Entry #25 – Coastal Mountain Range

Last modified on July 25th, 2009

While I was taking a quick break from blogging, Keira Mellis decided to help me out by writing an entry. So, this is a guest-entry by Keira. You can read more of Keira’s writing over Keira-anne.com

Jordy and I have been at Workspace for several hours now, bringing candy and cheer to Duane and Rebecca as they blog for their respective charities. The space is quiet – almost too quiet – as everyone keeps their heads down, writing at frantic paces.

Despite being so focused, it’s hard not to notice the view out the expansive windows facing north. Living in BC, and Vancouver in particular, it’s easy to take for granted the scenery we all see day-in and day-out. Though it struck me how amazing it must be to see the North Shore mountains through the eyes of someone who has never been here before.

While the Canadian Rockies primarily belong to Alberta, British Columbia has a stunning expanse of terrain by way of the Coastal Mountain Range (CMR). Here are some fascinating facts about the gargantuan mountains you thought you knew:

  • The CMR extends virtually the entire length of British Columbia, beginning in the Yukon Territory, extending through the Alaskan Panhandle and continuing far past the Canadian/U.S. border into the State of California.
  • The portion that stretches through our Province measures approximately 1,600 kilometres (900 miles) long and about 300 kilometres (190 miles) wide.

mountain range
Photo: Sanjay Khanna on Flickr

  • Perhaps the most fascinating aspect to the CMR is its diversity, containing everything from volcanic and non-volcanic rock as well as icefields, glaciers and subarctic boreal forest.
  • The highest peak in the CMR is Mount Waddington, scraping the sky at 4,019 metres (or 13,190 feet)!
  • Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the CMR is largely to thank for the rainforest climate experienced in British Columbia. The mountain range forces moist clouds to rise, spreading dense rain over our lush forests.
  • The CMR is also a prominent part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, encircling the Pacific Ocean from Asia to North America. It’s comprised of various volcanoes and their related mountains, and as such, places the CMR on a very hot earthquake fault line.
  • BC’s fault line under the CMR is responsible for over 1,500 earthquakes each year. While the last catastrophic quake in British Columbia was recorded in the year 1700, scientists have long been predicting that we’re due for “The Big One,” a shaker that will likely come without much warning.

Aside from some commercial logging and a ski resort in the Whistler region, thankfully the CMR is largely undeveloped. The terrain is difficult, steep and completely untamed. We British Columbians owe a great deal of thanks to the CMR for the diverse and unique climate we live in. It’s my hope that these mountains will stay as such for many, many more generations to enjoy.