Discoverers of underwater forest hope to protect site from salvagers – NBC News.com

Forest

If salvage companies get their way, an underwater forest of 50,000-year-old trees only recently discovered could be destroyed to make high-end coffee tables.

The primeval underwater forest, long buried under the sediments at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, was probably uncovered by Hurricane Katrina and discovered by scuba divers. After it made headlines around the world, several salvage companies have contacted one of those divers to get the forest’s location, which has not been publicly shared.

The companies’ aim? Pull up the trees for the valuable wood.

“You have to think of the cachet of something made from a 50,000-year-old wood,” said Ben Raines, the diver who first reported on the site and the executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation, a waterways conservation organization. “It’s like having a fossil on your shelf.”

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