If you are looking for a great outdoor option while passing through the quant northern British Columbia town of Fort Nelson, look to the community Demonstration Forest. This intricate and diverse network of hiking trails offer users a close look into the natural boreal forest habit that engulfs northeastern British Columbia and the majority of northern Canada. The Demonstration Forest is located on the northwest corner of town, and hiking trails have little elevation gain and are suitable for all ages and skill levels. Hikers have the option of exploring four main routes, each titled in the traditional language of the areas First Nations people, the Dene.
The Medzihtenneh (Caribou), Golotenneh(Moose), Sahtenneh(Bear), and Nodatenneh(Lynx) trailheads leave from the parking lot kiosk. Each varies in distance, but all find their way through a series of towering conifer and deciduous forests that are native to the area. Most of Canada's boreal forest trees are found here. This includes trembling and large-toothed aspen, cottonwood, white birch, balsam spruce, black spruce, and lodgepole pine. Wildflower blooms are at their peak in early July, and the chance to see wildlife such as deer or lynx is always a possibility. Navigating each trail is made easy by the availablity of maps and signage at each intersecting path.
Stop and enjoy the interpretive signage along the way to help better understand where you are and what has happened around you over time as this boreal habitat continues to mature. There are also picnic tables and rest areas for those looking for a more leisurely approach.
Special Notes: There are many trails throughout the Demonstration Forest, and all of them eventually linking to one another if you are interested in creating a more customized journey. Also, this area is a great option for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter months. The trails are often groomed, and it is a home base for the Fort Nelson Ski Club.