For many years, ever since I went to school in Campbell River back in the late 90's, I have been interested in exploring the Beaver Lodge Forest land. Located in south west Campbell River, bordering the Inland Island highway, South Dogwood Street and the Merecroft area sub-division. To access this area from the Comox Valley off the Inland Island Highway turn right at the Jubilee Parkway and then left on to South Dogwood. Once on South Dogwood travel approximately two kilometers, past Rockland Avenue and turn onto South Mcphedran road, which is a left turn. Shortly down Mcphedran you will happen upon a small parking lot with a interpretive sign and access into the area, using the Beaver Pond trail.
Look at the beaver deterent on the culvert
The Beaver Lodge lands were gifted to the Provincial government in 1931 by the Elk River Timber Company. The 415 hectare parcel was to be used exclusively in the experimental re-forestation and forest management. It is now the first forest in the province that is protected by its own provincial legislation. The lands were railroad logged at the turn of the century and the stumps bare the scars of springboard holes. Springboards were planks that the fallers would insert into the tree as to stand on and get above the buttress of the huge first growth trees where the trunks were marginally smaller, plus got them above the thick, tall underbrush. The land is now graced with 70 to 100 year old second growth Douglas fir and swamp lands thick with red alder and western hemlock.
Douglas fir. I love the branches
The trails in this area are absolutely perfect for a child or adult who wants to get off the asphalt and ride surrounded by gorgeous trees and wildlife, and not have to worry about any hills or technical aspects. A faint hum of the vehicles out on South Dogwood is the only hint that you are close to civilization. Nary a root nor downed tree to ride over. The trail is some what mucky, but that is to be expected after all the rain that has plagued the area day after day. Natalie and I spent most of our time on the Rail trail that runs north/south. As its name suggests this is a converted railway bed that was used in the turn of the century logging. The trail is almost perfectly flat with a few bridges to cross and one small gully to go through. It also has a bridge at the bottom. Unfortunately Natalie was not feeling her normal self so we didn't cover a tremendous amount of ground.
The Beaver Lodge is not that far from the Comox Valley by car and it could be tied in with another Campbell River adventure. The Discovery Pier, Elk Falls, Loveland Bay and the Rotary Beach Seawalk are all good reasons to visit the area. We will be adventuring north a few more times this summer and fall as we gradually make our way towards our goal.
I wanted to share something that Natalie said to me today. We happened upon dozens of motorcycles today in Campbellton. I believe it was a poker run, and told her that I though it was a fund raiser for cancer research. She said "Why wouldn't they just ride regular bikes, because burning all that gas riding those bikes will just cause more cancer" Enough said. Find adventure.