Maplewood Conservation Area, also known as Maplewood Flats, is a North Vancouver park full of trails run by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia.
Located off Dollarton Highway on Vancouver’s North Shore, Maplewood Flats includes a series of paths that go through mudflats, marshes and other diverse habitats. The area is a conservation zone for wildlife and birds that are native to Vancouver.
The Conservation Area is approximately 126 hectares and home to up to 250 different species of birds. Notable residents include woodpeckers, cormorants, ospreys, falcons and even bald eagles at various times of the year.
Maplewood Flats isn’t the North Shore’s most well-known park. It is a popular birdwatching area though and many people spend hours trying to find specific species. If you like birds and walking along flat trails in nature, it’s a nice place to visit.
Tips and Tricks
Below are a few tips that may make your visit more enjoyable.
TIP #1: Dogs are allowed in a small part of the park (on the eastern side of the canal) but have to be on-leash at all times. For the majority of the park, however, for everything past the Westcoast Bridge, dogs are not permitted. In areas where dogs are allowed, make sure they’re calm and don’t bother the native wildlife or destroy any of the ecosystems.
TIP #2: Much like how your dog should behave in the park, do not touch the wildlife or any of the plants near the trail. This includes disturbing animals and birds for pictures, or picking flowers or berries from the native plants.
TIP #3: Stay on the paths! Don’t venture onto the beach, mudflats or marshes. These are all environmentally-sensitive areas.
TIPS #4: There’s free parking – just make sure though that you don’t park in any of the spots that are reserved for Environment Canada employees. The parking lot isn’t big, but more often than not you’ll find a spot. And if you don’t there is also a small parking lot just down the street.
TIPS #5: Restrooms can be found in the Corrigan Nature House and at the Greeter Hut, but only during regular volunteer hours which are normally just Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the day. Consequently, if going at other times, use the loo before you visit!
TIPS #6: The trails are wheelchair and stroller-friendly. The washrooms (when open) are also wheelchair-accessible.
TIPS #7: When arriving at the park, there is a notice board with a list of feathered creatures that have been seen recently in the area. Make note of these and try to find them yourself!
TIPS #8: If you’re into birdwatching, don’t forget to take your binoculars, and a camera with a zoom lens if you have one.
TIPS #9: Read the Trail Use Guidelines for visiting the park before you go so you’re respectful of the wildlife and the environment. Some of the park’s rules and important things to know are outlined above, but not all of them.
For more information see the Maplewood Flats Conservation Area website.
For a map of the park click Maplewood Flats Map.
To see more places that may be of interest to you check out the following (of which all but the last two are also in North Vancouver):
- Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge
- Maplewood Farm
- Capilano River Park
- The Baden Powell Trail
- Deep Cove
- Rice Lake
- Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve (in Chilliwack)
- Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary (in Delta)