British Columbia’s lush rainforests are vivid tapestries of towering western red cedars, Douglas fir, giant hemlocks, Big Leaf Maples and sweeping emerald sword ferns emerging through thick moss carpets.
To be designated a “rainforest”, an area must receive a minimum of 250cm of moisture (100 inches) annually. That’s more than twice as much as Nanaimo receives in a year! You’ll know you’re in a rainforest when you see
You can experience these ancient, protected forests in places such as the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, where cedars are estimated to be over 1,000 years old. Another popular view for ancient landscapes is in the Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino (the Rainforest Trail).
The recreational value of our forests cannot be understated. They are awe-inspiring cathedrals teeming with life, from the microscopic mycelium transporting nutrients under the forest floor to majestic trees. The more we learn about the connectivity within our forests, the more we will be able to appreciate what they mean for our health, and the planet generally.
We are fortunate to have urban, second-growth forests such as the Morrell Nature Sanctuary where you can find ancient cedars left untouched by early forestry practices.
If you haven’t visited the sanctuary, please come and wander through one of Nanaimo’s gems.
John Anderson is a volunteer with the Morrell Nature Society.