Saturday June 3rd; Cumberland Woods
Loys will lead a walk into the Cumberland Forest around Coal Creek Historic Park. This is the site of two of the Dunsmuir Coal Mines. It is an easy walk, with wide trails passing wetlands and remains of the old mine workings. Meet at Harmston Rd to car pool, or at Jumbo’s cabin on Comox Lake Road (watch for the large interpretative sign on the left.
A brochure is here: https://cumberland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CoalCreek.Park_.Layout.-FINAL.pdf
A brief history of the area is here: https://cumberland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Chinatown.Layout.FINAL_.pdf
Today’s walk explores the south side of the Puntledge river downstream for about 2 km. This side of the river is much less visited then the north side, which BC Hydro has developed for hikers, bikers and picnic users. The walk is an easy downhill stroll on the way out following the turns in the river on well-maintained paths and trails.
A wide range of birds visit the forest, and many shade loving plants line the trails.
Hollyhock Flats is as close to natural as you are likely to find in the K’omoks estuary. Known as Kus Kus Sum by the K’omoks First Nation, this area is south-east of the Field sawmill site, and south of Comox Road, between the sawmill site and the Rotary viewing platform. This site has been of interest to conservationists since the 1970, and CVNS has been involved in invasive removal since the mid-1990s. The tidal channels and wetlands are home to a wide range of salt tolerant plants, including large Sitka spruces, Lyngby’s sedge, and its namesake marsh hollyhock (Sidalcea hendersonii), and hosts many different species of birds and wildlife. It is also susceptible to Purple loosestrife invasion.
This rarely visited site is seen by hundreds of motorists daily, yet is one of the least explored areas around the bay. Project Watershed has an ambitious long term plan to restore the Field site to a more natural setting. A video vision of their plans are here;
There is little on the web about the area, but one resource is listed here. You may need to use the “Find on this page” app to search for Hollyhock flats.
Six birders went out to the pipeline for a gray morning and saw or heard 30 species. Highlights were a good look at a MacGillivray’s Warbler singing his heart out, many ‘boys’ displaying for their ‘girls’, especially the hummingbirds, and for many of us our first Yellow Warblers of the year.
Black-throated Gray Warbler