Sunday, March 27, 2011

Avatar Grove

Just returned from a trip out to Port Renfrew with Club Mud where we had a chance to explore some forest lands near Baird Creek often referred in the media as the Avatar Grove.

Pretty well one of the only old growth forest areas left on southern Vancouver Island the Avatar Grove has now been surveyed, flagged and scheduled to be logged in the near future. The story about the potential loss of the Avatar Grove and the treasure chest of the old growth Cedars, Douglas firs and the complete eco-system around them was recently featured on a documentary in 2011 on Al Jazeera TV.

The contentious lands of the Avatar Grove are being viewed by some groups as a loss to society and are trying to save them with a regional or provincial park status along this corridor of the Gordon River. A group called the Ancient Forest Alliance has well documented and help bring attention and awareness to the public of possible change to this special place.

The lands around the Avatar Grove and Baird Creek are still private and not developed at all, so exploring the forest exposes people to some risk on the sometimes steep undeveloped trails and trespassing is not recommended for safety and liability reasons.

Once at Port Renfrew, by travelling on Hwy 14 from Victoria, the trip to the Avatar Grove involves travelling on the Pacific Marine Circle Route towards Mesachie Lake and Lake Cowichan, then once over the Deering Bridge turn left towards the Port Renfrew Marina. Continue on the Gordon River Forest Service Road (FSR) rather than the Harris Creek FSR towards Lake Cowichan.

While travelling on Gordon River FSR the road changes form asphalt to a number of short sections of potholes and gravel. The road eventually crosses a bridge over the Gordon River and then changes to completely gravel eventually crossing Baird Creek and going through the Avatar Grove private forest license.

The Avatar Grove and portion of land near the Gordon River and Baird Creek is known to have bears and various animals present so proper wildlife procedures must be taken when exploring. While travelling on the forestry roads remember that active logging can occur at so be prepared for heavy equipment and logging trucks at all times during the year.

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