Friday, September 21, 2007

The Ancients

We drove north from our campsite in Nanaimo to Cathedral Grove, an ancient forest of fir and red cedar. I think it is aptly named; there is something holy about 800-year-old trees. Most are decaying, but I don't know if that means "dying." Some stand 250 feet tall and nearly 30 feet in circumference, inspiring awe. It would seem a sin to destroy such majestic things, but the ancient forests of Vancouver have practically been wiped out. 97% wiped out since colonization. Logging. Ancient trees in unprotected areas are still in danger of
clear-cutting and logging, and there is continual protest from concerned people. Here is an excerpt from the Cathedral Grove website:

Stop Killing Big Trees Since Weyerhaeuser bought MacMillan Bloedel in 1999, the barbaric practice of old growth clearcutting has continued at an even faster rate on Vancouver Island. In the fall of 1999, Weyerhaeuser began cutting down 800 year old ancient Douglas firs adjacent to Cathedral Grove as part of a new logging road. Wide spread public outrage at this corporate vandalism led to a campaign to expand the boundaries of Cathedral Grove spearheaded by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee in 2000.

The political decision to destroy more forest habitat to construct a parking lot in Cathedral Grove is contentious. MLA Scott Fraser (Alberni Qualicum) cautions: "I don't want to see a problem à la Clayoquot Sound . . . if the public is not listened to here, there won't be just a few people in the trees" (9 December 2005, Parksville-Qualicum News).

I can see why a person would become a tree-hugger. Standing in that sacred grove I fully understood my compulsion to want to wrap my arms around a rare and magnificent living object as wise and knowing as an old cedar. Something that has stood so long must be deserving of our worship and protection. Oh, I could go on and on; there's a forest full of allegories to harvest here. Just watch my video:

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