Montane to Alpine Vascular Plant Inventory above the Sea to Sky Gondola

From Judith Holm, Project Coordinator

What I am doing

I am exploring trails, routes and some off-trail areas above the Gondola and recording the vascular plant species and a very few non-vascular common species.

The nomenclature I follow is that of the BC Conservation Data Centre, this being the BC standard. The ‘y’ grid on the spreadsheet lists the species organized by family. The ‘x’ grid columns indicate the trails/routes/other locations where the species were found. There are also columns for the lowest and highest elevations a species has been observed and for notes.

Proof is by photographs. I collect plant specimens for the UBC Herbarium only if needed. With this kind of study, photographs of diagnostic features are particularly useful. When I have sharp photos portraying features which complement those photos already on E-Flora, I upload them. Providing GPS coordinates for a photo allows the E-Flora administrators to mark the species on a distribution map, if my report is helpful in defining the range. The elevation also provides good information. The dates of the photographs are a straightforward way to add phenological data. There are remarkably few records from the Squamish area, especially from higher elevations, so good photographs can be useful contributions to make. For instructions, see the E-Flora website.


This project addresses the need for a more complete inventory of sub-alpine and alpine plants near Squamish. I know from experience that higher elevation data is more likely to be used if collected where it can be accessed by day trips. The Sea to Sky Gondola provides this access.

What I hope to achieve

I hope to acquire some solid baseline data that will be openly available on the SES website, data that has potential to be useful reference material for future researchers including Quest University students.

The deeper understanding of plants and their ecology that comes from being out there over time, observing and appreciating, is important to me. I have fun when sharing these experiences, so I hope this project will also interest others who also love nature and exploration.

Photo: View from Habrich Ridge, by Judith Holm