He’s tall, dark, and silent, his parents selected for their superior traits. No, he’s not Prince William, nor the Count of Monaco. He’s Bob, Bob of Nanaimo, a fast-growing, straight Douglas-fir, created from his mother (#227, a fir with excellent form),located near Lake Cowichan, and his father (#196, a Douglas exhibiting superior growth), located in Chilliwack Valley. We met him near Nanaimo Airport (CYCD), at the Nanaimo River Regional Park.
Located a snappy 5 minute drive from the airport, the regional park sports a network of trails (some that are very “unofficial” and therefore very picturesque and twisty) that meander through a Douglas-fir research plantation, along a beautiful stretch of river. On a fine April day, we flew into Nanaimo airport in our Cessna with our picnic lunch packed and caught a cab to the entrance of the park ($10 one way), located at the end of Fry Road, just across from WildPlay Elements Park. Despite the clear blue skies and bright spring sunshine, the park was wonderfully quiet, and the first hour we spent rambling along one of the “unofficial” trails that weave along the riverbank, we met not a single soul. The main trail is a 2km loop that starts at Fry Road, wanders through forest, along riverbank, and beside pastures, and ends at Frey Road. The Douglas-fir plantation began with the planting of 2,692 two-year old trees belonging to 170 families of Douglas firs. Each family was created by mating female and male stock drawn from other sites around the coast of BC. “Bob” is from Family #50.
Although the flat trail can easily be done in an hour or less, we spent almost 3 hours in the park, picnicking, strolling, getting delightfully lost in the network of snaking side-trails following the river, & tossing sticks for the dog. Near the Frey Road parking lot, a delightful swimming hole beckoned (if only the day had been just a little warmer, and the wind just a little less brisk!). As we completed the loop, a passel of equestrians clopped past us, giving it all a very country feel. Located on the north side of the Trans-Canada Island Highway, Nanaimo River Regional Park, it’s a quick hop from CYCD and a great little fly-in destination for a day trip for pilots.