Today marks the anniversary of the protection of the Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew! In February 2012, after a 2-year campaign spearheaded by the Ancient Forest Alliance with support from the public, the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce and the local business community, this magnificent ancient forest was declared off-limits to logging through an Old-Growth Management Area. This was an incredible moment as shortly after I first came across the area in 2009 during a big tree expedition, it was flagged and marked for logging by Teal Jones.
The Ancient Forest Alliance began construction of the Avatar Grove Boardwalk in 2013 in order to protect the tree roots and understory vegetation from foot traffic, enhance visitor access and safety, and support the local eco-tourism economy. It's been an inspiration to lead this project and connect with the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who've worked long and hard to bring the boardwalk to life.
Avatar Grove has since become a catalyst helping to shape the fate of endangered old-growth forests across BC. Several Chambers of Commerce, led by the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce and culminating in May 2016 with the BC Chamber of Commerce, have called on the province to increase the protection of BC's old-growth forests to support the economy.
Unfortunately, damage to the Avatar Grove Boardwalk due to hurricane-force winds in an October 2016 storm has delayed the completion launch of the Avatar Grove Boardwalk until this spring. Support is still required to fully complete the boardwalk with these necessary repairs - please volunteer or donate if you can to help us complete this important project! https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/boardwalk-donation.php
2010 seems like a long time ago now but there was very real a time where the future of Avatar Grove remained highly uncertain. Below are a few old photos from when the grove was first surveyed for logging by Teal Jones in that same year. With the paint faded and the flagging tape mostly gone from the trees today, many visitors are unaware of the area's troubled past. These images help remind me to remain grateful each time I visit that we could have lost this irreplaceable forest.