Cathedral Grove is truly one of the jewels of Vancouver Island, and an old-growth rainforest that the Alberni Valley claims as its own when it comes to tourist attractions.
The park is known for its towering trees, stunning green scenery and coolness in the midst of a stifling hot Alberni Valley summer day.
The last thing Cathedral Grove should be known for is pedestrian fatalities because the traffic has become unmanageable in the parking area.
Granted, the park hugs both sides of Highway 4, a major thoroughfare. Traffic calming measures imposed by the provincial Ministry of Transportation in 2006—lower speed limits and a speed reader board alerting drivers to how fast they are travelling—were a compromise when a proposal to create a large parking lot was loudly disputed.
But that was 10 years ago. The number of vehicles going through the area in tourist season has not abated, rather seems like it has increased. It is time to revisit plans to create better or increased parking options at the park.
The previous plan touted 200 parking spots and room for 20 tour buses. This seems excessive, even now. However, there are areas where more parking could be safely created without losing the integrity of the wilderness aspect of the park.
The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is spearheading a safety campaign to see more parking in the Grove, and we fully back them.