Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park
Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is a remote and wilderness park accessed from the communities of Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew and Port Alberni, BC on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The provincial park is one of the oldest protected parks on Vancouver Island. The park is divided into three sections - the Lower Carmanah Valley, the Walbran Valley and the Upper Carmanah Valley. In 1990 the the Lower Carmanah Valley was established as a provincial park, soon followed by the Walbran and Upper Carmanah Valley in 1995.
Now measuring 16,450 hectares the recreation park accounts for 2% of the "Old Growth Forest" still standing in the province of British Columbia. Largely untouched by human hands the park enjoys a thriving ecosystem. There are marsh areas, a few creek watersheds, forest floors of moss and ferns and many, many hectares of forest trees. Some of the Spruce trees in the park are over 800 years old and reach over 100 metres high. The oldest trees in the park tend to be twisted cedar trees, some of which are recorded as being 1000 years old.
For those who enjoy a rugged and remote adventure there are some day hiking trails and overnight backpacking adventures within the park. The trails are rough and are not consistently maintained - plus they are exposed to the, sometimes, harsh west coast weather. The same conditions which make the trails muddy, slippery, hazardous and sometimes flooded. These are not trails for the casual hiker. No, these are trails for the well prepared, experienced down-and-dirty wilderness hiker.
All hikes in the park start off following a 1.3 kilometre access trail which leads backpackers to a junction of hiking trailheads. From the junction hikers can choose to explore upstream along the August Creek Trail (8 kilometres) or downstream along the Randy Stoltman Commemorative Grove Trail (2.6 kilometres). From the main trails hikers can access other trails. Some of the other adventures in the park include the Coast Tower (1.2 km), Three Sisters (2.5 km), Grunt's Grove (4 km), Paradise Pool (5.5 km) and Heaven Tree (2 km) Trails. Along the trails are pit toilets, wilderness camping sites with tent pads.
The park is mostly left alone, maintained by nature. Such a natural environment is also home to many species of wildlife. there are black bears, cougars, deer, owls, wolves, ravens and more. Backpackers in the park should be well versed in wilderness survival. The conditions in the park are harsh and the weather can change quickly. Experienced packers should have all the proper equipment including rain gear and very good footwear.
Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park - BC
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