Greg Klem’s most recent letter (“Stop the Avafraud!” Sooke News Mirror Oct. 5) opposing Avatar Grove’s protection is again filled with fallacies and weird logic.
Most people would think it’s a good thing that Port Renfrew’s businesses are benefitting from the flood of tourism dollars as thousands of new visitors come to see Avatar Grove, with some businesses having record sales this year. This will only increase if it gets formal protection as an Old-Growth Management Area and hopefully one day as a provincial conservancy or park.
About 95 per cent of the valley-bottom ancient forests like the Avatar Grove where the largest trees grow have already been logged on the South Island, leaving mainly old-growth on steep slopes at higher altitudes.
Because Avatar Grove is near town, filled with monumental trees even larger than those in Cathedral Grove, and is on valley-bottom flat land (Lower Grove) and gentle slopes (Upper Grove), there is simply no replacement for Port Renfrew’s tourism economy if it’s logged. Giant cedars are B.C.’s most coveted trees, which is why the company surveyed and flagged a cutblock in Avatar Grove with “Falling Boundary” and “Road Location” tape last year. The last step would’ve been road building and cutting permit applications, which are quickly rubber-stamped – luckily the public outcry happened in time.
If Avatar Grove is protected, a boardwalk can be built over the wetter spots and roots of the most popular trees, as well as steps along the first five meters of steep road embankment before entering the grove. Until then, it’s illegal to build trails and boardwalks on Crown land under the Forest and Range Practices Act.
Because we’re aiming for the protection of all endangered old-growth forests, we agree with Klem that other old-growth stands around Port Renfrew should stay safe –except for some weird reason he just doesn’t want the protection of the most accessible stand with the largest trees, Avatar Grove.
We’re proud to work with the visionary leaders of Port Renfrew’s small business community in the Chamber of Commerce.
Please support protecting Avatar Grove and all endangered old-growth forests by writing to: RenfrewOMGA@gov.bc.ca and email@example.com