Katherine Tye Ecological Reserve is a limited and restricted access area on the southeastern slope of Sumas Mountain. Formed in nineteen ninety-six by land donated from Katherine Tye, the three point one hectare lot contains big leaf maple, birch and vine maple trees although the reserve was formed to protect the ghost orchid plant. The reserve appears to have two locations: near the Chilliwack River in Chilliwack and along the slope of the Sumas Mountain. The land has been set aside to protect these rare flowers. Ghost orchids, Cephalanthera austenede, lack chlorophyll and rely on their interaction with soil fungus for nutrients. Also called snow or Austin’s phantom orchids, they are seasonal white plants that can grow fifteen to sixty centimeters in height. They produce several small white flowers, with a splash of yellow on the lower lip, in summer months and have a vanilla scent. Ghost orchids are seen infrequently and are thought to spend the majority of their life in the forest soils until conditions are ideal for the single stem plants to grow. Cool, shaded with little underbrush with red cedar, big leaf maple and paper birch trees seem to provide favorable conditions. Abby Grind and Sumas Mountain Ryder Trail are used for access the Sumas Mountain site.
Geographic location N49° 8’ W 122° 6’
Katherine Tye Ecological Reserve is a restricted access green space. It can be reached from Hwy1 from two locations: on the southeastern slope of the Sumas Mountain near Abbotsford and along the slope of the Chilliwack River, near Promontory, Chilliwack, B.C. To reach the reserve along the Sumas Mountain, take Exit 95 to Whatcom Road and cross over the highway to turn right onto North Parallel Road, at the shopping mall. This road turns into Eldridge Road as it curves along the Sumas River. When Eldridge Road intersects with Atkinson Road, turn right to cross over the bridge. Atkinson Road curves to lie parallel to the Hwy1 and become North Parallel Road. (Note that North Parallel Road can also be access from the freeway using Exit 105 for No. 3 Road.) Continue along to McDermott Road then turn left. McDermott Road becomes Lakemount Road, at the intersection with No. 4 Road, just before crossing over another bridge across the Sumas River. Stay on Lakemount Road as it curves to the right past the chain linked fence for the Abbotsford Gun Club at 4161 Lakemount Road, which is also called Quadling Road. The reserve is accessible from a trail about a kilometer further along the rough roadway, past the gun club, near Goose Lake Canal. There is limited parking near the chain-link fence of the gun club. Follow the Abby Grind Trail up the mountain and have a means to navigate to reach the reserve. Note that access into this area should be done with care and caution so that plant life is not disturbed.
To reach the Vedder Crossing reserve, continue on Hwy#1 to Vedder Crossing/Yale Road West, Exit 119, and head south along Vedder Crossing. Turn left onto Promontory Road and continue as it curves into a residential neighborhood and becomes Thornton Road. The reserve is between homes 46782 and 46840. There is limited roadside parking.