Work hasn’t stopped for the builders and volunteers of the Ancient Forest Trail Boardwalk, an interpretive trail near Prince George that winds through some of the province’s oldest temperate inland rainforest. Since opening to rave reviews in 2013, the wheelchair-accessible boardwalk has been both extended (by more than a kilometre) and widened (to allow visitors to pass freely and safely while enjoying the forest). The Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Club has received Member Club Grant funding for the evolving project for the past three years.
Highlights from this year’s work include an additional 575 meters of boardwalk, meaning that the main loops of the trail are now fully planked. Some of the more difficult portions of the trail have been replaced with steps. Next year, the portion of the trail leading up to the waterfall — a section that’s currently badly eroded and dangerously slippery — will be planked as well. Additional planks will also be added to the entire length of the trail, making it almost a metre wide.
“The feedback we get is so positive,” said Nowell Senior. “People are just in awe of the place, and equally in awe of the volunteer work that’s being done. They just shake their heads when they see just how much material is being carried by volunteers day after day.”
The Caledonia Ramblers are also working together with the provincial government and the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation to ensure the Ancient Forest is protected and preserved as a Class A Provincial Park. Public consultations with stakeholders were held earlier this fall and comments from the public were being accepted until a few weeks ago.
“It’s really to get feedback from our community on how they feel about the Ancient Forest, about its potential, why it is unique, what the ramifications are going to be for our region should the area become designated as a provincial park or as a protected area,” said Senior. If the province grants park status to the 12,000 hectare area, Senior and other proponents will apply for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, something a site so unique and magnificent surely deserves.
You can read the latest Ancient Forest Research Bulletin by clicking here. You can find more information about the Ancient Forest’s potential park status here and about the UNESCO World Heritage proposal here.