‘You’re sitting on a jewel, Revelstoke’: Wilderness society proposes new park

Amber Peters is a biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society in New Denver, B.C. She gave a presentation this week at the Community Centre in Revelstoke on the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness as part of CRED (Columbia Region Ecological Discussions) Talks, a series addressing a diversity of science topics. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Peters said there is the risk of disturbance from visitation if the area becomes a park, but said that might be a worthwhile cost for protection. “Stand with me as a voice for these ancient ecosystems.” (Submitted)
The area is also rich in fungi, said Peters, as a biologist found more than 100 different species in only five hours of searching. “He was completely overwhelmed.” (Submitted)
The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness. (Submitted)
The area has no roads. (Submitted)
Only 17 per cent of inland temperate rain forest is currently protected and most of that does not include valley bottoms, which can harbour higher rates of biodiversity. (Submitted)
Some trees said Peters are more than three metres wide and up to 2,000 years old. (Submitted)
Peters said preliminary studies of the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness show more than 360 different species, including a lichen that is new to B.C. (Submitted)
(Submitted)
“We have waited 20 years to find this,” said Anne Sherrod, member of the Valhalla Wilderness Society. (Submitted)
“We have waited 20 years to find this,” said Anne Sherrod, member of the Valhalla Wilderness Society. (Submitted)
Biologist Wayne McCrory said the discovery of Western Toads and Pacific Chorus Frog suggests the area is a locally important breeding area for both species. (Submitted)
Biologist Wayne McCrory said the discovery of Western Toads and Pacific Chorus Frog suggests the area is a locally important breeding area for both species. (Submitted)
The Rainbow Valley (Submitted)
The Rainbow Valley (Submitted)
(Submitted)
(Submitted)
“It’s an unknown wilderness area,” said Amber Peters, biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society in New Denver, B.C. The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness encompasses Frisby Creek and the Rainbow Valley on the west side of Lake Revelstoke. (Submitted)
“It’s an unknown wilderness area,” said Amber Peters, biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society in New Denver, B.C. The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness encompasses Frisby Creek and the Rainbow Valley on the west side of Lake Revelstoke. (Submitted)
Preliminary studies of the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness show more than 360 different species. (Submitted)
Preliminary studies of the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness show more than 360 different species. (Submitted)
There were thought to be only three major intact biodiversity hot spots of ancient inland rain forest remaining: Robson Valley, Quesnel Lake Wilderness and another in the Selkirk mountains. (Submitted)

A non-profit society is proposing a new provincial park north of Revelstoke.

The 8,408 hectare Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness encompasses significant tracts of ancient inland rain forest.

“It’s an unknown wilderness area,” said Amber Peters, biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society in New Denver, B.C. Peters gave a talk earlier this month at the Community Centre in Revelstoke about the proposal.

Peters said there were thought to be only three major intact biodiversity hot spots of ancient inland rain forest remaining in B.C., including the Robson Valley, Quesnel Lake Wilderness and another in the Selkirk mountains.

Amber Peters is a biologist with the Valhalla Wilderness Society in New Denver, B.C. She gave a presentation this week at the Community Centre in Revelstoke on the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness as part of CRED (Columbia Region Ecological Discussions) Talks, a series addressing a diversity of science topics. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

In 2017, the society was alerted to another north of Revelstoke, which included Frisby Creek and the Rainbow Valley on the west side of Lake Revelstoke.

They launched an expedition in 2018 and Peters said they found “an incredibly biodiverse ecosystem,” with trees more than three metres wide and up to 2,000 years old.

“We have waited 20 years to find this,” said Anne Sherrod, member of the Valhalla Wilderness Society.

“You’re sitting on a jewel, Revelstoke.”

Peters said the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness harbours some of the richest inland temperate rain forest found in the province, making the unroaded and unlogged wilderness a valuable refuge for wildlife and plants.

According to Parks Canada, B.C. has one of the world’s only temperate inland rain forest, all of which is found in the Columbia Mountains. The forest is notoriously wet, owing its moisture to weather systems that come from the Pacific Ocean and rise over the Columbia Mountains. They are similar in composition and structure to coastal rain forests, which are predominantly old growth.

READ MORE: Saving toads: researcher says we have to act quickly

The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness. (Submitted)

Only 17 per cent of inland temperate rain forest is currently protected and most of that does not include valley bottoms, which is important habitat.

Peters said preliminary studies of the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness show more than 360 different species, including a lichen that is new to B.C. More than 20 rare species were also found, but in large colonies, such as smokers lung lichen.

Peters said lichen is important as they are indicators of an ecosystem’s health.

The area is also rich in fungi. A biologist found more than 100 different species after only five hours of searching.

“He was completely overwhelmed,” said Peters.

The society submitted the proposal to the provincial government last spring, along with two others, including the Quesnel Lake Wilderness and the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park Proposal, which is a 156,461-hectare area on the south end of Glacier National Park.

READ MORE: ‘Every forest tells a story’: CRED Talks return to Revelstoke

The government did not respond in time to Black Press on the statuses of each proposal.

“We are not seeing any movement on the creation of new major protected areas,” said Peters.

“This is a crisis. We have lost almost all of our ancient ecosystems.”

While the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness area does not have logging cuts, surrounding areas do.

The lichen Methuselah’s beard is abundant in the Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness, however Peters said the species is usually found in coastal rainforest and has only been found in two locations inland. (Submitted)

Peters said the area is at risk for future industrial development as BC Timber Sales does have a forest tenure in the region. According to the society, roughly 25 per cent of the proposed park is currently designated by the province for no-logging due to mountain caribou.

The Frisby-Boulder mountain caribou herd borders the proposed park. The provincial government estimates their numbers at 11 animals and said the herd is at high risk of extinction.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Snowmobile Club writes letters requesting consultation on caribou closures

If the area becomes a park, there is the risk of disturbance from visitation, said Peters, but it might be a worthwhile cost for protection.

“Stand with me as a voice for these ancient ecosystems.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accused in suspected Shuswap home invasion faces additional charges

One of men charged in Dec. 28 incident faces four counts from two weeks earlier

Driver ticketed after rollover on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Jeep Cherokee hit rock face before rolling multiple times

Foul play not currently suspected in death of man found near Sicamous

Body found in woods near vehicle linked to Edmonton police investigation of suspicious death

Boil water notice issued for North Shuswap community hall

Notice applies only to water system used by Scotch Creek facility

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read