Cathedral Grove: MacMillan Park


133 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88982-160-7
DDC 333.78'4





Photos by Rochelle Rooker
Reviewed by David Allinson

David Allinson is the president of the Rocky Point Bird Observatory in Victoria, B.C.


With the controversial forestry/environmental issues relating to British
Columbia’s Clayoquot Sound and Carmanah and Walbran valleys still
fresh in Canadians’ minds, it may be surprising to learn that at the
turn of the century the same issues were being debated with respect to
Port Alberni’s Cathedral Grove on Cameron Lake. This small stand of
old-growth forest—one of the last remaining stands of ancient
rainforest—is B.C.’s most frequently visited provincial park, with
more than 250,000 visitors annually.

Peterson does an excellent job of chronicling, with a certain amount of
regional pride, the events leading up to the preservation of Cathedral
Grove almost 50 years ago. From his accessible book, readers will learn
not only about Grove’s origins but also much about the history and
people of the Alberni Valley. Period photographs help to reveal the
changes that have taken place in the park. For current views of the
park, color photographs would have been preferable; the rich greens and
browns of the rainforest are captured only in the cover photograph. An
appendix dealing with trees and plants of the area will be of interest
to the amateur botanist.


Peterson, Jan., “Cathedral Grove: MacMillan Park,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,