|McLaughlin Ridge, which contains a small part of the 1% of the CDF old growth remaining, is being logged|
photo: AFA, TJ Watt
Not far from Port Alberni and the much visited and loved-to-death Cathedral Grove, lies a 500 hectare remnant of the once mighty Vancouver Island Coastal Douglas-fir ancient forest. While visitors to MacMillan Provincial Park, (of which Cathedral Grove is a part) enjoy one of the tallest, fattest, and oldest groves of trees on earth, Island Timberlands is logging a forest just like it on nearby McLaughlin Ridge.
|Location of McLaughlin Ridge (Cathedral Grove is along hiway 4 at the west end of Cameron Lake), from AFA website|
When there is only 1% of the original Coastal Douglas-fir forest left untouched by industrial activity, continued destruction of this ecologically diverse ecosystem may be legal, but it definitely is not moral, or an intelligent use of the land.
|This is what remains of 100 hectares of the McLaughlin Ridge old growth forest, photo: AFA, TJ Watt|
Biologists classified this forest, which is on private lands, as critical habitat to several species such as wintering deer and nesting goshawks. It is also critical habitat for big trees, which are endangered here. 400 foot plus Douglas-fir, which once were common in the ancient forest, are probably already extinct.
|Big Douglas-fir in the ridge old growth forest, 23.5ft in circumference, 7.5ft in diameter, photo: AFA, TJ Watt|
The government tells us that Cathedral Grove park "protects and preserves an internationally significant representative example of Douglas fir old-growth forest within the East Vancouver Island and the Coastal Douglas fir Biogeoclimatic Zone."
The park is established as Class "A", Category 2, Schedule A, and "is dedicated to the preservation of its particular natural environment for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public".
Here, the propaganda tells us, one "can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old".
Or you could drive a bit further to McLaughlin Ridge, and see a similar forest being converted into a scarred and torn wasteland.
Conservationists are calling on the provincial government to purchase the land that this old growth forest covers. After clear cut logging 100 hectares of old growth, 400 hectares remains on McLaughlin Ridge. To liquidate it, and everything else that depends on it, is delusional folly at best.
These trees do not belong to Island Timberlands, or to the pro-business government. These trees, and all old growth forests belong to the earth, and all its citizens.
We can stop the destruction by saying NO to continued old growth exploitation on McLaughlin Ridge, and everywhere else it still exists.
See the Ancient Forest Alliance website for more information, and to see beautiful (and disturbing) TJ Watt photos of the McLaughlin Ridge ancient forest.