Cougar Canyon Ecological Reserve, ER #108 Warden’s Report October 19, 2021
Cougar Canyon Ecological Reserve, ER #108
October 19, 2021
Harold Sellers, Warden
Cougar Canyon ER, near Vernon, preserves representative Interior Douglas fir ecosystems, together with a chain of small lakes and associated wetlands. The ER is bounded for the most part by Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. The exception is the south west end where undeveloped private property lies outside the ER.
On all sides, access to the ER is challenging because of the geography. As a canyon, there are steep cliffs and scree slopes. In much of the reserve the forest is also quite dense.
There is no designated public access to the ecological reserve.
This visit was to the northern boundary of the reserve to check for any human activities. The route followed was through the popular Cougar Canyon Climbing Area, which is in the park and north of the reserve. Here people enjoy cliff climbing and bouldering.
A lightly-used trail leaves the climbing area and reaches the ER boundary. With many twists and turns, the trail is easy to lose. This hike takes over an hour from the nearest location to park a vehicle.
Arriving at the reserve boundary, no signs of recent human activity were found. This part of the boundary is beside a very old logging road (some limited logging took place in the early 1960s outside of the ER), but the trail was not found to go beyond this. The logging road eventually gets lost in thick vegetation and deadfalls in either direction.
Records state that there was once a trail from this area to the first small lake in the canyon, known as lake or pond #1. That trail has long since grown over. My future plans are to explore and find a new route to the lakes.
Two small land-locked ponds that were passed outside the ER were noted to be very low in water, due to the very dry year we have experienced. Vegetation is abundant everywhere, often dense and doing well. Moss and lichens form thick blankets on the ground and boulders fallen from the cliffs.
There was no evidence of ancient or recent fires. Only three items discarded by humans were seen and all have been there for a long time and are now rusting away.
A few birds were observed, most notably American Three-toed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Pacific Wren and Brown Creeper.
In the planning is a visit to the south end of the canyon, which must be accessed by permission, through private land. Hopefully this can be done this Fall.