On Monday, May 30, TLC began this summer’s volunteer covenant monitoring in the Sooke Hills. Volunteers James, June and Alex joined TLC staff members Torrey and Andrew for a summit hike to the Mt. Quimper fire lookout station, built in 1951.
The volunteers were trained in TLC’s standardized monitoring methods which include ecological data collection and repeat photography to track landscape changes.
Due to the unseasonably warm weather most of the wildflowers had already come and gone, but a few were still blooming: harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans), stonecrop (Sedum spp.), sea blush (Plectritis congesta), yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Menzie’s larkspur (Delphinium menziesii) were all spotted in bloom.
It was a very hot day and although they kept to the shady forest the team certainly felt the heat while collecting data on a rocky bluff! Arbutus trees and the manzanita shrub grew together on the mountainside, where they collectively make a red-listed (i.e. endangered) community. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) is comprised of over 50 different species, including the ubiquitous groundcover kinnikinnick, aka bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
After hiking for approximately 1.5 hours, the crew reached the top of Mt. Quimper and was treated to an incredibly stunning view for their lunch. The Sooke Inlet, Olympic Mountains and downtown Victoria were all visible from their perch atop the hill. If you ever have the time and leg muscles to get there, Mt. Quimper fire lookout is a destination not to be missed!
TLC is very proud to be a part of ensuring this region stays protected and loved for generations to come. After helping with the acquisition of the Sooke Hills lands, the area is now protected and managed by the Capital Regional District.
More information about TLC’s Covenant Program can be found on TLC’s website conservancy.bc.ca.
Photo and video credit Torrey Archer.