As one follows the coastal temperate rainforest north from California, the first large intact (completely unlogged) valley one encounters is the Clayoquot River Valley in Clayoquot Sound.
Clayoquot River Valley is 7,740 hectares in area and is ringed by mountains rising to 1,500 metres. The river is 16 kilometres long and flows into the north end of Kennedy Lake, the largest lake in Clayoquot Sound.
The valley itself contains several lakes -- a series of small high-elevation lakes in the headwaters, and Clayoquot Lake in the lower valley. The river and Clayoquot Lake are rich with five species of salmon, trout and Dolly Varden char.
About 90% of Clayoquot Valley is covered with lush green temperate rainforest, consisting of western red cedar, western hemlock, yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and amabilis fir. The valley is wet! -- in 1995, a research station at Clayoquot Lake recorded 6,460 millimetres of precipitation (6.5 metres or 21.5 feet).
This intact valley narrowly escaped logging. In 1989, blockade-threatening telegrams and letters sent by Friends of Clayoquot Sound stopped MacMillan Bloedel's logging road just as it reached the rim of the valley.
One third of Clayoquot Valley is now protected in provincial parks (established in 1993), including a portion of the lower valley and the treeless limestone Clayoquot Plateau.
The remainder of the valley is in the tenure of Iisaak Forest Resources, a logging company owned by local First Nations. In 1999, Iisaak signed a Memorandum of Understanding with environment groups, defining the Clayoquot Valley as "eehmiis" (very precious) and off-limits to logging. For the foreseeable future, the Clayoquot Valley appears to be safe, although the Memorandum does not constitute legal protection.
Click on the following to learn more about the Pristine Valleys in Clayoquot's intact old-growth forest:
PO Box 489, 331 Neill St., Tofino BC V0R 2Z0
Report: Overview of Logging in Clayoquot Sound 2000-2009 (download page)
Photo by Adrian Dorst
The health of the global environment depends on intact ecosystems. It is our responsibility to act as peaceful and courageous advocates for marine and terrestrial life in Clayoquot Sound. Please join us!