The federal government announced today that it is taking nominations for new UNESCO world heritage site nominations for the first time in ten years.
And good timing too, because work is underway locally to get the Ancient Forest recognized alongside the existing 18 UNESCO sites in Canada.
President of the Caledonia Ramblers, Nowell Senior likes their chances.
“I’m full of optimism, ever since the beginning of our adventure with the ancient forest ten years ago, we’ve had nothing but success.”
Senior says the Provincial Government has come on board will full enthusiasm since declaring the site a park earlier this year. One million dollars will be spent to create a turning lane for the Forest off Highway 16, and parking will be greatly expanded.
“And a good reason for that is the recognition of the area being so unique, and people want to stake a claim in it as it were. I mean there’s a great deal of regional pride developing in Prince George.”
The Ancient Forest, or Chun T’oh Wudujut is the largest inland temperate rainforest in the world. It’s also farther north than any other, and is home to previously undiscovered species of plants and lichens. Cedar stands in excess of 1000 years old cover the park.
Senior says trail sensors tracked more than 15,000 people who visited the area between May long weekend and Thanksgiving last year, a number that is expected to grow this season.
The Canadian UNESCO nominations will be announced as a part of Canada 150 celebrations next year. Even if they secure a nomination, Senior knows it could be a long wait for actual status.
“It could take a few years, but that’s no reason to not be optimistic – these things take time. We’ve been working at the Ancient Forest for ten years and we never would have believed when we started just how popular how unique the forest actually was.”