Forest for all Seasons mixes poetry with nature

Fund raising event to preserve wilderness forest along West Coast Road

Equestrians and walkers are all welcome along the trails at Admiral’s Forest

Star between tree branches

caught for a moment

on this spinning world

– Sue Mackenzie

 

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

“All the world’s a stage,” said William Shakespeare and if this indeed be true, then those who trod the paths in Admiral’s Forest become actors and poets.

A Forest for all Seasons is a unique event being staged on Sunday, March 30 along a piece of wilderness property on West Coast Road. Local poet Wendy Morton has fashioned an afternoon celebration of the natural world where illustrated poetry from makers of verses from across the country will enable people to read poetry found hanging on branches and shrubs.

“It’s a Wendy event,” said Heather Phillips, a member of the Juan de Fuca Community Land Trust Society. “Wendy asked her poet friends to send poems on that theme (natural world).”

Morton believes poetry is the shortest distance between two hearts. The two hearts she is trying to connect are the wild forests and the people. Known as the Poet of the Skies, Morton also instigated Random Acts of Poetry, a national week long event celebrating literacy.

Visitors attending the March 30 event will walk one of the many trails on the Admiral’s property to read poems and revel in the Forest for all Seasons, a 126-acre parcel of peaceful forest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The JdF Community Land Trust Society is fund raising to purchase 70-acres of this pristine and natural park-like property from the estate of Rear Admiral John Charles. Charles spend over 50 years developing trails and managing the forest. He was relentless in the care and management of his Private Managed Forest, and since his passing, the trustees have an obligation to do well by the family. This means parts or all of the property needs to be sold – unless some of it can be saved through purchase by the society.

“This is a really rare opportunity to keep forested property in the Juan de Fuca, “said Phillips. She said the property is crucial to the wildlife and to the water supply of the people whose wells border the property.

Public stewardship will insure the second growth forest is managed sustainably and grows on to maturity. The forest will remain as habitat for wild creatures in residence now. The JdF CLT plans include outdoor education and adventures for youth on the property. Phillips said that with a relatively small investment, the present network of trails will remain open for equestrians and walkers. Many trails will be wheelchair accessible and there is also the potential for economic benefit from tourists enjoying the Pacific Marine Circle Route. With the adjacent Crown land and two private managed forests, the three parcels provide over 250-acres of forest. Greenspace seems endless but it is shrinking and preservation is critical,  especially around settled areas.

“Without prior planning, our wildlife neighbours become refugees with no place to go,” states Phillips.

Working out a price for the property is a complicated issue although previously figures of $700,000 to $1-million were quoted. They are trying to hold off the sale until they can see how much money they can raise.

Phillips said they are just trying to get people’s attention and remind them to act now and show them a place to begin.

As Admiral’s Forest is private property, the owners have given permission to the JdF CLTS to host this celebration on their property. The property is located at 8514 West Coast Road and parking is at Seaward, 8485 West Coast Road.

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