In mid June, Friends of Churn Creek volunteers worked with BC Parks staff to apply a coating of lignosulfonate to the Gateway Trail in order to make it more accessible for wheelchairs. This environmentally friendly, naturally occurring polymer hardened the trail surface, which we had discovered was too soft and loose for easy wheelchair travel.
High Lake Benchmark Ecosystem Restoration
In 2015, the FCCPAS initiated a multiyear project to restore grassland and dry forest ecosystems within the High Lake Benchmark, an area designated as an ecological reference to represent Upper Grasslands within Churn Creek Protected Area. However, tree encroachment and ingrowth have been turning the Benchmark grasslands into forests and greatly increasing tree densities in the previously open forests. The result is loss of grassland species, a reduction of wildlife habitat values, and diminished value as an ecological reference.
This is a pilot project to test an approach for the Protected Area that does not require broadcast burning of felled and slashed trees. Felled stems are being piled for winter burning, in order to reduce risks and access issues.
FCCPAS applied for and received funding in 2015 from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Ecosystem Restoration Committee, and the BC Parks Park Enhancement Fund. The Stswecem’c-Xgat’tem Development Corporation was contracted by FCCPAS to do the on-site tree removal. Slash piles will be burned by BC Parks staff.
Approximately 70% of the nearly 80ha Benchmark area was at least partially treated in 2015. Prior to treatment, fixed plots were established to record and monitor vegetation and ungulate use changes following treatments.
A portion of the partially treated Benchmark area