These photos of the magnificent “Jurassic Grove” were identified by the Ancient Forest Alliance in 2018 as an exceptional stand of unprotected, monumental old-growth trees a 90-minute drive west of Victoria.
The grove spans a 3-kilometer stretch alongside a portion of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Provincial Park, a popular 48 kilometre coastal hiking trail. It lies mainly on Crown lands adjacent to the provincial park, not far from Highway 14, in the traditional unceded territory of the Pacheedaht band.
Lowland old-growth groves on southern Vancouver Island with the classic giants like this are about as rare as finding a Sasquatch these days – over 95% of forests like this have been logged on the South Island. It’s hard to fathom that at one time the highway between Victoria and Port Renfrew could’ve been lined with ancient forests like this. Now it remains in just a few patches, like Jurassic Grove, underscoring the need to protect what’s left of our old-growth forests.
The Ancient Forest Alliance has requested meetings with the Ministry of Forests, BC Parks, and the Pacheedaht council to discuss conservation and access issues regarding the area. Until then, the organization is not yet encouraging the public to try visiting the grove, most of which has no trails, has an extremely dense understorey and is punctuated with very steep ravines. While most of Jurassic Grove’s 130 hectares of old-growth is protected within a Marbled Murrelet Wildlife Habitat Area that is off-limits to logging, about 40 hectares are on unprotected Crown lands without any type of regulatory or legislated protection. There are no approved or proposed logging plans on these lands for now. Since it’s adjacent to a popular provincial park for hiking, it would be a natural addition to the park and as a buffer to the Juan de Fuca trail – and ultimately as a star attraction for visitors around the world.