Old Forests Around Whistler
Explore the forests surrounding Whistler from the comfort of your home with our online story map (below). Go on a virtual tour as you click map layers on and off, or zoom in to the locations you are interested in and find out where some of the oldest trees remain.
Use the map to learn about local forests, tree ages, the unique values that old and ancient forests provide, shared forest history and the protection mechanisms that help (or do not help) preserve old forests. While the map below can be viewed on mobile, for maximum functionality we recommend viewing on your desktop.
Interested in a physical map that you can take with you around Whistler? Check out our Old and Ancient Tree Map Project and purchase yours at Armchair Books today!
How Do We Know How Old Trees Are… Without Cutting Them Down
Coring trees around Whistler has shown that our surrounding forests are home to trees that are 600, 800 and in some areas over 1000 years old. Whistler’s oldest documented living tree was found as part of the 2014 phase of tree coring projects, a 1200+ year old yellow cedar found in the Callaghan Valley. Watch the video below to learn more about tree coring and ages around Whistler.
What Is The Deal With BC’s Old Growth? What’s The Situation in Whistler?
Watch this recording from the Whistler Naturalists of their virtual 2021 BioBlitz Talks livestreamed on June 9, 2021. Local biologist and forest ecologist Bob Brett provides the local context and shares insights about old growth forests in Whistler. Afterwards, Dr. Rachel Holt presents “A Provincial Overview of BC’s Old Growth Forests: What is all the fuss about, and what happens now?”
Key Resources On This Topic:
- A New Future for Old Forests – In 2019 the Province of British Columbia commissioned an independent Old Growth Strategic Review panel, comprised of professional foresters Garry Merkel and Al Gorely. AWARE was one of the 800 groups that presented to the panel and this resulting report contains 14 recommendations on how BC can better manage its endangered old-growth forests.
- BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand For Biodiversity – Authored in 2020 Price, Holt, and Daust conducted analyses to investigate the province’s claims about the state of old growth with alarming results.
- Cheakamus Community Forest Website – For information shared relating to logging around Whistler.
How To Learn More About Old Forests
- Visit some of Whistler’s amazing old trees – Pay homage to the trees near you. Visit some old growth forests around Whistler: Comfortably Numb at the North end has some beautiful old growth. Hike the Ascent Trail on Blackcomb and read the signs. Walk the Fitzimmons Creek trail between White Gold and Lorimer Road. Get to know the forest.
- Pick up one of the Whistler’s Old & Ancient Tree Maps (available at Armchair Books).
- Watch the video earlier of this page on Whistler Old Growth.
- Watch Whistler’s 101 – Biodiversity to learn more about local forests and the species that call them home.
- Get to know the decision-making processes that impact local forests – In the area around Whistler, logging is undertaken by the Cheakamus Community Forest. Each year logging plans are posted on the organisations website.
- Recognise the relationship between forestry and reconciliation – The Cheakamus Community Forest is a three-way partnership of the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh and Líl̓wat Nations and the RMOW. Within the past 100 years the Whistler valley was heavily logged, devastating long-standing traditional and low-impact relationships with the land, and without benefit to the Nations. Looking to the future, if we want to safeguard the ecosystems that remain it is essential all CCF partners are in agreement.
- Watch Whistler’s 101 – Indigenous Peoples and do the work to work to learn about systemic racism, longstanding inequities relating to forestry and recognition of non-timber forest values, and more about the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh and Líl̓wat Nations on who’s unceded traditional territory the CCF and community now know as Whistler are located.
- Visit the Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Centre. Check out the bookshop for lots of opportunities to learn more. Chat with their ambassadors.
How You Can Speak Up To Protect Old Forests
- Write to BC Premier John Horgan, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Katrine Conroy, MLA Cullen and MLA Russell to to honour commitment to the full recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel.
- Write to MLA Jordan Sturdy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Sturdy is MLA for West Vancouver Sea-to-Sky. As our area representative he can pressure government to defer the cutting of old growth in this riding.
- Watch out for and sign petitions in support of Old Growth protections
- For the Whistler area – attend Open Houses and review annual logging plans as they are posted by the Cheakamus Community Forest. Send your comments, concerns or questions to the CCF Board.
- Write to Whistler’s Council to ensure they understands this issue is important to you.
How You Can Act Day-To-Day To Protect Old Forest Environments
- At home and at work, ask for and use climate friendly forest products such as lumber and paper from certified sustainable sources, and re-use and recycle as much as you can;
- Observe wildlife at a distance especially species that can only survive in old forests and may already be stressed;
- To prevent transport of invasive seeds and species into the rainforest, clean soil and debris from shoes, pant cuffs and vehicles before entering the ecosystem; and
- When visiting the forest leave no trace! Walk on designated paths, leave no litter, and take only photographs and memories home with you!