I think one of the most important initiatives this fall is the next phase of the Cumberland Community Forest Society.
Who could have believed 20 years ago that a small group of determined locals, Gwyn Sproule and Mary Lynn Desroches (who actually mortgaged her house) to jump start the purchase the first phase of the Cumberland Forest.
They raised the staggering amount of $1.2 million, which I thought at the time was impossible in a community of 2,500.
If you love the rainforest, the Cumberland Forest has it all.
The drainage systems is classic Canadiana. A series of beaver ponds ensures a year-round supply of water flow into Perseverance Creek. This is crucial for the resident trout and migratory salmon.
In the winter, dramatic waterfalls come cascading down through the forest and rock faces. Nutrients from the glacial soil leach down into the valley, creating huge cedar trees.
There is a picture in the book Wilderness Profound of Robert Filberg standing with his arms outstretched in front of a red cedar at Comox Lake that was four metres at the butt! If not felled by the chainsaw (scheduled for 2016), the trees in that forest have that potential.
It is amazing the salmon survived the coal mines in Perseverance Creek. Woodpeckers thrive in the old snags created by the beaver dams. Skunk cabbages go crazy in the spring.
The whole ecosystem is a huge incubation of Mother Nature’s rainforest.
The area is also steeped in B.C. history. At one time the Dunsmuir interests owned two million acres of land on Vancouver Island including most of Cumberland. The old railway grade is still there where the old steam engines jugged into Cumberland.
The only thing left of Chinatown is an old 1890s fire hydrant and Jumbo’s cabin. However, if you dig around you can find shards of pottery with Chinese and Japanese designs.
What a wonderful legacy for the Comox Valley. Dig deep and spend some of those hoards of savings that your kids or grandchildren will waste away on frivolous toys.
I send my $100 per month and will make an additional $100 to this very important next phase.
Editor’s note: Brian Scott was a resident of Cumberland for 20 years.