Nicknamed “The Cathedral Grove of the North Island”, White River Provincial Park is a protected old-growth jewel on Vancouver Island.

Located on the banks of the White River, near the town of Sayward, in the territory of the K’omoks, We Wai Kai, and Wei Wai Kum First Nations, this incredible forest is dominated by towering Douglas-firs, including one that soars to 87 metres (285 feet) tall! Large western redcedars are also present.

After over a century of relentless logging, old-growth Douglas-fir stands like this one have become exceedingly rare in British Columbia. However, in a strange twist of fate, this ancient forest still stands thanks, in part, to three loggers who refused to fell the trees here in the 1990’s.

In addition to the occasional awestruck hiker, this magnificent forest ecosystem is also home to majestic Roosevelt elk who rely on riparian (riverside) forests for their winter survival. A section of the White River winds through the park and is home to coho salmon, steelhead trout, and Dolly Varden char.

Much like its southern counterpart, this spectacular old-growth forest could be a major tourist draw and help the community of Sayward benefit from big tree tourism. If you’re looking for an adventure, make this slice of old-growth heaven a must-see and be sure to support the local businesses in town.