British Columbia Coastal Forests

This posts includes information about three ecoregions north of the 50th parallel that are in the coastal area of British Columbia–British Columbia Mainland Coastal Forests, Central Pacific Coastal Forests, and Puget Lowland Forests.

British Columbia Mainland coastal forests (NA506)

The most extensive mountain fiord complex in the world exists where the Cascades, Kitimat, and Ness Ranges meet the sounds of the inland passage north of Vancouver. At low elevations, typical forests are of western hemlock, western red cedar, and amabilis fir (Pacific silver fir). At higher elevations, mountain hemlock, amabilis fir, and yellow cedar. Sedge-dominated meadows are at tundra levels. Animals include black-tailed deer, grizzly bear, and mountain goat. A small portion of this ecoregion north of the 50th parallel and east of the 126th meridian is included here, with an expanded description planned in the future.

National Sites

The Trans-Canada Trail system in the British Columbia Mainland coastal forests includes the Sea to Sky Trail, which is 81 km in length from Squamish to Whistler (N50⁰7’ W122⁰58’) via Brandywine Falls Provincial Park (N50⁰1’ W123⁰8’).

 Provincial and local sites

Bishop River Provincial Park (N50ᵒ54’ W124ᵒ0’) is a 19,947-ha property adjoining the south end of Ts’il?os Provincial Park. The park is road-less and trail-less. A small northern edge of the park is within the Cascade Mountains leeward forests ecoregion. The remainder is in the British Columbia Mainland Coastal Forests ecoregion.

Blackcomb Glacier Provincial Park (N50⁰5’ W122⁰52’) is a 250-ha property adjacent to Garibaldi Provincial Park which includes the upper portions of a glacier.

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park (N50ᵒ2’ W123ᵒ7’) is a 420-ha park on Route 99 north of Squamish. A 70-m waterfall, basalt columns, and lava flows are just upstream from Daisy Lake. The park on the Cheakamus River also has habitat for rare red-legged frogs.

Callaghan Conservancy (N50ᵒ11’ W123ᵒ14’) is an 8,081-ha Nordic sports venue adjoining Callaghan Lake Provincial Park on the north. It was the host of the 2010 Nordic sports venue at the Winter Olympics. There is a lodge, trails, and snowshoe and ski trails.

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park (N50ᵒ12’ W123ᵒ11’) is a 2,667-ha park accessible from Route 99, 20km south of Whistler. With the Callaghan Conservancy, the park was the host of the 2010 Nordic sports venue at the Winter Olympics.

Cetan/Thurston Bay Conservancy (N50ᵒ23’ W125ᵒ19’) is 230 ha which connects the two parts of Thurston Bay Provincial Park.

Clendinning Provincial Park is a 30,330-ha landscape with ancient forests, meadows, glaciated peaks, a hanging valley, and icefalls off the Squamish Forest Service Road. The Elaho Valley contains Douglas-fir more than 1,000 years old and ancient red cedar trees also. The south end of the park is at the confluence of the Elaho River and Suns Creek (N50ᵒ15’ W123ᵒ35’) and the north end is on Clendinning Creek (N50ᵒ32’ W123ᵒ58’).

Desolation Sound (south end N50⁰0’ W124⁰43’; north end N50⁰19’ W124⁰45’) is an Important Bird Area for marbled murrelet in the summer season. Other notable birds are surf scoters, goldeneye, Bonaparte’s gull, and harlequin duck. Protected areas within the IBA are East Redonda Island Ecological Reserve, Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park, Malaspina Provincial Park, and Roscoe Bay Marine Provincial Park.

Dzawadi/Klinaklini Estuary Conservancy (N51⁰6’ W125⁰37’) is 629 ha at the head of Knight Inlet, adjacent to First Nations land. The estuary is where eulachon, an anadromous fish, is harvested.

Dzawadi/Upper Klinaklini River Conservancy and Upper Klinaklini Protected Area are 39,241 ha on the Klinaklini River corridor and tributary rivers. The area is an ecologically unique north-south trans-mountain valley. The north end of the corridor is on the North Klinaklini River (N51⁰53’ W125⁰45’, the northeast end is on the Klinaklini River (N51⁰49’ W125⁰20’), and the south end is on the Klinaklini River (N51⁰26’ W125⁰40’). Above the valley on both sides are glaciers.

Upper Elaho Valley Conservancy (N50ᵒ29’ W123ᵒ35’) is 10,253 ha in a valley with an 80-m-deep canyon with sheer volcanic rock cliffs. It adjoins Clendinning Provincial Park to the south.

