9/26/2011

Extending Pacific Rim National Park

West Coast Trail ladders aid movement through the rainforest.
Photo credit: footloosiety

The mist blowing off the sea and through the canopy of the rain forest near Port Renfrew, BC sweeps through some of the most monumental coastal trees in BC, Canada, and the world. Some, including ex-MP Keith Martin, think that extending Vancouver Island's spectacular coastal park south could give the trees the protected status they richly deserve.




View Pacific Rim National Park Extension in a larger map.


Clear cut logging of the last unprotected old-growth forests adjacent to Pacific Rim National Park has been taking place since the park was established in 1971. Logging often takes place right to the boundary of the narrow strip of coastal park, and can be heard in places from campsites on the West Coast Trail.


Logging old growth in the Upper Walbran valley near the spectacular (and unprotected) Castle Grove, home to the Castle Giant, one of Canada's largest Western red cedars.
Photo credit: Wilderness Committee

In places like the Klanawa, Rosander, Upper Nitinat, Upper Walbran, Gordon, Hadikin Lake and San Juan Valleys, precious old growth of the type that draws over 1 million visitors a year to the National Park is thoughtlessly destroyed.



Stunning forest along the WCT.
Photo credit: footloosiety
A proposal to extend Pacific Rim National Park could include these old growth trees, as well as the Juan de Fuca trail, and adjoining resource lands of speculator Ender Ilkay's failed bid to rezone and develop the wild west coast between Sooke and Port Renfrew.



The Red Creek Fir is the world's largest know Douglas fir. It is
presently unprotected. Photo credit: Ancient Forest Alliance/TJ Watt

Near the south end of the West Coast Trail Unit of Pacific Rim National Park, lie some of British Columbia's most monumental coastal trees. In spite of being listed on BC's Big Tree Registry, none of them are officially protected by the province. Extending Pacific Rim National Park to include these trees and others, is an idea whose time has come.

Some of our largest remaining trees and wild stretches of coastline are being targeted by both logging interests and the provincial government through corporate-friendly policies. 90% of the most productive forests on Vancouver Island have already been affected.

The people made Pacific Rim National Park happen in the first place. We can extend it. But it will take a public outcry if we are to save the last big trees.

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