Buntzen Lake

Photo of the Week #18

Haunting is the word thatsprings to mind when looking at our Photo of the Week, “Buntzen Lake”, by IIenrap604. The words *hauntingly familiar* may come to others as Buntzen Lake has some hefty TV and film credits, having appeared in Lake Placid, The X-Files (episode 3X22 Quagmire), Highlander, Hot Rod, Freddy vs. Jason, and Devour.

In this shot, instead of lake monsters and mass murders emerging from the waters of what was once called Lake Beautiful, it is dead and dying trees, known as wildlife trees. In death, these trees transform into cradles of life and provide shelter for cavity nesters, which make up 20 to 30 per cent of all forest vertebrates. Examples of Lower Mainland cavity nesters include certain species of swallow and chickadee, Western Purple Martins, and woodpeckers. But it is not only birds that benefit from the wildlife trees; they also provide organic matter for new plants. Here the trees are surrounded by skunk cabbages, reeds, and vegetation which all, in turn, provide excellent places for amphibians to lay egg masses.

Not all of these egg masses have a bright future, however. Buntzen Lake is a BC Hydro reservoir used to generate hydroelectric power. Some years, the water drawdown occurs before amphibian eggs have a chance to hatch. Luckily, even egg masses have had their guardians. BC Hydro’s Park Manager for Buntzen Lake was known to volunteer his time to salvage amphibian eggs before the water levels dropped dangerously low.

BC Hydro does not only use Buntzen Lake as a reservoir–it also manages the area as a recreational site. The lake is a very popular day trip destination for Lower Mainland residents, being just 30 km away from Vancouver, near Port Moody, and is accessible by both transit and car (click here for an detailed map.) It is large: 4.8 km long and covers 182 hectares. This is enough space for many recreational attractions, such as a beach, picnic areas, boat and canoe launches, hiking trails easy and hard, equestrian and mountain biking trails, viewpoints and interpretive displays, and off leash dog areas (click here for more details).

We thank IIenrap604 for sharing “Buntzen Lake” with us–perhaps this shot will fire the imagination of a future movie maker and Buntzen Lake will again be featured on the big screen, as hauntingly beautiful as only nature can be. To participate in our BC Wetlands photo group, follow this link.

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