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

“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)
The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness. (Submitted)The 8,408 hectare proposal of Rainbow-Jordan Wilderness. (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)
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)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)
The area has no roads. (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)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)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)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)(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)
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 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)
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)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)
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)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)

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

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

A small fraction of the people behind the Christmas Hamper Program in 2019. From left to right, Larry Olsson, Patti Larson, Kathleen Hammond and Gladys Dyer. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
In the giving spirit? Here is what you can do this Christmas season

Support Revelstoke Community Connections Christmas programs this year

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

Sunny the cat jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month and was quickly reunited with his owners. (Submitted)
The cat came back with the help of two Revelstoke landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read