Provincial Park Status Recognized with Unveiling

PRINCE GEORGE – In March 2016, amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act established the Ancient Forest, located approximately 120 kilometres east of Prince George, as an 11, 190-hectare Class A Provincial Park.

Located halfway between Prince George and McBride, the park designation was a culmination of hard work and commitment between the Province, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Society, the McBride Community Forest and countless community members and volunteers, who for worked for years to protect this special habitat.

Park status ensures this unique area will be excluded from timber harvesting and other commercial activity, which helps preserve plant ecosystems, wildlife habitat and cultural values.

A new park sign was unveiled today at Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut (pronounced Chun Toe Wood-yu-jud) Provincial Park by Tourism Minister Shirley Bond.

The sign welcomes visitors to this natural wonder, which is home to some of the largest
old-growth cedar trees in the province.  Several of the trees in this unique area – which makes up part of the only known inland temperate rainforest in the world – are more than 1,000 years old, with trunks measuring up to 16 metres around.

The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation provided part of the name for the park – Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut meaning “oldest trees.” The L’heidhl T’enneh First Nation is represented on the park sign since the park lies within their traditional territory

The sign also displays the Universal Access icon, meaning the park can be enjoyed by visitors of all abilities. A 500-metre wheel-chair accessible boardwalk is a key feature of the park. The boardwalk was constructed and is maintained by the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Society.

The sign unveiling is the latest milestone for Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park. Site improvements currently underway, including parking lot construction for up to one hundred vehicles along with highway turning lanes, are expected to be completed in the

Quotes:

Shirley Bond, Prince George –Valemount MLA

“I am thrilled to celebrate the latest milestone for Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park, home to some of the largest old-growth cedar trees in our province. Thank you to the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Society, UNBC, municipal government leaders and the dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this park a reality.”

Chief Dominic Fredrick, Lheidli T’enneh Nation

“It’s been good working with the Honourable Shirley Bond from the province and the parks on this project. I would like to thank the Lheidli T’enneh elders for the naming of the ancient forest. Also would like to thank the volunteers that worked with the Ramblers for making the park accessible for the public. I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for the signage along Highway 16 East.” 

Loranne Martin, Mayor of McBride

“The unveiling of the new sign recognizes the efforts and passion of residents of McBride and the Robson Valley and the many volunteers to preserve the uniqueness and history of what the locals call ‘the Ancient Cedar Forest’. Their vision and foresight leaves a legacy for future generations and visitors from around the world to enjoy and explore.”

Art Kaehn, Chair of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George

“We are excited to see this new signage installed to promote the many features and the importance of the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park. It is an exciting day to celebrate this spectacular site in our region.”

Nowell Senior, Caledonia Ramblers

“The Ancient Forest story has been one of community support and volunteer commitment for a unique forest that cried out to be saved. The story has a happy ending with the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut being protected in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy. The Province of British Columbia played a key part in this story making all these years of volunteer effort worth every hour spent in making the forest accessible to all.”

Jeff Williams, Interim Manager for McBride Community Forest Corporation

“The McBride Community Forest Corporation is proud to have supported the designation of the “Ancient Forest”.  This new BC Provincial Park will serve as an important component in the network of protected forest ecosystems in the Robson Valley and provide valuable opportunities for public education and enjoyment.”

David King , Prince George Backcountry Recreation Society and Caledonia Ramblers

“It is astounding to see this sign by Highway 16 announcing BC’s newest park given that it is only 10 short years since we began development of the Ancient Forest trail.  Visitors found the trail and mostly through word-of-mouth and the social media word of its beauty and unique values spread leading to more and more visitors…..around 15,000 each of the past two years.  We had to make improvements to the trail to minimize visitor impacts and at the same time worked with UNBC staff, the Lheidli T’enneh and others to have the trail and rainforest protected.  It is glorious that it has happened and now will be there for all to enjoy for years to come.”

Darwyn Coxson, UNBC

“B.C.’s newest provincial park, the Chun T’oh Whudujut/Ancient Forest Provincial Park, protects a globally significant inland rainforest ecosystem.  It is fitting that the new signage at the Ancient Forest trail reflects the heritage of this site: the ancient cedars, the traditional territories and experience of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, the stewardship of B.C. Parks, and the dedication of community volunteers in building the Universal Boardwalk.”

Quick Facts:

  • Throughout British Columbia, there are more than 25 million hectares of old-growth forests, of which approximately 4.5 million hectares are fully protected – this represents an area larger than Vancouver Island.
  • Thirty-seven per cent of B.C.’s land base is under some type of conservation designation – ranging from wildlife habitat areas and old growth management areas, to parks and protected areas.
  • B.C.’s protected areas system includes ecological reserves, provincial parks, conservancies, recreation areas and protected areas designated under the Environment and Land Use Act.
  • The Province of British Columbia will work with the federal government to consider this area for a UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination, in recognition of the outstanding values of these ancient cedar stands.

Learn More:

To learn more about Ancient Forest Provincial Park, please visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/ancient-forest/

To learn more about BC Parks, please visit: www.bcparks.ca