by Rebecca BollwittDisclosure: Sample — I was there with a group thanks to Northern BC Tourism. It's free to trek through the forest but our tour from TOLAC was on the house. I would actually recommend having a guide in the winter due the elements -- they have wilderness training, first aid, they know the route, and they know how to get you out of waist-deep snow pits. Please review the Policy & Disclosure section for further information.
About an hour outside of Prince George along Highway 16 lies a practically unmarked treasure, the Ancient Forest.
What makes this plot of land so unique, aside from being a grouping of 800-2,000 year old cedars, is that it’s a rainforest… but it’s inland. Being 800km in from the coast of British Columbia this pocket is actually a snowforest and I was lucky enough to explore under the canopy of these aged coniferous giants last weekend.
The Ancient Forest is free to visit year-round but for the sake of learning a bit more about the area we were escorted by Trevor and Laurella of The Outdoor Life Adventure Company. We also had Dave Connell along with us who is an Environmental Planning Professor at the University of Northern BC. Together our group set out on snowshoes along a looped trail that takes about two hours to traverse.
Our first pitstop was at the “Big Tree”. Now I’ve seen some big trees in my time and this one’s at the top of the list at 16 feet in diameter.
We continued along the trail, over creeks, wood-planked bridges, and through clusters of trees reaching up to the sky. At one point I think it stopped snowing but flakes continued to float around like flour, gracefully sifted through the outstretched arms of the giants.
Dave said that he’s heard a visitor refer to the forest as “decadent” which is pretty spot on. Covered in snow we couldn’t spot the rich, entangled root systems or the natural mulch that lined the path however the are is filled with Red Cedars and various types of plants, fungi and lichen that thrive in a snowforest ecosystem.
From “old man’s beard” moss, to smooth flat fungus, or technicolor yellow striping along the side of the trees. Even in the dead of winter the forest is absolutely alive with colour.
“It’s a sense of awe and a sense of being,” said Dave. “And not like being in the city, but as in being human.”
We took the trail loop up to Treebeard Falls and then down and around to old Treebeard himself. A towering cedar with arms outstretched toward the sky, aptly named after the character in the JRR Tolkien books, The Lord of the Rings.
There are information signs at each specific point of interest on the trail and my favourite element was that some of the messaging was written on behalf of a tree.
Along our route there was evidence of the logging industry coming in and marking territory using bright orange spray paint. The Ancient Forest lies on a patch designated as “Block 486” and its future is still on shaky ground but there’s hope.
Without the continuing research and dedication from the folks at UNBC at the Dome Creek Forest Information Committee, the Ancient Forest may not be around today or in the future. There’s a documentary film available called Block 486 that explains a bit of the story.
Dave is hoping people like me can get the word out about this fantastic place and that we’ll be able to explore the non-timber side of forest economics. If we can get more visitors then maybe everyone will be able to discover just how special this area really is – making sure the land is protected and appreciated.
When I was growing up my family took part in many forest-exploring adventures. Each week it was a different park in the Lower Mainland and each summer it was a unique camping experience. I love being among the trees even when I can only get my fix by venturing down the lesser-known trails in Stanley Park. I’ve stood among the Redwoods in California and I’ve named my favourite Western Red Cedar in Stanley Park. Now, I’ve snowshoed the Ancient Forest.
Here’s hoping I can help just a bit by spreading the word so that this gem can live on for even more generations.
Last month I talked about where everyone will be during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. I plan on staying around town, making one quick day trip to Whistler, being extremely busy covering events for you all to enjoy, and watching the best in the world excel in their sport.
I wanted to take a moment to profile where my coverage can be found during the Olympics.
BC Living Magazine:
Over the next four weeks I will be providing original articles on various facets of the Olympics for BC Living. In their exclusive Games section they have everything from athlete profiles to TV listings and sporting news. You can read my first article that was posted last week that has some of my Opening Ceremony predictions.
True North Media House:
A collaboration of any and all in social media (bloggers, photographers, podcasters) who want to cover the Olympics their way, on their own sites. This site is a one-stop resource for independent content creators and will have a showcase of all registered reporters’ feeds. My involvement with TNMH will be to rally tweetups, photowalks, and opportunities for folks to gather and create content for themselves. Be sure to follow @TNMH on Twitter or my main account @Miss604.
