Updated: 2016 – “100% ivy free”. The Ivy Management System for John Dean Park is:

  • routine priority
  • sustain the achievement
  • search & remove quarterly
  • 30min per area is crucial & conducted
  • carefully remove baby-ivy slips by the root


Area A:                 Illahie had 9 ivy zones (stage 7 achieved, 2009)

Zone A-1              Valley Mist Trail, west of creek

Zone A-2              Valley Mist Trail, east of creek

Zone A-3              Illahie Loop Trail, central area

Zone A-4              Illahie Trail, western cliff

Zone A-5              Illahie Trail, holly south

Zone A-6              Illahie Trail, gate south

Zone A-7              Illahie Pond, east side

Zone A-8              Illahie Pond, west side

Zone A-9              Skipper’s Path, west of Rambling Footbridge


Area B:                 West Block had 3 ivy zones (stage 6 achieved, 2011; stage 7 for 2017)

Zone B-1              South Fence Site (2010, major 50m2 site)

Zone B-2              Lower draw, both sides of Merrill Harrop Trail

Zone B-3              Lower draw, northward


Area C:                 Park Wide Responsiveness; I’ve removed ivy slips at:

Zone C-1              Barret Montfort Trail East, below upper road cliff

Zone C-2              Surveyor’ Trail, Owl Hollow

Zone C-3              Woodward Trail, Emerald Pool

Zone C-4              Park Entrance Sign, below road


Here’s the story . . .  Jarrett’s 15 year / 3,000 hour project is completed  (1996-2011) !!!

In 1910, John Dean planted ivy under two cedar trees. Having been left unattended for 85 years, the ivy grew to encompass an acre, six inches deep, growing up every tree, spreading, choking the trees and smothering the native vegetation. By the 1990s the park had four patches of ivy: Along Skipper’s Path; above Alec Road; along Barret Montfort Trail East; and the largest was surrounding Dean’s cabin site, Illahie.

Dedicated residents, Mary and Cy Hampson, Una and Ken Dobson, Jerry Major, and Edo Nyland, literally cleaned John Dean Park. During the spring of 1987, while removing bottles from under wet English Ivy at Dean’s cabin site, the group decided it was time to cut the major ivy stems at the base of the trees. They were the first to take action, which later inspired the ivy removal project!

After trail restorations and the four outer trails were finished, in March 1996, Edo Nyland and this author focused on the ivy throughout Illahie as a priority, to prevent its relentless spreading. First, eye height branches were trimmed, and the main ivy stems leading up trees were dug out. Next, logs and larger branches were relocated to allow for the rolling up of strips of ivy. After four months we realised the ivy could be defeated, but we also knew we needed help. The executive telephoned the Friends membership, and suddenly the “Ivy League” was created.

By April 1997, the Ivy League began the huge task of removing the ivy from Illahie. Tackled in sections, the approach was to work from the perimeter inwards, removing debris and rolling out the ivy while trying to ensure the roots were removed.  The regular volunteers worked with a variety of helpers, generally clearing a small patch each week. Over a hundred people participated – most lasted only a few Saturdays as work was extremely wet, cold and dirty; nonetheless their help was essential.

At the beginning, the ivy was dispersed throughout the surrounding forest to dry out, carefully placed so not to bury other vegetation. By the spring of 1998, so much ivy was being removed that BC Parks provided the use of their flatbed truck for bulk removal. On Saturdays, volunteers lined the Illahie Trail with bundles of ivy and staff loaded the truck and took the ivy away for composting.

By 2001, the cabin site was cleared and the Ivy League turned their attention to the removal of ivy in the area between the steep and easy Valley Mist Trails. Also two smaller patches were removed: just west of the Rambling Footbridge on Skipper’s Path and mid-point along Montfort East.

By July 2002, the Ivy League completed the great quantity of work; between 1997 and 2002, its estimated seven persons spent 16 x three hour sessions per season, totaling over 2,000 volunteer hours. Stage 3 was achieved: “Ivy covering the ground has been removed and native vegetation begins to grow.” The central area of John Dean Park was considered complete and the Ivy League’s work was done.

This author continued at Illahie, searching for and removing baby ivy slips until July 2009, when stage 7 was achieved: “Ivy doesn’t reappear.” And moving forward, the succession plan is: Jarrett commits to ongoing search and removal of baby ivy slips.

Next, in 2010-11, a few volunteers spent roughly 200 hours removing the last patch just above Alec Road. This patch was similar in size to a house, and was tackled wholly too where I was sifting my hands through soil – removing all roots the first time.

The park’s ivy patches are now gone; ongoing monitoring and removal of any baby ivy slips continues throughout. Today – native vegetation and flowers have regenerated in areas that were once covered in ivy. Many thanks to those who contributed so many hours… the result was worth it!


If there’s one theme… it’s removing roots











Cut the ivy vines leading up trees, and dig out their roots. Ivy tree vines are severed, and their roots removed.


Map out the ivy containment boundary, and select natural zones within whereby a group can work and achieve benchmarks. Leaders commit to mission and attract friends to assist. Leadership is committed to the mission.



Working zone by zone: clear debris; gently roll and pull ivy from the ground trying to remove 90% of the roots. The removal of minimal native vegetation is acceptable. Ivy covering the ground has been removed and native vegetation begins to grow.


Year 1: Conduct an extensive search for and remove the remaining ivy by the roots; this is a multi-season task. Ivy-free declared


Year 2: Continue extensive searches for and removal of baby ivy slips by the root; this is a multi-season task. Ivy-free confirmed


Year 3: Conduct ongoing searches for and remove baby ivy slips by the root; this is a multi-season task. Ivy-free sustained


Leaders commit to long-term monitoring and action; succession planning is suggested. Ivy doesn’t reappear




  1. Jarrett
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    This is great stuff – especially from 2014.

  2. Karen Fediuk
    Posted July 30, 2021 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you…

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