Old Growth

Two thirds of British Columbia is forest, trees far as the eye can see in every direction. So why the fuss over old growth forest? Trees grow back, right? Plant another, heck plant five and call it progress. Never mind eradication of ancient ecosystems, extinction of plants and animal species unique to old growth habitats, soil erosion or contamination of fresh water. How can anyone look at this photo without regret? Within hours of Vancouver Island resident Lorna Beecroft posting this image on Facebook, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources announced it was looking into the tree’s history. Soon thereafter, a ministry spokesperson defended the cut as legal.

According to the Ministry of Forests the tree was cut down on northern Vancouver Island sometime between March and August 2020, a month before Special Tree Protection legislation became law on September 11, 2020. ( Linked below ) In a nutshell, vaguely worded legislation purported to protect approximately 1,500 behemoth old growth trees without stepping on “big timber” toes. Ministry of Forests spokesperson feigned regret, “today, a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation, and fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed if it was.”

qa_stpr.pdf (gov.bc.ca)

“Might” well be illegal to harvest, ought to read “large as this tree appears, it wouldn’t qualify for special protection”. According to Jens Weiting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner, Sitka Spruce less than 283 centimetres diameter at breast height don’t qualify for special protection. (283 centimetres = roughly 9.2 feet ). Maximum width of standard logging trucks is 260 Cm, Do the math. B.C. Ministry of Forests isn’t interested in saving old growth trees.

B.C.’s viral big tree on truck would still be logged today, conservationists say – Prince George Citizen

The Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds on Southern Vancouver Island fall under Tree Farm License 46, controlled by Teal Jones Forest Ltd. On April 1, 2021 provincial court granted Teal Jones a injunction to remove protesters obstructing access to old growth trees. As of yesterday RCMP report 137 arrests and counting. It’s going to take more than an injunction to diffuse old growth logging outrage.

Hundreds protest at B.C. premier’s office as arrests at old-growth logging blockades continue | CTV News

Lorna Beecroft took this photo on Tuesday morning on the Nanaimo Parkway on Vancouver Island.
© Lorna Beecroft Vancouver Island resident Lorna Beecroft could not believe her eyes when she saw this tree being driven down the Nanaimo Parkway on Tuesday morning.

Photographer TJ Watt at Photos reveal scope of old-growth forest logging in B.C. | The Narwhal lends visual perspective to the demise of old growth trees –

side by side comparisons of man standing by a large tree before and after it was cut down
Before and after images of Watt standing beside a large twinned old-growth cedar that he later photographed as a stump in a clearcut.  Photo: TJ Watt

Vancouver Street Names

This afternoon a friend sent a link to origins of Vancouver street names. Researcher Justin McElroy used City of Vancouver open data sets to eliminate numbered avenues/streets and duplicate names to arrive at 651 unique street names.


McElroy determined 90% of named streets had documented stories linked to specific events, persons or things. 62 street names had no discernable origin, names like Adanac (Canada spelled backward) or Little, a one block East Vancouver pipsqueak.  I live on the corner of a numbered avenue and Willow, one of 38 named tree/plant streets. To the east I cross 11 streets named for Canadian provinces, to the west a wave of 20 streets named for military battles. Explorers (31), royalty (20), dead Europeans (28), B.C. places (19), places in the United Kingdom (25), geography (56), industry (22),  B.C. landowners (46), prominent railway persons (27), B.C. politicians (27), golf courses (26), connection to George Vancouver (12), universities (6), indigenous names (11), North American places (8), ships (6), hotels or houses (7), characters in novels by Walter Scott (12), Canadian historical figures (11), civic politicians (28), city/government officials (13), B.C. pioneers (6), forestry (11), business owners (9) miscellaneous persons unrelated to other categories (11) and a police dog named Valiant round out the list.

Valiant Street was named for Valiant, the first of eight Vancouver Police Service Dogs that have died from injuries suffered while on the job. (VPD)

Valiant was Vancouver’s first police dog to perish in the line of duty, shot in 1967 by an escaped prisoner on the run from authorities.

McElroy determined over half of Vancouver’s unique streets fell into 5 categories –

I’ve always taken street names for granted, history didn’t unfold until pausing to ponder nomenclature of the place I call home.

15th Detached Foot

15 running shoes containing detached human feet washed up on British Columbia shores since 2007. News of the 15th broke on February 11, 2019 when West Vancouver police and the British Columbia Coroner Service issued a plea for public assistance in identifying the missing person who wore this Nike men’s size 9.5 sneaker with an OrthoLite insert. Trouble is number 15 landed on a West Vancouver beach in September, 2018, so why did authorities wait 5 months before going public?

