Burns Bog Nature Reserve - Delta
Activity:"Not another one of your brainy ideas Dad," was Nathe's reaction. "What's so bad about a bog?" I said. "What's good about it?" he half-yawned.
"A bog, my dear boy is a special kind of wetland which usually begins as a lake and gradually gets filled up by plants. The plants eventually die and rot, forming peat. Because of the special mineral composition of bogs only certain kinds of plants can survive there, like dwarf pines, insect-eating plants, and moss." "Dad, you sound like an encyclopaedia," was all Nathe could say. (The truth is I'd just finished looking it up on the Internet).
Then I got smart--"There's man eating plants at Burns Bog," I said. "Cool! Can we bring our bikes?" Nathe finally looked up from his Gameboy. From then on I couldn't load our bikes fast enough into our van.
Burns Bog lies just south of Vancouver, and it's huge (ten times the size of Stanley Park). Most of the bog is privately owned, with the Burns Bog Nature Reserve being one of the few pieces in public ownership. The part we rode on had a creek and railway line beside it. The path was perfect for biking--wide and flat. It also had several arteries branching out, some with raised boardwalks, which you can follow to get a closer look at the vegetation.
Age group:All ages
:Both our kids were captivated by the "quick sand." They had contests to see who could hit bottom first wih their sticks. Nathan pretended we were the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust. All we had to eat were the fingerlings and frogs in Cougar Canyon Creek, overgrown skunk cabbage, and bugs. The trees were short, grey and mossy. Speaking of moss, there's moss everywhere. Apparently the Sphagnum moss is low in nutrients and can hold water up to 30 times its weight. Then we discovered a piece of heavy metal sticking up from the bog. Nathan liked to think it was the remains of a building, but according to my second cousin, Jeff, the metal is part of a tractor that sunk into the bog.
:The construction of Highway 91 and the Alex Fraser Bridge physically separated the Delta Nature Reserve from the rest of Burns Bog. At first the traffic noise got on my nerves, but as we walked further into the bog it became less bothersome. My wife didn't even notice the noise, which surprised me since her tolerance of snoring at night is zero.
Details:It's a little tricky getting to the Delta Nature Reserve. Assuming you are going south over the Alex Fraser bridge, you take the first off-ramp on the right (River Road exit). As you exit this ramp and have rounded the big bend, take a right at the next intersection. This road will take you to the Great Pacific Forum (big blue building) which is a huge hockey/skating rink complex. Apparently you are allowed to park at this complex. We did without any problems. Go to the edge of the property and you'll see the trail and sign board.
Note: The Delta Nature Reserve is on the eastern end of Burns Bog. To get to the "Central portion of Burns Bog (most of it is on private land), you enter from an orange gate at the Vancouver Landfill located at 5400 72nd Street, Delta.
For more information call (604) 572-0373. Website: www.burnsbog.org
Educational highlights:The bog is full of "weird" vegetation. Jen thought the hairy trees came from a different planet. Nathan was preoccupied with the dead plants. Instead of looking for the prettiest flowers, we found ourselves looking for the ugliest tree. Our kids learned to find beauty in moss and spindly trees.
Fun for the adult?:Anytime we do something different, I have fun. It was neat walking into the bog. It felt like we were part of the set for a sci-fi movie. My wife enjoyed going for a walk and the woodpecker.