2019 Bio-Blitz Report

Dry and sunny weather, which seems to be the troubling normal for the RainForest recently, greeted the 30+ attendees of the 5th Annual Walbran Bio-Blitz. Held with gratitude on the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht  First Nation.

The event started with a circle and welcome from Elder Bill Jones and then with the help of biologists, naturalists and birders we set out into the forest for a series of guided hikes and the flora and fauna count.

Highlight from this year was a Dromadery Jumping Slug, pictured below, a very rare species that is Old Growth dependent. Again other new species to the Bio-Blitz were found this year and our understanding of this rare and special place continues to grow. The full list of this years species will be attached to this sites Archive Page

Thanks to everybody who made the journey and to Bill Jones, Juliet Pendery, James Holko and David Reidel. See you next year!


Science in the Valley Bio-Blitz

Provisional Itinerary;

Attending experts in; Bird song identification, plant biology, forestry, soil ecology, Owls, Entomology.

Saturday 18th;

Either travel vie Lake Cowichan for 2WD vehicles with sufficient ground clearance.

Or meet at 9.30am for car pooling and convoy if required at Port Renfrew Community Center. For access from this route 4WD is recommended or with high clearance 2WD and logging road travel experience. There are travel cost subsidies available to make access to the ancient forest more affordable. Contact FoCW for more info and to also reserve car pooling.

11am -1pm; Arrive in Central Walbran.

1pm; Welcome from Elder Bill Jones of the Pacheedaht FN, introductions from groups and experts.

2pm; Guided hikes.

Easy/medium difficulty hike ‘Tolkein Giant’ trail, 1 hour.

Medium + difficulty hike, Castle Grove/Giant trail, 2 hours.

Hard difficulty hike, Harriet Nahanee memorial Trail, 3 hours.

After dinner evening ‘Owl and Bat Hike’!

Overnight camp.

Sunday 19th,

5am; Bird and Marbled Murrelet identification hike starting on Walbran bridge.

11am; Guided Hikes.

3pm; Close.

Recreational Tree Climbing.


Below is a joint response from FoCW, Widerness Comittee, Bill Jones, Pacheedaht Elder and Dr Neville Winchester, Entomologist to the continuing recreational tree climbing in the Central Walbran/Kaxi:ks

To whom it may concern;

It has come to our attention that there is currently recreational tree climbing occurring in the Castle Grove in the Central Walbran, Kaik:ks, Pacheedaht First Nations territory.

Climbing ropes have been left hanging from one of the ancient Cedars and a trail has been cut to the base of the tree.

This development is troubling to us as the damage from climbing to the delicate suspended soils and plants in these trees, the epiphytes and hanging gardens in their canopies is irrevocable. These have taken as long to develop as the trees themselves and could be over 1000 years old. If these are damaged a critical habitat for rare and endangered species such as Mettriopa walbranesi, Marbled Murrelets and other species that rely on the canopies of these ancient trees would be lost.

The rich alluvial flats that give the Castle Grove its giant Cedar trees is an isolated fragment, surrounded by clear-cuts and tree farms. With this type of forest remaining on less that 3% of Vancouver Island it makes the Castle Grove a very precious place. It is one of the reasons that environmentalists and First Nations have struggled and worked for almost 30 years to have this area protected.

As we learn from our First Nations allies we have come to appreciate these trees as Elder Trees that need to be respected and not just for the spectacle of their size as Giants.

The climbing of Old Growth to protect it from logging differs from recreational climbing, it carries on a long tradition of direct action that has actually helped save forest, for example the Carmanah Walbran Park.

So please respect the last of these ancient trees, don’t climb recreationally in the Old Growth and if these are your ropes please take them down.

Friends of Carmanah Walbran.

Wilderness Committee.

Bill Jones, Pacheedaht Elder.

Dr Neville Winchester, Entomologist.


2018 Myco-Blitz Report

Sunny weather was waiting for the 25 plus mushroom experts and enthusiasts who made the journey out for the inaugural  Walbran Myco-Blitz in the threatened Central Walbran, Pacheedaht Nation territory.  The Saturday started with a circle and brief introductions, there was also a small talk on the ethics, the do and don’t s of mushroom identification and picking in this rich but fragile Rain Forest.

The walks and foraging mainly focused on the lower section of the Harriett Nahanee Memorial Trail which follows the low elevation forest along the river. In the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning walks there were almost 80 different species of Fungi that were identified. The itemized list will be available to view as a tab on the home page.

There were many highlights on the weekend including the mushroom species Phaeocollybia which has an extraordinary root, looking similar to a stalk of Bull Kelp, which runs underground  for almost 2 feet.

Many thanks to all those who helped out with identification Juliet, James, Sinclair Jason, Emma and all those who attended. Also Ron Ramsey who lent us a 12v light set up that made the dark evening task of identification so much easier. See you next year.