Vancouver Access 2010:
A site put together by Robert Scales who has years of experience covering the Olympics in a social media capacity. Along with his team and co-developer Nadia Aly, they have already put up one of the most comprehensive “Free Attractions” posts for the Olympics that I’ve seen to date. I’ll be cross-posting some existing Miss604.com content in the form of a weekly digest and sharing photos. They’re @VancouverAccess on Twitter.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be checking in with News 1130am. I may have some radio coverage and will be checking out the operations of the official radio station of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics next week. Throughout the Games, if you have Twitter updates you’d like to get on their radar, tag them with #1130.
Follow along every day for about 2-5 entries about life in Vancouver (as usual) as well as Olympics coverage. You can subscribe to my Vancouver 2010 Olympics feed if you just want Games-related posts. My photos will all be on Flickr and I’ll also have up to the minute updates on Twitter @Miss604.
Hastings and Howe
West Hastings at a time was known as Seaton Street, named by Lauchlan Hamilton, after a lake he chose at random from a B.C. map. Since many wealthy people lived along Seaton at the time it was nicknamed “Blueblood Alley” [VancouverHistory]. Seaton was simply called Hastings after 1915.
Winch Building and Post Office between 1910 and 1925
The event will span about four days over two separate weekends and will not interfere with opening and closing ceremony festivities. The “pedestrian corridor” along Hamilton that will connect LiveCity Yaletown (at David Lam Park) and LiveCity Downtown (over on Cambie & Georgia) will host the Made in Vancouver Street Festival 12 hours each day.
The event will include three live entertainment stages, a fashion stage, hundreds of performers and the After Dark Parade which is presented by Coca-Cola (the 1000-1100 block of Hamilton will be closed 6:30pm – 8:30pm during the parade). Needless to say, you should leave the car at home and enjoy this festival on foot.
They will also have a bunch of promotional street teams handing out goodies such as Wrigleys Gum, Coke, Swiss Army Victorinox as well as Captain Condom who will be handing out Safe Sex packs.
Yaletown has also been installing flags on their sidewalks as a part of the international Flag Walk campaign (@FlagWalk on Twitter). As a side note, there is also a Flag Walk on South Granville you could actually connect the two walks.
The celebration of community spirit and of course the Olympics are not the only driving factor of the Made in Vancouver Festival as there is also a charitable component. The Canadian Cancer Society will be on site during the festival in support of the Pink Million Campaign.
Check out Yaletown’s website, blog, or Twitter for more information and updates closer to the event.
Writing my Vancouver 2010 Pavilion & Hospitality Houses post the name Granville Island came up quite a bit. Vancouver’s favourite market, theatre, artisan and creekside destination is playing host to many events this month. Here’s a rundown of what you can find, where to find it, and how to get there.
What’s Going On
House of Switzerland Canada
Where: Bridges Restaurant
When: February 5, 2010 – 8:00am – March 1, 2010 – 12:00am
Info: Official website, Twitter, my post.
Place de la Francophonie
Where: False Creek Community Centre
When: February 11, 2010 (All day) – February 28, 2010 (All day)
Info: Official website, Facebook
Atlantic Canada House
Where: The Arts Club Theatre and Backstage Lounge
When: February 13, 2010 (All day) – February 27, 2010 (All day)
Info: Official website, Twitter
Portraits in the Street: Vancouver 2010
Where: Railspur Alley
When: Saturday, January 30, 2010 (All day) – Monday, March 22, 2010 (All day)
Info: Official website
Winterruption Kids Zone
When: February 20, 2010 – 10:30am – February 27, 2010 – 4:30pm
Where: Cartwright Street
Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition (CODE)
When: February 4 – February 21, 2010
Where: Emily Carr
Info: Emily Carr Website
CAR: Parking is limited so public are being asked to consider alternative transportation this month. Before 10am, parking will be free. This is to encourage locals to still come down and do their shopping at the market. Then, between 10am and 10pm, paid parking will be available for a maximum of two hours, for $3.00 per hour. Yesterday at the media briefing they put the word out that they want people to “Shop early, play late, and leave the car at home.”
BIKE: A bike valet service will be located behind the Information Centre.
TRANSIT: There are quite a few transit options including the Olympic Line Streetcar (6:30am – 12:30am) which provides free service from Granville Island to the Olympic Village Canada Line Station (4:50am – 1:15am). For buses, you can take the #50 from downtown or hop off a #4, #17 or any other bus passing the 5th avenue interchange, then walk down.
BOAT: You can take the following water taxis from various locations around False Creek (Aquatic Centre, the south end of Hornby Street, Stamps Landing, Vanier Park, Plaza of Nations, Yaletown, and Science World) – Aquabus, False Creek Ferry
FOOT: Just walk on over! Either from the streetcar or bus stop, over or under the bridge, or across the street.