TRMF develops outdoor geological exhibit near Flatbed Creek

Charles Helm

Volunteers of the Tumblerjim Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF) have developed an outdoor exhibit on a spur trail off the popular hiking trail to the Overhanging Rock Pool. The 100 metre spur leads along an improved game trail to the Flatbed Creek Peat Site, which is one of the most important geological sites in north-eastern British Columbia regarding our Ice Age heritage. It was the site of scientific research by a team led by Dr Adrian Hickin, of the British Columbia Geological Survey and University of Victoria. The results of the research were published in 2013.

The seventeen signs which line the trail to the peat site interpret this research with introductory text, followed by photos of the microfossils from about 12,000 to 10,000 years ago that were identified in the section of peat. During this time, after the melting of the great glaciers, conditions changed rapidly from being bare earth and rock to the kind of forest we inhabit today.

Dr Hickin has been working with TRMF volunteers over the past six months in developing this field exhibit. “I’m delighted to see the continued success of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation volunteers with the latest exhibit at Flatbed Creek,” he comments. “Northeast British Columbia is an important location for understanding Canada’s glacial history, and the Flatbed Creek Peat Site provides an excellent record of rapid change in the landscape, climate, and the biological world at the close of the last glaciation. It is wonderful to see British Columbia’s geoscience being brought to the public through the exhibit and it is a testament to the hard work of the Museum and Geopark volunteers.”

The development of field exhibits like this is one of the strong recommendations of the Global Geoparks Network in order for the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark (TRGG) to retain its coveted UNESCO Global Geopark status. Many other Global Geoparks focus entirely on their Ice Age heritage. Being able to celebrate our recent geological heritage in this fashion through a field exhibit adds an extra dimension to the attractions offered by the TRMF and TRGG for residents and visitors to our area.

Being so close to Tumbler Ridge, and a very short distance off an established Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society trail, the Flatbed Creek Peat Site is relatively easily accessible (a 3 km round-trip hike). As an outdoor education area it will be suitable for expanded TRMF educational tours, as it can easily be added on to the existing Cabin Pool dinosaur trackway tours, with the added potential of a visit to the fossil oysterbeds nearby. Finishing touches to be installed in the next few weeks include rustic benches.