Ancient forest group continues push for old-growth

In just over a year, the Ancient Forest Alliance has collected almost 7,000 petition signatures, 18,000 supporters and fundraised more than $50,000.

  • Feb. 1, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Federal Liberal MP Keith Martin stands beside an ancient red cedar with a giant burl

In just over a year, the Ancient Forest Alliance has collected almost 7,000 petition signatures, 18,000 supporters and fundraised more than $50,000.

Not bad for an environmental group in it’s infancy, says cofounder Ken Wu.

The non-profit organization founded in January 2010 is working to protect old-growth tree stands through B.C., including some on the West Shore.

“The western communities have some real gems of old growth,” Wu said. “On the Department of National Defence lands in Colwood and Metchosin, you’ve got some of the finest old-growth Douglas fir stands on the planet. It’s a spectacular place.”

AFA members spent the last year hunting the south Island for old-growth stands to document and photograph. It’s trying to put pressure on the B.C. government to protect old-growth stands for future generations.

“I think a lot of people realize this is a spectacular part of the world and the unfortunate thing is that the B.C. Liberal government still contends that old growth forests are not endangered on Vancouver Island, which is nuts … our old growth forests are now in tatters and are now a teeny fraction of what they once were.”

AFA’s discovery of an old-growth stand near Port Renfrew, dubbed Avatar Grove, has some of the largest trees on the Island and in Canada, Wu said. It’s in an area zoned for logging, with rights belonging to Surrey-based Teal Jones Group. The AFA is now offering guided public hikes to the area every month.

“It’ll knock your socks off,” Wu said. “It’s got Canada’s gnarliest tree. This tree’s got a burl that is 12 feet wide — something that can only happen in an old-growth forest.”

Looking forward into 2011, Wu says he’s optimistic about the upcoming leadership races for the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP.

“There’s great potential for new progressive environmental policies, but we’ve got to snowball the size of the movement to ensure that happens,” he said.

The AFA is trying to collect 100,000 signatures for a petition calling on the government to protect old-growth forests and forestry jobs.

One of the ways it intends to do that is through a provincewide slideshow tour. The team will be traveling across the province delivering photo presentations about the most endangered old-growth stands, including Avatar Grove, Flores Island and the upper Walbran Valley.

Wu says the AFA already enjoys tremendous support from government representatives regionally, provincially and federally. Mike Hicks, CRD Juan de Fuca regional director; John Horgan, Juan de Fuca NDP MLA; Keith Martin, Liberal MP; the Sooke Tourism Association and the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce are all calling for the protection of Avatar Grove, according to Wu.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the BC government to make a land use order to protect the Avatar Grove and eventually to establish new protective areas too. We need to protect the old-growth across Vancouver Island and throughout much of the province because it’s so endangered now.”

For more information about the Ancient Forest Alliance, visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocean Boulevard could open after Labour Day

Colwood council expected to discuss options later this month

Sidney can ‘only educate and encourage’ people to social distance

CAO says municipality lacks legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read