Posted by: cherylyoung | February 29, 2012

Day 67 and we are off to Tofino and Long Beach

Day 67 and we are off to Tofino and Long Beach

MacMillan Provincial Park on Vancouver Island is

famous for Cathedral Grove, one of the most accessible

stands of giant Douglas-fir trees in British Columbia.

A stroll on the network of trails meandering through

the towering ancient Douglas-firs, some of which are

more than 800 years old, can be quite an inspirational

experience.

Loop trails on either side of the highway lead awe-struck

visitors through the mighty forest stands.

The south loop showcases the largest Douglas-fir trees,

with the biggest one measuring over 9 metres in

circumference.

The trail on the northern side of the road winds through

groves of ancient Western Red Cedar to the shores

of Cameron Lake.

This wondrous display of Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock,

Grand fir and Western Red Cedar has been undergoing

the restoration of its trails since a severe windstorm

damaged several sections of the park in January 1997.

Although visitors will now find many of these huge trees

lying on the ground, their value has not diminished.

These fallen trees open the canopy to provide light, space,

shelter and nutrients for the next generations of plants.

Natural regeneration is beginning to restore the Cathedral

Grove’s pristine beauty, and the park’s diversity,

making a visit to Cathedral Grove all the more intriguing.

Protests by environmental group have unfortunately failed

to stop logging companies clearcutting trees right up to the

park boundary, thereby threatening the park ecosystem and

destroying the wind barrier so necessary to prevent future

blowdowns.

In restoring the trails, sections of some fallen trees

were removed, offering a close-up opportunity for the

curious to count the annual rings. Determine their age

for yourself!

Many species of wildlife use the old-growth forest as their

home, including several types of woodpeckers, owls,

insects, reptiles, amphibians, deer, elk, black bear and cougar.

The Cameron River, which flows through the park, contains

rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.

The well-known forester, H.R. MacMillan, donated the

136 hectares of land in 1944 for the perpetual enjoyment

of the public in recognition of the unique stand of trees.

The area was established as a provincial park three years

later, and expanded in size in the Spring of 2005.

Park facilities are limited to pit toilets located on either

side of Hwy #4, next to the parking lot.

Once you have had your fill of these wonderful trees,

you can swim or fish in Cameron Lake, picnic along its

shores or hike to neighbouring Little Qualicum Falls Park.

The 157-hectare MacMillan Provincial Park is located

on both sides of the Tofino Highway 4 on the shores of

Cameron Lake, 19 miles (30 km) west of Parksville and

10 miles (16 km) east of Port Alberni.

Chesterman Beach

Chesterman Beach is one of the longer, larger sandy beach

destinations closest to the community of Tofino, BC on

Vancouver Island, Canada.

The beach is a popular gathering place in the summer

for activities like beachcombing, picnicking, frisbee,

bocce ball, walking, sightseeing, surfing, kayaking and

swimming.

In the winter months the beach is visited by storm

watchers and surfers.

Chesterman Beach at low tide is a great place to be on

a sunshine day as the receding tides expose new layers

of wet sand, some rock outcroppings and many mini

tidal pools.

The exposed sandy shoreline attracts many to the

beach for suntanning, sand castles and relaxation.

The southern half of Chesterman Beach enjoys calmer

conditions on windy days.

The rock cliffs and dwarfed trees protect the area from

winds.

The smaller waves make the ocean more accessible

and enjoyable to play in for smaller children.

Being that the south end of the beach is closer to the

shoreline cliffs the ocean waters are calmer for kayak

beach launchings.

Many kayakers decide to launch from this end of the

beach when exploring the shoreline of the

Pacific Rim National Park.

How to Get to Chesterman Beach

Travel to the community of Tofino on the west coast of

Vancouver Island, BC. Before entering Tofino access

Lynn or Chesterman Road (same road – loop route).

There are three access areas to the beach with varying

sizes of parking lots.

Beach is accessed from short dirt trail.

 CHERYL HOLMES YOUNG

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

SIDNEY B.C

www.cherylyoung.ca

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