Trees in old-growth forests are the oldest creatures on earth and they have so much more to teach us. Our short-term approach to forest management does not allow the time it takes to understand life at the scale of 200, 300 or 400 years. Trees are not just fibre for our exploitation, they are the foundation of life on Planet Earth. Perhaps that is why 18,000 people have emailed me about old trees. Because we know deep down in our hearts that the government’s current approach to forestry is perilous.
I'm sure you will get many wonderful submissions mine goes under Ode to a tree-Ogden Nash...
"I think that I shall never see a billboard as lovely as a tree. In fact if the billboards do not fall, I think I shall never see a tree at all. "
We need the trees, not quite such limited profit alone for company coffers. In truth If they don't fall I may not see a tree at all.
My deep love of trees comes from me being a concert violinist. We, violinists and luthiers, know wood is a living breathing entity. To build a violin, wood is chosen for it’s narrow grain, and density, this rare wood must be aged 40 to 50 years in perfect conditions; only after this curing process, the luthier carefully selects varying woods that match in timbre and so begins the meticulous and loving process of hand crafting a violin, which takes months to complete. A violin can live indefinitely; indeed the famous and rare instruments built in the 1500’s and 1600’S are being performed today and scores of generations of violinists will continue to perform them while they continue to appreciate in value, demonstrating that wood is a rare and valuable resource to be protected and used with reverence and respect.
Violinists are, caretakers, we purchase our violins, but we don’t “own” them. We all feel it is a privilege to perform on and take care of and protect these magnificent beings. Violins are living beings, we honour and cherish them, just as we honour and cherish the trees that gave them life.
I do not have the opportunity to walk among old growth forests, which is a shame. It would connect me to an ancient past, where I could feel the wisdom of the earth, her power and majesty. If we start today, and perhaps in 600 hundred years, if we survive the climate crisis, there will be old growth thriving once again, in the meantime, let us save what tiny fragment is remaining and ensure forestry practices evolve.
Old growth forests are our ancestors, having lived many centuries longer than “Canada” and provide much that the earth and all it’s inhabitants need to survive. Forests protect our water, provide habitat for myriad species, provide food and medicine for humans and connect us all to our ancient past. To me, trees are like my great great great great grandmothers and fathers, aunties and uncles, siblings and friends and clear cutting them is like genocide.
Growing up, I thought I understood what a forest was, but it wasn’t until a cold and wet spring morning when I was 20 years old that I had a true awakening. Standing in the Carmanah Valley 26 years ago, I realized that until then I had never really been in a forest before – not a forest where the layers of life and vitality were as tall as the trees whose tops I could not even see. I did not know there were that many shades of green. I did not know the quality of sound could be so different, that the air could feel alive, that water could saturate every molecule. I did not know what had been lost in those clear cuts that we’d driven through to get to the Carmanah until I woke up to discover what an old growth forest really is. I did not know the perfect beauty of an intact forest.
Beauty matters. Natural beauty reminds us that this world is a precious and delicate place, and that our role on this planet has to go far beyond figuring out how we can make money off of it.
We need to rethink our use of all resources. the forest in general is being used very inefficiently. Coal and iron ore being sent out of the country to be processed, how ridiculous. These resources belong to the people of this country and should be used for our betterment. Copper concentrate, not being processed here. This is a cartoon right out of "Far Side".
Forests are essential to our ecosystems, providing a home to so many animals and a place for people to go and be active, breathe fresh air, explore and get connected with nature providing an outlet for mental health recuperation. Our forests are soo essential to the earth, animals and people, we must not lose them.
In 1997 I was arrested at New Denver Flats a year after the then NDP government designated the farm below the Flats a heritage site. As I explained to the Supreme Court Justice at my trial for contempt of court I had written to both the Minister of Forests, Dave Zirnhelt and the President of Slocan Products, Ike Barber, and asked them to agree to mediation but neither bothered to respond to my letter. So I was the third youngest person of eight to get arrested trying to save the domestic and agricultural water supply for that farm.
Twenty two years later and we still do not have any mechanism in BC to mediate between bio-diversity values, recreation values and water values and industrial logging. Simply stopping logging, other than applying a moratorium, is not enough we need comprehensive legislation that ensures logging and pulp values are measured against maintaining and rebuilding in tact ecosystems, and we need to figure out how natural ecosystems can regenerate old growth forests as that is part of the natural cycle of life in the forest, just like birth and death is for humans.
For the Earth
more so than la Cathedrale de Paris or any extraordinary human creation. I moved to BC 40 years ago because I was in awe with it's untouched nature. Looking at these very old trees is so much more intense than watching a special effect movie, when you think that some of these trees are more than a thousand years old.. It's nearly a mystical experience because it reminds me of the grandeur of the natural world. I feel that the destruction of these old trees would further destroy our relationship with the natural world. We need to keep them intact and share their grandeur with our children and their children and so on.
Hiking in the Walbran valley really made me realise the difference between a forest and an old-growth forest. Besides the huge trees, there is such an abundance of life and a synergy where everything has a role to play. You realise that even taking one tree out would cause a huge disturbance to the balance. We have so few areas like this left, they are far more precious that the value of the lumber to one company. Please, lets do the right thing.
Éloquence lacking in face of emotion. Yesterday I went to my BC Catethedral: Cathedral Grove here on Vancouver Island. A beautiful sunny day. Sun streaming in, blue sky above. Instead of rejoicing I held and am holding back tears as I write this. I have lived near this Cathedral most of my life. A place that it used to be rare to see any sky through the towering trees. A place where the forest floor was covered in the green that only those plants that could live with little sun survived. Yesterday beautiful trillium bloomed but the ferns are brown from drying out in their exposure. The sky was openly above me and bright blue. I hold back tears for the giant trees that have stood for hundreds of years reaching towards the heavens above that lay toppled on the ground. This is no accident from renovations. This has been done because there is no buffer to protect any more. And no amount of money will ever restore it. It is gone forever. There is no rebuild because no matter what grows now can withstand hundreds of years of what we will do around it. I was saddened to not see the trees that it used to take at least six people to link arms around. Ironic that is is old growth trees that held the ceiling of another cathedral that were lost in fire this last week. They cannot be replaced but can bebuilt. My heart hurts.
