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The Week, August 12-18

Barking up the right trees

Jason Youmans, Monday Magazine, August 10, 2010

The Week, August 12-18
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Avatar Grove waterfalls through giant old-growth redcedars
Photo by TJ Watt

Despite the presence of ancient Red cedars and evidence of karst formations under the forest floor, the provincial forest ministry appears to see no need to protect the stand of trees north of Port Renfrew dubbed Avatar Grove.

The ministry recently rejected a proposal by the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce and the Sooke Regional Tourism Association to protect the grove in its entirety, arguing that 24 percent of the grove is in an old-growth management area, and that is sufficient protection.

In response, the Ancient Forest Alliance sent out a communique that reads in part, “The Avatar Grove is like the Cathedral Grove of Port Renfrew . . . If the Avatar Grove falls, Port Renfrew and southern Vancouver Island won’t get another chance like this for another thousand years.”

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network—which has recently mapped the Baird Creek area where the grove stands and claims existence of karst formations—appears to be hatching an action plan.

“In light of the statements by your staff, we will . . . discuss our potential response if the ministry should issue a permit to log Avatar Grove,” the group says.


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