Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
"Before the Clayoquot Sound protests, before Carmanah, before the Walbran and Meares Island logging conflicts, and before provincial or federal governments took an interest in Canadian forests, one little thirty-acre stand of giant trees in the centre of Vancouver Island became the focus of British Columbia's first fight for the preservation of forest. Residents and visitors alike all agreed the old-growth forest at Cameron Lake in Central Vancouver Island should be exempt from the logger's axe. The cast of characters involved in the history of the preservation of Cathedral Grove (MacMillan Park) includes some of the province's first movers and shakers in the forest industry. Today over a quarter of a million people from around the world annually walk beneath the giants and experience the coastal forests of British Columbia as they must have been before settlement. This is a testimony to the political foresight of countless people who worked and lobbied to bring politicians on side to have the park preserved for future generations."Cathedral Grove is a book of many ironies. It is a story about a valuable piece of timber land that is preserved for almost fifty years by the timber industry and is eventually donated to the Province by H. R. MacMillan of MacMillan Bloedel fame. What is remarkable is that MacMillan donated this property at the end of the second world war when the commercial value seemed unlimited. Here is a book that has as its preface its own review (see above). Finally, here is a story about forest preservation printed on paper made from trees.
It is clear that Jan Peterson loves Cathedral Grove, the park, and wants us to know and love it as she does. Having written two books on the Albernis, near where Cathedral Grove is located, she is able to provide a local perspective on the preservation of this old-growth forest. Unfortunately, as is seen in the excerpt, Ms Peterson does have a tendency to write in cliches. Nevertheless, this is a minor quibble.
Cathedral Grove, the book, contains many black and white pictures of the forest, some dating to the turn of the century. For those who plan to visit Cathedral Grove, the forest, there is a section on the trees and plants, with illustrations. I recommend both the forest and the book.
This book is highly recommended for those people, including children, interested in learning more about their history and, especially the history of the Canadian forests.
Marsha Kaiserman is Head of Conferences Cataloguing at Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) in Ottawa.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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