The ancient forest mostly expands on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. It begins south of Prince George in BC and stretches out into parts of the US states Washington, Idaho and Montana. Since thousands of years humid weather systems keep carrying much precipitation in early summer and incredible amounts of snow in winter into the area.
Huge ancient cedar and hemlock trees can be found in the inland of BC. Many are more than 100 years old - some even have lived 1500 years. These giant trees reach a height up to 60m and a diameter of 3 to 4m.
They grow on the wet forest floor covered with a thick layer of water storing mosses and soppy humus. Water is everywhere. It meets in algae covered ponds, forms crystal clear brooks, which amalgamate into creeks and rivers and flow down into the valleys.
The century old giants are covered with lichens which hang from their branches. Lichens are a life-form or symbiosis of fungi and algae which can absorb water from the air. The fungi are the body of the partnership while the green algae provide nutrition by assimilating glucose sugar from water and carbon dioxide.
The variety of species in the rainforest is immense, in particular the number of rare lichens. Every year scientists discover more new species and they expect to find even more in the future as large areas of the forest are not yet discovered.
The rainforest also is home for many rare animals like grizzly bears and mountain caribou. The red-listed mountain caribou is extremely endangered. The only about 2000 today existing individual animals heavily depend on the lichens of the old forest giants. Lichens are their only source for their winter food. Environmental organizations therefore try as much as they can to protect the last remains of the inland temperate rainforest from logging and human development.
A little more than a hundred years ago these old rainforests grew in the valleys of our area, too. Alas, the first white settlers logged the forest for their settlements and used the wood of the large cedars to manufacture railroad sleepers.
Today there are only a few places in the valley where old rainforest is still standing. But on many properties the old stumps can still bee seen as reminders of the old days. Also on our property and we regard our Troll house out of an old cedar next to Haus Lemon Creek as an ancient monument.
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