Stewardship Fervour | 5yr Strategy – summer 2019 update
By Jarrett Teague
The long-time anticipated Quarry Park revival has begun, and you are invited to participate . . . We started spring 2017.
Part 1: QUARRY PARK
Quarry Park is the most southern park in North Saanich, and when driving along East Saanich Road one can’t help but notice that stretch of unusually tall forest which is park. The park has a great forest floor which can host the full variety of natural forest plants. There are several 250 year-old Douglas firs situated near the special cliff area. These big-old trees have watched over this area since the mid-1700s. Underneath the high southern cliff are two natural dens which can be used by mammals. The manmade 1930s granite quarry has metamorphosed into a natural environment, and has become an interesting place for kids to play, realise reclamation, and experience a local forest that is protected from development. To maintain a natural (as-possible) forest, it is important to set the stewardship example and inspire the next generations to maintain and/or improve what they have.
Part 2: MY HISTORY WITH QUARRY PARK
Autumn 1982, while in grade three at Sansbury Elementary, I first regularly biked to and hiked in Quarry Park. The park felt revitalized and welcoming. New cedar signs had been placed at both of the Horseshoe Trailheads, a round cedar picnic table with two chairs were placed in the middle of the quarry, and a bench was perfectly positioned above the southern cliff. My first impression was that Quarry Park was cared for. However, it didn’t take long for me to realise the park was becoming neglected.
In January 1991 (age 16), inspired by the Friends of John Dean Park, I attempted to start a Friends of Quarry Park. I created a basic pamphlet and delivered it to my entire paper route plus the nearby homes. Looking back, it was not surprising that I did not receive a single response. I also wrote North Saanich Council and later walked Quarry Park with the Parks Commission. The upshot was I learnt the commissioners wanted to inspire volunteers, and had plans to create a new Park Warden program. A few months later, I was invited to attend the municipal hall after school, and was one of the first people to be presented the new North Saanich Volunteer Green Ball Cap. This gift motivated my role at Quarry Park, and it continued until 1999 when I moved to East Sooke, and joined the Regular Armed Forces.
During the 1990s I was so heavily involved in removing broom and ivy from the flagship John Dean Provincial Park, I simply didn’t see Quarry as a priority. Also, because I was young, I didn’t have the necessary awareness I now possess, to take the essential preventive action. A major conflict of my time and true interest occurred with John Dean Park, so Quarry fell aside and only remained in my heart. By the mid-2000s, the ivy was spreading into Quarry Park, and Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry followed and established.
Part 3: FRIENDS OF NORTH SAANICH PARKS
– Ashlee: firstname.lastname@example.org (Founder, Organizer & North Saanich Liaison)
– Sharon: email@example.com (Founder , Promotion, and Technical Advisor)
Thank goodness by 2017, Sharon and Ashlee created Friends of North Saanich Parks. R.O. Bull, Denham Till, Lillian Hoffar, Nymph Point and Quarry Park, were the first parks to receive their attention, chiefly on the invasive species front. Some of their mission and vision statements are:
MISSION & VISION STATEMENTS
– “Our mission is to create stewardships for each park in North Saanich. There are 24 parks in North Saanich in need of restoring. We are removing invasive plant species out of these parks while building relationships with the community.”
– “The invasive plant species in North Saanich Parks are decreasing the biodiversity, suffocating native species and negatively impacting the ecosystem and its soils. Let’s work together to remove invasive plants out of our North Saanich parks and help the forests return to their natures state.”
– “We hope to remove all the invasive plant species out of a series of parks per year as well as support the development of stewardships for these parks.”
– “Let’s help restore the ecosystem and protect the animals and native plants.”
Such vision and leadership quickly got my attention, and I attended their work parties at Quarry Park. We have now hosted or organized eight ivy pulls. We started from inside the quarry, worked around the quarry, and along the entrance road, and each time produced a large pile of debris. After each event, North Saanich Parks has removed the piled invasive plants. Here are the “work party” events:
- 29 Apr 17 | Friends & 10th Tsartlip Scouts | 12 Volunteers, 3.75hrs | 45hrs
- 28 Oct 17 | Friends & 10th Tsartlip Scouts | 17 Volunteers, 3.75hrs | 63.75hrs
- 25 Nov 17 | Friends | 8 Volunteers, 4hrs | 32hrs
- 12 May 18 | Friends & Men’s Newcomers | 7 Volunteers, 3.75hrs | 26.25hrs
- 16 Jun 18 | Friends & Green Team | 23 Volunteers, 3.25hrs | 74.75hrs
- 20 Oct 18 | Friends & Green Team | 17 Volunteers, 3.25hrs | 55.25hrs
- 5 Apr 19 | Friends | 7 Volunteers | 21.75
- 11 May 19 | Friends & Green Team | 18 Volunteers, 3.25hrs | 58.5
Work Party Total: 377.25hrs
On November 25, 2017, Sharon Hope wrote: “Let me congratulate you on being the first true Steward of a park under the North Saanich municipality through the Friends of North Saanich Parks.” And on June 30, 2018, Sharon wrote: “Jarrett you are truly one of the most persistent people I know, congratulations on being a stellar example to others in terms of ecological volunteering. Good luck as you continue.”
