This is the first of what we hope will be an occasional series featuring what we think are the seven natural wonders of British Columbia. Now obviously that’s going to open a real can of worms as does any list. Whatever, it’s a fairly lighthearted attempt to showcase the magnificent scenery and sights that this amazing province has to offer. Debate and alternative suggestions are welcome of course.
So, without further ado, in no particular order, here’s the first on our list, a place that makes one stand in awe at the majesty of it all, an incredibly important remnant of what used to be in this province, the so-called ‘Brazil of the north’.
We give you: Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.
Nowhere else we’ve been to can match this place for the beauty of its forest. Two hours of driving along logging roads past clearcut after clearcut until you arrive at what seems like the end of the world sets you up for this step back in time. It’s not only a step back to what the coastal areas of BC must have been like one hundred and fifty years ago before the onset of widespread logging, it’s more than that. It honestly feels as if you’ve found yourself in some Jurassic or Cretaceous era forest.This is ‘old growth’ or ancient forest on a huge scale.
The area is incredibly lush. Did you know that an acre of BC temperate rainforest can contain up to two and a half times more biomass (living matter) than an acre in the Amazon rainforest?
There are giants galore here in both the Carmanah and Walbran valleys. Carmanah is more well known and has Canada’s tallest known tree (the Carmanah Giant) and many other straight and true examples of Sitka Spruce. Walbran has Maxine’s Tree and some very large Western Red Cedars to mix things up a little. It is also even more remote and less visited. In fact BC Parks actively discourages people from visiting the Walbran Valley.
This summer we’ve signed up with an online group who plan to bushwhack from Carmanah to Walbran. It’s something we’ve been interested in doing for a quite some time, so here’s hoping it comes off because two or three nights under the stars and away from the rest of the world in this superb forest is a treat not to be missed.