Below is a joint response from FoCW, Widerness Comittee, Bill Jones, Pacheedaht Elder and Dr Neville Winchester, Entomologist to the continuing recreational tree climbing in the Central Walbran/Kaxi:ks
To whom it may concern;
It has come to our attention that there is currently recreational tree climbing occurring in the Castle Grove in the Central Walbran, Kaik:ks, Pacheedaht First Nations territory.
Climbing ropes have been left hanging from one of the ancient Cedars and a trail has been cut to the base of the tree.
This development is troubling to us as the damage from climbing to the delicate suspended soils and plants in these trees, the epiphytes and hanging gardens in their canopies is irrevocable. These have taken as long to develop as the trees themselves and could be over 1000 years old. If these are damaged a critical habitat for rare and endangered species such as Mettriopa walbranesi, Marbled Murrelets and other species that rely on the canopies of these ancient trees would be lost.
The rich alluvial flats that give the Castle Grove its giant Cedar trees is an isolated fragment, surrounded by clear-cuts and tree farms. With this type of forest remaining on less that 3% of Vancouver Island it makes the Castle Grove a very precious place. It is one of the reasons that environmentalists and First Nations have struggled and worked for almost 30 years to have this area protected.
As we learn from our First Nations allies we have come to appreciate these trees as Elder Trees that need to be respected and not just for the spectacle of their size as Giants.
The climbing of Old Growth to protect it from logging differs from recreational climbing, it carries on a long tradition of direct action that has actually helped save forest, for example the Carmanah Walbran Park.
So please respect the last of these ancient trees, don’t climb recreationally in the Old Growth and if these are your ropes please take them down.
Friends of Carmanah Walbran.
Bill Jones, Pacheedaht Elder.
Dr Neville Winchester, Entomologist.