Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Altered Landscapes

One of the things that makes the Bella Coola Valley such a pleasant place is the pastoral nature of the valley bottom.  The mixture of small settlements, farms, hobby farms, and pastures in amongst the stands of old growth timber, tributary streams and the Bella Coola River all make for an extremely pleasant view scape and living environment against the back drop of the Coast Mountains. 

Valleys of nearly continuous coastal temperate rain forests in nearby Kimsquit River or river valleys in South Bentinck Arm and Owikeno Lake are impressive unto their own for their size, extent and value to our economy for forestry, tourism, First Nations and the invaluable role they play for fish and wildlife habitat.  It's hard to imagine the Bella Coola Valley would be such an interesting place if all you saw as you drove the length of Highway 20 from the end of North Bentinck Arm to "The Hill" was a continuous stand of valley bottom Douglas Fir, cedar, spruce and hemlock, interrupted only by the odd scoured river channel from one of the side streams.

Cultural modifications starting with First Nation settlement and continuing with residents of the valley today have made it into an even more pleasant place to live.  A lot of human labour over the years has gone into winning a small clearing over from the rain forest and once you've done that you have to establish a 'line' where you will tolerate the rain forest slowly creeping back but beyond that line you defend your domesticated space and  it's a modified culturally maintained environment.  It doesn't take long looking around the valley where you find evidence of settlements, either equipment or remains of buildings which are now back in amongst the forest.   At first it seems it's a slow process for the coastal forests to takeover, but suddenly you look back and realize what 50 years of growing time can do.  I like to look at the landscape and remember what it once would have looked like, marvel at the work we humans do and then feel confident that what we do is only a temporary mark in time and the persistence of plants will eventually win if we decide to let them. The Bella Coola Valley and the Central Coast are good examples of how a  balance can be found in many of the debates our resource communities can find themselves in occasionally.  I know the grizzly bears, black bears, deer and other wildlife thrive in the mixed environment we have created in the Bella Coola Valley. Grizzly

1 comment:

  1. beautiful photo! enjoy your blog and reports. cant wait to visit for the rodeo!