Saanich Parks celebrates International Day of Forests

March 18, 2021

News release

For immediate release

Saanich Parks celebrates International Day of Forests

Saanich, BC – The United Nations International Day of Forests is March 21 and many recent Saanich Parks projects support this year’s theme of “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.”

“The year-round work of our Urban Forestry and Natural Areas teams demonstrates our commitment to forest restoration and the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration,” said Parks, Trails and Recreation Committee Chair and Councillor Judy Brownoff. “I’m proud to see the impact and progress we are making in the community.”

Cuthbert Holmes Park hazard tree mitigation and replanting

Crews undertook hazard tree mitigation in Cuthbert Holmes Park in response to declining forest health due to climate change. Winter 2021 saw numerous grand firs felled or altered to reduce the risk of hazards along the trail system in the park. In addition, staff took the opportunity to loosen highly compacted soils to improve root growth which is important for tree health. The park is being replanted with a variety of native trees for succession growth of the natural forest. To encourage owl nesting, a volunteer built three owl nests, which staff installed 12 to 15 metres high in live firs. Highlights of the work include:

  • 60 dead firs removed;
  • 12 dead firs reduced to varying heights and left as wildlife habitat stumps;
  • 2 trees left due to nests in them;
  • 3 owl nests installed 12 to 15 metres high in live firs; and
  • 350 trees to be replanted throughout the park.

Tree Appreciation Day

The annual Tree Appreciation Day event took place in November 2020 at Mount Douglas Park off the lower beach parking lot. The event focused on renewing and revegetating the understory in a section of forest that was highly compromised due to severe soil compaction from human activity. Last year’s event saw:

  • 85 trees planted (Western red Cedar, Big leaf maple, Western hemlock and Grand fir);
  • 540 understory shrubs and ferns planted;
  • soils in the area loosened and a substantial amount of mulch added to increase the nutrients for trees and shrubs;
  • a split rail installed to protect the forest restoration area; and
  • logs and boulders added for resting spots, nurse logs and special interest for those who love to jump and play in the forest.

Saanich tree planting program

Saanich Parks makes every effort to consider tree planting opportunities with each new park project. This year, our Horner Park Renewal Project saw 38 new trees added to the existing landscape. This project, like many others, used a variety of trees that have many qualities to add interest and diversity to our urban forest. Saanich Parks works to maintain a healthy urban forest by selecting hardy species and cultivars that are more resistant to disease, pests, drought, urban stress and climate change. Look for more new trees coming soon at Hampton Park following the installation of the new parking lot.

Saanich Partnership Tree

Saanich Parks has a goal to increase the number of trees planted on the boulevards within neighbourhoods and to increase the Urban Forest canopy. You can help by hosting a Partnership Tree on your municipal frontage. Find more information on our website at

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.


Media contact:
Jillian Tuson
Urban Forestry Technician
250-475-5494 ext. 3591

Eva Riccius
Senior Manager Parks