Forest of Progression

The remote forests of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast have always been unique.

Stretching more than 100 miles along the eastern shores of the Strait of Georgia, the coast and its towering old growth is inaccessible from the greater mainland. To the north and south, it’s cut off by Desolation and Howe sounds; to the east, blocked by the rugged wall of the Coastal Mountains.

And yet, despite their remoteness, for centuries those vibrant forests—and the Coast’s namesake 281 annual days of sun—have drawn whole populations and industries. First, it was the cedar totem poles and canoes of the local Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh), Sechelt (Shíshálh), and Sliammon (Tla’Amin) First Nations. Next, the lonely trappers and fur traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s glory days. Finally, the waves of ravenous loggers arrived, changing the face of the landscape and spotting the shorelines with communities that survive to this day.

More recently, a new surge of humanity has come ashore—or, rather, rolled ashore. The towns dotting the coast are full of dense woodlands, rich cultural and historical sites, West Coast characters, and now an ever-expanding network of mountain bike trails that are earning attention worldwide. From Gibson to Roberts Creek, Sechelt to Porpoise or Powell River, a new culture is growing among the thick forests of the Sunshine Coast, all just a ferry ride (or two) away.

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