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Posted: January 10, 2022

Support for Crystalline and Stockdale old growth deferral

Letter to the Editor

I am writing in support of the B.C. Government proposal deferring old growth logging in Crystalline and Stockdale Creeks.

I would also like to urge local elected officials and the Government of B.C. to take back the planning and control of our forests. The liquidation of our forests is occurring by a few large corporations who are in charge of the harvest of our most valuable resource.

I also urge the local residents who, like myself, are witnessing the systematic drainage-by-drainage elimination of the forest cover to make their voices heard. The forest cover is vital for our pure water, our wildlife, our protection from floods, our oxygen supply and clean air to name a few benefits.

For the wellbeing of all make their voices heard. Contact the B.C. Premier and Forestry Minister of B.C. on this matter. Our current government now has a House majority and if motivated they could respond to our concerns.

The Liberal Government elected in 2001 and in power until 2017 essentially eliminated forest management by the Forest Service and delivered our most valuable resource to public enterprise. The Liberal government practically eliminated all legislation in place at the time to manage and protect our forests.

What we see now is systematic logging of all merchantable wood, which is harvested drainage-by-drainage and will continue to be harvested until precious little of the forests remain. The corporations will then close the mills and move on to greener pastures. We have seen this over and over again within the recent years in our province and in our area: Golden, Canal Flats and Cranbrook.

The same could eventually happen with Radium and everyone working in the forest industry now knows this will most likely occur. Also ask for their thoughts about current logging practices such us logging, road building and hauling. A long-term view for mills staying open is needed not just the short term that corporations and elected officials seem to prefer.

Currently, most tasks taking place in the forest are contracted out to the lowest bidder. The responsibility for contractors is to supply their equipment and hire workers etc. Lowest bid leads to operators lowering staff wages in order to be able to make payments for equipment and at least break even. Life in the woods for workers means long hours and personal sacrifice if you want to be employed.

At the present time the Forest Licensees are free to operate with very few restrictions. If you approach the B.C. Government offices you are told to contact the company in charge of the forest for any information, dispute or anything. Last time I went for information at the government office in Invermere they did not even have maps of what was or would be harvested.

With the lack of Legislation (laws, acts, regulations etc.) the legal requirements for forest operations are so low that anything goes in logging. Examples like cutting to the water’s edge of water bodies, heavy equipment operating on wet soils thus degrading productivity. Logging areas are often left unusable for wildlife due to the amount of wood waste impeding movement.

There is no reason why our B.C. forests could not offer good paying jobs to anyone employed in these activities within our local communities. A good place to start would be to eliminate full log exports and instead sell manufactured products within B.C. and the world instead of shipping full logs and jobs to the US.

I am not sure when the last time that the Annual Allowable Cut for our forest was brought up-to-date. If required, this would be a key process to undertake in order to determine how a forest forever could be sustainable with yearly harvest of timber. Keep in mind that tourism to see old growth and healthy forest draws a lot of people to B.C.

A well-managed forest with local production of forest products would employ more people working in meaningful jobs with better wages and a better place to be for families and community.

Please make your voices heard.

Chris Espinel,

Former RPF Forester and Forest Technician,

Invermere


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