Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The tallest rescue mission on Earth – Helen Gee


Helen Gee

What a wondrous experience it is to wander through the magical forested Valley of the Giants, in the Styx forest in southern Tasmania. Climbing over the twisted moss and lichencovered roots of this Tolkien-like forest I am surrounded by towering giants – many taller than a 25-storey building, over four hundred years old and up to five metres wide at the base!
In one sense those of us wending our way into the depths of this temperate rainforest are completing a two-hundred-year-old journey. We are the ones who come out here, not to get away from it all but to get back to it all. As we commemorate the bicentenary of European settlement on the island many of my generation have a strong sense of place out here and an intense appreciation of our precious heritage. We are coming home to sing Christmas carols underneath a giant eucalypt deep in a primeval forest we are desperate to save.
As I walk on I am aware of the purity and richness of it all; so many diverse species all in different stages of life and decay, living riotously together, recreating their form in an undisturbed continuum stretching back through 65 million years of eco-history. I am thinking as I walk that this is no longer a green issue. It is a profound moral question, for there is now only thirteen per cent of the original cover of these huge trees left in this island state, the most forested state of Australia.
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