In the year before his death, writer and broadcaster Rafe Mair warned me of guileless naivety after I expressed an expectation that John Horgan and BC NDP would be better stewards of our lands than were the BC Liberals.
I had heard positive commitments about environmental protections from the mouths of people in the Official Opposition.
Rafe said my mistake was trusting what they said.
Throughout my life, I have had a positive view of harvesting trees. One uncle, a professional forester, said logging was like farming, but with a much longer crop cycle.
In 1964, before heading to the big city to continue education, I was whistle punk (signalman) for the summer at a logging camp at the head of Powell Lake. I remember our small crew yarding and loading massive Douglas Fir logs.
On trucks with 11-foot bunks, the timber could only be carried out one log at a time. The trees had been close in volume to the famed Red Creek Fir pictured here.
To the crew, removal of this large and valuable timber was the triumph of man over nature. Like the others, I cheered. At today’s prices, a single log would have produced lumber worth more than $10,000, a single tree, $50,000.
So it is easy to understand why forestry workers and logging companies fight to remove every tree from every stand of old growth timber in the province.
But more than fifty years later, I know better. In the words of Natural Resources Canada:
Forests provide Canadians a wealth of benefits that go beyond providing jobs and income. Forests provide habitat for living things, fight flooding, keep us cool, feed us, heal us and provide sanctuaries of spiritual meaning for many Canadians and Indigenous people.
Old growth forest should be icons of British Columbia. Having survived hundreds of years, these must not be destroyed for the convenience and profit of a few, or for political debts owed to unions that funded John Horgan’s rise to power.
Ecological destruction of vast areas of British Columbia is underway in 2021. It is time for people young and old to rise up as they did during the War in the Woods against Mike Harcourt’s NDP government in the 1990s.
The Narwhal, courtesy of The Guardian:
Hundreds of activists are digging in at logging road blockades across a swath of southern Vancouver Island, vowing to stay as long as it takes to pressure the provincial government to immediately halt cutting of what they say is the last 3 per cent of giant old-growth trees left in the province…