Garibaldi Provincial Park is one of the larger parks in the mainland coastal forests ecoregion, encompassing 194,676 ha and the Polemonium, Spearhead, Fitzsimmons, and McBride Ranges. The park is 65% alpine tundra, with the remainder mountain hemlock and coastal western hemlock forest types. Garibaldi Lake is surrounded by glacial and volcanic scenery such as Black Tusk and the Table. The extent of the park is the Bastion Range in the northeast (N50⁰14’ W122⁰35’), North Sloquet Creek in the southeast (N49⁰44’ W122⁰23’), Green River in the northwest (N50⁰14’W122⁰51’), and Diamond Head in the southwest (N49⁰45’ W123⁰1’). There are 5 park access points, all from Route 99.

  • Diamond Head entrance provides access to Mount Garibaldi, Atwell Peak, a volcanic pinnacle, and Elfin Lakes.
  • Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake entrance (N49⁰57’ W123⁰3’) provides access to the Sphinx Glacier, and Sentinel Glacier. The Barrier feature which holds back Garibaldi Lake is considered unstable
  • Cheakamus Lake (N50⁰1’ W122⁰57’)
  • Singing Pass (N50⁰2’ W122⁰53’) is accessed from Whistler Village and features views of Fitzsimmons and Spearhead Ranges and Cheakamus Glacier.
  • Wedgemount Lake (N50⁰10’ W122⁰49’) is encircled by the Wedgemount and Armchair Glaciers. There is also a 300-meter-high waterfall in this area.

Homathko Estuary Provincial Park (N50ᵒ56’ W124ᵒ51’) is on the east side of the Homathko River and includes the lower 500 m of the Teaquahan River. A small area of old growth forest is in this park at the head of Bute Inlet.

Homathko River-Tatlayoko Protected Area is 17,575 ha along the river corridors of the Homathko River, Tatlayoko Lake, Ottarasko River, and Mosley Creek. The park protects low elevation coastal rainforests and wetlands as well as icefields. There are grizzly bears and trumpeter swans. The park is accessed fro Route 20 near Tatla Lake. Most of the park is in the Cascade Mountains Leeward forests ecoregion but the south end on the Homathko River (N51ᵒ14’ W124ᵒ57’) is in the British Columbia Mainland Coastal forests ecoregion.

I7Ioqaw/100 Lakes Plateau Conservancy (N50⁰31’ W123⁰32’) is 1,030 ha adjacent to the Upper Elaho Valley Conservancy. The site includes Fish Lake. Wetlands are used by waterfowl, and habitat is available for grizzly, moose, and deer.

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park (N50⁰20’ W122⁰28’) is 1,460 ha on Route 99. The park includes Matier, Stonecrop, and Tszil Glaciers. Trails pass three glacier-fed lakes: Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes.

K’zuzalt/Twin Two Conservancy (N50⁰15’ W122⁰24’) is 2,095 ha, including the entire Twin Two watershed from Lillooet Lake to the headwaters. The old growth forest is in the Lil’wat Nation traditional territory and made available for traditional uses. Lillooet Lake lodge is adjacent to the conservancy.

Upper Lillooet Provincial Park (N50ᵒ40’ W123ᵒ40’) is 19,996 ha of old growth forests, alpine ridges, and glaciers 150 km north of Vancouver. It is at the headwaters of the Lillooet River and accessible from the Upper Lillooet Forest Service Road. Streams in the park are fed by the Lillooet, Mosaic, and Job Glaciers. The park includes the Manatee River watershed and is part of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, with recent activity 2,400 years before present.

Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ12’ W123ᵒ46’) is 964 ha at the end of a granite-walled fjord. The landscape rises sharply from sea level to 7,000 feet. Over 60 waterfalls enter the fjord. Princess Louisa inlet includes a trail to 40-m Chatterbox Falls on Loquill’s Creek. The park is accessible by scheduled tourboats from Egmont.

Mehatl Creek Provincial Park is 23,860 ha 50 km west of Route 1 at Boston Bar. The park features alpine ridges and old growth forests. The north end includes the Mehatl Creek drainage (N50ᵒ6’ W122ᵒ12’) and the south end features a trail to Mehatl Falls (N49ᵒ56’ W121ᵒ58’). The eastern edge of the park is in the Cascade Mountains Leeward forests ecoregion.

Mkwal’ts Conservancy (N50⁰16’ W122⁰37’) is 3,874 ha between the Garibaldi Provincial Park and Lillooet Lake. The area is old growth forest in the Ure Creek watershed.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park (N50⁰18’ W122⁰49’) is 170 ha on Route 99 south of Pemberton. Along the Green River is a forest of western hemlock, western redcedar, and Pacific dogwood.

