Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, originally Carmanah Pacific Provincial Park, is a remote wilderness park located inside traditional Ditidaht First Nation (also spelled diitiid7aa7tx) ancestral territory. The park covers a land area of 16,450 ha immediately adjacent to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve's West Coast Trail on the southwestern, coastal terrain of Vancouver Island; as with much of British Columbia, the territory that falls within the boundaries of the Carmanah Walbran park is recognized as unceded First Nations’ Territories. The provincial park comprises the entire drainage of Carmanah Creek (northwest of the mouth of the creek hosted the kwaabaaduw7aa7tx village, a “local group” whose alliance makes up one branch of the Ditidaht Nation), and a good portion of the lower Walbran River drainage, both of which independently empty into the Pacific Ocean. The park is named after the Anglicized diitiid?aatx word kwaabaaduw7aa7tx, or Carmanah, meaning “thus far upstream” and John Thomas Walbran, a colonial explorer and ship’s captain. Access to the park is by gravel logging road from Port Alberni, Lake Cowichan, or Port Renfrew.
The Carmanah Walbran protects extensive tracts of luxuriant Pacific temperate rainforest, and is famous for its ancient old growth, which includes giant western redcedar, coast Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and towering groves of Sitka spruce that grow along the productive riverside flats. Some of the western redcedar in the area are well over 1,000 years old, and Canada's tallest tree, a Sitka spruce named the Carmanah Giant, measured at 95.836 m (314 ft), estimated to be around 400 years old, lives along the lower reaches of Carmanah Creek. However, trails to the Carmanah Giant and many other portions of the park are currently inaccessible due to the neglect and disrepair of the park's boardwalk trail system—trail access via the boardwalk is essential in preserving the area's delicate ecosystem. Although BC Parks received a funding increase in 2012 for the first time in over ten years, BC's provincial government has repeatedly cut funding to the BC Parks' budget, the result of which is BC Parks' inability to staff a sufficient number of Park Rangers to maintain the network of trails and keep the park safe from cedar poachers and illegal logging.
Hiking trails were initially developed in the area by Randy Stoltmann and members of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (what the Wilderness Committee was referred to at the time) in the late 1980s. The trails were built before the Carmanah Valley was protected in an effort to draw attention to the spectacular old growth forest and the precarity of its existence in the face of Vancouver based logging company, MacMillan Bloedel (now subsumed by Washington based logging company Weyerhauser).
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