The Slocan Valley is part of the Kootenay range in south central British Columbia, Canada. When I first moved here I was amazed by the degree of biodiversity. This area is classified as an inland temperate rainforest – one of the few inland rainforests on the planet. Rainforests are characterized by high levels of precipitation, old growth forests, and forest floors that are rich in plant and animal life. Here in BC much of the precipitation falls as snow.
The valley has been occupied by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The Sinixt (SIGH-nixt) people, who lived in the most fascinating pit houses, fished, hunted, and gathered food from the abundant forest.
The clear, still, greener-than-green, bluer-than-blue Slocan River runs through this valley from the Slocan Lake in the north to meet the Kootenay River in the south near Nelson. The valley is dotted with villages, towns, and hamlets and is a place where diversity – bio and otherwise – is embraced. Today the valley is occupied by Sinixt, crafters, artisans, homesteaders, hippies, tradespeople, organic farmers, lumberjacks, lots of dogs on the loose, goats, sheep, and a single woman who took a big risk to try homesteading on her own.