Palemin/Estero Basin Conservancy (N50ᵒ31’ W125ᵒ11’) is a 2,978-ha preserve at the head of a fjord.

Phillips Estuary/NACINUXw Conservancy (N50ᵒ36’ W125ᵒ21’) is a 1,461-ha preserve 53 km north of Campbell River. It includes parts of the Phillips Lake and lower Phillips River at the head of Phillips Arm.

Qudes/Gillard-Jimmy Judd Island Conservancy (N50ᵒ23’ W125ᵒ10’) is 45 ha between Stuart and Sonora Islands.

Read Island Provincial Park (N50ᵒ9’ W125ᵒ8’) is 637 ha facing the Sutil Channel with old growth, bogs, and Rosen Lake. The park is at the southern tip of Read Island.

East Redonda Island Ecological Reserve (N50ᵒ14’ W124ᵒ41’) is a 6,212-ha tract of coastal western hemlock and mountain hemlock on Mount Addenbroke about 40 km northwest of Powell River. The area provides marbled murrelet nesting areas, and contains rock art on cliffs near the ocean. The park is included in the Desolation Sound Important Bird Area for marbled murrelet.

Rendezvous Island South Provincial Park (N50ᵒ16’ W125ᵒ2’) is 163 ha in Calm Channel. The old growth rainforest park is on the BC Marine Trail.

Upper Rogers kolii7 Conservancy (N50⁰6’ W122⁰17’) is 3,605 ha of pristine alpine lakes and subalpine meadows, jointly administered with the In-SHUCK-ch Nation.

Roscoe Bay Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ9’ W124ᵒ46’) is 247 ha in a small fjord on the east side of West Redonda Island. The park includes part of Black Lake and is known for congregations of moon jellies. The park is included in the Desolation Sound Important Bird Area for marbled murrelet.

Upper Soo Conservancy (N50ᵒ15’ W123ᵒ11’) is 11,306 ha of old growth forest to the north of Callaghan Lake Provincial Park. The park includes the Soo River and is home to mountain goat and grizzly bear.

Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park is a 107,191-ha roadless area jointly managed by BC Parks and the Lytton First Nation. The park boundary encompasses the entire watershed of the Stein River, a scenic and culturally significant resource.  The park is primarily in the Cascade Mountains Leeward forests with a small portion in the southwest in the British Columbia Mainland Coastal forests ecoregion. Tundra Lake (N50ᵒ9’ W122ᵒ16’) in the southwestern portion of the park is in the British Columbia Mainland coastal forests.

Surge Narrows Provincial Park (N50ᵒ14’ W125ᵒ9’) is 488 ha with tidal rapids. The park at the south end of Maurelle Island includes Peek and Goepel Islands as well as the eastern shore of Quadra Island.

Teakerne Arm Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ12’ W124ᵒ51’) is 128 ha on West Redonda Island. Cassel Falls enters the ocean in the park and a trail leads to the top of the falls.

Thurston Bay Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ21’ W125ᵒ19’) is 531 ha on Sonora Island in Johnstone Straight. A trail leads to Florence Lake. The park includes Davis Point, Edward Point, and Block Island plus water in two tracts separated by the Cetan/Thurston Bay Conservancy.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is 989,616 ha, an immense area mostly in the Fraser Plateau and Basin. The southern part of the park is in the Cascade Mountains leeward °forests ecoregion, and the western edge is in the British Columbia mainland coastal forest ecoregion. The river corridor in the western edge of the park which includes the Talchako River (N52⁰8’ W125⁰56’) and Bella Coola River is in the British Columbia Mainland Coastal Forest ecoregion. The trailhead for the Alexander Mackenzie Historic Trail (N52⁰26’ W126⁰11’) is also in this ecoregion. Access to the park is 400 km west of Williams Lake on Route 20.

Walsh Cove Provincial Park (N50ᵒ16’ W124ᵒ48’) is 85 ha on West Redonda Island on the Waddington Channel. The park includes the Gorges Islands and False Passage.

Xwakwe?naxde?ma/Stafford Estuary Conservancy  (N50°42′ W125°26′) is 742 ha where the lower Apple River and Stafford River enter the sound.

Central Pacific coastal forests (NA510)

This ecoregion includes the most productive forests in the world, bathed in frequent clouds and fog. Immediately along the Pacific Coast is a narrow band of Sitka spruce forest. Inland are Douglas-fir and western hemlock, grand fir, and amabilis fir (Pacific silver fir). Dry areas are characterized by Garry oak, Pacific dogwood, and arbutis.

