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.