More vacation adventures in British Columbia
British Columbia - home to people of many different origins, cultural traditions, languages, ethnicities, and religions. From tropical rain forests to the open ocean to skiing the slopes, British Columbia is a natural wonderland. Travel through the wilderness or hang out in the ‘Hollywood North’ – the third-largest production centre in North America after New York and Los Angeles.
British Columbia boasts over 22 million tourists visiting each year. Most are seeking outdoor recreation, city activities and visiting attractions and cultural events . In 2010 the world will be watching the Winter Olympic games being held in Vancouver and Whistler, BC.
British Columbia is a huge province. About 10 percent of Canada’s land surface is B.C. 95 million hectares of land and freshwater area make up the province. That’s larger than France and Germany combined.
Fort St. James, is walk back in time to the oldest, continuously inhabited, non-aboriginal community in B.C. 62 kilometres (38 miles) north of Vanderhoof, is the town of Fort St. James. Here visitors can explore the Hudson Bay Company Trading Post, established as a fur-trading post by explorer Simon Fraser in 1806. Also located in the town are five original wood buildings built between 1884 and 1889. Period costumed staff in the interpretive visitor centre can help orient visitors to the town and the many special activities continuously running.
In many areas of Northern B.C. you can experience excellent fishing trips by horseback. Professional guides lead you to the perfect fishing spot by horseback packages through the wilderness.
Stroll over fossilized lake beds in Smithers and Hudson's Hope, where thousands of fossils were unearthed during the construction of the Peace Canyon Dam. An 11,600 year-old mammoth tusk. is located close to the dam for public viewing. You can even dig for your own dinosaur bones and fossils on the banks of the Peace River in Taylor.
Take a walk through Prince Rupert's Cow Bay waterfront district where the shops, galleries and cafes with specialty seafood menus are in lovingly restored historic buildings. Hike to the top of Mt. Hays (about 2-1/2 hours for the seasoned hiker) on a clear day for spectacular views of Alaskan islands.
The province strives at keeping it’s natural beauty preserved by permanently setting aside over 11.9 million hectares in protected areas and parks – 12.6 percent of the province. That area makes up more than 800 provincial parks and protected areas, attracting approximately 24 million visits each year.
Some of the internationally-know protected areas include –
This British Colombian provincial park has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Inside is a River system that the park is named after and is known as one of the ‘most magnificent river systems on earth’. Tatshenshini-Alsek Park contains nearly one million hectares of glacier-covered peaks, wild rivers, grizzly bears and unusual flora. The park is located in the very northwest corner of the province, between Kluane National Park and Reserves in the Yukon and Glacier Bay & Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks and Preserves in Alaska. Together these parks make up the largest protected area in the world, approximately 8.5 million hectares.
Despite its remote location the ruggedly stunning Tatshenshini-Alsek region is attracting an increasing number of recreationalists: the magnificent Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers draws kayakers and rafters; the never ending pristine wilderness that includes everything from alpine meadows to the jagged edges of the Alsek Ranges and Mt. Fairweather, at 4,633 metres the province’s highest peak is a challenge attracting hikers and mountaineers can’t resist; and explore old mining roads and other interesting and challenging terrain can be done by mountain biking. It even has something for the passive explore - driving down the Haines Highway provides the experience to see much of the same unusual plant and animal variety that river users come into contact with.
This Provincial Park is a magnificently forested sanctuary that is definitely one of the most extraordinary wild places on Vancouver Island.
Some of the world's largest spruce trees call Carmanah-Walbran home, some reaching heights in excess of 95 meters and living for 800 years or more. Clinging to the side hills are ancient, gnarled cedars - estimated to be well over 1,000 years old. Undisturbed for hundreds of years is a diverse variety of plant and animal life nestled beneath these remarkable trees.
It is a majestic forest capable of inspiring all visitors who come here, and offers unforgettable recreational opportunities for hikers and wilderness lovers.
This coastal fringe of mainly Sitka spruce, with its associated plants and animals, is truly a special place to discover. Sitka spruce forests are typically coast-hugging - they are rarely found more than 80 kilometers inland and at elevations greater than 300 meters. The park's extensive groves of spruce attain a biomass (weight of plants per hectare) that is nearly twice that of a tropical forest. This dynamic system has developed over thousands of years and functions perfectly if left undisturbed.
Several hiking trails in the Carmanah Valley provide access to many of the park’s notable natural features, including some of the area’s largest trees. Many sections of the trail are extremely muddy and difficult. Be equipped with appropriate clothing (including adequate rain gear) and good hiking boots.
A protected area that includes some of British Columbia’s rarest ecosystems - low, middle and high elevation bunchgrass grasslands. This one of a kind habitat is delicate and provides a home for a wide variety of rare flora and fauna. The landscape can be appreciated only through access by existing cow trails and old roads. However, the trails are unmarked and are not maintained.
Primarily established for the conservation of grassland ecosystems, Churn Creek is one of five such regions in BC. The historic importance of the Churn Creek area to First Nations, ranching, hunting, mining, and recreation is also represented in protecting this area. This area supports an operating ranch, where carefully managed cattle grazing continues.
Hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, mountain biking and nature appreciation are popular activities enjoyed by guests visiting Churn Creek provincial park.
The world’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest is included in this park. The trees are over 800 years old in this unique rainforest. The Kitlope Valley is an essential habitat for marbled murrelets, bald eagles, moose, grizzly, black bear and waterfowl. This park offers excellent opportunities for salmon and trout fishing. The Kitlope Lake and Tezwa River offer good paddling, canoeing and kayaking in their waters.
The first area in Canada specifically established to protect grizzly bears and their habitat. The Khutzeymateen/K’tzim-a-Deen Grizzly Sanctuary is also the first untouched estuary of its size, along the north coast of BC, to become protected. The landscape and aquatic refuge is varied, with jagged peaks soaring 2100 metres into the sky, with a basin of wetlands, old growth temperate rainforests and a large estuary at its feet. The park is full of a variety of wildlife.
By preserving a part of the ecosystem in which it lives, the government hopes that the north coast grizzly bear will remain protected. Visitor use in not encouraged to prevent damage to this highly sensitive ecosystem. However, a controlled amount of view is allowed under permit. Along the coast there is excellent tidal water chances to fish for salmon and groundfish.