Welcome back folks, today’s post is a big one so please strap yourself in for a ride! On our recent photo-adventure to Great Central Lake on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, we also make an extra stop on our way home at MacMillan Provincial Park, also known as Cathedral Grove. We’ve got a fairly large series of photos to share, so we’ll jump right into those…
This entire area, and neighboring areas, of Vancouver Island are just recent additions to our Provincial Parks. MacMillan Provincial Park was created in the late 1940’s and the nearby Carmanah Valley area was more recently allocated to parkland in the late 1980’s. The Carmanah Valley came to worldwide attention when some local logging companies were set to begin active logging on the trees there, some as old as 1,000 years old.
The MacMillan/Cathedral Grove section consists mainly of old growth Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar trees. Some of these trees are more than 800 years old and still are standing strong. To put this into perspective, many of these trees were already 300+ years old when Christopher Columbus first hit the shores of North America in the late 1400’s.
The park is separated by the highway that runs through it. The south side holds some of the very largest Douglas firs in existence, some with as much as a 9M (roughly 27 feet) wide base. The other side holds ancient Western Red Cedars that surround Cameron Lake.
An unusual and severe windstorm hit the park on News Years Day 1997, toppling many of the large trees. Some of the trails remain blocked to this day, and work continues to clear the prominent paths and sections to allow visitors deeper into the park.
In some cases hemlocks and other varieties of trees and vegetation creep their way around the old growth trees. Even with the storm that caused so much damage, rebirth of the forest is well underway and you can readily see new growth emerging everywhere.
When we first entered the park, we were immediately hit with a sense of scale. Given the age and size of these trees, the entire park left us feeling a bit insignificant, to be honest. This is a true rain-forest, and as such one of the things you notice right away is the sweet smell of the air. This forest and all the surrounding areas on Vancouver Island are rich with biodiversity and are critical for the overall health of the entire planet, not just the area nearby. It gives us great hope and joy to see the level of attention and care that has been afforded this area both by all the visitors and the government in its protectionary duties here.
Fallen trees are everywhere as you visit the park. This is not necessarily a bad thing. As the trees decompose they nourish both the plants and animals that are native to the area, further sustaining the biodiversity of the zone. Thus, the circle of life continues.
This has to be one of the most wondrous places on this planet we call home. Given our deep love for Vancouver Island, and the west coast itself, it fills our hearts with joy to have the chance to come here and commune with all that came before us.
I have to tell you, folks, if ever you get a chance to come and visit here, run, don’t walk. You’ll be absolutely amazed at the wonders that the park holds.
Thank you ever so kindly for your visit today, we really appreciate it. Please don’t hesitate to leave us any comments or questions you may have as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.