Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park, British Columbia

Posted on 4th July 2015 in adventure, nature

British Columbia’s slogan is ‘Beautiful BC’. I cannot agree more. I’ve explored BC extensively (see all my blog posts tagged with BC here) and continually find BC blows my mind with beautiful variety. From the rainforests of the West Coast to the temperate desert in the Okanagan, from the Rocky Mountains to the Coastals to one of our lakes or rivers or dense wilderness and forests we’re met with at every corner.

Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park (see in Google Maps here) is the worlds only inland rainforest located about 95 km East of Prince George, which makes it 800 km from the West Coast. Thankfully, in 2000 a 24,765 hectare region was declared the Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park, thus protecting it from the extensive logging in the region. This park has massive 1000 – 2000 year old growth interior cedar-hemlocks, and as the name would suggest, it’s a habitat for grizzlies and many other furry animals and migratory paths.

I have taken the liberty to share with you a UNBC Research Report on the Ancient Forest (a network of hiking trails within Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park officially opened in 2006) (see my previous blog on the Ancient Forest here) studying the community and economic benefits of non-timber uses of this inland rainforest, with hopes that it will hopefully encourage you to fight for more of these parks in our beautiful land. See full report PDF here (original PDF source here).

My hike was a pretty interesting one. I had with me a CouchSurfer from Germany I was hosting, who was really keen on seeing a bear. I of course have grown up with bears all my life and recognize not seeing bears while hiking is most definitely a good thing. As we were driving up to the trailhead, we must have seen about 25 evidences (read: skat) of bear, but on the trail we never actually saw any. However, as we drove out after the hike, I think we counted we saw about 15 black bear (including cubs), and 3 moose (all of which we stopped and watched until the sun set).

On the trail, we never actually got to the top of the hike because the trail basically became unrecognizable and nearly un-passable. I had done some research before we went, and did expect an open pasture near the top that we would become lost in, but with about 1 m of snow covering the ground, and very few trail markers along the way, I decided I didn’t want to get lost, we had been hiking for about 3hrs, and we had eaten most of our food so I made the call to turn around.

This is what we saw.

Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park Hike - Ned Tobin - British Columbia Click here to read more.. »

The Ancient Forest, Prince George, BC

Posted on 15th February 2014 in adventure, explored, nature, wandering

Prince George, British Columbia has a very rare and unique forest known as the Interior Wetbelt, which is the worlds only known rainforest so far from the ocean, about 800 kms away. The wet biogeoclimatic zones associated with the inland rainforest cover more than 110,000 ha in the upper Fraser River valley. Stands that contain ancient Western Redcedars (Thuja plicata) and associated biodiversity are quite limited in their distribution within the upper Fraser River valley, particularly because of the logging in the region.

I did this hike last year in mid October, 2013 with my brothers, and it was colder than expected. I was happy I had brought mittens and a tuque, but the hiking around gets you warm pretty quick. If you’re a snowshoe’r, this trail is open 365 days a year and I believe there are also tours that head out frequently.

This region is unique because it’s sandwiched in between the Rocky Mountains (to the East) and the Coastal Mountains (to the West). The Ancient Forest has ancient cedar trees and ferns that have been undisturbed for centuries. Many individual trees are estimated to be over one thousand years in age.

Antique Forest stands are typically located in wet toe-slope or bench topographic positions, often in close proximity to the valley sides. However, given the easy access afforded by Highway 16 and the exceptional stature of trees in these stands, most of the toe-slope Antique Forest stands along the highway corridor in this area have been logged over the last half century. Consequently opportunities to view this exceptional feature of B.C.’s inland rainforest are now limited.

To learn more about the wetbelt, the Ancient Forest, UNBC has a great page dedicated to explaining it, which I’ve used as reference for this writeup.

Oh, and there’s an exceptionally large tree in there they’ve dubbed Treebeard, after the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings chronicles.

2013.10.12 - Ancient Forest (2 of 189) Click here to read more.. »