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Forest campaigner lauds Avatar Grove protection, criticizes trade-off

Ken Wu welcomed the British Columbia government's plans to protect a forest grove his Ancient Forest Alliance has campaigned to save, but criticized the government's intention to open another old growth area to logging.

"It's a mixed bag," said Wu, after the ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations announced plans this morning to designate 59.4 hectares of forest that include the Avatar Grove near Port Renfrew as an old growth management area while removing another 57.4 hectares from the same protection.

"It is an awesome thing to have Avatar Grove designated off limits to logging," Wu said, noting that the grove his group named after a popular movie is exceptional valley bottom old growth.

"At the same time they've opened up about 57 hectares of OGMA as a trade off for the licensee," he said. "It's a no-go to open up other OGMAs to logging, even if they're higher altitude old growth . . . There should be no more old growth logging down here period."

The ministry is accepting comments on the plan until Nov. 9. It's announcement notes the Renfrew planning area includes 11,624 hectares of OGMAs and another 7,732 hectares of old growth forest are protected in provincial and federal parks.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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