Mossome Grove: 'One of the most beautiful' forests on Earth (PHOTOS)

A six-hectare parcel of old-growth forest in the San Juan River Valley, near Port Renfrew, has been dubbed Mossome Grove (a combination of “mossy” and “awesome”) by the conservationists who recently came across it.

It includes huge old-growth Sitka spruce and big-leaf maples adorned with hanging moss and ferns.

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At present, most of the grove is unprotected. It is on Crown land.

Ken Wu, executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance, said the site is special.

“I think anybody who sees the photos and, at some point, gets a chance to visit the area will recognize it as one of the most beautiful and photogenic forests on Earth, literally. It would be hard for Hollywood to top this one.”

Wu said he marvels at the rare combination of “tall, straight, solid Sitka spruce” and ancient, mossy maples resembling “prehistoric, shaggy monsters.”

“They’re like the epitome of all the greatest qualities of ancient forests combined in one grove.”

TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance said the grove should be “the new poster child for B.C.’s endangered ancient forests.”

For now, those who found the grove are not saying exactly where it us, Wu said.

“At this point in time, we’re not going to disclose the location because there’s no trails there and it’s a fairly sensitive site,” he said. “First things first, we’ve got to get the area protected and the old growth protected.”

Included in the grove are the ninth-widest Sitka spruce and ninth-widest big-leaf maple in B.C., Wu said.

“The spruce is over 10 feet wide, the maple is almost eight feet wide.”

He said second-growth forest dominates much of the B.C. landscape, so it’s important to protect the major old growth that is left.

Wu said the provincial government is working to establish a new old-growth management policy.

“We don’t know what that consists of yet.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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