Rain Forests of the Pacific Northwest
Manning Park spans a large chunk of the interior landscape of British Columbia that includes wet rain forest in the west to the drier climate on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. A couple of easy trails one for wheelchairs provide illustrative samples of the rain forest and should not be missed if you are in the area.
History buffs can trek on the Dewdney, Whatcom, or Hope Pass trails, explorer routes through the Cascades that were connecting links between the coast and the interior until the early 1900s.
Plants and Wildlife
Great old-growth red cedar and Douglas fir trees are featured at Sumallo Grove, along with western hemlock, Sitka spruce, cottonwood, alder, vine maple, sword fern, spring wood fern, mosses, foamflowers, mushrooms, devil's club, rotting trees, and ginger, with its distinctive smell. Included in the animals are shrews, crows, and other typical inhabitants of a temperate rain forest.
Sumallo Grove Trail
Located just off Hwy 3, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the West Gate of the park, this 700-meter, wheelchair-accessible loop (0.5 mile) offers an insight into the components of the temperate rain forest. The short drive from the highway weaves through large trees and is reminiscent of roads among the redwoods in California.
Sumallo Grove is a self-guiding interpretive trail through old-growth forest, about a 20-minute walk. A picnic area is situated along the Skagit River.
Rhododendron Flats Nature Trail
Typical in many rain forest areas because they are also dependent on lots of rain, rhododendrons are featured on this 20-minute forest walk. Though especially beautiful if you are able to see them bloom in late spring, the trail is still interesting at other times and an exemplary rain forest tract along the Skagit River. I found rein orchids blooming in late July. Rhododendrons are found worldwide with some 1,000 different species. Access this trail seven miles east of the West Gate off Hwy 3.
Flowers, trees, plants, and even rocks are part of the park's natural resources that are protected under the Park Act. Check with angling regulations at Park Headquarters for fishing in the Similkameen, Skagit, and Sumallo rivers. No hunting is allowed in Manning Park. Horseback riding and mountain biking are only allowed on a few trails; do check which ones. Power boats are prohibited in the park.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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