It's been a crazy summer with more adventures than ever and I have quite the backlog of photos to share but to start, here are some pics from a recent hiking trip along the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island - one of the most beautiful places on Earth! If you have 3 days, it's hard to think of a more rewarding place to visit. Located just north of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound, the trail's 11km length winds you along stunning coastlines, through amazing ancient forests, and ends at the long, sandy beaches of Cow Bay. Wildlife such as wolves, cougars, and bears are found here along with the rich cultural history of the Ahousaht First Nation, who still call the island home. You can catch a boat to Flores from Tofino for $20 through this water taxi and support the Ahousaht Nation - who's Land Use Plan Vision declares for more than 80% of their traditional territory to be protected from industrial activity - by paying the small trail and camping fee. Happy hiking!
2017 - a year that certainly seems to have had its fair share of ups and downs for many folks, myself included. Throughout it all though we learn valuable lessons, grow stronger, and remember to remain grateful for the simple gift of life itself. I was fortunate enough to be a part of some really amazing projects again this year, such as working with Ed Burtynsky, one of my earliest idols and inspirations in photography; having my photo published in Reader's Digest Magazine; guest judging the British Columbia Magazine Photo Contest; and embarking on a number of trips to explore and document incredible wilderness areas across Vancouver Island and BC. Below is a collection featuring some of my personal favourite photos from 2017. As always, I'm looking forward to what new places and faces this next year has in store. I hope you'll join me on the adventure! TJ. *Prints available here.
I'm excited to share the new documentary Giant Tree Hunters about the efforts to find and protect Canada's largest trees and grandest old-growth temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island! The film features the activities of Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners Ken Wu and myself; forest ecologists Dr. Andy MacKinnon and Dr. Sally Aitken of the BC Big Tree Registry; and tree climbers Matthew Beatty and Damien Carre of Expedition Old Growth. It was produced by Nootka St. Film Company for Telus Optik TV. Huge thanks to everyone who brought this project to life!
In his new 8 minute documentary titled No Degree of Scarcity, renowned US filmmaker Joe Callander highlights Big Lonely Doug and old-growth logging on Vancouver Island. Joe came to the island for a brief stint and followed myself and Ken Wu of the Ancient Forest Alliance through the clearcut around Big Lonely Doug by Edinburgh Mountain and to the Walbran Valley. He also spoke with Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce president Dan Hager about old-growth forests and the local economy. The video includes some of my photography and drone footage as well. Thanks to Joe for taking this time to cover this story. You can see more of his films here.
Well, it has been another incredible year, jam-packed with new adventures, discoveries, and photos! It's hard to pick favourites from it all but here are my personal top 16 from 2016. Do you have a favourite image? Let me know in the comments below! A huge thanks goes out to the amazing groups and individuals that I've worked with this past year and to all those who have supported my work. It wouldn't be the same with out you! For those who might be interested, prints of most these images are available in my online store as well. Here's to a happy, healthy, and wild 2017! TJ.
This past October, the Ancient Forest Alliance teamed up with expert tree climbers Matthew Beatty of the Arboreal Collective and Damien Carré of Expedition Old-Growth to ascend a giant Douglas-fir tree in the endangered Eden Grove near Port Renfrew. The days before the climb saw intense rains and hurricane force winds the brought dozens of trees and power lines down across the roads. Despite the many challenges we faced, we were thankfully still able to access the area and complete the climb in one day. After setting the first lines with the Bigshot slingshot (this took an extra 2 hours after the first well placed line slipped away from us when going to tie it off...), Damien made the first ascent. After reaching the top, he dropped a tape measure down to acquire an accurate height measurement, which turned out to be 210ft (64m). The width measured 9ft (2.75m). That's a BIG tree!! Seeing it in the forest setting gives you some sense as to what its even larger neighbour Big Lonely Doug may have looked like before the forest around him was clearcut by Teal-Jones in 2012. The Eden Grove, or 'Lower Edinburgh Grove', is found on Edinburgh Mt. within the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation. The tree climb was also documented by the Nootka St film crew, who were there filming for their up-and-coming documentary titled 'Hunting Giants', which will feature my explorations for new record-sized trees and the AFA's efforts to save them! Watch for that in Spring of 2017. For now, here are some photos I captured of the climb. It's always a profound and humbling experience entering this suspended world high above the ground. Much like exploring the worlds oceans and caves - or even outer space - the tree-top canopies of temperate forests are a world full of things yet to be discovered and staggering natural beauty. Sadly, fewer and fewer of these ancient giants remain each year that passes. My hope is that these images will inspire action that results in our old-growth forests being protected once and for all.
Below are images featuring recent old-growth logging on Edinburgh Mt. near Port Renfrew. It took a 17km round-trip hike up the steepest roads I've encountered on the island to access the area, which is on the mountainside above Big Lonely Doug. What we found were two old-growth clearcuts, totaling 34 hectares (almost 40 football fields) in size. Dozens of old-growth western redcedars - some of them 8 feet in diameter -, yellow cedar, western and mountain hemlocks, and very rare, old Douglas-firs (between 500 to 1000 years in age) have been logged. How much further will the BC government allow this industry to go? Plans for four new old-growth clearcuts, one approved and three pending approval, and an expanded road network are also underway. It would seem that no place is currently deemed too rare or important in the destructive race to log the island's last endangered old-growth forests before we have a chance to see them saved. Ecosystems that have taken millennia to form, erased in a blink of an eye, never to be seen again.