Recently discovered valley near Revelstoke pitched as new provincial park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Recently discovered valley near Revelstoke pitched as new provincial park

The Frisby Valley north of Revelstoke.
Image Credit: Douglas Noblet
November 14, 2019 - 6:00 AM

An environmental group is asking that an area just 30 kilometres northwest of Revelstoke featuring cedar trees thought to be 1,500 years old and an abundance of wildlife be designated as a provincial park.

The Valhalla Wilderness Society has launched a campaign to protect the 8,000-hectare site, called the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness and have it designated as a provincial park.

“It's very unique,” Valhalla Wilderness Society member Craig Pettitt said. “Many of these forests were logged 30 or 40 years ago.”

Pettitt said the discovery of the largely untouched area was made in 2017 by University of Alberta professor Toby Spribille looking at Google satellite images which indicated a canopy of large old-growth forest.

“When we went in there was very little sign of human activity,” he said. “There's been no motorized access in that valley.”

Old-growth forest at the proposed provincial park site.
Old-growth forest at the proposed provincial park site.
Image Credit: Douglas Noblet

Pettitt said the majority of the valleys around the area have been logged and a large labyrinth of logging roads cut through vast areas of the surrounding wilderness.

He describes the area as a “rocky rugged narrow valley” comprised of an Inland Temperate Rainforest containing "untouched old-growth forest."

"It's one of the very few in the world if not the only (one), it's quite remarkable this whole rainforest is over 600 km from the ocean,” he said.

Along with black bears and a solid moose population, the area features western red cedar trees, with trunks three metres in diameters and thought to be 1,500 years old. Scientific research comprised over the last two years has shown high biodiversity of species and old-growth forest.

The area the organization is seeking to protect sits west of Lake Revelstoke, about 30 km north of the City of Revelstoke. Pettitt said the area buffers a popular snowmobile area near Frisby Peak but the area looking to be protected sits outside the well-used recreational land.

Pettitt said it's far too early to say what options for human activities, such as hiking, would be available if and when the area became a provincial park.

And while the organization knows they have discovered a unique and rare area, getting provincial park status involves a lot of lobbying and is not a quick or easy process.

He estimates the time frame for the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness area to become a provincial park would be 10 to 15 years.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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