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Posted April 8, 2010

Avatar worth exploring

Letter to the Editor

Bruce H. Foerster, The Martlet, April 8, 2010

Avatar worth exploring
Click for larger image

Ancient Forest Alliance co-founded Ken Wu stands beside one of the many giant red cedars flagged for logging in the Avatar Grove.
Photo by TJ Watt

I had the pleasure March 28 of joining 80 other members of the Ancient Forest Alliance to experience the small grove of old growth trees near Port Renfrew known (informally) as Avatar Grove. This amazingly rare site, which comprises an area approximately 10 square hectares, holds some of the oldest and largest trees remainig on Vancouver Island, some of which are more than 30 feet around and stand over 100 feet tall. My friends and I gazed up at these monstrous trees in amazement, realizing that many of them were 500 to 800 years old. We were shocked and deeply saddened to see survey tape surrounding the grove, including tape which indicated proposed new logging roads as well as cut lines.

We feel that it is extremely important that this small grove of trees is preserved, as it is one of the last such stands of ancient, old growth trees on the Island, 99 per cent of which have been destroyed by 150 years of industrial logging. Logging has left most hillsides and valley bottoms on the island devoid of much, if any life and what were once very rich and diverse eco-systems are now nothing more than sterile tree farms, assuming they have been fortunate enough to be re-planted. It's amazing to me that the very few old growth trees which remain haven't been protected from the chainsaws which have devastated our once verdant forests.

With the recent decline in fishing, Port Renfrew is in serious need of additional sites which will attract tourism. The Avatar Grove would be an ideal addition to what they currently offer the travelling public. Acquiring this grove of trees would be a win for all concerned, especially our children who we are forcing to live in a world greatly diminished in nature. This is our very last chance to preserve the Avatar Grove and the few remaining sites like it.


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