  • Report bear sightings online here for tracking, if there is immediate need text or call: 604-317-4911.
  • To report problem attractants use this online form.  
  • Remove all food as soon as possible: veggies, berries, and fruit. 
  • Do not install or remove bird feeders (taking in at night is not sufficient as bears are here during the day). 
  • Keep waste bins in locked sheds or in your home, if possible. Regularly, clean green waste and garbage bins with a vinegar or bleach solution, layer garden waste on top of food waste and freeze scraps when possible only placing them in the cart on pickup day. 
  • Burn off BBQs for 10 minutes and clean after each use.

Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Blooming on Sunnyhurst

After an inspiring conversation with a friend, Lynn Valley’s Alexia Stack has decided to harness her blooming passion for gardening to support a local charity and brighten her neighbours’ days.


Growing some good


If you have walked through the lane behind Sunnyhurst Road you know it’s bustling with activity, from a Little Library to a physically distant, preschool Halloween street party. There is a lot of life happening on that small stretch of pavement. Resident Alexia Stack is going to do her part to make it a little more beautiful. Following her growing success as a gardener, she will be offering flower bouquets and seeds from her new farmstand – all to support the North Shore Crisis Services Society

“I wanted to do it last year but I didn’t have a purpose beyond brightening up the days,” said Stack, a mom and behaviour analyst supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Over the holidays I was thinking of a plan to donate the proceeds. I have a friend who has been supporting seniors in care homes through the pandemic and she inspired me and helped me think of it from a different perspective of what I could do and where the money could go. When I got the plan in place, I got really motivated to get started.”

She has been busy packing seeds to be the first offers at the new stand. She hopes to kick off sales – by donation – Family Day weekend. The stand will be located in the lane behind 3185 Sunnyhurst. 

“I will start with seeds available – I have sunflowers, poppies, cosmos, pincushions, and I will be harvesting once or twice a week in the summer and putting together bouquets in the alley. 

The box will be locked and a clear sign of where the donations are going – but you don’t have to donate but all the money is going to go to charity,” said Stack. “I think a lot of issues go unspoken about on the North Shore, we live in a really privileged place and things like domestic abuse are pushed under the rug and swept away. We don’t necessarily see it in the community. I think it’s an issue that is present and we can support locally here in the neighbourhood.”

Stack will post updates in local Facebook gardening groups sharing the stand’s offerings throughout the growing season. 


Just get your hands dirty


The thriving garden takes place in a small footprint – six beds surrounding her townhome. Stack said her success is rooted in trial and error and lots of learning with her former neighbour Tracy Romano.

“I wasn’t a gardener when I was younger – I had two black thumbs for sure.”

Eleven years into her self-education Stack loves getting her hands dirty.

“I love to get my hands in the soil,” she said. “I think it surprised me how good I felt working with soil. I have this tiny garden – just six garden beds but I feel so much more connected and grounded when I can get out and work with the earth.”

A feeling she thinks others could benefit from. 

“Growing a garden in whatever space you have keeps you moving in the direction of tomorrow: a fresh start, a new hope for something better, a belief life is ever-changing,” said Stack. “This belief is helping me make my way through this never-ending pandemic.”

For her – and most gardeners – the first step is planning. Pouring over seed catalogues and schedules. 

“I have already planted sweetpeas inside my office since the beginning of January,” said Stack. “This year over the holidays I used photos that I cut out into small squares and I have put together almost like a quilt that I have pasted into my garden book so I have a clear visual of where things are going to go and I have the dates assigned so I know when to plant. I am pretty keen with the schedules so usually go with the first suggested date of planting.”

She recommends poppies, sweetpeas, cosmos, and dahlias for the budding flower gardner. This year’s focus for Stack will be to encourage density and to extend the blooms throughout the season. 

“I also look at annuals that benefit from being cut, there are a whole bunch of flowers like sweetpeas that live to be cut and produce more and some like pincushions that just thrive,” she said.  

For more inspiration and to get updates of Stack’s farmstand join the two North Shore garden groups on Facebook. 


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Planting native plants is more than good ecology

A local conservation group offers local gardeners access to native plants, education, and a chance to actively engage in a form of reconciliation. Checking out the Wild Bird Trust’s Maplewood Flats native plant nursery is an opportunity to decolonize our landscape, support biodiversity, and reflect on the original stewards of the North Shore.  


