Just a half hour drive from Cathedral Grove is an ancient forest that is just about as impressive – the Cameron Valley Ancient Forest or “Firebreak.” This area is a valley-bottom-to-mountain-top old-growth Douglas-fir forest that was originally left as a moist, old-growth rainforest firebreak to stifle the spread of forest raging through the dry clearcuts. It was supposed to have been protected as an Ungulate Winter Range for the legions of magnificent Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer that live here.
The Central Walbran Valley on southern Vancouver Island is the grandest old-growth rainforest in Canada. The area is jam-packed with hundreds of the monumental redcedars, especially in the spectacular “Castle Grove,” which is perhaps the most extensive stand of near record-sized cedars on Earth. Unfortunately this also makes the area a prime target for logging.
Echo Lake is a spectacular, unprotected, lowland ancient forest near Agassiz, BC, in a region where virtually all of the valley bottom old-growth forests have been logged. The area is home to perhaps the largest concentration of bald eagles on Earth, where thousands of eagles come each fall to eat spawning salmon in the Harrison and Chehalis Rivers and hundreds roost in the old-growth trees at night around Echo Lake.
he Edinburgh Grove, the most spectacular part of the Edinburgh Mountain Ancient Forest on its southwestern side, has also been nicknamed the ‘Eden Grove’. More than half of the Edinburgh Mountain Ancient Forest is open for logging, while other parts are protected as a ‘core’ Wildlife Habitat Area (the ‘buffer’ zone can still be logged, and has already been logged in several areas) for the endangered Queen Charlotte Goshawk, as an Ungulate Winter Range, and as Old-Growth Management Areas.
Katlum Creek is home to endangered ancient Douglas-fir stands, as well as old-growth hemlock, amabilis fir, and cedars. This area was originally supposed to become officially protected as Ungulate Winter Range for black-tailed deer, but unfortunately in 2004 the BC government environmentally deregulated vast sections of forest lands now owned by Island TImberlands in the region.
Conservationists are calling on the BC government to protect a 500 hectare tract of ancient Douglas fir forest near Port Alberni that biologists have classified as both critical habitat for wintering deer and nesting endangered Queen Charlotte goshawks. The BC government needs to protect the old-growth forest on McLaughlin Ridge by purchasing it from Island Timberlands.
The unprotected “Mossy Maple Grove” is a several kilometer long stretch of enormous old-growth Bigleaf maple trees – some as much as 2 meters (7 feet) wide in trunk diameter – completely draped in hanging gardens of mosses and ferns found along a creek just south of Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island.
Canada’s most famous old-growth forest, Cathedral Grove, has been visited by millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the mountainside above this world-famous grove, Horne Mountain, has been roaded by Island Timberlands in preparation for potential logging.