The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47
Soils of Mainland
Soils of Mainland.
I cannot accurately describe these: the geological survey now in progress will enable better information to be given in subsequent editions. One description, by a well-informed gentleman, states that the soil in the lower country, and again north of Quesnel River, and generally in the Cascade and Selkirk Ranges, is moist, well wooded, and mixed with, perhaps mainly constituted of, decomposed organic substances.
In the middle of the province, the Fraser, Thompson, and Okanagan districts, the soil is light, generally a sandy loam of no great depth, usually immediately superimposed on gravel beds (northern drift), occasionally of very great thickness, and always affording perfect drainage.
Another gentleman says that the soil of the Mainland is of three kinds. The first is rich and loamy, consisting of decayed vegetable matter and alluvial deposits. This is the character of the soil by the banks of the streams or lakes, and in the bottoms of valleys, and wherever land has been formed of deposits brought down by the streams from the mountains.
The second kind of soil (characterising the basin of the River Fraser, but not the country near its mouth) is lighter and more sandy. Being formed by the disintegration and decomposition of rocks (a process that may be seen any rainy day), it contains a great deal of lime (the mountains being frequently limestone). To this fact, together with the strong sun, is probably to be ascribed its fertility, notwithstanding its lightness. It is found to a depth varying from 1 to 3 feet, and beneath it is a subsoil of gravel, sometimes of clay.
The third description of soil is neither so good as the first nor so light as the second; it rather resembles ordinary land in the mother country. Such is, for instance, the soil around Williams Lake, on the Brigade Trail, &c.