a walking plank along thick grass in a bog

What a beautiful bog?

The Lower Mainland is bursting with beauty. Framed by the ocean, mountains and large swatches of green, stunning view points and vistas abound. But that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about a local bog.

Yes, a bog.

The ugly ducklings of geography

Bogs are the ugly duckling of geography. They are the not-so-attractive mole on a whack of pretty landscape. But the beauty of Burns Bog is more than skin deep.

Located in Delta, Burns Bog is nestled between the Fraser River and Boundary Bay. At 3,000 hectares it is the largest urban wilderness site in North America, according to the Burns Bog Conservation Society, which provides stewardship and information for this protected area. It is also the largest domed bog on the continent’s West Coast. Domed refers to the gently sloping landscape of peat-based bogs.

Habitat for rare vegetation

It may appear to be a silent mass of low-lying land, but there’s a lot going on. The bog provides habitat to rare vegetation and local wild animals, is a migratory pit stop for over 400 types of birds, and has nesting places for greater sandhill cranes, whose breeding areas are disappearing.

The most important contribution is unseen but vital. The conservation society says the bog acts as “the lungs of the Lower Mainland.”

Caring for the Air, a Metro Vancouver report, explains how the bog’s peat absorbs and stores masses of carbon dioxide from human-made air pollution. In the summertime, the bog emits moisture and oxygen, which cool the air.

Four levels of government designated Burns Bog as a protected area in 2004, and a boardwalk proves limited public access. Visit the Burns Bog Conservation Society for more information on checking out its namesake.

Photo of a walking path in a bog

Burns Bog facts:

  1. It is named after Dominic Burns, who purchased the bog in 1906 for $26,000.
  2. It became known as Burns Ranch and was used for cattle and sheep grazing.
  3. It later had 22 miles of railway for peat extraction.
  4. It is the southern-most location in Canada for cloudberry, crowberry and velvetleaf blueberry.
  5. During World War Two, the peat was extracted for a substance used in making bombs.
  6. Before it was protected, proposed developments included a river port and a new home for the PNE.
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