Vancouver Island’s Carmanah Rainforest is an unlogged watershed of ancient Sitka spruce. I traveled there last August, and learned that the valley gained preservation through the efforts of the late Randy Stoltman. Turns out, Randy was sort of my doppleganger.

We both published two guidebooks in our early 30s. We both documented and nominated champion trees. We both visited the obscure and remote Kitlope River at age 31. I went there by kayak, and made a humble escape. He went by skis, and never returned.

As a Vancouver lad, Stoltman compiled a spreadsheet of Stanley Park’s big trees and provided it to park staff. By his twenties, he was developing the B.C. big tree registry.

Following his untimely death in 1994, there were proposals for a Stoltman Wilderness, much of which is now preserved as Clendenning Park. There is a Randy Stoltman Grove and a Randy Stoltman Buttress. He cut quite a wake.

I’m sure we’d have crossed paths if Randy were still alive today. As fate would have it, I won’t know Randy as a person, but fortunately I have enjoyed some places he loved, and helped preserve.