The upper Elaho Valley is the largest untouched area of valley bottom old-growth forest in the South Coast Range. It contains some of the oldest and largest trees found in British Columbia.
The Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park and areas surrounding Whistler are also home to some of BC's largest old growth forests.
The Squamish, Cheakamus, and Mamquam rivers provide great roosting, perching and feeding ground for these magnificent birds of prey, attracting over 1,000 birds from the Pacific Northwest each winter. Whether you are a bird lover, wildlife enthusiast, or photographer catching a glimpse of one of these birds is once in a lifetime experience.
This very large, dark brown rodent has a black, scaly tail which is horizontally flattened and paddle shaped and used as a rudder while swimming, as a sturdy support on land and for balance when the beaver carries heavy tree branches or building materials in its front paws. The back feet are large, webbed and black; the eyes and ears small; incisors are very large and chestnut coloured. Average weight is 45-60 pounds but they have been recorded at up to 110 pounds. The beaver occurs throughout most of Canada and all of British Columbia in rivers, streams, marshes, lakes and ponds.
Typical coloration of Black Bears in the west is black to cinnamon with a white blaze on the chest and in the east, black. The snout is tan or grizzled with a straight or slightly convex profile. Average weight is 200-600 pounds. Black Bears inhabit heavily forested areas, dense bush and wooded mountains throughout most of British Columbia. They tend to wander a great distance, some male adults having lifetime ranges of 500 to 620 square miles. Chances are you might see a black bear during your tour. From mid-March to November bears are active and looking for food.
The cougar is a large animal with fur that is short and reddish-brown to grey-brown with white on the underside; the tail is black-tipped. The head is fairly small with small, rounded ears and large feet. The average adult male weighs 125 pounds and the female 100 pounds. The cougar is the largest wild cat native to British Columbia and has been seen during the summer on the banks of the Elaho and Squamish Rivers.
The coyote is the star of many North American Indian stories in which it is believed the mammal is the chief of the pre-human animal age. Coyotes are slender-built, grey/brown dogs, with black and grey markings. The end of the tail is black, and the fur is thick and coarse. Coyotes feed on small mammals, but also fruit, insects, frogs, snakes and crustaceans. They are fast runners, and can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h. They have acute hearing, have a good sense of smell, and are also very vocal, communicating with squeaks, yelps, and howls.
Deer are tan or reddish-brown in the summer and greyish-brown in the winter, while their belly, throat, nose band, eye ring and insides of the ears are white. There are black spots on the sides of the chin. The antlers have individual tines that grow upward from each of the main beams. The mule deer has the widest distribution of the deer found in British Columbia, occurring as far north as the Liard River Valley and throughout the interior as far west as the coast mountains.
Second only to polar bears, brown bears or Grizzly Bears are the largest land carnivores. A subspecies called the Kodiak bear is particularly impressive, and can reach similar sizes to its polar cousin. Grizzly Bears typically have brown fur, but this can vary from cream to almost black. They have long white-tipped hairs along the shoulders and back, which give the bear a grizzled appearance. They have a hump on their shoulders, a concave face and long, curved claws. They feed on a variety of foods depending on the time of year including grasses, sedges, bulbs, roots, berries, fungi, insects, rodents, moose, and deer. Although very rarely seen in the south of Pemberton, the Grizzly Bear has been known to wander along the rivers of the Lillooet and Birkenhead Rivers.
The marmot is a large animal this is silver-grey above with a brownish rump and whitish belly. Distinct black and white marks are on the head and shoulders. The tail of the marmot is large, reddish-brown and bushy. Average weight is 8-20 pounds.
The Mountain Goat, a blunt, squarish-looking animal has a narrow head with slender, black, shiny horns rising in a backward curve to a length of 10-12 inches. The coat is white and on the chin is a double beard of long hair. Weighing an average of 150-300 pounds and reaching heights of 35-45 inches, the mountain goat is sure-footed and agile due to its hooves with cushioned skid-proof pads for grip. The mountain goat lives in rocky mountainous areas above the timberline throughout parts of North America. British Columbia's population is by far the largest at approximately 100,000. Look to the peaks of the surrounding mountains on your rafting trip – you just might see goats roaming high above.