The new boardwalk is a 456 meter pathway beginning at the parking area and going east to a beautiful mountain stream. The project involves $88,000 materials and in-kind contributions plus 4,000 hours of volunteer labour, says Nowell Senior of the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Club in Prince George.
All the labour for building and maintaining the Ancient Forest Trail and the Universal Boardwalk is by Ramblers volunteers, other outdoor enthusiasts and friends of the Ancient Forest including volunteers from the Dome Creek Forest Information Committee and other area residents.
The third and final phase of the Universal Boardwalk has seen 60 meters of boardwalk foundation and most of the 26 foot span bridge constructed. The goal is to build the remaining 336 meters of boardwalk for a total of 456 meters by Thanksgiving this year.
The Interior Hemlock-Cedar forest, is the further inland temperate rain forest in the world. It boasts trees that are 1,000 years old, and possibly as old as 2,000.
In the 2006-07 season, about 6,000 people visited the forest. The following year it increased to 8,000. Over the ‘08-’09 season, 75 people a day made the trek.
The boardwalk will help protect the roots of the cedars. Much of the Ancient Forest trail is not yet boardwalk.
The forest is just off highway 16 near the Slim Creek rest stop, about an hour’s drive from McBride and Prince George. The club has installed a larger temporary sign – 4 feet by 8 feet at the pull-out this past week to improve visibility.
McBride Community Forest Corporation, with Job Opportunity Funding built the existing outhouse and the sections of boardwalk on the Ancient Forest Loop; the Ramblers built all the bog bridges and installed all the interpretive signs. The interpretive plan that led to the design of the signs was carried out and donated by the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism program at UNBC. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation provided the funding for the signs to be made, and the materials for the bog bridges (the planks across wet areas).
Our provincial partner the Ministry of Natural Resources and Operations (MoNRO) provided the funding for the material to build the small bridges across the streams on the Ancient Forest loop. The Ramblers continue to maintain the trail and the outhouse.
Funding for this project comes from the following sponsors:, Ministry of Natural Resources and Operations, TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation, Prince George Community Foundation, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Integris Credit Union, Prince George Downtown Rotary Club, Mountain Equipment Co-op, McBride Community Forest Corporation, University of Northern British Columbia – Student Planning Association and Outdoor Recreation Program, Visitors to the Ancient Forest Trail and other Friends of the Ancient Forest, Members of the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Club.