Fostering “resilient” urban forests is the name of the game in the hillsides above Chilliwack.
The first 2,000 trees toward a goal of planting 80,000 new trees in Mount Thom Park have been planted, according to a City of Chilliwack release Wednesday (April 20).
“Mt. Thom Park is one of Chilliwack’s most popular natural areas, offering great trails for people, and important spaces for wildlife,” said Mayor Ken Popove.
The idea is to help the 70-hectare wooded area become more “resilient” in the face of ongoing effects of climate change.
Shakti Reforestation workers have been planting 13 tree varieties to maintain the existing woody habitat and prepare a diverse forest cover for the future.
The existing birch-dominant forest has been decimated by Bronze birch borer beetles, meaning that prior to the new seedlings, there weren’t enough younger trees to take up the job of filling out the canopy after the forest’s decline. Several species at risk also rely on forest cover on the hillsides, including Coastal giant salamanders, phantom orchids, and tall bugbane.
City staff the geology and soil classification data, along with aspect, elevation, and exposure to determine seven unique planting zones in this area. Each zone has a prescribed mix of tree species for higher survival rates into the future. For example, some species of trees to be planted are able to withstand warmer temperatures and longer dry periods, such as the ‘Willamette Valley’ variety of ponderosa pine.
Mount Thom Park features about five kilometres of moderate hiking trails, including Karver’s Trail, accessible from three parking areas in Ryder Lake: Forester Road and Churchill Parkway, Ross Road as well as several trailheads on Promontory.
The park includes the summit of the 484-metre Mount Thom which offers views of Promontory and Cultus Lake.
Two more planting phases are tentatively planned for the park, pending further funding. See more at chilliwack.com/urbanforests
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