A Night for Burns Bog

Burns Bog 1
View of the Burns Bog. Photo Credit: Sam Rowan

On the evening of November 29, UBC political science students hosted the event, “A Night for Burns Bog”.  Scientists, professors, students, and members of the community came together to discuss current issues that threaten the bog and watch two movies: “A Bog in My Backyard”, and “The Hidden World of the Bog”. The focus of the event was to raise awareness about Burns Bog and educate people on the various actions they can take in order to ensure that the bog will be conserved for generations to come.

Burns Bog spans across 5,000 acres of land in Delta which makes it the largest raised peat bog on the west coast of North America.  The privately owned bog is over 3,000 years old, and it is constantly under threat of being developed. The pristine and murky land is home to various animals, such as beavers, salamanders, and  Sandhill Cranes, making it a region that supports high biodiversity.  Because the bog has ecological as well as spiritual significance, it is a vital area of land that must be preserved.

Human development has made drastic changes to the bog over the last 100 years. For starters, the mountainous Vancouver landfill takes up 1000 acres of bog land and it is constantly growing. Also, Highway 91, which was built in 1986, wraps around sections of the bog and effects the drainage systems that allow water to flow into the area. Therefore, this puts the bog at risk of drying out. Another encroaching highway is the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) which will be finished in 2013.  Unfortunately, the SFPR will cut through the bog and will put many species at risk by altering drainage patterns and exposing the bog to polluted run-off. The bog may appear to be unaltered by human activity, but it has already been put under a lot of stress.

Burns Blog 2
Burns Bog wetland. Photo Credit: Sam Rowan

The movies screened at the event were informative while providing some entertainment. The first movie, “A Bog in my Backyard” featured the passionate, and slightly eccentric, biologist Don DeMille. He stresses the importance of taking action because the bog needs help. He has made significant positive changes to the bog by building dams that block the outflow of water. The second movie, “The Hidden World of the Bog”, featured David Suzuki and he described various bogs around the world.

Burns Bog is not open to the public but you are allowed to explore the area if you book a tour with the Burns Bog Conservation Society.  It is worth seeing the bog for yourself  in order to appreciate the natural beauty of a special place that needs to be conserved.

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