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Access and inclusion Boreal Forests British Columbia Nature

Accessible and inclusive nature parks of British Columbia

The Provincial Government has a mandate to create all new parks to fit the description of being accessible and inclusive nature parks. Perhaps you were looking for a travel blog documenting a trip through the parks in Northern BC, recently developed to be inclusive beyond the universal design of the parks to include accessibility in over 50% of the park to allow inclusive visiting. Perhaps you were looking for user information on a good accessible fishing spot in BC. In that case, this is not that post or blog site. The parks as mentioned above are lacking in transportation from any community to the park. Well, yes, you have a vehicle. One that fits your personal and perhaps unique needs, and once a blogger demonstrates the recreational venue’s accessible worth, you can and will visit. What about those who do not have that access? You most likely won’t take that person on a trip to the park, when the person wants to go. Yeah, my problem. You don’t know me beyond this website. How do I go to any of these parks, with my mobility device? I can’t use the expensive fishing gear I own… Perhaps that’s you too. Another challenge just arrived in my mind. How do we get back home, if a ride there is secured?

A trail marker indicating access standards of the trail through a park. This sign tells us there are diverse standards in the park, likely identified with unique markers in spots more challenging.

We have a few of those parks within our region in Northern British Columbia. The Ancient Forest, the Great West Life Mobility Trail. There’s a few more in the works, BC Parks has way more information on these parks. Yes they need donations to keep improving. Inclusion is a goal that is sustainable. It includes you, among the collective of humans living. It even includes me, with you. But you still won’t take me in your private vehicle. That means to travel is not a shared inclusive space, except to your personal needs. No mention of the time involved between park and starting point and to leave to return, when needed. It’s not just parkland and developed fishing holes, in nature. Public tourism venues such as Hubbell Homestead, Barkerville, and more scattered across the province were made with access in the design. Still no way for those living a pedestrian life, or most in the cycle world on bikes to access. A walk or roll in nature, for anyone, is more beneficial than a team of therapists

An accessible trail only has to be smooth and packed tight. Avoid loose gravel on the paths. A very mentally stabilizing stroll and roll through a park

Recently the BC Government (BC Transit) took over the accessible point-to-point, provincial transportation system called HandyDART. It only covers within a community’s boundary. The model of community support only allows community members, who must be registered, to access in town locations. In Prince George, where it started with the Carefree Transportation Society, they are looking for a new direction to travel. They formerly managed the HandyDART fleet in Prince George, since before it started over 50 years ago. While that happened, and BC Transit transited the switch in leadership, the established society discussed closure and how that would look. That was not in the plans. They looked for niches to fill next, in local inclusive travel. That was the direction they wanted to travel, keeping transportation, accessibility and inclusion in the vision. There are a few. They discussed the lack of ‘inclusive’ travel to these parks and more, looking for a new direction. Could they fill this niche in BC Parks plan to bring inclusion to these parks? Stay tuned. More to come.

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Boreal Forests British Columbia Canada Forest industries Nature Recreational uses

Nature is natural

Nature in the beginning

Nature. When a tree falls in the forest, and no one, no animal is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Perhaps it does, maybe in practice, or perhaps it saves the sound for a listener to keep them out of the way of the falling tree. Only Mother Nature can answer that question with credibility. She’s been doing this since it grew the first trees on our planet before humans or animals were there to learn the dangers of falling trees and hear the warning sounds of Ms. Nature. Falling trees are not the only danger. New forests with diverse plants grow in stages small and fast-growing plants, soft broadleaf trees to slow growth with larger, more dense wooden plants such as trees like Pine, Spruce and Douglas Fir in the Forests. No one knows for certain, but large trees may have been preceded by Wild Cannabis and shrubs, which were likely the first plants on this planet. It was likely once part of nature on the entire planet.

A picture of nature, with a river flowing through a valley
Fishing, peaceful activities can be found in nature. We should all respect it and work to preserve its beauty.

Nature’s tools

When plants like trees grow, they drop seed as they mature. Some tree species like Aspen will spread out by their root systems with just one method of reproduction. When one tree drops the root system and the fallen trunk provides ‘starter material’ as it decays with branches that take root and grow with the root system. A single thick stand of aspen may be thousands of years old, perhaps even Millions years old. Large herbivores like Moose and Deer control the species that eat leaves and small saplings. They are the start of a forest construction along with the bushes and shrubs with seed and fruit for the smaller ‘workers’ like birds, squirrels and mice. Those animals eat seeds, nature employs them. They never stop eating. They are not really particular, munching on a diverse range of seeds. Predators eat vast amounts of seed eaters and some eat both animals and seed. The seeds survive the digestive tracts of consuming animal. Most animals poop, and that provides a good fertilized pile for the seed to grow in. The resulting plants condition the soil for larger plants like trees, most grown by seed themselves.

Nature’s way of regeneration

Well, we’ve already explained the ‘Poop cycle’ of natural workers to create new forest but there are other regeneration methods used naturally. Fire is one way. Pine trees have cones that contain seed.  Through their life, which could span eons, it drops seed in these cones.  Some of that seed is eaten, as some animals can eat cones and pooped all over the forest. The cones open naturally in heat drop seed.  Pine produces a powerful scent when it gets hot. That aroma is flammable and will ignite naturally. Often, nature will provide the spark with lightning, but more recently, humans have caused many wild fires in a forest, either by carelessness or industry. Human-caused fires can grow dangerously hot, making land sterile and seeds hard to grow naturally. Many times, it takes human intervention to regrow the natural forest quicker after a huge hot human caused wildfire.

Humans and Nature

Recreation

There are activities that support nature and are sustainable. We drop lines for fishing in our rivers, lakes and streams. We hunt game in the forests, as we are predators and herbivores. There are several berries, edible plants and some mushrooms we collect to consume. We can find holiday decorations and trees for Christmas in a forest. A walk in a quiet forest is mentally stabilizing for everyone, particularity those with challenges. It teaches the human child of all ages to respect nature.

Industry

Several activities occur in the forests that immediately don’t seem good for nature. Many seem to be conducted to collect wealth from the forest and nature takes a few generations to recover. Logging happens with clear-cutting and most times, the natural forest’s diversity is replaced with a monoculture of merchantable single tree species, Pine and Spruce mainly.  This practice must stop. It’s totally not natural. The trees use fire to regrow naturally, clean out dying and dead matter clearing soil for recent growth. A monoculture of trees that use fire to regenerate concentrates the heat so it completely burns the soil and there are no firebreaks like broadleaf plants to slow or stop it. Monoculture stands are suspected of being one cause of huge infrastructure fires seen in British Columbia during the summers of 2017 and 18 and could be a reason for declining animal populations. It is the most destructive use we have of the forest, but other activities like oil and gas, as well as mining also have an impact, but mostly those try to make the land natural after work is finished.

Information by WalkNRoll