Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is a luxuriously forested sanctuary that is without a doubt one of the most remarkable wild places on Vancouver Island. The lower Carmanah Valley was declared a provincial park in 1990, and the Walbran and upper Carmanah Valleys were added in 1995. The park offers protection to diverse forest ecosystems, including a large Sitka spruce ecosystem that represents 2% of BC’s remaining old-growth forest.
Carmanah Walbran is home to some of the world’s largest spruce trees, some reaching heights in excess of 95 metres and living for 800 years or more. The park is also home to ancient, gnarled cedars – estimated to be well over 1,000 years old – clinging to the side hills. Nestled beneath these awe-inspiring trees is a diverse variety of flora and fauna possible only in an ecosystem that has remained undisturbed for hundreds of years.
The recent addition of the Walbran and upper Carmanah Valleys completes the protection of the Carmanah Creek watershed and the southern portion of the Walbran Creek watershed. The park provides unique opportunities for forest research and education in the areas of biodiversity, wildlife and fisheries habitat. It is a majestic forest capable of inspiring all visitors who come here, and offers unforgettable recreational opportunities for hikers and wilderness lovers.
This coastal fringe of mainly Sitka spruce, with its associated plants and animals, is truly a special place to discover. Sitka spruce forests are typically coast-hugging – they are rarely found more than 80 kilometres inland and at elevations greater than 30 metres. The park’s extensive groves of spruce attain a biomass (weight of plants per hectare) that is nearly twice that of a tropical forest. This dynamic system has developed over thousands of years and functions perfectly if left undisturbed.
Several hiking trails in the Carmanah Valley provide access to many of the park’s notable natural features, including some of the area’s largest trees. Many sections of the trail are extremely muddy and difficult. Be equipped with appropriate clothing (including adequate rain gear) and good hiking boots.
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