Sunday 30th April, Airport Camas & Garry Oaks, Knight and Kye bay Road,
The Garry Oak (Quercus garryana var. garryana), the only native oak species in BC, depends upon fire for its survival. These trees are early-succession species, and without disturbance, oak groves get overtaken by Douglas fir. Although natural wildfires help with maintaining a population of oaks, our oaks had good friends in the indigenous peoples of the Comox Valley. First Nations histories, backed up by soil samples and early records of settlers, show that Garry oak grasslands were often purposefully set fire to create and maintain an environment that supported a natural cultivation of camas, chocolate lilies and other food sources.
Mature Garry oaks are resistant to low levels of fire, and much of the area from the estuary to Grantham was once a Garry oak and camas prairie. A possible side benefit was that the elimination of much of the undergrowth of shrubs and young firs permitted easier hunting of deer and other animals. With a reduction in the burning patterns, oak groves have been taken over by firs or cleared off agricultural lands, so the small groves we have must be maintained as the oak woodlands are critical habitats for a number of species that are rare or extirpated otherwise.
Meet at end of the Comox Airport runway corner of Knight Road and Kye Bay Road. For more details check out this link: