To escape the fog which was hugging the (Sunshine) coastline during a recent Fall trip, we decided to head north, both geographically and elevation-wise to Dakota Ridge for some sunshine and fresh air. Not a trip usually listed at your local tourist agency as this forestry road is classified as a 4 x 4 road with chains recommended in winter. It was well worth the trip for the peace, absolute quietness and spectacular views across the fog covered Georgia Strait to Vancouver and Texado Islands.
is a Sunseekers Destination in our winter for skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The ridge is located about 14 Km by forestry road from the coast at Wilson Creek at an elevation of 1200 metres above sea level. In winter it is a photographers heaven on a clear day and simply just a fun place to toboggan with the family. It is closed in the summer but the area is still great for quadding and hiking.
As we left the shoreline and headed up the forest road we left the fog behind and noticed it was relatively busy with weekend drivers, a few quads and huge logging trucks. The higher we drove the lesser the traffic and many more opportunities for taking photos in the glorious sunshine. It did not take long for us to leave the coastal communities behind and we found ourselves driving through an enchanting wilderness - a mossy fairyland.
Forests & Logging
The old growth trees were covered with heavy moss and the shaded forest floor was covered with more green moss, ferns and once in a while a glimpse of a fresh, trickling mountain stream. A beautiful area to be conserved. Interestingly during our trip we did not hear many birds nor did we see any wildlife.
Driving a little further up the forestry road we came upon huge tracts of forest which were actively being logged and were amazed at the large area of clearcut forest and the high stacks of newly felled trees.
Logging is a major industry in B.C and is advertised as a sustainable, renewable resource. Recent years have seen a decline and change in production due to beetle kill and the economy. Here are forest facts from the BC Council of Forest Industries.
It would seem from the signs that a large part of this land is logged and maintained by an international logging company who lease the land from the provincial government.
Until this trip we did not know this all year wonderland existed so close to our favourite Sunshine Coast. If you are a cross-country skier Dakota Ridge is worth a visit during the ski season - a sunny, outdoor paradise in winter.
We returned to sea level refreshed after our invigorating and visually stimulating drive to Dakota Ridge. If you like the outdoors this is a day trip you won't want to miss.
We travelled in our Fall, which is hunting season, it is recommended that if you intend to hike in the areas off the forestry road to wear bright (flourescent) clothing. Also keep in mind that you are travelling through deer, bear, elk, wolf and cougar homeland. A GPS and warm clothes are also recommended any time of the year.
Links & References
- More information on Dakota Ridge
- Reintroduction of Roosevelt Elk on the Sunshine Coast "Lower Mainland Roosevelt Elk Recovery Project" - some of the elk have been relocated to Harrison, B.C. on the mainland
- Safety Guide when in cougar country
- Safety guide to bears in the wild
- Large deer populations
- Sunshine Coast Tourist Information
- Our first time crab fishing experience on the Sunshine Coast, BC
- More information on the Dungeness crab
- Due to its "unique ecological/ cultural attributes" part of the old growth forest in the Dakota Creek watershed will be protected from logging
Here's a few more photos of our enjoyable day trip.