Learning about roots


When Irwin Oostindie was a toddler he tagged along with his father, DNV’s parks manager at the time, Dirk Oostindie (a former Lynn Valley local with his own fascinating story),  to Lynn Valley Garden Club meetings. Underfoot and under his father’s care he learned the power of cultivating the earth. 

“I grew up in a Lynn Valley family that was about green spaces and gardening, so when I took on the responsibility of president of Maplewood Flats in 2016 I went about figuring out how we could up this nursery business,” said Oostindie. “We wanted to support people’s planting desires with native plants.”

The Wild Bird Trust was created in 1993 to oversee the Maplewood Flats lands. Today it remains the only nature reserve in Vancouver’s Harbour. In 2016, the board recognized some errors in management of the area. Despite being almost linked directly to Tsleil-Waututh First Nations’ land, their knowledge was never sought. 

“That was a mistake,” said Oostindie. “For the last five years, we have been repairing the relationship. The plants, the birds, and their culture are all connected. This is not a token gesture. We want to acknowledge there are other world views and approaches. The colonial world view of Lynn Valley – of North Vancouver – is broken because it required the daily alienation of the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish people. We want to decolonize this view – very publicly. You can be a part of it – with your family.” 

The shift in perspective will both be better for the community and our environment, he says.

“It’s a responsibility of settlers to think about history. We think of [Lynn Valley] as being a hundred or a 130 years old but that is such an erasure that these lands have been stewarded by the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh for millennia,” he said. “So when we use native plant materials we are repairing damage that our community has been unwittingly participating in.”

Oostindie is proud of the role the Wild Bird Trust is playing in repairing past community harms. 

“It is an opportunity to think about reconciliation in our own homes, in our own yards, or our own balconies. Think about plants and conservation as an entry point to think about First Nations issues. It’s a physical manifestation – it is something you can actually do to recognize the colonial roots of North Vancouver.

“Every time you plant a plant you can plant annuals or you can plant a plant that supports the original biodiversity of the area. It’s a step toward land repair and bio-diversity repair. It’s not something we need someone else to do, it is something we can do in our own lives.”


The Coast Salish nursery


Nestled east of the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge the Maplewood Flats Conservation Area is home to five kilometres of wheelchair-accessible walking trails. More than 250 bird species and 40 animal species have been observed within the area. The Wild Bird Trust operates a nature house and its nursery on the site. 

The Coast Salish Plant Nursery carries a variety of plants native to the North Shore. All purchases help support habitat restoration and educational programming on Coast Salish culture and ecology. October to March the nursery is open by appointment with the spring and summer offering regular sales on Saturdays. It’s a consumer choice that is about more than just buying a plant, said Oostindie. 

“We all love the tall trees, but biodiversity is also the shrubs, the insects,” he said. “There is traditional knowledge in huckleberries growing under cedar trees, and if we think about decolonizing our gardening techniques we open to the millennia of knowledge of the Coast Salish people who were masterful stewards of this environment.  

“Think about Lynn Valley being here for thousands of years, not 150 years. Through our plant sales and education programs we help people connect to place.” 

The Wild Bird Trust continues to offer education programming throughout the pandemic – online. Details can be found on Facebook or Eventbrite

“We are pretty bold with our online programming talking about decolonization, conservation,” said Oostindie. “We do programs twice a week – Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. There is always something for people to turn on that is high-quality outdoor education, and that is about 50 percent is with and by Coast Salish people.” 

Another pandemic pivot the Trust is proud of is being able to open its nature house to the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation outdoor school.

“One of my goals is that Tsleil-Waututh children know this is their land and that being on it is just normal to them. Ironically a silver lining of covid, has brought them here,” said Oostindie. “We hope they have a connection to this place that their parents were alienated from.” 

In May the Wild Bird Trust is hosting a Chief Dan George exhibit the public will be able to visit with covid-safe booking protocols. More information will be available soon. Keep an eye on their webpage and social accounts for details. To learn more about the plant nursery or for details on how to book a buying appointment visit this page


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Trails from the ground up

It was a busy summer on the Shore. The local trails have been inundated with users of all kinds, even with parking lots closed walkers, hikers and bikers from all over the region made their way to our trails. It means a lot of work for hundreds of volunteers that build and maintain terrain.


Community builder


The North Shore Mountain Bike Association’s Joe Woywitka knows firsthand how busy the trails are. He spends five days a week working on taking care of the region’s trails as its trail crew lead. The covid restrictions initially changed the make of users on the trails, but as the months went on, the numbers continued to rise, he said. 

