Con­ser­va­tion­ists want pro­tec­tion on old-growth for­est

The Western Star - - CANADA -

Con­ser­va­tion­ists in British Columbia are push­ing for pro­tec­tions on an area of old­growth forests they de­scribe as “Canada’s most mag­nif­i­cent.”

The grove is lo­cated on Crown land in the San Juan River Val­ley near Port Ren­frew on south­ern Van­cou­ver Is­land in the un­ceded ter­ri­tory of the Pacheedaht First Na­tion band.

The 13-hectare grove of im­mense old-growth Sitka spruce and big-leaf maples draped in hang­ing mosses and ferns was first lo­cated in Oc­to­ber and ex­plored again in late De­cem­ber, said Ken Wu, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the En­dan­gered Ecosys­tems Al­liance.

“It is prob­a­bly the most spec­tac­u­lar and beau­ti­ful old­growth for­est I’ve ever seen and I’ve ex­plored a lot of old-growth forests,” Wu said. “(The trees) look shaggy be­cause they’ve got all this hang­ing mosses and ferns on their branches. So they look like an­cient pre­his­toric crea­tures.”

Most of the grove is un­pro­tected, with a small por­tion — about four hectares — of­flim­its to log­gers through the provin­cial gov­ern­ment’s old­growth man­age­ment area, he said.

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