Tag Archives: Old growth

The Canoe Creek Cedar

If you ask British Columbians if they’ve visited the west coast of Vancouver Island, the answer’s usually a resounding “Yes!” The wonders of its ocean paradise are well documented, popular for tall trees, roaring surf and beautiful beaches. Unsurprisingly, most travellers are in such a rush to make it to Ucluelet or Tofino, that they seldom stop along the way. I’m about to give you ample reason to do just that!

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The Unlikely Heimdallr Fir

The far reaches of the Alberni Valley hold innumerable surprises, but few seem more unlikely than the Heimdallr Fir. This massive coastal Douglas fir has not only survived many centuries, but it has managed to do so despite a wide array of challenges. I visited this well hidden giant in the summer of 2021 with my good friend Greg, who had assured me it was well worth seeing.

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Walking the Wilds of Valhalla Grove

It was a warm summer’s day in mid July, as Greg and I trekked our way up a steeply rugged road in the remote reaches of the Alberni Valley. Earlier in the summer, we had been discussing the forests of Vancouver Island, when he had presented me with an idea. Was I interested in exploring one the most idyllic and impressive yellow cedar groves he had ever seen? The answer, naturally, was an emphatic “Yes!”


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An Audience With The Alberni Giant

This year, I’ve been generously introduced to the wonders of the Nahmint River Valley, an irrepressible wilderness to which I have grown increasingly attached with each successive visit.

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The Harris Creek Spruce

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.

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The Return Of The War in the Woods: A Call to Action

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 individuals arrived to take part in those protests.

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Summer on Crest Mountain

“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!

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For the Love of Fairy Creek

High above Fairy Lake near Port Renfrew, British Columbia, in the heart of  the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation, people have united. They arrived on August 10, driven by the news that the upper Fairy Creek Valley was threatened by nearby logging. A network of rugged roads were in the process of being built by contractors Stone Pacific, on behalf of Teal Jones Cedar. The target was a centuries old stand of yellow cedar, Western hemlock, mountain hemlock, and silver fir. While  the core of the Fairy Creek Valley is currently protected , this proposed cut block is situated dangerously close to what is also the last unlogged watershed on south Vancouver Island. (It’s also noteworthy that areas set aside as old growth or wildlife management areas like Fairy Creek have been logged in the past when the government has declared them open season). Here,  a staunch group of concerned citizens have blockaded the road and constructed a camp, which augurs the arrival of a showdown.

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Saving the North Shore’s Big Cedar, a Call to Action

At the dawn of the twentieth century, old growth forests in the North Shore Mountains were taken for granted. So many massive trees still stood tall and strong then that it was believed their supply was nearly inexhaustible. In today’s era, sadly, we know better. The few ancient specimens that persevere are invaluable to our heritage and ecology!  Continue reading Saving the North Shore’s Big Cedar, a Call to Action

Hiking the Hydraulic Creek Trail


It comes as a surprise to most of the people who know me well, but truthfully, it wasn’t until late in 2003 that I first discovered the existence of the Hydraulic Creek Trail. The very idea of a rugged track winding its way to the South Needle from the Seymour Valley was more than enough to pique my curiosity. The real clincher, though, was that much of the terrain in the upper Hydraulic Creek valley was reputed to be old growth forest. The trail had apparently already existed for five years before I’d ever heard of it, indeed, I’d already ridden my bike past the trailhead countless times!

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