Since the emergence of the pandemic in January 2020, the traffic of pedestrians on forest paths have left evidence of human activity on the natural world. As more people have extra time to spend outside with family members, the parks and forests experience greater traffic.
BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, encourages British Columbians to get outside in small groups for walking or cycling. And, with so many people either working from home or laid off, the local forests are seeing high volumes of pedestrian travel.
Our Sanctuary can certainly handle the uptick in human activity, if care is taken to stay on the marked trails and dogs are leashed. The forest floor is a delicate ecosystem of mosses and fungi. Respecting its diversity will also nurture the growth of cedar giants – most of which were harvested at the turn of the century.
Maintaining a healthy forest means removing destructive species which have been introduced by our ancestors: Scottish Broom, Holly and Daphne. Volunteers at Morrell navigate steep slopes with pullers, clippers and sometimes chainsaws to help create and maintain a vibrant forest for indigenous species.
The Morrell Nature Sanctuary has become very popular, given its proximity to urban populations and its well-groomed trails. Although we have no formal method for counting visitors, our parking lot is frequently at capacity and visitors leave their vehicles on Nanaimo Lakes Road to access the Sanctuary’s paths.
Please take care of our oasis of natural life at Morrell and encourage others to do the same. The forest is maintained by volunteers who welcome your donations to sustain this urban gem.
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