Photos: Laura Keil

The grand opening of a new universal boardwalk in the Ancient Forest near Dome Creek happens this week.

On Aug. 4th join the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking club for free hot dogs & hamburgers and to celebrate the opening of this accessible boardwalk into the furthest-inland temperate rain forest in the world. The forest boasts trees that are 1,000 years old, and possibly as old as 2,000, many of which are 10ft in diameter.

The Caledonia Ramblers based in Prince George decided to build boardwalks to improve accessibility to people with less mobility as well as to protect the sensitive ecosystem from impact of visitors.

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 area now boasts a 450-metre 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.

The entire walking trail through the forest, including parts without a boardwalk, is approx. 2km.

The forest is just off highway 16 near the Slim Creek rest stop, about an hour’s drive from McBride towards Prince George. The club has installed a larger temporary sign – 4 feet by 8 feet at the pull-out 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). Many volunteers contributed hundreds of hours to the project.

By: Laura Keil