Officially 10 of 15 detached feet are identified as belonging to 7 people who died by accident or suicide, 5 remain a mystery. Be that as it may, where are the rest of their bodies? Feet only detach from water logged bodies when they’re encased in a running shoe? Why a cluster of detached feet in Southwestern B.C.? Why 5 months between finding #15 and going public? Surely there’s a reasonable explanation, unfortunately what that might be remains ponderously elusive.

Another foot, the 15th since 2007, washes up on a B.C. beach


76.2 Centimetre Elbow Room

Since completion in 1937, the four lane Pattullo Bridge has moved traffic across the Fraser River from Surrey to New Westminster and onward to downtown Vancouver. A particularly dangerous bridge without centre barriers despite a disconcerting bend at the south end. Years past its prime, a 2014 meeting of the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council determined it would be demolished and replaced at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Enter NDP Premier John Horgans’ announcement this week – Pattullo will be built by union workers in accordance with “community benefits agreement”. Those three words added $100 million tax dollars to costs. In a nutshell – all workers must join a union within 30 days. In exchange for “fair market wages” ( “The wage provisions mean, for example, a journeyman industrial mechanic would earn $43.65 per hour this year in wages, plus $8.56 in benefits. That would rise to $49.16 by 2024, plus $9.64 in benefits. A journeyman electrician would start at $39.31 an hour this year, plus $8.07 in benefits, and rise to $44.27 by 2024 with $9.08 in benefits. ” ) workers agree not to slow down progress or go on strike. 25% of workers must be apprentices and priority hiring is given to aboriginal and women tradespeople.

“The government will also pay into special union-controlled funds directly under the agreement. As much as 32 cents an hour for each employee will go directly from government into special funds controlled by the unions with such titles as “the B.C. Construction Industry Rehabilitation Fund” and the “Council Administration Fund.”

NDP rules could boost Pattullo Bridge replacement by $100 million

Government created B.C. Benefits Infrastructure Inc., a new Crown corporation dedicated to human resources and payroll. Unions will collect mandatory dues and administer the health benefits packages and pension plans. Buried deep in the 336 page agreement, a truly staggering  benefit –

Meal requirements for job site camps specify “camp occupants are entitled to eat all the food they want,” elbow room “shall not be less than 76.2 cm per person,” dinner plates must be kept warm and the dessert table must always have at least one pie and variety of Jell-O or pudding available daily. WTF! Wedding guests seated 8 to a round table don’t get 72.6 cm ( 28 inches ) elbow room. Eat all they want? Are they nuts? Dinner plates always kept warm? That’s ridiculous! Bottomless pie and pudding? Stop, I can’t take it!  In addition, the type of salads allowed, dressings, meat quality, starches, acceptable condiments and strict regulations not to repeat the main course of chicken, beef or seafood more than once every five days. From https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/331/2018/07/Community-Benefits-Agreement.pdf

BC Construction Camp Rules & Regulations
Lunch and dinner meals. Salad table will be
refrigerated or ice provided. Minimum requirements:
a. An assortment of salads, coleslaw , green salad (tossed), potato salad and two other
prepared salads, (Caesar / Greek / Pasta / Bean Salad /protein etc)
b. Pickles (dill and sweet), olives, pickled beets etc.,
c. Fresh vegetables, (4 varieties per meal) tomato wedges, cucumber, green onions, celery
and carrot or turnip sticks, radishes
, zucchini, chilled canned tomatoes
d. Protein and Meats: Two choices, varied from
meal to meal of, Cold Meats: ham, roast
beef, pork, chicken pieces, head cheese,
assorted cold cuts, pickled or deviled eggs,
cheese, humus or chick peas .
e. Salad dressing: (assorted including low calorie choices) vinegar and oil
f. Assorted garnishes,crackers,bread sticks
Image result for pattullo bridge

Finding Chickens When Looking For A Waterfall

In my home, sunny work free Sundays spell adventure day. Spontaneous as they are, unspoken rules forged over thirty plus years of marriage hold them in place. Content to let my husband choose our destination is pivotal. He drives, I sit back and take it in – the element of surprise far out weighs inclusion in our destination. Eighty kilometers out of Vancouver we exit the highway at Chilliwack, knowing in my heart a half hour diversion to walk a few blocks of classic car show has nothing to do with our destination.

