Letter to Island Timberlands Endorsed by 23 Organizations and Scientists

Watershed-Forest Alliance
3668 Craig Road
Port Alberni, BC
V9Y 5Z1
watershedforestalliance@gmail.com
July 17, 2013
Mr. Darshan Sihota
Island Timberlands LP
65 Front Street, 4th Floor
Nanaimo, BC   V9R 5H9
Dear Mr. Sihota,

In 2005, when Island Timberlands was established, 74,000 hectares of its holdings came from Tree Farm Licence 44, an area in mid-Vancouver Island that includes and surrounds the Alberni Valley.  At the time of transfer, parts of this area had already been designated by BC government scientists to have the highest conservation value and were categorized as Wildlife Habitat Areas and Ungulate Winter Range.  These areas are old growth (over 250 years), primarily Douglas-fir forest habitats.  Island Timberlands, when acquiring this land, was fully aware that the intent was to protect these sensitive areas from logging indefinitely, as is done on publicly owned lands.  To date, under Island Timberlands’ management, approximately 60% of these designated areas have been logged.

We are asking for a cessation of logging of all the remaining high conservation areas, which may only amount to as little as 1.25% (930 hectares) of the 74,000 hectares.

Roughly half of the area that should be off-limits to logging is on the south side of McLaughlin Ridge in the China Creek watershed, which is the source of drinking water for the City of Port Alberni.  Although already compromised by recent logging, the core area that remains is only about 400 hectares.  Notably it is located on steep terrain and very thin soil.  The area is also essential habitat for the endangered Queen Charlotte Goshawk and other wildlife species.  Preserving the wildlife habitat will also protect the quality of drinking water for the citizens of Port Alberni.

Another area of high conservation and recreation value is known as the Cameron Firebreak, which stretches from the Cameron River to a ridge of Mt. Arrowsmith.  This easily accessible forest includes an increasingly rare valley bottom old-growth habitat which provides a valuable winter refuge for Roosevelt Elk.  A significant portion of the Cameron Firebreak has already been logged.  Any future logging will jeopardize its value as wildlife habitat and its high potential for ecotourism.

The remaining portions are in smaller scattered areas, each with their own unique ecological and recreational values, including the south side of Mt. Horne above Cathedral Grove.

As logging continues, these irreplaceable old-growth forests previously identified by government biologists have become more important than ever.  It is essential that they be removed from all harvesting plans so that the ecological and social values they embody can be preserved for future generations.

Sincerely

Jane Morden, Coordinator,
Watershed-Forest Alliance

Cc:  Morgan Kennah, RPF, Manager, Sustainable Timberlands and Community Affairs, Island Timberlands
Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
The Hon. Christy Clark, Premier
Chief Steve Tatoosh, Hupacasath First Nation
Chief Hugh Braker, Tseshaht First Nation
Mayor  & Council, City of Port Alberni
Board of Directors, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

Endorsed by:

Alberni Valley Transition Town
Alberni Environmental Coalition
Alberni Fish and Game Club
Ancient Forest Alliance
Arrowsmith Parks and Land-Use Council
B.C. Wildlife Federation, Vancouver Island Region Association
Kim Brunt, MSc, RPBio
Phil Carson, Independent Video Producer
Citizens’ Stewardship Coalition (Alberni Valley)
Council of Canadians, Port Alberni Chapter
Scott Fraser, MLA (Alberni-Pacific Rim)
Friends of the Stillwater Bluffs (Powell River)
Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science
Herb Hammond, Forest Ecologist & Professional Forester, Silva Forest Foundation
Island Stance: peaceful direct action / Cortes Island
Doug Janz, Wildlife Biologist, RPBIO (ret), RPF (ret), Chair of the Forestry Committee,
B.C. Wildlife Federation, Vancouver Island Region Association
Craig Orr, Ph.D., Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Dr. Briony Penn, Environmental Journalist
Port Alberni & District Labour Council
Save the Day (Roberts Creek)
Save Our Valley Alliance Public Education Committee (Alberni Valley)
Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition

 

One thought on “Letter to Island Timberlands Endorsed by 23 Organizations and Scientists

  1. Clear cut logging across Vancouver Island is reaching epidemic proportions. Will there be anything left to hike through for our children and grand children when this continues. It is absolutely necessary that the greed of this government and the corporations it seems to serve is being restricted at once.

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