Flats History

Maplewood and WBT

The Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats comprises 96 hectares of an intertidal area which is composed of mudflats and a salt marsh, and a 30 hectare upland area comprised of deciduous and mixed forest, rough grassland and freshwater marsh habitats. 

These carefully managed habitats attract a diversity of wildlife which includes Northern River Otter, Coyote, Bobcat and larger mammals such as Black Bear, Coastal Black-tailed Deer and the very occasional Mountain Lion. The bird list has risen from 208 in 1993 to 249 species/subspecies in 2016 and includes migratory species such as Osprey and the blue-listed Purple Martin. Several valuable conservation projects have been undertaken by WBT at the site.

Numerous capital projects have been achieved by WBT at the Conservation Area: a native vegetation nursery, an installed freshwater marsh  system/well, a viewing platform, a footbridge, a covered work area and over three kilometers of wheelchair accessible trails with memorial and resting benches.

At the dedication of the installed fresh water marsh system on May 10th 1997, WBT founders Dr. Richard C. Beard and Patricia M. Banning-Lover were each awarded the federal Certificate of Environmental Citizenship. 

The Conservation Area attracts over 33,000 visitors annually. Educational programs and special events to celebrate the success of the site have been developed by WBT and are offered free of charge. Membership and the community support WBT with volunteers who assist with restoration, enhancement, maintenance and office duties.

In 2006, under WBT stewardship and the expertise of Master Bander Derek Matthews the site became the leading breeding colony in British Columbia for the migratory blue-listed Purple Martin.   

After a lengthy negotiation process which lasted for eleven years, the Trust was successful in permanently protecting the Park Street Marsh Area on the western boundary of The Conservation Area. The freshwater marsh hosts upwards of five hundred wintering waterfowl. White Pelican on their migration to Stum Lake use this area to rest and refuel. This valuable intertidal area of true sanctuary includes the premier example of salt marsh in Burrard Inlet; and is also a nursery for our resident population of Coastal Black-tailed Deer. The mudflat system to the east of the property represents the largest fragment of a mudflat system which once stretched as far as the First Narrows Bridge (Lions Gate Bridge). The occasional Black Bear can be seen feasting on Himalayan blackberry fruit in August and September. 

WBT Meet and Greet Site Office at the head of Osprey Point Trail is a small converted trailer with one non wheelchair-accessible washroom. The Site Office is staffed by a rotation of 25 volunteer receptionists.

The Trust has developed a regular monthly event schedule of bird surveys, naturalist-guided nature walks and volunteer days. The Annual General Meeting is held in November.  Special events include an annual Dawn Chorus in May, a bi-annual mid-summer Return of the Osprey Festival to celebrate the return of the migratory Osprey to their nesting pilings adjacent to Osprey Point, and an annual BIG SIT Day in early July.  Naturalist guided Summer evening walks occur in July.  Naturalist guided Members Only Walks are offered in Spring and Fall.

WBT conservation projects at Maplewood include a program to reintroduce the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly to the area (now in its twenty-second year), a Purple Martin Nest Box Monitoring program, and a  created 15,000 sq.ft area of Killdeer nesting habitat. The site is also now well known for dragonflies and damselflies with 21 species recorded including the blue-listed Autumn Meadowhawk and the Blue Dasher.