Growing up on the prairies and moving to BC, I am struck by the beauty that nature has bestowed on us here. If we cut the old growth forests down we can not reverse the destructive actions that commercial logging will do. Throughout the world, protected heritage sites are kept from destruction and we must do the same here.
old growth is god, leave it alone now
When I walk in an Old Growth Forest, I feel the connection between the Old Growth and every plant in their sphere of influence. These trees are so majestic that they draw you to them. I have watched tourists hug these trees as though they were their offspring. Every person on earth should take a walk in one of these truly awesome wonders of the world forests so they too can experience their majesty.
Unfortunately, finding an Old Growth Forest to walk in is difficult. British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast has very little in the way of accessible Old Growth. Other than finding a few locations with several accessible trees, a true Old Growth Forest to walk in is non -existent. Had a true Old Growth forest in its entirety been set aside on the Sunshine Coast in proximity to Gibson’s, Sechelt or Pender Harbour the tourist dollars from people wanting to walk in it would far exceed the revenue from logging it.
The Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii have Old Growth Forests but for the average person they are relatively expensive to view. That leaves Vancouver Island as one of the places in BC where the average person can go and walk among these giants. More areas like Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park need to be set aside for future generations to enjoy.
We need to stop and think about what we are doing to our planet, our province and our world. These forests are the natural habitat that our ancestors fought to preserve. It was said that "when all the trees are dead, all the water is poisoned and all the animals are gone - we will not be able to eat money." That was a quote from one of the First Nations Elders and Ancestors and it remains true.
I have grown up in Vancouver Island from the moment I could walk, going up and down Northwest Bay with my Grandpa in his old wooden diesel boat. To many times fishing, crabbing and prawning, with any luck we did catch a few prawns. We always did well with crab. Many times, to learning to appreciate nature from my grandpa and grandma who I grew up with from a young age. Both showing me and teaching me to admire where we live. I eventually grew a love of animals and trees on my own. My family background is forestry related and we all love trees. I love the old growth as I have learned to appreciate them more as I’ve gotten older. With having discovered areas like Carmanah Walbran Park, Avatar Grove and Lonely Doug. I really love those areas, I really love anywhere where’s there’s ancient giants. They have a story to tell, they’ve seen it all really. More than any man on the island aside from who was here nine hundred or a thousand years ago. I stand to say that anywhere that has remaining old growth or any nature that is unprotected become protected and safe from harvesting or destruction, please B.C. Think before doing here, as these trees and the nature that surrounds them is irreplaceable. It would be nice for it to be here for generations to come or for forever in the future.
1000 year old trees can NOT be recoverable !
Cutting down the Old Growth Forest is cutting down the economy in ECOTOURISM !
When I was young, my parents would always take me up to see Cathedral Grove. I marveled at the trees and the lead-up to it was one of the few sections of highway I could always anticipate. The one thing I couldn't anticipate was how tiny it made me feel. To this day, the size of the trees there unfailingly fills me with awe every time I see them.
But I always thought that was a special place and that those trees were the only ones like that standing in the world.
Then one weekend as a late teenager, my dad took my brother, cousin, a few friends, and I on a 4-bying road trip around the island. We did all the typical redneck things: had a giant fire with gasoline, built a bridge around a gate to drive up a mountain, blew things up with firecrackers, chainsawed fallen trees, we're irresponsible with firearms, and nearly crashed our vehicles.
But one thing that stood out on that trip to me was the one point of irreverence we all had when at some point driving down the backroads, my dad had us all pull over and walk a bit into the woods. I thought he was just taking a bathroom break, but there in front of us was one of the largest trees I'd ever seen in my entire life. It would have dwarfed half the trees in Cathedral Grove, I thought. I didn't understand. "I thought there were only trees like this in Cathedral Grove," I told my dad. We tried to link arms around it. All seven of us couldn't. My dad responded to my statement "No son, these trees used to grow everywhere on the island. People cut them down. There are still some around like this but they're still being cut down."
I was distraught.
"Why? Why not just take a bunch of smaller trees?"
He answered that you could get more straight wood out of the giant trees, and explained that this one was probably still standing because it would probably explode when it was felled.
My dad, a redneck a heart, an ex-logger, and a businessman who at one point had told me that climate change didn't matter to him, was heartbroken and furious that old growth was being logged still.
The fact that the NDP promised to stop logging old growth and have continued as the BC Liberals is the deepest erosion of public trust I can imagine. This is our home and it's being taken from us.
In my early teens, I spent some time on the Queen Charlotte Islands, prior to them having been raped and pillaged by the logging companies.
My memories are of the silence in the forests and the smells of the moss and trees. The ground and fallen trees and were covered in a thick layer of moss, such that all sound was muffled to the extend that it was difficult to hear a person speaking from a short distance away. The forest it's self is a thing of beauty that really has to be seen to be appreciated.
Many arguments for saving the remaining old growth on the island focus on tourism, jobs, and the trees themselves. What is rarely discussed is the fact that these ancient forests are home to a huge abundance of wildlife. Each tree is an ecosystem within itself upon which uncountable living things depend. Cutting down one tree, is displacing thousands of living creatures. It is very much like genocide. It simply cannot continue. Not ONE more old-growth tree should be destroyed--rather, we should be protecting and encouraging their continued existence.