Barkley Community Forest representative Zoltan Schafer presents Central Westcoast Forest Society staff Frank Witter and Megan Francis a $20,000 donation at the ‘A Walk In The Forest’ trail head. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Unique interpretive trail ‘A Walk In The Forest’ gets much needed boost in Ucluelet

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for us to explain the work that we do.”

Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS) can start repairing the decomposing boardwalk through ‘A Walk In The Forest Trail’ thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Barkley Community Forest.

Located on Highway 4 about one kilometer east of the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction, ‘A Walk In the Forest Trail’ is used by CWFS and several other conservation groups as an interpretive trail to educate groups about salmon habitat and restoration.

“This trail is really unique as it walks you through a fish bearing watershed over Lost Shoe Creek,” said CWFS staffer Megan Francis.

As hikers venture down the boardwalk, education signage signage points out the difference between old growth and second growth forest, and it also explains the impacts of different restoration techniques.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for us to explain the work that we do. So often we are put in this position were we have to describe what we are doing, but in this case, you are actually in the forest,” Francis said.

“You can see coho in the river. You can see chum and steelhead. With the state of the salmon being in such dire straights, it’s important for people to be able to see salmon in their natural habitat and learn about them,” she went on to say.

CWFS staff member Frank Witter is heading up the maintenance and repairs to ‘A Walk In The Forest Trail’.

“We’ll need to rip out all the parts that need to be replaced and get all that stuff to landfill then replace the boardwalk,” he said.

Contributions to the maintenance project are welcome; Witter is looking for cedar wood donations (4×4, 2×4, 2×6) and a timber framer to construct a gazebo. Anyone interested in supporting the project is encouraged to contact Witter directly at:

Francis said the funds from Barkley Community Forest came about organically.

“I was originally asking Zolie if they would give us a wood donation because they have a mill through Ma-Mook. And so, I was asking if they could donate timber to the project because that is the main cost besides the contractors. The wood is really expensive, it has to be cedar, and cedar is absurdly expensive,” said Francis, adding that she was then prompted to send in an official proposal to the board.

Witter hopes to get to work on the trail starting November at the latest.

“[The donation] is super awesome. It keeps us employed and busy,” he notes.

CWFS is a nonprofit dedicated to the restoration and conservation of wild pacific salmon stocks through habitat restoration projects. The society has been rebuilding salmon habitat destroyed by early logging on the Vancouver Island since 1995.

On Saturday, Oct. 17 CWFS will co-host the annual Kennedy Flats Back Roads Clean Up in partnership with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. Look out for more details on the garbage-busting event in the upcoming edition of the Westerly.

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READ: Tofino and Ucluelet students plant over 1,000 trees on field trip

READ: B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities


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