Back at the car, he spills the beans, “we’re going to Bridal Falls” – setting true adventure day in motion. Aside from spontaneous origin and vague destination, adventure parameters are strict – avoid main highways, absolutely no fast food, stop as often as we like. Yale Road meandered past corn, raspberry and blueberry fields, dotted with dairy farms and a RCMP vehicle guarding the demise of a  road kill deer. Stopping at a garden shop netted an Echinecia plant. A kilometer or so down the road, a field of chickens found us circling back for a closer look.

In all my life, despite rumors of free range chickens, I’ve never seen anything like it. Hundreds, likely thousands of happy chickens roaming the greenest of fields. Without exception, every last one the County Fair blue ribbon epitome of poultry perfection. Snapping photos from afar, we heard a neighbour across the street call out “do you know how many people stop and take pictures of these chickens?”  A brief exchange of pleasantries revealed eggs were for sale, “they’re really good, just go knock on the door”. Moments later we’re knocking, dog is yapping and Harvey calls out from an upstairs window “I’ll be right down”. Harvey’s hens are certified organic – we buy 2 flats of 30 for $25. Sixty eggs! No worries, they’re delicious.

A few kilometers later we cross the highway at Bridal Falls. “It has to be over 20 years since we stopped here, how old were the kids, do you remember this steep hike?”.

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Happy Sunday.

Stumbling Upon Sweet Spots Close To Home

Decent weather and a work free weekend allowed two days of adventure with my husband. Nothing crazy, just a mutual fondness for starting the car and seeing where it takes us. The unspoken prize – stumbling upon sweet spots a stone’s throw from home. “Let’s go for a drive” is a call for fresh eyes on everything taken for granted. An opportunity to meander peacefully from confines of routine. Late Sunday afternoon, Lighthouse Park couldn’t have been any sweeter.

Notes at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver

View from Lighthouse Park – https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/



36 Hours Away

Never underestimate restorative powers of a 36 hour adventure. Demanding nothing more than a window of opportunity, willingness to get off your ass and a mutual resolve to go with the flow. Spontaneous excursion void of itinerary or expectation is a catalyst, one that knows exactly what we need.

Myself and Mr. Notes left Tsawwassen ferry terminal at noon Tuesday – destination, Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. By 3 pm we’re in our hotel room on Victoria’s inner harbour. Free to do what we pleased, obligations’ release delivered an inexplicable wave of energy.

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Mr. Notes

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Parliament from the hotel balcony.

Morning must have been notified – on cue, tendrils of sunlight pried sleep from our eyes. Breakfast could wait, our ferry returned to Vancouver at 6 pm. First stop Sooke, or so we thought – a sign for Sooke Potholes sent us off the highway. Who cares about potholes in a river when stumbling upon a clifftop construction site, dreams of a resort abandoned close to a century ago –

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Next stop French Beach –

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On to Jordan River. Complete with surfers –

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Backtrack to Whiffen Spit at Sooke.

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Just enough time for a quick pint and dinner in Victoria –

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Home by 9 pm on Wednesday with goofy grins and a spring in our step.



Another Adventure Day

Yesterday began as a drive to the Polish Festival in North Vancouver – festival a bust, we ventured up Lynn Canyon. Late afternoon and inappropriate footwear barred North Shore trails. Lynn Valley Headwaters map in hand, Rice Lake beckoned. Fifteen minute walk to the car, short drive to the park gates, finds us walking along Rice Lake road.

Along the trail to Rice Lake

Notes enjoying a peaceful moment at Rice Lake.

Map of Lynn Canyon trails.

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Canyon from bridge on Rice Lake road.

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Trail reveals Rice Lake

The forest path.

Places like this are the reason Vancouver is remarkable. Set out for a late afternoon Polish sausage, find yourself living a impromptu adventure day – barely a 30 minute drive from home, there we were on the shores of Rice Lake.



Road Notes

A spur of the moment decision to see my Dad altered intentions to work on Monday. Faster than saying “change of plans”, we found ourselves on a 3 day road trip to the Okanagan. Below, a smattering of photos – tomorrow, a detailed travelogue.

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Merrit B.C.

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Okanagan Lake at Peachland

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Okanagan Lake as seen from the homestead.

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Forest fire at Osoyoos.

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Fire above Oliver B.C.

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Couldn’t resist stopping at the pet cemetery on White Lake Road near Okanagan Falls.

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Hwy. 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge