Beyond the Tides | The Living Rainforest

June 25, 2024 by Tayler Fuerst0

Located in the heart of the beautiful islands known as Haida Gwaii, find yourself surrounded by the beauty of the living rainforest – Our little slice of paradise.

While you may be here to experience fishing first class, you should make a point of exploring the surrounding Lodge environment. Naden Harbour hosts particularly rich ecosystems with several salmon streams, productive estuarine habitat and some impressive lowland coastal forest. The streams flowing into the harbour provide spawning grounds for 4 salmon species plus coastal cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char.

As you walk the trails along these forest streams, it’s fascinating to consider the intricate web of life that you’ve entered. While these aren’t large rivers, most provide habitat for salmon to spawn in the fall, laying their eggs in the clean gravel. Salmon spawn only once and then they die right there in the river, providing a feast of nutrition for bears, martens, eagles, ravens, crows, gulls and many species on down to the plants. Spawning salmon actually bring back marine-derived nutrients (including Nitrogen 15) to the streams, from where all of these animals distribute the carcasses to become fertilizer. Trees benefit greatly from these nutrients – the marker for N15 is identifiable in core samples of large trees and can quantify historical cycles of feast and famine over hundreds of years!

Along the stream banks you’ll find wonderful examples of Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock that grow to massive proportions on Haida Gwaii. Red Alder is the prominent local deciduous tree that often establishes in openings cleared by fallen trees, providing a nursery environment for the giant conifers, particularly by fixing nitrogen in nodules in their root systems, which ultimately become available to all plants in the ecosystem. Growing in the moss-covered bark of these trees you’ll find the licorice fern, whose rhizomes (roots) are sweet-tasting and are widely valued by coastal peoples, including Haida, as medicine for colds and sore throats. The list of useful plant species in this forest is long and varied – best addressed in a separate post!

Along the streams you’ll also discover several bird species, some that stay year around and others that migrate with the seasons. While the eagles and ravens are prominent, look for charming songbirds like the Winter Wren, the Varied Thrush, Canada Warbler and the Golden-Crowned Kinglet! Explorers of the island forests are never bored!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *