Save The Best and Tell The Rest: The Central Walbran Valley

Tall Tree is about more than creating memorable music festivals; we are proud community members of Pacheedaht First Nation and Port Renfrew and have always strived to work collaboratively with our neighbours for the betterment of our community. Our region once thrived due to the forestry industry that brought jobs and prosperity but few locals currently find employment in the forestry sector.  Port Renfrew is however uniquely situated to become a hotspot for ecotourism because the preservation and promotion of areas like Avatar Grove and the Central Walbran Valley.

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There is no spot in our backyard more beautiful than the Central Walbran Valley, home to Canada’s largest stand of unprotected Red Cedars red cedars. This amazing ancient forest stretches from the bottom of the valley at the Walbran River, to the towering mountains above creating habitat for multiple endangered species such as the Marbled Murrelets, Queen Charlotte Goshawks, Marbled Murrelets, Screech Owls and red-legged frogs, towering trees, including one of Canada’s largest trees, a 5m (16 ft) diameter red cedar called the Castle Giant, and an energy that a thousandmyears of untouched ecological evolution creates. The bridge over the Walbran River leading to this untouched ancient forest was ground zero for the “War in the Woods” in the early 90’s. There was a strong local, and eventually global effort to protect the area from logging that was spearheaded by committed members of The Wilderness Committee and Friends of the Carmanah/Walbran. And “The War in the Woods”resulted in the creation of  the These efforts helped result in the expansion of the Carmanah ProvincialPark to include parts of the Lower and West Walbran Valley. One area was not preserved through creation of the park; an area known as  “The Bite”, named for its irregular shape that cuts into the Park park. The Wilderness Committee and Ancient Forest Alliance have been urging the BC government for years to correct this oversight and preserve the entire Central Walbran Valley.

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The Teal Jones Group, a logging corporation based out of Surrey, BC, has legal cutting rights to this valley and has recently applied to the Provincial Liberal government to begin removing the monumental trees from the Central Walbran Valley. This region makes up only 0.5% of Teal Jones legal cutting rights, leaving Teal Jones with 99.5% of crown-owned (public) land to continue their operations if the Central Walbran Valley was entirely protected. The Tall Tree family is not opposed to logging; we support ecologically-responsible logging and understand the historical importance of forestry to the region. We do however, have a big issue with logging Old Growth Forests endangered old-growth forests, especially when there are communities and residents nearby that want to preserve and promote the ancient forests for ecological reasons and to benefit ecotourism, a viable industry in the area that has the potential to create a vibrant economy. Pacheedaht/Port Renfrew is now the gateway to the Central Walbran Valley. A new access road has cut the travel time in half and changes the travel route from the Cowichan Valley to the Gordon River Valley. This change has vast positive implications for our tourism industry moving forward with our ability to promote Port Renfrew as the entrance to the Central Walbran Valley, and Canada’s largest Red Cedar in Castle Grove an area with incredible recreational and ecological values.

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The provincial government needs to hear our voice now. They need to be informed and educated that sustaining the complete Central Walbran is very important to our Island, our region and our neighbours moving forward. The new road has opened this region up to day trips from Victoria and with that, greater traffic and exposure, increasing the potential for year-round, sustainable jobs in the ecotourism sector for members of Pacheedaht First Nation and Port Renfrew. The bridge over the Walbran River is as metaphorical as it gets, with one side recently logged and the other untouched intact. As you walk over the bridge you can feel the determined stance cemented 24 years ago that helped lead to the creation expansion of the Carmanah/Walbran Park. Please join the current momentum now and make your stance with thousands of others to tell the Provincial BC Liberal government to extend the Carmanah/Walbran Park to include “The Bite” and all of its ecological treasures and complete the preservation of the park as it should have been in the first place. Thank you for your time and continued support.  Send a letter to BC politicians asking them to save this special area here: http://www.bcforestmovement.com

See a photo galleries from the area here:

http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/photos.php?gID=28

http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/photos.php?gID=21