A grove of giant, old-growth trees near Port Renfrew, which has brought thousands of visitors to the area over the last two years, will be protected by the province.
Avatar Grove, a unique stand of centuries-old Douglas firs and red cedars, will be included in an expanded, 59-hectare old-growth management area, Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Thursday.
That means no logging or mining, but is one step short of the legislated protection of park designation.
Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group, which holds logging rights for the area around Avatar Grove, is being compensated with 57 hectares removed from other old-growth management areas.
Much of Avatar Grove, named after the movie, was slated for logging two years ago when the Ancient Forest Alliance started campaigning for its protection.
At that time only 24 per cent of the grove was included in an old-growth management area.
Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance co-founder, applauded the move by the province, but said all old-growth forests on Vancouver Island should be protected.
“We do commend the B.C. government for protecting this tract of extremely rare old-growth valley bottom, as 95 per cent (of that ecosystem) has already been logged on Vancouver Island,” he said.
The Alliance wants to see an end to all old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and a sustainable second-growth forestry industry.