Clayoquot Sound Revisited

A week of journeying by land and sea has yielded some great results as I continue to collect material for my forthcoming book on Wolves of the Pacific Northwest. I am tremendously grateful to Steve and Susanne Lawson for their invaluable assistance in my fieldwork here in Clayoquot Sound thus far! Stay tuned for more photos and stories to come!

 Sea Otter patrolling coastal waters north of Ucluelet.

Sea Otter patrolling coastal waters north of Ucluelet.

 The return of extensive bull kelp forests along the northern Pacific coast has been associated with rebounding Sea otter populations, a classic example of a trophic cascade. Bull kelp was released from heavy browsing pressure by sea urchins with the return of otters which love to eat urchins.

The return of extensive bull kelp forests along the northern Pacific coast has been associated with rebounding Sea otter populations, a classic example of a trophic cascade. Bull kelp was released from heavy browsing pressure by sea urchins with the return of otters which love to eat urchins.

 Rocky coastline close to Wye Point, north of the town of Ucluelet

Rocky coastline close to Wye Point, north of the town of Ucluelet

 Guess the beach brings out the playful side of more than just juvenial people. Here two yearling wolves play with washed up seaweed on an island in Clayoquot Sound.

Guess the beach brings out the playful side of more than just juvenial people. Here two yearling wolves play with washed up seaweed on an island in Clayoquot Sound.

 Wolf crossing a lead of water at first light.

Wolf crossing a lead of water at first light.

 We watched this randy male black bear following a smaller female bear earnestly, stopping only to rub vigorous on a large drift wood log, a behavior which increases during the breeding season.

We watched this randy male black bear following a smaller female bear earnestly, stopping only to rub vigorous on a large drift wood log, a behavior which increases during the breeding season.

 Oystercatchers are one of the most common shorebirds in the Sound this time of year.

Oystercatchers are one of the most common shorebirds in the Sound this time of year.

Clayoquot Sound, B.C.

 Wolf tracks along west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Wolf tracks along west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

 Bald eagle above a foggy forest.

Bald eagle above a foggy forest.

 Carcass of juvenile humpback whale on beach of island in Clayoquot Sound

Carcass of juvenile humpback whale on beach of island in Clayoquot Sound

 Racoon foraging for sand flees on beach of island in Sound

Racoon foraging for sand flees on beach of island in Sound

 Black-tailed deer feeding on seaweed on island in Clayoquot Sound.

Black-tailed deer feeding on seaweed on island in Clayoquot Sound.

 River otter scent marking on seaweed as tide goes out.

River otter scent marking on seaweed as tide goes out.

 Black bear foraging for invertebrates in the intertidal zone by rolling rocks.

Black bear foraging for invertebrates in the intertidal zone by rolling rocks.

 Large Sitka spruce in ancient forest on island in the Sound.

Large Sitka spruce in ancient forest on island in the Sound.

 A gray wolf trots along the beach early in the morning with ravens in the background. West Coast, Vancouver Island.

A gray wolf trots along the beach early in the morning with ravens in the background. West Coast, Vancouver Island.

 Tofino Inlet, Clayoquot Sound.

Tofino Inlet, Clayoquot Sound.

 Harbor seals lounging at low tide.

Harbor seals lounging at low tide.

 Atlantic salmon fish farm in Clayoquot Sound with uncut forest in background. Several rivers with no clearcuts or roads in them are seeing massive declines in salmon numbers due to sea lice and other issues associated with fish farming in the Sound. The smell is overwhelming, far worse than a dairy farm and totally shocking in such a wild setting.

Atlantic salmon fish farm in Clayoquot Sound with uncut forest in background. Several rivers with no clearcuts or roads in them are seeing massive declines in salmon numbers due to sea lice and other issues associated with fish farming in the Sound. The smell is overwhelming, far worse than a dairy farm and totally shocking in such a wild setting.

 Active clearcut logging in Clayquot Sound. Top of the photo is uncut oldgrowth. Bottom is regrowth from a previous clearcut.

Active clearcut logging in Clayquot Sound. Top of the photo is uncut oldgrowth. Bottom is regrowth from a previous clearcut.

 Growth rings: over 200. Destination: ?

Growth rings: over 200. Destination: ?

 Huge western red ceder stump set amidst second growth forest of planted Douglas firs. Note that the original nurse log that the ceder tree started growing on in still under the stump, attesting to the volume of biomass in the previous ancient forest and the literally centuries it took to create the structural diversity so important to many Old growth obligate species.

Huge western red ceder stump set amidst second growth forest of planted Douglas firs. Note that the original nurse log that the ceder tree started growing on in still under the stump, attesting to the volume of biomass in the previous ancient forest and the literally centuries it took to create the structural diversity so important to many Old growth obligate species.

Despite decades of conservation efforts, Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve,  faces numerous severe threats to its ecological integrity including clear cut logging of roadless old growth forests, industrial Atlantic salmon fish farms, and proposed open-pit copper mining. Learn more about the region and how you can support conservation in the region at the following websites:Friends of Clayoquot Sound Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve First Nations Environmental Network

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