Hiking, Vancouver Island

Day 14: Heritage Forest and Qualicum Beach Smorgasborg

Trail: Heritage Forest (plus a variety of QB trails and multi-purpose pathways)
Distance Walked: 9 km
Time Spent Walking: 2 hrs, 10 min
Trail Rating: Easy

Today we had planned to hike Grandon Creek Trail. We were excited to revisit this pathway as we have not been on it for quite a while. It is listed as one of “Four Must-Do Qualicum Beach Hikes.” Sadly, we were greeted by this sign upon arrival.

Today - 1 of 1

Not easily deterred, we left our car where it was and headed toward another of the ‘Must-Do’ hikes. We walked a variety of unnamed paths. This gave us a chance to ask a few locals along the way about trail names, or other casual questions. While many said that the paths we travelled were, in fact, unnamed, we did get a variety of individual perspectives and a fair bit of local politics. Regular walkers can be very passionate about their paths!

Heritage Forest:

Today - 1 of 1 (4)This Giant Douglas fir is estimated to be 700-800 years old. It is 57 m tall and 2.3 m in diameter.

Finally, we reached our destination. The 50-acred Heritage Forest protects remnant pockets of old-growth coastal Douglas firs and Sitka spruce, as well as a variety of other rare and endangered trees, plants and wildlife. In 1996, local resident, Anne Klees, was walking along St. Andrews Road when she spotted a mislaid map showing detailed plans for this land to be subdivided into 110 building lots. From Anne’s initial efforts, the Brown Property Preservation Society (BPPS) was formed and eventually led to this area being protected by a Conservation Covenant (Source).

When I began these hikes and write-ups, I hadn’t intentionally been looking for the theme of what difference individual women have made to our current local forests. I have been finding this theme everywhere. (i.e. Gertrude Moore, Widow W. J Westwood, Elizabeth Rath and now Anne Klees.) 

Today when I looped through Heritage Forest, I thought of these words from Desmund Tutu, and silently thanked Anne.

“The world’s forests are a shared stolen treasure that we must put back for our children’s future.”


33 thoughts on “Day 14: Heritage Forest and Qualicum Beach Smorgasborg”

  1. The trail was likely closed for a very good reason. Likely narrow, re Covid. Trails often do not close because of rain. 700-800 years old is a priceless treasure. Coincidentally, I had typed the word “treasure” before I read the quote. So true. Great photos!


    1. Hi, Erica – I’m not not sure if it was a COVID closure, or if construction is taking place there. Either way, I was sad to miss that hiking opportunity. But, as you wisely stated, Heritage Forest was a true treasure! Thank you for so diligently following along. I appreciate it greatly!


    1. Thanks, Laurie. Discovering the key role that individual woman have played in the preservation of so many of our local forests has truly been very sweet icing on an already wonderful cake! Thank you so much for following.


  2. Hi Donna – the Heritage Forest is a wonderful area … well you made the most of your day … forests are treasures … as I’m sure we all say … enjoy today’s hike/walk … Hilary


  3. Truly spectacular photos. Mother Nature is incredible, and you captured her beautifully in these photos. Thank you for sharing your 30 hikes in 30 days. You are almost halfway there already! Stay safe and enjoy!


    1. Thanks, Christie. Yes! We are now half-way there. But like on the Camino, there hasn’t been a day when we have woken up and thought “We really don’t feel like hiking this morning.” At least there hasn’t been one yet! 😀


  4. Interesting observation about the women and conservancy efforts on the island. I noticed that a woman was honoured for this at Neck Point Park (sorry, forgot her name).
    Beautiful grand old tree!



  5. So enjoying your hikes Donna! Very interesting about many trails being named after women. Good on Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s (one of own here in SA) saying about the value of forests. Gorgeous ancient Douglas Fir!


    1. Thanks, Terri – Horrible clear cutting was previously common on Vancouver Island. Thankfully, more sustainable approaches to logging are now mandated. Conservation covenants are also protecting endangered, as well as sensitive, historic and/or unique plant and animal life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That forest looks amazing – and that fir tree! It’s interesting how the themes are sort of curling around the edges of your brain before you realise it.


  7. As I was reading this post I caught myself reflecting on the fact that our country is so large, with vast amounts of forested space, that we are often in danger of becoming complacent about this treasure we have. I find the older I get, the deeper my love affair becomes with nature in general, and trees in particular.

    I am eternally grateful – as we all should be – to those who made it their purpose to protect green spaces and wetlands.


  8. The Heritage Forest is another place that I haven’t been to yet. Sadly, a great deal of the land on Vancouver Island was sold to timber companies in the early days of this country’s formation, and they continue to have tenure to this day. This is very different than most of the rest of the province of BC, where the land is owned by the crown, and logging companies have to apply for licenses to log areas.



    1. Hi, Jude – Heritage Forest holds mixed emotions for Richard and I. I wansn’t sure if we would include it in our 30-Day Challenge. I’m glad that we did. I highly recommend a visit when you get the chance.


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