Avatar Grove now protected

Ancient cedar grove in Port Renfrew protected from logging

Upper Avatar Grove

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

 

Ken Wu called it a “campaign on steroids,” and Rose Betsworth called it a “soft approach,” but whatever it was called, the provincial government listened.

On February 16, Minister Steve Thomson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced that all of Avatar Grove is now protected from harvesting.

Wu, co-founder of  the Ancient Forest Alliance, said he would like to commend the B.C. government for protecting this key old growth forest.

“Eventually we would like to see it as a legislated park or conservancy,” said Wu.

Rose Betsworth, president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce is understandably pleased. For her community it means Avatar Grove will be made more accessible with upgrades to the trails and tidying up the area.

“Now we can make it better for everybody… we can put a trail in and do upkeep,” said Betsworth.

She said the Ancient Forest Alliance had the right approach which was  a soft one where they educated people and gained respect out of that. The AFC included forestry workers’ and the small business community’s comments and concerns in their efforts to save the grove.

“They’re not a bunch of radicals,” said Betsworth in referring to the way the AFA conducted their campaign.

The campaign led to a public review and comment period during the fall of 2011 where 232 out of 236 comments expressed support for preservation of the grove.

The unique stand of old-growth cedar near Port Renfrew is now protected in an expanded old-growth management area, totaling 59.4 hectares,

TJ Watt, the other co-founder of AFA, came across the grove in December 2009, popularized it and began the goal of preserving the monumental stand of valley-bottom ancient red cedars and Douglas fir.

“We commend the BC government for protecting this key tract of extremely rare valley bottom ancient forest – virtually all of the valley bottoms on southern Vancouver Island where the biggest trees grow have been logged, literally 95 per cent of them, ” stated TJ Watt. “At the same time, thousands of hectares of old-growth forests are being logged every year on Vancouver Island, and millions of hectares of old-growth forests are endangered across B.C. Our main goal is to see a new provincial plan to protect all of B.C.’s endangered old-growth forests and to ensure a sustainable second-growth forest industry instead.”

 

To fulfil the province’s obligation to Teal-Jones Group, which holds

the logging rights for Tree Farm Licence 46 where Avatar Grove is

located, the boundaries of other old-growth management areas were

adjusted by removing 57.4 hectares.

 

Of the 862,125 hectares of old-growth forests on Crown land on

Vancouver Island, it’s estimated that over 520,000 hectares will

never be harvested.

 

Just Posted

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

Federal candidates react to Trudeau blackface controversy

‘It does look like a foolish mistake,’ says Green candidate David Merner

Realtor pitches Langford’s third retail cannabis store

Local business owner Ron Cheeke prepares to open Honeycomb Cannabis

Cougar sighting reported near two Sooke schools

Sighting near Ecole Poirier Elementary and Journey Middle School

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

LETTER: It’s an accident waiting to happen

I am very happy Tim Hortons restaurant is now in Sooke, but… Continue reading

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Most Read