A visit to world-famous Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island never fails to inspire. I was struck again by the awe-inspiring mood – some might say, reverential – that prevailed among visitors who shared our quiet trek among the 800 year-old Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar giants on the weekend. For a trader, whose time is spent mostly in pursuit of interpreting and effectively satisfying lumber market demands, a visit to the treasured big tree heritage lends significant perspective – even welcome respite. In 1907, British conservationist Edward Buxton described these magnificent trees here as “So graceful, so perfectly symmetrical.. that it is difficult to realize their great size.”
The ancient ecosystem that is Cathedral Grove, cared for by indigenous peoples, First Nations, over 1000s of years, became an integral part of the coastal forest industry, dominated in the early days by H. R. MacMillan. In 1944, MacMillan donated this 136 hectare parcel of land within his company’s timber holdings back to the province. In 1947, to preserve and protect the unique stand of trees, the area was established as a Class A provincial park. Some hardened lumber guys might be inclined to ask, as one was heard to say: “What’s all this got to do with the price of 2×4’s?” A personal visit to Cathedral Grove lends the answer: Lots!