Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park
|Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park|
|Location||British Columbia, Canada|
|Nearest city||Port Alberni, British Columbia|
|Governing body||BC Parks|
Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, originally Carmanah Pacific Provincial Park, covers a land area of 16,450 ha immediately adjacent to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve's West Coast Trail on south-west Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It comprises the entire drainage of Carmanah Creek and a good portion of the lower Walbran River drainage, both of which independently empty into the Pacific Ocean. It is named after John Thomas Walbran.
This park protects extensive tracts of luxuriant coastal rain forest and is famous for its towering groves of sitka spruce along the productive riverside flats. Canada's tallest tree, the Carmanah Giant, at 95.836 m (314 ft), lives here along the lower reaches of Carmanah Creek. Some of the trees in the area are 1,000 years old.
Hiking trails have been developed in the Carmanah valley, but visitors are discouraged from entering the Walbran section until ecological assessments have been performed to determine possible negative impacts on sensitive habitat. Access is by gravel logging road from Port Alberni, Lake Cowichan, or Port Renfrew.
After much controversy,many protests and civil disobedience in 1988 amongst conservationists (led by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee), logging companies, First Nations Peoples and the BC provincial government over clearcut logging of old growth forest, the province created Carmanah Pacific Provincial Park in 1990. The Caramanah Valley is home to the world's largest Sitka Spruce. Protesters chained themselves to some of these Sitka Spruce while camped out in "porta ledges" at heights of over 50 m. Logging company fellers worked "accidentally" inside the riparian zone, illegally taking these valuable giants. The remainder of the Carmanah Valley and the lower part of the area drained by Walbran River were added in 1995 and forming the current park.
This area lies within the coastal western hemlock (CWH) biogeoclimatic zone. Biogeoclimatic zones can be further divided into subzones, of which this park contains three. Immediately adjacent to the ocean lies the CWH Southern Very Wet Hypermaritime subzone, which is intimately shaped by the forces of the sea. This subzone is often referred to as the "spruce fringe forest" and is characterized by the dominance of sitka spruce, which is specially adapted to withstand the magnesium salts of sea spray. Other characteristic species include leatherleaf polypody fern and evergreen huckleberry.
Just inland is the CWH Submontane Very Wet Maritime subzone, which comprises the majority of the area of Carmanah Walbran park. The dominant coniferous trees here are western hemlock, Douglas Fir, western redcedar, and sitka spruce. The year-round mild and humid climate produces ideal conditions for the development of extensive epiphyte communities in the forest canopy.
- "Carmanah Walbran Park". BC Geographical Names. http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/bcgnws/names/41299.html.
- Francis (ed), Daniel (2000) , Francis, Daniel, ed., Encyclopedia of British Columbia, Harbour Publishing, p. 116, ISBN 1-55017-200-X
- British Columbia Integrated Land Management Bureau - Map of Ecological Classification of Vancouver Island
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.|