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Three Weeks in British Columbia #7, Clayoquot Sound Rain Forest





December 13, 2017

The Tofino area encompasses many natural wonders–so many that, to really do justice to it, one ought to stay there for at least a week. Unfortunately, we’d only been able to book reservations for two days.

In the U.S., we fight so many environmental battles that we have little time to listen in on such battles in other countries. This is the reason I’d never heard of Clayoquot Sound. Shame on me! For environmentalists around the world have been fascinated by the titanic war being fought by lumber barons and environmentally conscious residents of British Columbia over the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate forest (contains 494,000 acres of Old Growth Forest). It took over 20 years before the Clayoquot Sound Land Use Decision was hammered out.

But John Muir was correct when he declared of the world’s remaining natural wonders: “Nothing dollarable is ever safe.” Each generation has to fight again for the preservation of parks, forests, monuments, etc. that the previous generation assumed were safe forever. When we were there, locals told us that Prime Minister Trudeau was extremely unpopular in B.C. because he’d been among those who failed to value such places as the Tofino Coast. Reminds me of similar battles being waged in the U.S. today.

Within this area are a number of parks: Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park, Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park, Hesquiat Provincial Park, Flores Island Provincial Park, and Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. We only had time to immerse ourselves in one of these. What an experience! Miles of elevated boardwalks–needed because so much rain falls here that otherwise visitors would have a tough time making it through. Sadly, B.C. had already had two months without a drop of rain–and the terrible drought continued long after we were gone, so pretty much all the rain forest streams had dried up before we got there.

Nevertheless, if you’ve never been privileged to see what it’s like to walk beneath Old Growth forest, by all means remedy that soon while such pristine pockets yet remain! As we wended our way through the trees two hundred to a thousand years old, we were almost too awestruck to talk! Just as is true of the pitifully small groves of redwoods and sequoias that yet remain in California, one can only imagine what it would have been like to journey through before lumbermen cut down so many millions of acres of trees that had stood for millenniums!

These wonderful stands of trees grow clear down to the beaches. One of those, Long Beach, we walked on long enough to get a beach-fix. The Tofino coast alternates between rugged rocky and flat sandy beaches.