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Threatened B.C. forest dubbed the “Avatar Grove”

Activists project movie’s themes onto old-growth logging dispute

Macleans Magazine, March 11, 2010

Threatened B.C. forest dubbed the “Avatar Grove”
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Photographer TJ Watt is dwarfed by one of the huge alien shaped Red Cedar's in the threatened Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew, BC.
Photo By TJ Watt

Its storytelling may have left the critics—and the Academy—cold. But there’s no denying James Cameron’s digital extravaganza Avatar has inspired tree-huggers the world round, rooted as it is on themes of conserving ancient ecosystems in all their majesty. In a stroke of marketing brilliance, the Victoria-based Ancient Forest Alliance has re-christened a majestic expanse of old-growth on southern Vancouver Island in honour of the $300-million Hollywood blockbuster. Gone is the prosaic sounding Tree Farm Licence 46. In is the “Avatar Grove,” a “spectacular and accessible stand of newly discovered old growth red cedars and Douglas firs near Port Renfrew.” The alliance, which is a splinter group of the old Western Canada Wilderness Committee, is up against a Surrey, B.C.-based logging show and the provincial government. But if their cause captures the imaginations of dewy-eyed movie-goers, it would be unwise to count them out.


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