|Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone
A Brief History of Settlement along the West Coast of Vancouver Island
The history of settlement along the coast of Vancouver Island dates back thousands of years. A substantial supply of food offered by the Pacific Ocean attracted native people who populated the area and divided its land into territories of independent tribes. Depending greatly on the resources of the forest, these people never ceased to skillfully craft hunting and fishing materials, ocean-going canoes, tools, clothing, shelter and other items of necessity from almost every part of the tree species.
In the late 1800's settlers from Europe and Asia came to the San Juan Valley on the prospects of farming and began to clear the land. From this, other opportunities arose such as logging, fishing and mining. But many struggles still existed, including remoteness from market, that capped their success and their wealth.
In the early 1900's, the valley's logging industry took hold when entrepreneurs and investors became interested and ambitious in the vast forests of the west. This brought new methods and technologies in logging along with progressive employment and a rise in population. This economic resource became the valley's success story.
A myriad of lakes, rivers and streams fed by the successive mountain ranges and narrow valleys create impressive water sheds in the
region. Along the trails you can enjoy the shores of these lakes, rivers and streams where Sand bars and waterfalls form.
With concerns for integrated management and environmental sensitivity, the challenges of forest planning are very complex. While exploring these forests and reflecting on the pioneers of almost a century ago, may you gain a better understanding of its cultural heritage its unique beauty and the challenges faced in managing this natural resource.