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Just a five-minute walk from the road outside Port Renfrew, B.C., the ancient cedars and Douglas firs have become a major attraction

Tourist take photos of an old growth tree in the Avatar Grove, near Port Renfrew, B.C., July 18, 2011. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

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T.J. Watt with the Ancient Forest Alliance, takes a photo of old growth tree in the Avatar Grove, near Port Renfrew, B.C., July 18, 2011.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

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Ken Wu with the Ancient Forest Alliance, climbs up onto a 14 foot wide tree stump of old growth tree that was cut down, near Port Renfrew, B.C., July 18, 2011. Story details: When two forest activists were rooting around for ancient trees along southwest Vancouver Island's logging roads in December, the pair made an unexpected discovery. Just a five-minute walk from the road, centuries-old hemlocks, red cedars, firs and an identified evergreen that's been dubbed Canada's "gnarliest tree," stood untouched in a 10-hectare setting, about a 15-minute drive from the village of Port Renfrew. Stunned that the area hadn't been logged, within a few weeks Mr. Wu, along with other environmentalists, founded the Victoria-based Ancient Forest Alliance, today numbering 8,000 members. Soon after, Avatar Grove was born. The Grove has rapidly become the AFA's "poster child" for old-growth preservation, said AFA campaigner Brendan Harry. Choosing the name Avatar Grove was a deliberate move to engage the masses that had seen Avatar, one of the most-viewed movies in history.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

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T.J. Watt with the Ancient Forest Alliance, takes a photo of old growth tree in the Avatar Grove, near Port Renfrew, B.C., July 18, 2011.

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

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Joan Varley of the Wilderness Committee looks up at a cedar tree at Avatar Grove at Gordon Main in Port Renfrew, B.C. August 29, 2010. story by Brennan Clarke

ARNOLD LIM/The Globe and Mail

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Joan Varley of the Wilderness Committee looks up at a hemlock tree at Avatar Grove along the Gordon River, B.C. August 29, 2010.

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A Douglas fir tree at Avatar Grove along the Gordon River Valley, B.C. August 29, 2010.

ARNOLD LIM/The Globe and Mail

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Twelve-year-old T.J. Cordoviz looks up at a Douglas fir tree at Avatar Grove along the Gordon River Valley, B.C. August 29, 2010.

ARNOLD LIM/The Globe and Mail

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