Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden

Apologies, but I’m going to interrupt the pollinator series today. Instead, here’s a photograph from the new Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden. It opened this Wednesday morning to the public, and garden staff were among the first to experience this walk in the treetops.

The walkway is independently operated by Greenheart Conservation Company Limited and provides visitors with a lengthy 300+ m (1000+ ft.) suspension walk reaching a maximum height of 15m (50ft) above ground level.

It was pretty amazing to get up close and personal with some of the largest second-growth trees in the David C. Lam Asian Garden — grand fir (Abies grandis), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western red-cedar (Thuja plicata) and big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum). Looking down one can see a combination of temperate coastal rainforest understorey shrubs and ferns interspersed with some fine specimen plants of Asian origin. All in all, very cool and it will definitely be the source of a few photographs in upcoming BPotD entries. Intriguingly, it will also be an opportunity to highlight research at UBC, as it is expected a number of researchers will be making use of the canopy as well.

Just a warning to other photographers: the range of light in the forest is going to be a challenge. If you have one, bring a polarizing filter to cut down on glare from the metalwork and foliage. I didn’t use one today (had my point-and-shoot) so there are a lot of burned-out areas in the photographs I took. I’ll have the advantage of going back when light conditions are more advantageous — you may not.

Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden

21 responses to “Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden”

  1. Sara Behnami

    Moreover an educational opportunity, walking on it sould be very unique and intersting experiment, I realy desire to be there!

  2. elizabeth a airhart

    i would love to walk your bridge

  3. Carole Miller

    I hope you get the opportunity to post pictures of the trees you mentioned in this write up after the pollinator series which I would like to mention I am enjoying very much. Thank you.

  4. van

    Majorly cool. Methinks I’m planning a visit to Canada.

  5. Eric in SF

    Carole, here are some shots of a two of the trees Daniel mentioned. Obviously not from the UBC Botanical Garden but a good survey regardless.
    Acer macrophyllum
    Thuja plicata

  6. Paul Buikema

    Wicked Daniel, will have to gather up some tree geeks and come out for a visit, thanks for posting the picture it looks much better than last month when it wasnt so near to complete. 🙂
    How did the pricing structure work out for the garden entry and walk etc?

  7. Michael F

    How is it all held up? By trees, or on pylons of its own?

  8. Daniel Mosquin

    It’s held up with a non-intrusive technology. A suite of cables are wrapped around the trunk above the canopy – when there’s weight on the platforms or bridges, it cinches, and when the weight is alleviated, it releases (allowing the tree to expand and grow). It is similar to a Chinese finger trap.
    I’ll post the pricing structure in just a bit.

  9. Linda C Miller

    Daniel…..what a special bridge and its name – Greenheart – is also very dear. Again I love receiving your daily pics. They always brighten my day. Thank you for all your hard work.

  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Paul, Hours and Fees are now up on the site.

  11. Paul Buikema

    Cool, thanks Daniel, the price seems quite reasonable!

  12. Eric in SF

    That’s a very reasonable price.
    Any chance the gardens might someday join the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Gardens program?

  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Eric, I’ve sent the question along to a few folks here at the garden.

  14. Margaret-Rae Davis

    what a supprise today to see this amazing bridge high in the trees. I am so pleased to have a link to go to to learn more. I use each days offerings to learn more and to futher my knowledge.
    Thank you,

  15. Susan

    Congratulations, it looks very cool, wish we could be there.
    Is it handicapped accessible? Fairchild Gardens in Miami was trying to create a canopy walk over their rainforest display- having to make it accessible to all raised the price to the point where they had to drop the project.

  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Hi Susan, the answer to your question is that it will be partially accessible. By the time the walkway officially opens next month, they will have a system in place whereby some people with limited mobility can be carried sherpa-style via a litter. I haven’t seen the device yet, myself, so I don’t know what capacity it has or how it will work.

  17. Jack MacDonald

    Just heard about your project this morning on the weather channel, pictures are great. On my next trip west I will be extending it beyond Calgary. Sites like yours we do not see on Prince Edward Island.

  18. Faruk

    super photo!

  19. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Here’s a video of the Canopy Walk, taken in June 2009:
    And another video, of other areas of the UBC Botanical Garden (incl Alpine Garden):

  20. Sindi

    Looks quite interesting. Does this garden accept a membership card for admission from The Desert Botanical Garden in AZ? What time of day is the lighting best for this exhibit?

  21. Daniel Mosquin

    Sindi, thanks for your questions.
    Since the Greenheart Canopy Walkway is in second growth forest the lighting can be harsh throughout the day when it is sunny. When cloudy, the contrast is decreased but you’ll still need a quick lens as you’ll likely need a longer exposure. My preferred light (and I’ve never taken the opportunity yet) would be a bright fog.
    As for your question about memberships, at this time we do not have a reciprocal agreement with the Desert Botanical Garden in AZ (and here are the admission rates).

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