October 6th Mycology Event.

Join the FoCW on Saturday October  6th for a Myco-Blitz (a mushroom and Fungi identification and count) with guided hikes and knowledgeable experts. For those wishing to camp overnight until Sunday 7th there will be the opportunity to continue with the exploration of the Temperate Rainforests of the Central Walbran Valley and its diverse and productive mycology.

Provisional itinerary.

Saturday 6th;

12.15pm; Short introductions, (what is a Myco-Blitz and mushroom picking ethics!)

12.30pm. Guided walks start.

4.30pm. Return and revue and identification of unusual finds.

Sunday 7th;

10am; Guided walks start.

1pm; Return and revue and identification of unusual finds.


2018 Convergence Report.


Another great success as over 150 people attended the 5th Annual Walbran Convergence, besides Kaxi:ks (Big River) in unceded Pacheedaht territory. At the opening ceremony Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones welcomed people and was followed by brief talks by representatives of Friends of Carmanah Walbran and the Wilderness Committee and then Private Public Workers of Canada president Gary Fiege, MLA and Green Party Forestry Critic Adam Olsen and Federal MP Alistair McGregor who all made the long dusty journey to share their passion for forestry reform and the protection of the Old Growth.

This was followed by Bill Jones and Adam Olsen cutting the ribbon on the spectacular Emerald Loop Trail which makes it possible for elders and others with mobility issues to access the forest with its giant Cedars and the Emerald Giant and Emerald pool.

Guided hikes followed with a community dinner and a acoustic performance by folk troubadour Luke Wallace.  Those who stayed for Sunday were welcomed by a pancake breakfast served by the Sierra Club. Special thanks to all the donors and notably Ruby Red Blueberry Farms, Tree Island Yoghurt, Caffe Fantastico, Wild Fire Bakery, Norm Smookler. Thanks to everybody who made the long journey on the Community Access Bus and many many… many thanks to all the inspired volunteers who made this event happen, trail builders, cooks and organizers. See you all again next year!

  Some other Convergence attendees, Tree Hoppers, Platycotis vittata . Walbran Convergence, July 28th-29th 2018. Photos James Holkko.

5th Annual Walbran Convergence

It’s that time of the year again! Time to get stoked for the 5th Annual Walbran Valley Convergence!

Taking place in the unprotected heart of Kaxi:ks (the Walbran Valley) in unceded Pacheedaht territory, this annual gathering is a celebration of forest activism and the ongoing fight to protect the Walbran and all threatened ancient forests on the westcoast. This event is to build unity towards the protection of endangered rainforests and a just transition to sustainable second-growth forestry that prioritizes Indigenous rights and title and local communities.

Hosted by the Friends of Carmanah Walbran and the Wilderness Committee, this multi-day event will feature speakers, the official opening of the new Emerald Pool Boardwalk loop trail, community meals, informally guided hikes, workshop offerings, an evening performance by our favourite west coast folk singer Luke Wallace and more, and will include members of the Pacheedaht Nation, grassroots environmental justice groups, elected officials, business and labour leaders and many more!


The Convergence is a family friendly community event for people of all ages, with transportation options available including:

– Day-trip transportation from Victoria and Duncan via the Community Action Bus at a sliding scale of $25-$50; or pay what you can. We are asking those who can afford to pay the high end do so to help ensure that nobody will be left behind for lack of funds.

Bus seats can be set aside for you through etransfer at friendsofcarmanahwalbran@gmail.com

Community meals:

-will be prepared for Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast. A vegetarian dinner of Greek cuisine will be available on a sliding scale of $15-30 and breakfast on the Sunday morning) will be by suggested donation of $10-20. Meals can be arranged by etransfer to friendsofcarmanahwalbran@gmail.com or through cash-drop at Wildfire Bakery or the Wilderness Commmittee office.

Musical entertainment and circle time:

West coast eco-troubador Luke Wallace will be back in the Walbran with us again this year to share his inspirational tunes of hope, community and resistance at the evening circle, followed by a free-flowing rainforest jam session

This event is being held in the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht Nation, and the organizers promote efforts to decolonize environmental activism in the fight to protect Kaxi:ks and all ancient rainforests

2018 Bio-Blitz a great success.


The 2018 Walbran Bio-Blitz was another great success as we enjoyed the sunny weather and the vociferous spring bird song. Thanks to Pacheedat elder Bill Jones for welcoming us onto his territory, David, Ben, Juliet, Adolf, Uluna and James for sharing their deep knowledge and to Erika from Wildfire bakery for providing the delicious lunch.

Highlights were the calls and sightings of Marbled Murrelets very early on the Sunday morning, the Merlin, a falcon that was in the Castle Grove and the many types of  colorful slime mold, (see picture above) that were found.

To view the full list of flora and fauna go to the Archive section of this site. See you all again next year or at another FoCW event in the Walbran, check calendar below.