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British Columbia Ancient Forests News


Posted August 14, 2016

Media Release: New Spectacular Drone Video of Tree Climbers Scaling Canada’s 2nd Largest Douglas-fir Tree, “Big Lonely Doug”

Ancient Forest Alliance, August 11, 2016

Media Release:  New Spectacular Drone Video of Tree Climbers Scaling Canada’s 2nd Largest Douglas-fir Tree, “Big Lonely Doug”
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A screenshot from the new Climbing Big Lonely Doug: Round 2 drone video filmed by the Ancient Forest Alliance.

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2016
New Spectacular Drone Video of Tree Climbers Scaling Canada’s 2nd Largest Douglas-fir Tree, “Big Lonely Doug”
Port Renfrew, British Columbia – Today the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is releasing a spectacular new HD drone video of tree climbers scaling the second largest known Douglas-fir tree in Canada, “Big Lonely Doug”, in a clearcut on Vancouver Island.
Watch the Video “Climbing Big Lonely Doug: Round 2” here:
• The new video follows up on the AFA’s previous “Climbing Big Lonely Doug” video (no drone used) released last year, which has gone viral with over 130,000 views so far:
• It also follows up on the organization’s first drone video released last year, “Save the Central Walbran Valley – Canada’s Grandest Ancient Forest at Risk”:
• The original Big Lonely Doug video is at:
Remotely-piloted drones equipped with high definition video cameras are a new tool being used by conservationists like the Ancient Forest Alliance to monitor and document endangered ecosystems such as Vancouver Island’s old-growth temperate rainforests.
“Drones not only allow us to get spectacular footage of our ancient forests to help raise public awareness, but they enable us to see what’s going on with remote logging operations that are normally out of the public spotlight due to barriers imposed by the mountains and rugged terrain. Normally it can take hours to hike into these sites where companies, often using helicopters, believe they can log with little scrutiny. However, with our drone, we can now see and film what’s going on in such areas”, stated TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance photographer and campaigner. 
Watt filmed tree climbers Matthew Beatty, Aaron Kinvig, and Elliot Wright of the Arboreal Collective, a group of arborists working to help document and protect old-growth forests in BC, in March of 2016 using the DJI Phantom 3 Pro. Two photographers, Martin Gregus Sr & Jr, from the One 50 Canada Society were also present to document the climb for a cross-Canada book project that will include Big Lonely Doug.
“Big Lonely Doug has become the educational mascot of BC’s endangered old-growth forests. His massive size highlights the grandeur of BC’s old-growth forests, while the dramatic contrast of the surrounding clearcut highlights the threat to them posed by industrial logging. The drone footage of tree climbers in this sobering setting will help us raise the public awareness needed to pressure the BC government to save what remains of the adjacent Eden Grove and endangered old-growth forests across British Columbia, and to ensure a sustainable second-growth forest industry instead”, stated Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director.
“Of all trees in Canada, Big Lonely Doug is the most deserving to be climbed and filmed with a drone, due to his impressive nature and educational role for our endangered old-growth forests,” stated TJ Watt. 
Big Lonely Doug was nicknamed and first recognized as the 2nd largest Douglas-fir in Canada in 2014 by the Ancient Forest Alliance. It is measured to be 66 metres (216 feet) in height and 3.8 metres (12.4 feet) in diameter. It was once part of the Eden Grove (ie. a new nickname for the Lower Edinburgh Grove), until its surrounding old-growth forests was clearcut by Teal-Jones in 2012. Big Lonely Doug was left behind, along with 2 other trees in the clearcut as wildlife trees but was also used as an anchor for the giant steel cables to yard the rest of the old-growth logs through the clearcut, which has damaged some of the tree's bark. Conservationists are working to protect the rest of the Eden Grove, which has been surveyed for further potential future logging by Teal-Jones. See photos of the area at:
More Background Info
Port Renfrew, formerly a logging town, has been transformed in recent years into a big tree tourism destination as hundreds of thousands of tourists have come from around the world to visit some of Canada’s largest trees in the nearby Avatar Grove, Big Lonely Doug (Canada’s 2nd largest Douglas-fir tree), the Red Creek Fir (the world’s largest Douglas-fir tree), San Juan Spruce (until recently Canada’s largest Sitka spruce tree – its top broke off in a recent storm unfortunately), the Harris Creek spruce (one of the largest Sitka spruce trees in Canada), and the endangered Central Walbran Valley. Recently, the province’s premier business lobby, the BC Chamber of Commerce, passed a resolution calling on the BC government to expand protection for the province’s old-growth forests – see:
Similarly, the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) representing 51 municipal, town, and regional district councils, passed a resolution recently calling on the province to amend the outdated Vancouver Island Land Use Plan of 1994 to protect the remaining old-growth forests.
Big Lonely Doug and Eden Grove are just a few kilometers from the now-protected Avatar Grove and the world-famous West Coast Trail of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Eden Grove is one of Canada’s most magnificent old-growth temperate rainforests, consisting of giant western redcedar, Douglas-fir, and hemlock trees. Species at risk include northern goshawks, marbled murrelets, and red-legged frogs in the forest, while coho salmon and steelhead trout spawn in the adjacent Gordon River. It is part of the Edinburgh Mountain Ancient Forest (roughly 1500 hectares of contiguous old-growth forest) located on public (Crown) land in Tree Farm Licence 46 near Port Renfrew in Pacheedaht territory.
The Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the BC government to protect the Eden Grove from logging through an expanded Old-Growth Management Area (OGMA), a new Land Use Order (LUO), and/or through a proposed new "legal tool" to protect BC’s biggest trees and grandest groves, which the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations is currently developing. 
The organization is also calling on the BC government to implement a comprehensive science-based plan to protect all of BC’s remaining endangered old-growth forests, and to also ensure a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry.
Old-growth forests are vital to sustain endangered species, climate stability, tourism, clean water, wild salmon, and the cultures of many First Nations. On BC’s southern coast, satellite photos show that at least 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been logged, including well over 90% of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow. See maps and stats on the remaining old-growth forests on BC’s southern coast at:
In order to placate public fears about the loss of BC’s endangered old-growth forests, the BC government’s PR-spin typically over-inflates the amount of remaining old-growth forests by including hundreds of thousands of hectares of marginal, low productivity forests growing in bogs and at high elevations with smaller, stunted trees, lumped in with the productive old-growth forests, where the large trees grow (and where most logging takes place). "It’s like including your Monopoly money with your real money and then claiming to be a millionaire, so why curtail spending?" stated the Ancient Forest Alliance’s Ken Wu. 

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