If you’re like me you’ve always kept an eye open for flotsam and jetsam while hiking the long sandy beaches of the West Coast. Occasionally a glass ball will turn up but today that has become an increasingly rare event except on the more remote and less visited places on the west side of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. In over 15 years of visiting the coast, I’ve never been lucky enough to find a glass ball.
If you have looked for a glass ball and never found one you now have a very good chance to do so! On Sunday, August 22 from 2pm to 4pm, Parks Canada is hosting a grass-pulling event in the sand dunes at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. A glass ball (originally found on Florencia Bay in 1987) will be hidden in the grass and the lucky participant will take it home with them. Help remove the grass and find the glass ball.
So why pull the grass in the first place? Well, because this particular grass is an invasive species: European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria). It grows all along the top of our beaches and it doesn’t belong there. It stops sand blowing into the dunes and without new sand the forest grows over the dunes. The sand dunes are a distinctive part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s elaborate array of ecosystems. The dunes provide an important home to several unique sensitive species and travel corridors essential to wildlife.
That’s the story: we either get rid of the grass, or we loose the dunes.
Yes that glass ball may be a bit of a bribe, and yes Parks Canada promises only one glass ball, but we also promise more than enough grass for everyone. And gloves. And refreshment. Besides, as you look for that glass ball you might be surprised to discover how oddly satisfying pulling grass can be. It happened at our last pull. One woman, after the two hour pull was finished, decided to stay and pull for another hour.
The grass needs to be pulled. Parks Canada needs your help to do it.
Need to Know:
- Bring gloves if you have them, refreshments will be provided
- Meet at Wickaninnish Beach beach access “E” in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
- A park use permit is required to visit the park and participate in the event
- FMI: Silva Johansson at 250-726-7165 ext. 232