Why the grasslands cannot disappear


A blog post of a hike from December led by Daniela Ginta, our Wild Ambassador based in Kamloops:

It was on a Sunday that a group of us headed up to the grasslands at Lac Du Bois Protected Area. After a few days of worryingly warm temperatures for the beginning of December, we got our chill back, most of which returned on the day of the hike. Not that it stopped us.

Adults and children and a dog, we all headed up the paths leading into the heart (one of many) of the grasslands. The beauty of it, if you are ever tempted to visit interior BC to see for yourself, is that you see all around as you hike, no need to peek through trees for a sliver of a view.

Everything was wide open and ‘as far as the eye can see’ never looked better.

During the two-hour hike we achieved the following: discovered some old mining pits, old bits of tools with tell-tale rust all over, got to see the city wrapped in both clouds and smog and cherished the fresh air we were breathing up there, talked about the wonder of grasslands – how they cover only 1 per cent of all the surface of British Columbia, yet they hold approximately a third of all the endangered species in the province.

We wondered at how the unglamorous, rather unassuming clumps of grass are in fact so sturdy and resistant to draught, heat and even wild fires, and talked about species that are being endangered (such as the gopher snake) because of habitat reduction, den destruction and killing by people who mistake it for a rattle snake, not that rattle snakes should be killed.

As for the take home message, it is an easy one to remember and the hope is that it’ll be an easy one to keep alive: The grasslands are a unique habitat, slowly disappearing due to many factors but with enough awareness we can stop the process that will take too much of our world with it.

It turned cold by the time we left the grasslands and the hills were enveloped in grey clouds. We promised to visit the same spot every season. The grasslands hold many beautiful secrets: endless carpets of flowers, including the mariposa lily that is also in danger given the cattle propensity for it, temporary lakes formed from all the spring run-off, saline lakes that dry up in the summer but leave thick red patches that look almost surreal (red glasswort).

It is a world that amazes, no matter the season. And it is part of a bigger world that we should mind, with everything that we do, so that it’ll keep unchanged for generations to come.