One of several monumental western red cedars located in Jurassic Grove, near Port Renfrew. (TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance)

‘Stunning grove’ of unprotected old-growth trees located near Port Renfrew

Ancient Forest Alliance dubs unprotected forest area Jurassic Grove

The Ancient Forest Alliance has discovered an unknown old-growth forest near Jordan River.

The forest contains a stunning and impressive grove of unprotected, monumental old-growth trees along a three-kilometre stretch between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. It lies mainly on Crown lands adjacent to Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Provincial Park and its popular coastal hiking trail not far from Highway 14 in the traditional 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 per cent of the forests like this have been logged on the South Island,” said Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director.

“For now we’ve nicknamed this tract of old-growth forest as the ‘Jurassic Grove,’ which could become ‘Jurassic Park’ one day if it is protected. Of course, there may be more traditional names for the area, which we’ll be happy to use”.

The Ancient Forest Alliance’s TJ Watt had explored and identified the area as an old-growth forest of high conservation significance in recent years but came across a particularly accessible grove of giant trees while bushwhacking a few weeks ago.

“This area is like another Avatar Grove – it’s easy to get to, it includes some parts with gentle terrain, and is filled with amazing trees. When we can disclose the exact location when it’s appropriate for wider public access, the Jurassic Grove will undoubtedly become a major source of inspiration and environmental awareness for thousands of people,” Watt said.

While most of Jurassic Grove’s 130 hectares of old-growth is protected within a marbled murrelet wildlife habitat area is off-limits to logging, about 40 hectares is on unprotected Crown lands without any regulatory or legislated protection.

There are no approved or proposed logging plans on these lands, according to the B.C. Forest Ministry. The Ancient Forest Alliance plans to meet with Ministry of Forests officials, B.C. Parks, and Pacheedaht council to discuss conservation and access issues regarding the area.

Jurassic Grove’s easy to access location makes it a potential first rate ancient forest attraction that can help to raise the awareness of all endangered old-growth forests and bolster the regional eco-tourism industry, said Wu.

Wu pointed out while thew Ancient Forest Alliance found Jurrasic Grove others groups have used the area for years, and for the Pacheedaht, thousands of years.

“We were the ones who located and identified this area for its conservation significance regarding old growth,” Wu said.