What’s Happening on the Myrt Thompson Trail?

For those of you who have not been down to enjoy the Myrt Thompson trail for a while, let’s update you on what’s going on. Greenways Land Trust is one of a number of groups who have been working on vegetation and ecological rehabilitation at Myrt Thompson for several years.

In 2012 , 300 trees were planted with help from the TD “Take Root” program. The hard-packed rocky soil was a tremendous challenge for the tree planters, and for the newly planted trees. The poor soil at the site has slowed progress of new native plantings at Myrt Thompson. So a Soil Renewal Project to improve the impoverished soil began in early 2015 with the support of a grant from TD Friends of the Environment. Woody forest floor materials donated by Renuable Resources were spread on a test site and this material topped with soil donated by the Campbell River Indian Band. A cover crop of buckwheat, clover and oats was planted to add organic matter to improve the soil, as well as to reduce the risk of invasive plants taking over.

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The cover crop of buckwheat, clover and oats grows in the summer of 2015.

This prepared the ground for the fall planting, for which Greenways joined forces with TD Tree Day. With TD’s support and the muscle power of over 70 volunteers, 800 native trees, shrubs and ground covers were planted in October 2015.

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Over 70 volunteers came out to help plant 800 native plants in the fall of 2015 for TD Tree Day.

The sensitive ecological habitat of the area has also made Myrt Thompson a favourite site for the annual Greenways Broom Bash, with the first happening in 2005. Our latest Broom Bash at Myrt Thompson was held in May 2015, when over 50 volunteers spent over 100 hours to reduce the impact of invasive scotch broom on native vegetation.

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In early spring 2015, over 50 volunteers helped cut broom at the annual Broom Bash, generously supported by Tim Hortons.

Myrt Thompson is also a favourite site for young people and community groups who want to help restore sensitive ecological habitat in Campbell River. Over the last decade, dozens of groups and hundreds of volunteers have worked to remove invasive blackberries, yellow flag iris, and purple loosestrife. In 2015 Greenways took groups of international students and Brownies to the site to help remove invasive blackberry. A Strategic Wildfire Crew also tackled blackberry and Yellow Flag Iris during some of their down time over the summer. In total over 250 volunteer hours were spent on invasive removal on Myrt Thompson in 2015 alone.

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Brownies cutting blackberry from engulfing a native rose in the spring 2015.

The rehabilitation work on Myrt Thompson has not ended. Maintenance and plantings will continue as the summer of 2016 rolls around, which we hope will not be as dry as 2015. We also are looking forward to seeing how our project fits with the plans the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association have for this end of the community. The same Brownies who cleared blackberry in the spring planted trees at TD Tree Day in the fall. :