Elk Falls Provincial Park (N50ᵒ3’ W125ᵒ19’) is 1,055 ha at the town of Campbell River. There are three waterfalls on the Campbell River; water levels depend on the operations of the BC Hydro John Hart Generating Facility. The park also includes the Quinsam Salmon Hatchery.

Loveland Bay Provincial Park (N50⁰3’ W125⁰27’) is 30 ha on Campbell Lake about 30 km west of Campbell River. It offers reservoir-based camping.

Morton Lake Provincial Park (N50⁰8’ W125⁰29’) is 74 ha and includes Morton Lake and some shoreline of the nearby Mohun Lake. In addition to lake fishing the park is part of a 47-mile paddle and portage circuit. The trail to Andrew Lake starts in the park.

Rock Bay Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ19’ W125ᵒ27’) is 525 ha on Vancouver Island, including a rocky headland and Otter Cove and Rock Bay. Islands in the park include Limestone Island and Rocky Islets. The site is the junction of the Discovery Passage and Johnstone Straight.

Puget lowland forests (NA524)

This description covers the northern tip of this ecoregion, which includes the mouth of the Fraser River, Vancouver, and the San Juan Islands. The Mediterranean-like climate is in the rain shadow of the coastal mountains and habitats range from grasslands to moist forests dominated by western red cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, Garry oak, and Pacific dogwood.

Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ0’ W124ᵒ49’) is 437 ha encompassing a chain of 24 islands and islets off the Malaspina Peninsula.  The Copeland and Townley Island groups are included in the park, which has rugged forested terrain and bedrock outcrops.

Desolation Sound (south end N50⁰0’ W124⁰43’; north end N50⁰19’ W124⁰45’) is an Important Bird Area for marbled murrelet in the summer season. Other notable birds are surf scoters, goldeneye, Bonaparte’s gull, and harlequin duck. Protected areas within the IBA are East Redonda Island Ecological Reserve, Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park, Malaspina Provincial Park, and Roscoe Bay Marine Provincial Park.

Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ6’ W124ᵒ42’) is 8,449 ha of dense forests and rugged terrain with bedrock outcrops. It includes the Gifford Peninsula and Unwin Lake. A small portion on the Malaspina Peninsula (N50ᵒ2’ W124ᵒ47’) includes a section of the Sunshine Coast Trail. The park is included in the Desolation Sound Important Bird Area for marbled murrelet.

Ha’thayim Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ11’ W124ᵒ57’) is 1,277 ha on Cortes Island. The park surrounds Von Donop Inlet, with reversing rapids and fjord topography. Forests are old growth.

Main Lake Provincial Park (N50ᵒ13’ W125ᵒ13’) is 3,530 ha on Quadra Island. There are limestone sinkholes, waterfalls, and pictographs. Interconnected lakes for canoeing include Little Main, Main, Mine, Village Bay, Stramberg, and Clear.

Malaspina Provincial Park is 572 ha not accessible by road on the Malaspina Peninsula north of Luna. The length of the park is traversed by the Sunshine Coast Trail. The south end of the park is on Trevenen Bay (N50ᵒ1’ W124ᵒ44’) and the north end is at Sarah Point (N50ᵒ4’ W124ᵒ50’). The park is included in the Desolation Sound Important Bird area for marbled murrelet.

Mansons Landing Provincial Park (N50ᵒ4’ W124ᵒ59’) is 100 ha including Hague Lake, a sand spit, and lagoon. The park on Cortes Island includes an interpretive trail.

Octopus Islands Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ16’ W125ᵒ14’) is 762 ha on the northern portion of Quadra Island on Waiatt Bay and the Bodega Anchorage. Vegetation is coastal western hemlock.

Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ6’ W125ᵒ11’) is 177 ha on a 2-km sand spit at Heriot Bay. It shelters Drew Harbor on the east side of Quadra Island. There are 3 km of trails and a boat launch.

Small Inlet Marine Provincial Park (N50ᵒ15’ W125ᵒ17’) is 878 ha at the head of Kanish Bay on the northern portion of Quadra Island. There is a trail to Newton Lake.

Smelt Bay Provincial Park (N50ᵒ2’ W125ᵒ0’) is 20 ha and includes a campground on Cortes Island. Capelen fish (smelt) spawn in the area in October.

Surge Narrows Provincial Park (N50ᵒ14’ W125ᵒ9’) is 488 ha with tidal rapids. The park at the south end of Maurelle Island includes Peek and Goepel Islands as well as the eastern shore of Quadra Island.

 

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