Location: Near Cowichan Lake, Vancouver Island
Size: Several kilometer long stretch
Public/Private Land: Public & Private
First Nations Territory: Cowichan people who are part of the Hul’qumi’num First Nation group
The unprotected “Mossy Maple Grove” is a several kilometer long stretch of enormous old-growth Bigleaf maple trees – some as much as 2 meters (7 feet) wide in trunk diameter – completely draped in hanging gardens of mosses and ferns found along a creek just south of Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island. Unlike other spotlighted old-growth forests in BC that have all been ‘coniferous’ or needle-leaf trees (Douglas firs, Sitka spruce, western redcedars, etc.), this is an old-growth deciduous rainforest, as such is one of the most unique old-growth forests in BC. Diverse herbaceous plants, including spiny-stemmed giant devil’s club, grow here. Abundant tracks and scat reveal that legions of elk, deer, wolves, cougars, and black bears make this area home. This area has also been nicknamed ‘Fangorn Forest’ after the forest in The Lord of the Rings.
The nearby ‘Mossy Maple Gallery’ is a more open, park-like stand of scattered giant maples and some enormous cedars and Douglas firs growing on Crown lands north of Mossy Maple Grove. Giant Devils Club with their brutally spiny stems, and legions of elk, deer, wolves, cougars, and black bears make this area home as evidence by their abundant tracks and scat. This area is also known to local hunters.