Joe Woywitka

“I am out working on the trails and the influx of new riders, trail runners and hikers has been huge,” said Woywitka. “We are seeing a lot more beginners out there – which is a good thing. I think they are seeing what goes into the trails. It’s great. It means more people for the sport, more people to support the association and get involved in advocacy for the trails.”

The NSMBA is thrilled to see more riders out – it aligns with their mandate of “Trails for all. Trails forever.” Their goal is to grow the sport to more people and with more diversity. A cause the covid pandemic has helped in its own way. 

With many riders and families spending their season out on the trails for the first time, they are seeing for the first time what it takes to keep the trails on Seymour, Cypress and Fromme safe, said Woywitka.  

“Growing up here there wasn’t the same amount of trail maintenance going on – which means fewer beginner trails or trails that made it easy to get into the sport,” he said. “What the NSMBA has been doing over the last 10 years or so is to make the trails more inclusive and help people get into the sport and also maintaining the more challenging terrain the North Shore is known for.” 


Trail work


It takes a whole community to keep the trails environmentally sustainable, safe and fun. More than 1,600 volunteers shared their time with the NSMBA last year for more than 13,000 volunteer hours. 

The NSMBA uses a dedicated group of 500 volunteers – the Shore Corps – that have all undergone training to lead its community trail days and corporate trail days. Giving a few hours to the trails is something Woywitka would like all riders to consider. With no experience necessary, the Shore Corp takes the lead on guiding volunteers. 

“They are the core group of builders we can lean on to help maintain the trails. Some have ‘their own’ trails that they are the lead builder on and are dedicated to maintain,” he said. 

Today the Corps is needed more than ever as covid protocols require smaller groups further apart. With the trail work days resumed, it is a chance to give back to the sport you love.

“Volunteers are what drives our organization and lets us get the majority of work done. You will see how not only do we maintain the trails but how we make our trails fun,” he said. “The primary focus when we are out doing any sort of trail work is sustainability. When you participate in any form of outdoor recreation there are going to be environmental impacts and our goal is to offset what comes from mountain biking and the trail maintenance. ”


Trails forever


There are a few plans in the works to add more terrain to the North Shore. For the first time, the NSMBA is working with the City of North Vancouver to establish some trails in Greenwood Park, just south of the Upper Levels. 

“We have found a suitable place to build,” said Woywitka. “The terrain is a little bit easier and it isn’t super steep like many parts of the North Shore mountains. It would be a great place for beginner and intermediate trails.”

With the expansion and redesign of trails focusing on newer riders completed over the last few years, the NSMBA is also looking to better service the experienced riders that have been using the trails for decades. 

“Over the last several years we have really rounded out the beginner and intermediate trails and we are hoping to push for a new advanced level trail,” Woywitka said. “Somewhere higher up on Fromme would be the best place for it. It is something the community has been calling for and we want to make sure we are advocating for the higher level riders.”

Visit www.nsmba.ca and check out the calendar for Community Trail Days. There is a plan for family day this fall. You can also email info@nsmba.ca for more information.

How to help support local trails

  1. Support the NSMBA with a membership purchase.
  2. Attend a trail building day.
  3. Shut down braids – the unsanctioned trails between maintained trails.

Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Growing community celebration

This has been an epic gardening season. More people than ever took to the earth and tried their hand a growing their own food. When the rest of the world was closed, the line-ups at Maple Leaf Garden Centre was well down the the block. We have fought cold and wet months, and now moths but Lynn Valley gardens have still never looked better.

And now – we celebrate! 


Virtual Fall Fair


We want to share the gardening glory and hard work being invested in yards and patios. More than anything we would love to gather and look at your summer projects – woodwork, quilts and art. While we would really love to taste your jams, jellys, pickles and pies, it doesn’t seem like the most covid-responsible idea.

Instead we are putting together a digital Fall Fair – we want to share your hard work with our readers and Facebook followers. We are running a contest from now until Sept. 30 for residents of the North Vancouver.

We have four $25 gift cards to Maple Leaf Garden up for grabs!

Send us your photos in one of these categories.

  1. Best flowers/ornamental garden
  2. Best Veggies – garden or harvest
  3. Best basket or container of any kind
  4. Best under 13 years old – I grew it myself!

Here is how you do it:

Pick ONE entry per category.

Put the category in the subject of the email.

Email the photo to robin@lynnvalleylife.com – please send a SEPARATE email for each entry. For adults there is a maximum of three entries, one per category and for children, a maximum of 4.

