Kingcome River Purpose Statement March 2003
Primary Role The primary role of Kingcome River Ecological Reserve is to preserve unusual lodgepole pine, sitka spruce, and alder swamps and associated open wetlands in a coastal alluvial landscape. Located on the central mainland coast, 10 kilometres north of the head of Kingcome Inlet, the reserve was protected in conjunction with Atlatzi River Ecological Reserve, which is two kilometres away on the floor of the Kingcome River valley. Mountains adjacent to the two reserves rise to 1700 meters, but those at the headwaters of the Kingcome River are among the highest in the province. Proximity to the center of origin of the heaviest glaciers in British Columbia resulted in pronounced glacial scouring, isostatic depression and marine flooding, and the persistence of glacial environments until a relatively late date. This resulted in a relatively broad and low-gradient valley being formed. This type of physical environment and its associated wetlands and ecosystems are unusual in the Coast Mountains.
The area has fairly extensive stands of lodgepole pine in a fen-swamp environment. A great variety of wetland communities occur here, from open wetlands to treed swamp communities. What distinguishes Kingcome Reserve from Atlatzi is that it protects the transition from a wet central fen-marsh through extensive hardhack swamps and boggy pine forest to better drained sites supporting sitka spruce, western hemlock, and western redcedar. The two ecological reserves are outstanding for their unusual diversity of swamps, associated fens and pine bog land in a coastal valley bottom. In addition, the area is excellent habitat for both black and grizzly bears.
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