Today we explored other points of interest in Mount Revelstoke National Park and then explored the Glacier National Park driving to the Rogers Pass Discovery Center. Our first stop was the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk – strange name isn’t it – where we walked through the wetlands. Wetlands are a complex mosaic of rich plants and animal communities adapted to the ebb and flow of flood waters. These wetlands are rare in the narrow valleys of the Columbia Mountains accounting for only 1% of the land base of Mount Ravelstoke NP. Why Skunk Cabbage? The area is called this because of the large leafed plant found in this area.
Our next stop was the Giant Cedars Boardwalk which weaves through an ancient old-growth forest. This area is home to some of the oldest trees in the Columbia Mountains. The cedar/hemlock forests are unmanaged forests and some of the trees were just saplings in 1492 when Columbus discovered the New World. Amazing!
Our final stop of the day was at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. This told the history of the railway through the Rogers Pass and the Selkirk Mountains. In 1881 the Canadian Pacific Railway was searching for a route through the seemingly impenetrable Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. The railway dispatched Major A.B. Rogers, an experienced railway explorer, to find the shortest practical connection through the mountains. He reached the summit in 1882 and hence the name of the pass. By 1886 to railroad was complete and the first trans-continental passenger train left Montreal and arrived nine days later on the west coast travelling through the pass.
Due to the surrounding mountains the area is prone to avalanches. In the history of the railway through the area there has been many. Tunnel improvements over the years have been made to improve safety both for trains and now the Trans-Canada Highway.