Include your name, postal code, phone number, age (if entering the child category) and any details you want to add about the photo.

Deadline Sept. 30, 2020.

By entering the contest you consent to receiving future editions of our newsletter, sent once a month. We will not distribute or sell your private information to others.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Camp options in a covid world

There has been a lot of innovation going on behind the scenes of local small businesses and organizations offering kids summer camps. Most options were tossed out the window with Covid-19 safety concerns but a few have pushed through and adapted. We have a list of Lynn Valley activities still available to keep your kids busy and active this summer. 


Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre


The Ecology Centre has three mini-camps scheduled for August. Join Ecology Centre naturalists for adventures, fun, and outdoor education. These mini-camps are for children ages 6 to 9 and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Each mini-camp costs $79.95. Phone 604-990-3755 to register. 

If you are looking for a quick morning activity at home, the centre  also has some pre-recorded videos to check out on their website.


Endless Biking


Endless is back with Covid-19 procedures in place to offer mountain biking camps to children 6-16 year old. With half-day camps for the younger and full-day for older kids, their coaches will help instill confidence and skills on the trails. Prices range from $200-485 depending on the length and number of the camp days. Details and registration can be found on their website


Elevate Ultimate Frisbee


Elevate is offering both disc golf and ultimate frisbee activities this summer. Their disc golf camps take place at Eastview Elementary and their ultimate frisbee camp and teams meet at Kirkstone. Both activities are naturally more socially distant than many sports and will keep your kids active and outdoors. Though many camps are full there is space still available in some. Full details can be found on their website


Escape Adventures


Lynn Valley’s own Escape Adventures is back. They have four offerings this summer: The Rippers, Survive the Shore, Extremer Ridders and Shore Shredders. From straight up trail riding to outdoor camps with nature skills and kayaking, the camps have been adapted and coaches trained on proper Covid-19 procedures.


North Van Rec


NVRC is offering full-day outdoor camps during July and August.  They have been designed and offered in accordance with provincial health requirements. The locations are across North Vancouver to take full advantage of our beautiful outdoors. Camps do not include trips to other locations and public transit will not be used. These camps will run rain or shine. Campers should be prepared for the weather as they will be outside all day. One camp will run in Princess Park and Lynn Valley Community Centre. Registration is open now for July and will be open for August camps on July 16. 


Kudzu Studio


If art is more your child’s thing, Lynn Valley’s Jeri Engen is back using her years of children’s art education to teach LIVE, online art classes. They are live streamed small classes offering the same individual attention she offers in studio. All projects are process-based with open-ended prompts that allow each student the ability to create their own unique artwork with one on one attention from an educator. Packages are thoughtfully created to use a limited number of supplies through multiple projects in order to minimize cost and offer the greatest value for families.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Dropping a line near End of the Line

With the rushing waters of the Capilano, the wharf at Cate’s Park and the tranquil quiet of Rice Lake, the North Shore is an angler’s dream. As a quiet, close to home summer sits on the horizon, fishing might be something new to get the family outside.


Getting started


“You can spend as much as $1000 or as little as $50,” said Reece Fowler, education director of the Seymour Salmonid Society. “You can probably spend a lot less than $50 if you head to Canadian Tire or Walmart. You just need a rod kit with a spinning reel.”

Family Fishing Weekend

Provincial fishing regulations allow children under the age of 16 to fish without a licence, but there are handful of rules to learn and becoming familiar with fishing closures (like the Seymour River) is part of fishing responsibly. Plus, there are additional licencing and regulations for saltwater and tidal fishing. 

But really it’s just a kid willing to try, a rod and some bait, says Fowler. While worms are a classic, he has other suggestions to get fish biting. 

“Power Bait is kind of like Play-Doh and comes in a little jar, smells like fish obviously,” he said. “You form a little ball on your hook, and cast it out. A sinker will sit on the lake bed but the bait floats up.”

It is a good option especially in the summer when the trout are deeper in the water.


Local waters


Lynn Valley’s Rice Lake is one of the go to locations for new anglers in the Lower Mainland. The man-made lake is an ideal location for stocked trout. With just a short walk in from the parking lot little legs will still have some energy to fish.

Family Fishing Weekend

“Originally Rice Lake was first made as a water reservoir and then used by the logging industry to help move logs down from Lynn Valley,” said Fowler. “It’s quite a nice environment for trout – there are no water activities, you can’t swim, you can’t go boating. The forest is nearby so there is a fair amount of food for the trout.”

