Prince George to Prince Rupert

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Lysichiton, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    We are taking our trailer along this stretch of the Yellowhead this summer. Does anyone have suggestions for sites or features of botanical or general natural history interest?

    I have looked at the map & the net & found cultural & historic stuff. I am lookig forward to seeing the communities I have heard about so many times but so few people actually seem to have visited.

    Not much on animals - except fish. Nothing on plants, except the most Northerly stand of Hazels at Hazelton (of course). The top half of BC remains a blank in most information sources - except for lots of stuff on Alaska Cruises!

    gb.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Biogeographically, it is in a pretty uniform area, having only recently (in geological history!) emerged from ice cover. So the flora and fauna you find will be much the same wherever you go, and quite similar to adjacent areas of southern Yukon, southwestern NWT, northwestern Alberta, and even eastern Alaska. The most significant changes are moving from continental climate to oceanic climate, between about Terrace and Salvus (e.g. Picea engelmannii inland, P. sitchensis on the coastal strip).
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Sorry MichaelF, I am not going to hire you as my tour guide :). Couldn't we do "Vast, sweeping panorama of landforms recently risen from the glacial ice, clothed with dark romantic Spruce".

    Seriously. I am not surprised at your comment. but surely there must be some BIG spruce trees, or OLD spruce trees, bogs, alpines, orchids, moose meadows, bear bushes...something.

    gb.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Granted there probably is, but since no-one else had replied after 10 hours, I thought something might be better than nothing at all (and bump the thread back to the top!).
     
  5. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Latest information in....
    1. There are specimen spruce trees at Lakelse Lake Campground. For those not familiar with the Left Coast of North America "everything grows bigger here" & in many cases the saying is true.
    2. Out of Terrace, Nass Valley Tours offer Mushroom/Herb/Botanical tours, as well as tours of the Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed & Fish Wheel.

    We already plan to look at the Lava Beds I would like to see how 250 years of pioneering plant life has done in this harsh climate.

    Is this a monologue? Surely someone out there can offer some tips - an easy access Alpine meadow or two, a moist & mossy waterfall speckled with Sitka Mistmaiden.

    gb
     
  6. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Our trip was a bit botanical (as they usually are).

    -I expected spruce trees as we headed W. from Pr George & what did I see? Cottonwood (Populus balsaminifera) & more cottonwood. This seems to be second growth. I assume given a century or two (barring the start of a new climatic regime) the spruce & other conifers may dominate again. MichaelF - I could not distinguish between Picea sitchensis & P. engelmanii - sorry. I need a couple of field trips with one who knows. Spruce was scattered among the deciduous & in stands mainly in steeper & higher areas.

    -The 3 Hazeltons are pretty cool. The area around there appears to get a bit more precipitation than further East & I suspect the may be a microclimate which is a bit warmer or something. Spent 3 days there - not enough.
    I was happy to see the Hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta) - pic attached. Bit of a surprise 54degrees north.
    I can see why there was a thriving native population (Gitksan) - lots of groceries (fish, berries, nuts & game). Pic attached of junction of Bulkley River in the foreground & Skeena in the rear showing the dominance of Cottonwood. Some BIG Cottonwood trees up to 5-6feet diam at chest height. The understorey was a lush & dense mixture of deciduous shrubs typical of much of "coastal" BC. The peeing tree ( amust see & a nice drive) was in this size range & along the river banks I expect the Populus balsaminifera is the natural dominant species given the annual freshet.
    The scarecity (sic) of Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) was sad to see. The only specimens we could find were juveniles in the wetter areas along tributary streams. Seems to have been logged-out. This was the far & away the most important plant to all the first nations of the coast & interior wet belt in BC. Where is it? IMHO logging industry looks set to keep going until the mountains of BC resemble the bare hills of Scotland & Wales. The sidehill topsoil & a lot of biomass accumulated since the last Ice Age in these moist forests look at serious risk of disappearing, or have already gone, like the mature cedar trees, to my non-professional eye.
    -Exchamsiks River Provincial Park finally gave us some mature conifers Picea sitchensis, Thuja plicata, Tsuga heterophylla, Abies amabilis. Thank goodness there's a tiny fragment of mature forest left that is accesible by the casual observer. If you're going this way this is a must see. Take DEET or protective clothing! Pic attached.
    -Prince Rupert. The rainy city. The city of Eagles, deer, wolves & ravens. The vegetation appears to be quite limited in variety due to lack of sunshine & LOTS of cool/cold rain. Alder replaces cottonwood as the dominant second growth. Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Amabilis fir, Western Hemlock & Pacific Shorepine (Pinus contorta var contorta) are the main conifers I saw in varying quantities. Great bogs!

    What a great trip for the casual naturalist/botanist. If you are lucky enough to be able to go from Smithers to Pr Rupert - TAKE YOUR TIME - a week would be about the minimum. Native culture, wildlife, forest, mountains, fish, scenery, ocean & casual friendly people. My only question is - why do so many people rush through here to get to the Rockies? Spectacular as they are I didn't like the crowds, traffic, having to book & queues. That was about 15 years ago!

    MY wife was a bit worried about me poking around in the underbrush looking for my Sitka Mist Maiden. Perhaps it was fortunate I didn't find her this trip. It's a reason to go back. :)

    gb.
     

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  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Very nice!
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Ah, too bad I was away from the forums, otherwise I might have chipped in a bit. We came back from Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar, so went through some of this area (but, as noted, far too rapidly) on the way home. Definitely want to return to this area, though and do far more exploring.
     

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