Road Building on Walbran Karst: A Sinking Idea

By Charly Caproff
Photos courtesy of Busta Pbj

Sir-Karst-A-Lot‘Environmentally responsible’ Teal Jones has proposed to construct logging roads through a landscape characterized by sinkholes, disappearing streams and caves.

Sinkholes are caused by the dissolution of limestone by slightly acidic rainwater. Surface water seeps through the epikarst and opens intricate cave chambers within the subterranean environment. They can also occur due to the lowering of the water table. As the limestone dissolves, the organic material at the surface can no longer be supported, leading to the ground caving in rapidly and with little warning.

Peter Cressey and I ventured into the heart of Cutblock 4403, a magnificent old-growth rainforest, to observe the proposed route. Cressey was actively involved in the Walbran Valley blockades during the 90’s. Approximately 10 meters from the proposed road route we found an exposed sinkhole. It was roughly two feet in diameter, and directly below the proposed route on a steep bank. There had been a heavy rainfall that weekend and crystal clear surface water was rushing into the dark, mysterious depths. To the right of the sinkhole, an immense western red cedar towered overhead. As I continued to explore the rainforest, I moved cautiously as the forest floor was covered with depressions.Read More »

Exploring the Walbran Valley

Following up on Charly’s post earlier this week, we couldn’t resist sharing a few more photos of the spectacular Walbran Valley. If these don’t make you want to skip that midterm you’ve got coming up and go adventuring, we don’t know what will. Enjoy!

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These photographs are courtesy of the wonderfully talented Busta Pbj.

What Lies Beneath The Walbran

 

By Charly Caproff

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Photo courtesy of Busta Pbj

The Walbran Valley is one of the last remaining intact old growth red cedar forests on southern Vancouver Island. This ecologically diverse area contains impressive stands of coniferous trees that are thousands of years old. During the ‘war of the woods’ over a decade ago, the Walbran Valley was the center of heated protests between industry and conservationists. Recently, it was revealed that the logging company Teal-Jones intends to clear-cut sections of this pristine environment, which has ignited organizations, such as the Wilderness Committee, Sierra Club BC, the Ancient Forest Alliance and The Friends of the Carmanah/Walbran to speak out and fight for the protection of this forest ecosystem.

Karst is a landscape that is formed from the underground erosion of soluble rocks like limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. The erosion forms underground openings, caves, and streams that support unique ecosystems. Karst landscape can be easily damaged by activities such as logging and road building.

If the old-growth forest underlain by karst is logged, the area could become a desolate landscape, compromising the water quality of the drainages.

Read More »