Several times a year Rice Lake is stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. – information worth checking out. Most recently it was stocked with 4,000 trout in the first week of April. 

“It is stocked three or four times a year,” said Fowler. “You have the best chance to catch a fish within a week or two of a release because there are a lot of people who fish there, it gets fished out.” 

Between the stocking and the location Rice Lake is a good bet for a first fishing experience.

“You can park at the top and it’s a five minute walk in. There is a dock there as well as a number of other spots along the lake that have been cleared and created.” 

Being a small lake, Fowler offered this tip.

“Rice Lake is not as great in the peak of summer because it is not a huge lake, and it can get warm. The fish can be reluctant to bite. When you are fishing Rice Lake the key is to not go in the middle of the day in the middle of summer.”


Family Fun


Reece Fowler

Fishing can be a great way to share something you love or to learn something new with your kids. Typically the Seymour Salmonid Society teams up with partners to mark Family Fishing Weekend every Father’s Day. This year’s plans have been cancelled due to the pandemic but the annual event hopes to be back in the future with its equipment to borrow and info booths to get people out fishing. 

In the meantime, a little parental enthusiasm and family time can be a great introduction to the sport. 

“I love fishing and I have been dragging my daughter out since she was about four and now she loves it,” said Fowler. 

They visit Rice lake together often, plus his work gives Fowler and his seven-year-old daughter some unique opportunities to fish. While the Seymour River is currently closed to sport fishing, having suffered significant habitat upset after the 2014 rock slide, efforts to rebuild the fish population require catching fish for breeding at the Seymour Hatchery. 

“She has caught salmon every year for the past couple of years,” said Fowler. “When you’re having to hold on to a six-year-old kid so they don’t get pulled in the river by a big salmon it creates a bit of buzz.”


Further afield


There are a number of other spots worth checking out in the Lower Mainland. Fowler recommends Murrin Provincial Park with its sandy beach and small stocked lake, Buntzen Lake and Burnaby Lake. (Review each location’s governing body for openings and closures due to Covid-19 before your trip.)

North Vancouver also has a number of rivers known for fishing but Fowler doesn’t recommend them for children or new anglers. 

“Flowing water depends on experience. How old are the kids? Have they been introduced to rivers in the past? Most of our rivers are canyonated with steep sides,” he said. “They can be tough to get into if you aren’t experienced.”

During salmon fishing openings the mouth of a Seymour is an option, said Fowler with more of an estuary-like environment. It will also require a salt water licence and knowledge of tidal fishing regulations, he said.  


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Living on the edge

We live in a special place. Nestled between two mountains on the edge of one of the world’s best cities, it is a unique situation shared by few other places. Where else in the world can you live a 20 minute drive from downtown but also be a 20 minute bike ride from the backcountry. As summer comes full force we need to think about how to keep our special community, our homes and forest safe.


Wildfire home protection


Living on the edge of the forest there are some unique considerations to prepare your home to be in its best position to resist fire. The District of North Vancouver has an interactive website offering suggestions. 

  • Use fire resistant plants: Plant wildfire resistant plants within 10m of your house (avoid pine, cedar, spruce, and juniper)
  • Replace conifer hedges:  Replace flammable conifer hedges with low flammable species.
  • Prune conifer trees: Prune conifer trees to give a 3m separation from ground to crown, and to buildings.
  • Clear eaves: Clear your eaves regularly to ensure no build-up of debris.
  • Screen your roof vents: Put screens over vents to keep debris and embers out.
  • Replace cedar roofs: Replace cedar roofs with non-combustible ones (metal, ceramic, asphalt).
  • Use fire retardant coatings: Treat fences, decks, and garden sheds with a fire retardant coating.

Keeping the home fires burning – maybe


There are clear regulations of what is allowed for recreational burning on the District of North Vancouver website. While gas or propane fueled devices are generally allowed, most wood burning units are not. 

Permitted:

  • burner (natural gas or propane)
  • outdoor gas fire bowl
  • gas barbecue
  • charcoal barbecue
  • patio heater (natural gas or propane)

These open fires are not permitted (minimum $400 fine):

  • fire pit
  • chiminea
  • outdoor fireplace
  • fire bowl/yard campfire
  • Requiring permit: beach/park fire and outdoor pizza oven 

Learn more


For those planning more extensive construction this summer there are additional regulations that need to be considered. 

There are also additional resources from the the province and federal governments. 

From the archives

We spoke with the District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue about its wildfire preparations and how they were training additional District staff to support their work in the event of a fire. Check out that post here


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.