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British Columbia Ancient Forests News
No Paradigm Shift in BC Government, But New Recognition of Public Mood for Protecting Avatar Grove and Expanding Old-Growth Protection
Forest activists reacted with amusement at comments made by the BC government and a logging industry representative in a Times Colonist article “BC looking for new ways to protect ancient trees” on Tuesday.
Ancient Forest Media Release, February 17, 2011
In the article the Forests Minister Pat Bell states, “BC has more old-growth today than we’ve ever had,” and that “we are not running out of old-growth on
“Somehow a century of industrial logging has actually increased the amount of old-growth forests on
The Ancient Forest Alliance is planning another public hike to the Avatar Grove on Sunday, February 27. More details will be posted on its website www.ancientforestalliance.org next week.
Since the Avatar Grove was found in December of 2009 by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner TJ Watt, the AFA has organized countless public hikes, slideshows, rallies, photography expeditions, letter-writing drives, and petition drives to get the area protected. There has been a torrent of local, provincial, and national media stories about the Avatar Grove, and support has snowballed to include the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce, Sooke Region Tourism Association, and local elected representatives at the federal, provincial, and regional levels including Liberal MP Keith Martin, NDP MLA John Horgan, and Regional Director Mike Hicks, respectively. The Avatar Grove consists of numerous monumental ancient redcedars, some 14 feet (over 4 meters) in trunk diameter, giant Douglas firs, and a few large
Almost 6000 people have now viewed the Ancient Forest Alliance’s new video clip (1 minute), “
“We’ll give thanks if
“There is an inevitable transition to logging only second-growth forests in southern BC as the old-growth stands run out - what we’re saying is let’s make the transition now while we still have some significant old-growth stands left, for wildlife, tourism, the climate, and future generations. I think the majority of British Columbians would agree with that,” stated TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner and photographer.
In Tuesday’s Times Colonist article, Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association, also spin-doctored various statistics, claiming that there are more protected areas than lands available for logging (reality check: most park lands consist of alpine rock and ice, marginal subalpine forests, and coastal bog forests, and contain a minority fraction of productive forest lands of value for logging), that most monumental stands of ancient trees are already protected (reality check: 90% of Vancouver Island’s productive old-growth forests in the valley bottoms, where the monumental stands grow, have already been logged, and a significant amount of the remainder is unprotected), and that the threat against a stand like the Avatar Grove is an exception.
“The Avatar Grove is just one example of the thousands of ancient forest stands currently under threat in BC, literally hundreds of which get clearcut each year – that’s a simple, sad fact. The difference with the Avatar Grove is that it is easy to get to and grows on gentle terrain so that large numbers of people have now seen this place. Most other endangered ancient forests are remote and difficult for the average person to get to, and thus their destruction goes unseen,” states TJ Watt, AFA explorer and photographer.