Picture in your mind an ancient coastal temperate rainforest, undisturbed by man. Moss laden branches reach high into the canopy from the massive trunks that anchor them to terra firma. Home to considerable biodiversity and abundant wildlife, places like these are among the finest examples of nature at work. Everything is purposeful, from the smallest cone, to the chattering of the Red Squirrel, to the fallen giant decaying quietly amidst the ferns.
Earlier this year, a concerned citizen happened to photograph a loaded logging truck on Vancouver Island’s Highway 19 near Nanaimo. On its sturdy deck was a sizeable log , somewhat less than three metres in diameter. The photo swiftly went viral, and that log ended up raising quite a furor in British Columbia, where many people are currently rallying to protect ancient forests. Truthfully though, you might be surprised or even unaware that countless trees of similar size are routinely cut down here in this province.Continue reading Protecting Ancient Trees in British Columbia
If you’re an aspiring tree hunter, or if you’re just looking for something to explore, there are times that new discoveries have a way of staring you in the face. What I mean by that is that on your quest for other objectives, whether well known or obscure, you might just encounter something interesting along the way. That was the case yesterday, when I decided to investigate a sizeable Douglas Fir that I had noticed a couple of years ago.Continue reading The Surprising Kinkade Creek Fir
When the topic of Seymour Valley’s big trees comes up, as it often does in my world, one of the first places I recommend visiting is the Old Growth Trail. Set deep in the heart of the valley near the Seymour Dam, and surrounded by the North Shore Mountains, it has a magic you won’t find anywhere else!
Nearly nine kilometres along the Seymour Valley Trailway, in North Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR), stands a distinctively towering Douglas Fir. It receives thousands and thousands of visitors every year, standing as it does, alongside a popular recreational trail.
When talk turns to the logging of ancient forests, unfortunately, time has proven that the more things change, the more they remain the same. 28 years ago, a heated battle to preserve Clayoquot Sound began on Vancouver Island. It was called, most appropriately, The War in the Woods. In 1993, concerned citizens joined forces to form a series of blockades to protest the clear cutting of old growth forests in Clayoquot Sound. This was to culminate in a movement that saw over 900 people arrested, and is acknowledged today as the largest act of civil disobedience in the history of British Columbia. In that fateful year, an estimated 11,000 thousand individuals arrived to take part in those protests.
There was a time that the east coast of Vancouver Island was home to countless stands of ancient Douglas Fir trees that numbered among the finest British Columbia had to offer. While it’s well documented that most of them fell to the crosscut saws of the colonial era, there are, if you take the time to search, some remaining gems to be seen. One such tree is the one I call the Kitty Coleman Fir. Reputed to be the largest remaining tree in the Comox Valley by some accounts, it rests in a quiet clearing in its namesake park, just as it has for centuries.
Ever so slowly, our bikes rolled to a stop, as Doug gestured quietly, pointing toward the forest. There, happily grazing, was a robust young deer enjoying her morning solitude beside the Seymour Valley Trailway. While pulling out my camera to document the moment, I began to get the feeling this was going to be an illustrious day!
“I’m on the 6:25. Yay.” I laughed, reading that rather wry text from Doug in mid August 2020. Just a month before, we’d been crashing through the brush of North Vancouver’s Wickenden Creek hunting for ancient trees, and on that day I’d been awake far too early for my liking. Now it was time for an Island adventure, and it was Doug joining the ranks of the sleep deprived!
If you’ve followed the exploits of the hiking world in southwestern British Columbia, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Hanes Valley Trail. It’s without question one of the signature hikes of the North Shore Mountains, taking you on a rugged journey through some of the most scenic and challenging terrain the region has to offer.Continue reading Hanes Valley 101: What You need to know!