Access: From downtown Vancouver hop a #210 Upper Lynn Valley bus from Dunsmuir Street next to Burrard SkyTrain station. Stay on the bus to the end of the line at the corner of Evelyn & Underwood Streets. The bus trip should take around 45 minutes. Take the short-cut east past two tennis courts and continue half a block to the corner of Dempsey and Lynn Valley Roads. From there you'll see the park entrance to the north. Follow Intake Road for about a kilometre before reaching the park proper.

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Those in North or West Vancouver can take the #228 Lynn Valley bus from Lonsdale Quay to the corner of Dempsey and Lynn Valley Roads.

Formerly the source of drinking water for the city of North Vancouver, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park was opened to the public when floods damaged water intakes in 1983. Hiking is by far the main attraction here with trails suited to all levels of experience and ability.

Be sure to top up your water at the picnic area as most of the water you'll meet up with while hiking has been polluted by people and their dogs. From the picnic area cross the bridge to access the trails of 4,685-hectare Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. An information board here provides hikers with background information on the park, directions, maps, trail conditions and common sense safety information.

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Dentalia

Dentalia Shells

These thin, tubular mollusks formed the currency of commerce throughout the Pacific Northwest as long as 3000 years ago. Pre-European civilization is often considered a barter economy, with, for instance, coastal tribes swapping oolichan grease directly for prized Oregon obsidian. Commodity traders, however, could rely on this wampum to close a transaction when interest in the goods was decidedly one-sided. Called hykwa in Chinook jargon, dentalia shells possessed all the necessary attributes of money, being portable, recognizable and durable but rare and desirable enough to foster trade. Being available in a variety of sizes, the tusk-like shells were even divisible into small change. Professional traders are known to have tattooed measuring lines on their forearms as a handy calculator of individual shell values. Only a handful of groups, including the Nuu-chah-nulth in the vicinity of Tofino, possessed dentalia in quantities sufficient enough to make them wealthy. Harvesting the deep water mollusks was no easy undertaking however. From a dugout canoe a long, broom-like apparatus was thrust straight down into the muddy sea bottom then retrieved. With any luck a shell or two would be trapped amongst the stiff twigs at the end of the handle. Dentalia were also ostentatiously displayed as symbols of wealth and power in the form of body adornments. Perhaps most recognizable are the breast plates invariably worn by cheesy Hollywood Indians.

Illustration by Manami Kimura