Please help the Friends of North Saanich Parks to restore this park by giving a couple hours of your time. If you’re interested, contact Ashlee, Sharon or Jarrett at their email address.
Part 4: MY QUARRY PARK WORKFLOW (as a Quarry Park Steward)
– Removed major garbage (two trucks were filled);
– Boundary awareness achieved;
– Ivy was severed from tree bases;
– North Saanich staff removed blackberry from inside the quarry, wheel ruts were leveled and the quarry became an attractive parklike setting;
– Participated in four of five Friends work parties;
– Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry are removed as discovered. Ivy is removed in priority, and stages. The parks ivy was mapped, and a five-year removal plan has been plotted;
– The high south area was cleaned of garbage;
– Old kids forts and bike jumps were dismantled and sites restored;
– Major holly and blackberry were removed south of the quarry; and
– To achieve full ivy removal, the strategy is to properly remove ivy working from the outside inwards and/or as inspired to work. The oldest and deepest two patches are in the SE corner, and they’ll be done lastly.
Part 5: QUARRY PARK IVY ZONES
|Zone||Area||Status & History|
|1 – Inside Quarry, and up to the Horseshoe Trail||a) Quarry bottom
b) North slope to loop trail
c) East cliff
d) South slope to loop trail
|Stage 1 is at 90%
Blackberry and Daphne is done. Much proactive work has been undertaken
|2 – Roadside||a) 1st power pole
b) 2nd power pole
c) SW corner
|Stage 1 accomplished
Areas: A,B are at Stage 2
Area C hasn’t been touched
|3 – South of Quarry, outside of Horseshoe Trail||a) Trail to fallen log
b) Fallen log to cliff base
c) SW of cliff base
d) South line
e) SW corner
|This is the largest zone. Ivy has been severed from all trees. Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry have been removed. The zone has been prepped for a work party|
|4 – North of Quarry, outside of Horseshoe Trail||a) North trailhead
b) Trail to north boundary
|Ivy has been severed from all trees. Daphne, laurel, holly, and blackberry have been removed|
|5 – Outside of park, private property||a) SW corner
b) SE corner
c) North line
|Property owners may be contacted; volunteers will not be doing this work. The ivy on private properties will enviably re-enter the park. Long-time park stewardship is paramount to sustain the achievement|
IVY REMOVAL STAGES
– Stage 1, major pull, vines and roots
– Stage 2, surgical removal of roots completed
– Stage 3, confirmed surgical removal, area root secure
– Stage 4, extensive examination, declared ivy free
– Stage 5, exhaustive inspection & action, confirmed ivy free
– Stage 6, declared 100% ivy free
– Stage 7, commitment to long-term monitoring & action
Part 6: THE VALUE OF TIME EXPENDED
English ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen vine that is renowned as a serious, smothering invasive plant. Once planted by mankind, or when eventually birds deposit seeds, it quickly grows and forms a dense monoculture groundcover that suppresses the natural vegetation, and the forest floor becomes unsuitable for native creatures. Also, the vines climb the trees, and during heavy winds or when snow and ice intensify, trees with ivy can be forced down.
In summary, there are several major benefits to removing invasive plants:
1) Returns the forest to a natural state which can be enjoyed by all people;
2) Allows native flora and fauna to flourish;
3) Conserves trees of all sizes;
4) Children experience an unmodified forest environment; and
5) Enables an atmosphere which increases the wellness of park visitors.
Part 7: AUTUMN 2023 GOAL
Quarry Park is a major undertaking. As a Steward of Quarry Park, I plan on achieving stage 4 (extensive examination, declared ivy free) by autumn 2023. The amount of ivy at Quarry is much larger than the Illahie patch was at John Dean Park. The only difference is the Illahie ivy was 80 years old, 8” deep and well established.
Much of the ivy at Quarry was planted outside of the park during the early-1980s, and has spread mostly from the SW corner. In only 35 years, it has made its way up to the high southern cliff, and beyond the parks north boundary line. Luckily for Quarry, the ivy isn’t deep, and it can be conquered. The only reality I foresee is that ivy surrounds the park on many private properties, and will surely re-enter the park. I’ll do Stage 7 (commitment to long-term monitoring & action). However to sustain the achievement after my time, a caring and engaged level of stewardship will be required. Either the municipality of North Saanich or a future Friends of Quarry Park will be required to be on scene and take necessary long-time removal actions. I’ll approach this in the same way as was done at Illahie in John Dean Park (1995-2009, onwards). Illahie took 15 years to arrive at Stage 6; I plan to achieve park-wide Stage 4 by autumn 2023.
Please help us restore this park by giving a couple hours of your time. If you’re interested, contact Ashley, Sharon, or Jarrett. See you at Quarry . . .
Here’s the Ivy story that occurred at John Dean Provincial Park