Culturally modified trees (CMTs) provide tangible evidence of long-term forest use by Indigenous peoples. In Northwest Coast cedar forests, this record rarely spans beyond the last three centuries because older bark-harvest scars have been obscured through taphonomic processes such as natural healing and decay. Thus, archaeological visibility and identification are hindered. Here, I recover chronologies of ancient forest harvesting using a post-impact assessment methodology of targeting old-growth clear-cuts in southern Nuu-chah-nulth territories on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Bark-peeling scars are identified and dated in cross section by growth-ring patterns of recently logged trees. Approximately half of all bark-peeling scars are “embedded” inside healing lobes, suggesting at least half of all such CMTs are effectively invisible in standing forests. Features in these post-impact surveys predated those discovered in conventional archaeological impact assessments by a mean of almost a century. Additionally, one of the oldest continually used cultural forests ever recorded, dating to AD 908, is found in the Toquaht Nation traditional territory. These findings uncover measurable frequencies of cedar-bark harvesting generations prior to the contact period and reveal the inadequacy of heritage protections for old-growth cedar stands.