Beach Trail Forest History

Beach Trail Forest History
by Tom Koleszar, 19 Jan
 2019

On a cool Saturday morning, 14 naturalists lead by Rod Tysdal gathered at the Willingdon Beach Trail (the old Michigan & Puget Sound railroad grade) for a leisurely walk up the trail.

Along the way we examined much of the old logging equipment displayed there.  Rod is very knowledgeable with regards to logging history and practices, and we all learned a great deal!  He also had many fascinating forestry stories to tell!  We also talked about the trees and plants along the way, learning something of the forests that were native to the coast in the Powell River area.

All in all, a great way to spent a Saturday morning in winter!

Return to Stillwater Bluffs

Return to Stillwater Bluffs
by Andrew Bryant, 10 Nov
. 2018

Fifteen of us carpooled our way out to one of Powell River’s nicest remaining natural areas – the Stillwater Bluffs.

Ably led by long-time resident, climber, and friend-of-the-bluffs Jason Addy, the morning began with unsettled November weather…with just a few drops of rain and some hints of sunshine peaking through the grey skies here and there.  The trail is well-maintained and not too arduous, although care is needed when the rocks are slippery.  It’s a place where paying attention to where you step definitely matters.

Interspersed among the impressive granite were some equally impressive Douglas Firs and extensive patches of reindeer lichen (Cladina), that delightful example of symbiosis between fungus and unicellular algae that just looks…weird.

Indeed, ecologically-speaking, it’s a very interesting place, which is why various levels of government have it listed on the local map of “sensitive ecosystems” and why a grassroots group seeks to acquire it for parkland.

The views from the top of the climbing bluffs were impressive, as were the sea lions hauled out at McRae Rocks.
Truly a nice day out!

A day at Stillwater Bluffs

A day at Stillwater Bluffs
by Michael Stewart, 19 Nov 2017. 

Jason Addy, local resident, adventurer and naturalist, took us on  a wonderful walking tour of Stillwater Bluffs – an area he knows very well – because it’s his backyard!

Jason explained the logging company history of the area – amongst other things, he’s a member of the group seeking promotion, protection and preservation of this unique ecosystem.  We walked through some  previously logged areas and reached the old  growth area  that has not been logged.  We  eventually up at the east end, near the water.

Along the way we saw eagles, ravens and woodpeckers.  Jason pointed out several plants that are indicators of this “red-listed” (threatened) “Douglas Fir – Lodgepole Pine/Reindeer Lichen” ecosystem.  These included the rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia), several species of lichen including the reindeer lichens (Cladina rangerifera and C. portentosa), various mosses, and winter stems of some wildflowers found nowhere else in our region.  This area is a botanist’s delight!

Closer to the  bluffs, we saw a  Sea Lion napping near the surf that woke up when Walter Kubany took a picture of it.  Barbara  Sherriff  and Jason had several  geological discussions  including the Xenoliths in some of the rock.  Jason  showed us where the rock climbing area is and where  bouldering takes place.

It  was a wonderful 2 hour hike in a  very amazing area and we were extremely lucky that it was the day before an terrible wind and rain storm.

Casual birdwalk

Casual birdwalk
by Andrew Bryant, 28 February 2015.

Saturday was sunny and calm as nine of us gathered for a low-key birdwatching excursion with Neil Hughes and myself.

We began at Palm Beach Regional Park, where we saw a hundred or more Surf Scoters, together with smaller numbers of the “usual suspects” (Horned Grebes, Harlequin ducks, Buffleheads, Barrow’s and Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon, a few loons in the distance, and the ever-delightful Black Oystercatcher.  The woods were pretty quiet, with only the occasional Spotted Towhee or Song Sparrow breaking the silence.   We did get some nice views of a Red-tailed Hawk.

After a couple of hours spent happily spent peering through spotting scopes, comparing binoculars, and discussing the finer points of identifying Lesser versus Greater Scaup, a few of us ventured out to Stillwater Bluffs.  It was again very quiet, except for a quick glimpse of a hummingbird (Anna’s?) and the continual din of sea lions way over at McRae Rocks.

All in all, a quiet but deeply satisfying day, and much more fun than staying home to mow the lawn!