Introduction to Burns Bog
Burns Bog is a raised bog ecosystem covering approximately 3,000 ha of the Fraser River delta between the south arm of the Fraser River and Boundary Bay. The largest undeveloped urban landmass in North America, Burns Bog is globally unique because of its chemistry, form, flora and large size.
Most of Burns Bog is managed as an Ecological Conservancy Area (BBECA). The priority is ecological protection, so most of Burns Bog is not open to the public. The vast portion that remains closed is managed as a natural ecosystem and a place to understand its uniqueness through research. This website aims to provide a home for information on Burns Bog, providing insight into its history, protection, ecosystems, restoration and ongoing research.
The Delta Nature Reserve is the only publicly accessible portion of the BBECA. Click here to plan a visit and experience the bog.
Burns Bog Flyover (April 27, 2011)
Burns Bog is a fascinating piece of the Metro Vancouver eco-system. Get a birds-eye view of this unusual part of the local landscape in this short helicopter fly over of the bog.
Burns Bog Classroom Program (2011) is a teaching resource designed for the Grade 7 science curriculum and includes field trip activities for the Delta Nature Reserve. Please note that this may not match the current BC curriculum exactly. Prior to visiting the Delta Nature Reserve, click here to check site conditions.
Read on to learn about the bog’s history, its unique ecosystem and wildlife, how we are protecting it, and discovering more through research.
Did you know?
At ~3,000 hectares, Burns Bog is eight times bigger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park, and is the largest raised bog on the west coast of the Americas!
Burns Bog – a brief history
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples have gathered berries and plants, and have hunted in Burns Bog. The lands are within the shared ancestral territories of nineteen First Nations. Seven of these First Nations are located within the Metro Vancouver Region: Katzie First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation, Kwikwetlem First Nation, Musqueam Indian Band, Semiahmoo First Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation. The additional twelve First Nations are located on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley: Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Lake Cowichan First Nation, Lyackson First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, Seabird Island Band, Shxw’ow’hamel First Nation, Skawahlook First Nation, Soowahlie First Nation, Stó:lō Nation, Stó:lō Tribal Council, and Stz’uminus First Nation.
Since the late 1800s, the land was used for peat extraction and farming, which resulted in significant disturbance to the bog ecosystem. Preservation and conservation became increasingly crucial, and something needed to be done.
The Conservation Story started in the 1970s when the Delta Nature Reserve was protected. In the 1990s, hundreds of residents requested that Burns Bog be designated as an ecological reserve. A major scientific review was completed on Burns Bog in 2000, which highlighted the great value of the bog.
Former Mayor Lois E. Jackson and a dedicated Council took action and fought hard to conserve Burns Bog. Referendums were held, reviews were done and agreements were made. On March 24, 2004, their resolution was rewarded and a binding purchase agreement was reached to protect 2,024 hectares of Burns Bog as an Ecological Conservancy Area.
The City of Delta joined with the Province of BC, the Government of Canada, and Metro Vancouver to preserve the ecological integrity of the bog. The legally binding conservation covenant placed on the property will ensure that Burns Bog is protected and managed effectively as a natural ecosystem. Research continues to help inform best practices.
For more detailed history of Burns Bog, see the chronology of events.