Conservation groups discover ancient old-growth forest near Port Renfrew: Grove home to record-size Sitka spruce and bigleaf maple trees

Published: January 9, 2019
Posted in: News Coverage
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Sooke News Mirror
January 9, 2019

Two Victoria-based forest conservation groups recently discovered an ancient grove near Port Renfrew that they’re calling the “the most magnificent and awe-inspiring old growth forest in the country.”

TJ with the largest spruce in the grove, which measures 10’1″ in diameter!

Members of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance and the Ancient Forest Alliance found the unprotected grove, with several near-record trees, in the San Juan River Valley in October.

Ken Wu, the executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance, said the largest trees in grove are near-record size, including a Sitka spruce and bigleaf maple that would rank as the ninth widest on the B.C. big tree registry.

“This is perhaps the most magnificent and stunningly beautiful old-growth forest I’ve ever seen, and I’ve explored a lot of old-growth forests in my time,” said Wu on Wednesday.

He said finding an unprotected forest is significant because many similar areas on Vancouver Island and elsewhere on coastal B.C. have been logged.

The forest has been nicknamed Mossome Grove, short for Mossy and Awesome Grove, because of the trees which are draped in hanging mosses and ferns. The grove is located on Crown land and managed by B.C. Timber Sales.

There are no plans to log the area, but B.C. Timber Sales has come under fire for auctioning off old-growth forests for logging in areas of the Nahmint Valley and Schmidt Creek on Vancouver Island and Manning provincial park.

The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance and Ancient Forest Alliance are calling on the B.C. government to reimplement a comprehensive, science-based plan to protect the province’s endangered old-growth forests.

“Without buffer zones to surround and protect the largest trees, and without also protecting the grandest groves, the B.C. government’s currently proposed big tree protection policy is essentially a Big Lonely Doug Policy’ that will leave a few sad giants standing alone in clearcuts scattered around Vancouver Island,” said Andrea Inness, an Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner.

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*Note: Mossome Grove stands on Crown lands in the operating area of BC Timber Sales, with some (3-4 hectares) protected in an Old-Growth Management Area and riparian reserve, a portion (3-4 hectares) unprotected within a Woodlot Licence allocated to a forestry company, and the rest is unprotected, falling under the regulatory authority of BC Timber Sales. There are no logging plans for the grove at this time.

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